Your website is not a place to sell unwanted merchandise…

…unless you are a pawn shop. Your website needs to be the focal point of your business, online and off. It is a place where you want to put your best foot forward and really showcase who you are and what you have to offer. Know your customer and their needs, then sell them the stuff they want.

All too often I see business owners think that if an item isn’t welling well in the physical store, they can unload that item on the Internet. It might be OK to do this on eBay, but doing this on your own online webstore is a bad idea. Items that sell well in your physical store are the items you want to list on your online webstore. If an item really isn’t selling at all, maybe you should give it away as an incentive, rather than trying to push items someone doesn’t want.

Let’s say you a garden center and you have an excess inventory of Poinsettias after Christmas. No one wants to buy them, so don’t put these on your home page and try to push them. Instead, give them away and make your customers feel like they got a bargain by purchasing something else. No one is looking for Poinsettias in January, but they may be looking for roses by Valentines day.
So put together a great page about roses. Add lots of custom content about roses, so the search engines will find you. Talk about roses in your blog, on your Facebook business page, on Twitter, and on LinkedIn groups. Make a video and post it on YouTube and Vimeo – discuss the origin of roses and how they came to be a symbol of love. Go beyond the standard description that everyone else uses – your customers may already know the basics about rose plants (but they may not, so include the standard description as well, just add your own information so you are giving them details they can’t find elsewhere). Talk about how there was a Spring Festival in the Middle Ages where young couples met in the garden to listen to love poetry and romantic music, then afterwards paired off to stroll through the trees and flowers. Explain why if roses were symbolic of love and romance, how come there are thorns? Give your customers a reason to view your information rather than someone else’s – because you are giving them content they can’t find anywhere else. Mention how daises, violets and bachelor buttons are also considered romantic and cross-sell your rose plants with these other flowers.

So back to the poinsettias – how do we move this unwanted merchandise? Well, poinsettias are also a symbol of love – the red of the traditional poinsettia symbolizes the blood of Jesus, and the central seeds resemble the crown of thorns he wore upon the cross. Poinsettias are a symbol of God’s love for us. Because we love having you as a customer, we will give you a poinsettia for free when you purchase our roses at regular price!

Get the idea? Provide your customers what they are looking for, not the stuff you don’t want. Instead, figure out how to tie that back in to what they are looking for and offer it as an incentive. This is much more effective for growing your online sales.