How to Deal With a Downward-Trending Product
by David T. Griffith, on August 4, 2016
Product A’s sales were great when it first launched, but now sales are growing more and more sluggish. Before you know it, the sales performance of your most popular product of the last year is a ghost of its former self.
How Does This Happen?
Think about how long it has been since you updated the product description or posted new photography. When a product page is left alone, the downward sales cycle gradually kicks in. Traffic dissipates as all of your eager customers have completed their purchases. Unless you’re doing something to attract new customers and keep the product listing alive, your web traffic will be relegated to pure happenstance.
So you have been tasked with revitalizing Product A before it sinks into the abyss of forgotten product pages. You can help stave off the downward trend by continually improving the editorial and visual content to increase search ranking and consumer relevance, and by taking advantage of Amazon promotions.
Never Neglect Content
A crucial yet easily overlooked aspect of eCommerce is content. When you’re rushing to launch a hot item to capture sales before your competitors, it’s easy to post the bare minimum – product title, five bullets of features and benefits, and a sentence or two stating the basics in the description. It’s so easy to just submit the item for ASIN creation and let it be. Right? The product will sell itself, after all … you hope.
It’s never that simple. The initial traffic momentum that follows a product launch, maybe due to a short-term advertising promotion, will eventually wane if you aren’t proactive.
According to Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”), the addition of enhanced marketing content, which includes in-depth text and imagery, can increase sales by 3 to 8 percent, sometimes more. You need to take advantage of this.
Refresh Your Visuals
Consumers want to see photos showing the product from different angles and in use. If Product A were sunglasses, show people wearing them at the beach or while participating in activities. Lifestyle images are crucial to relating to your prospective customer. If you have a new promotional clip or an instructional video, consumers want to find these videos immediately on the product page.
Going with the sunglasses idea, let’s say Product A is the latest in high-performance sportswear designed to block direct sunlight from every angle while not interfering with your peripheral vision. Show athletes wearing these sunglasses while running a race or rowing a regatta. One image depicts the shades paired with other relevant accessories like a sport watch and water bottle. A video depicts the ultra-comfortable wrap-around design and how it’s able to block the sun’s rays from overhead.
The key is to replicate what a customer would learn in a physical store through videos and imagery, while appealing to a targeted lifestyle.
Use Reviews to Expand the Description
Look at the reviews your product has received – does anything stand out? If you have several five-star reviews, incorporate key points from the reviews into the bullet points and description. For instance, someone points out the sunglasses are perfect for blocking reflective glare while driving in bright, snow-covered settings. It’s an unintentional use that makes perfect sense. Highlight this as another benefit in your product description.
Optimize Content with Trending Keywords
Find out what relevant keywords are currently popular and incorporate them into the headers and body copy. Make this a regular part of your product-page updates. At the same time, when a new benefit is revealed about your product, like the snow-glare idea mentioned above, find keywords related to that topic that you can incorporate in your product page.
Staying abreast of search engine trends for relevant search terms will help your product page appear in Google Search Results Pages, as well as Amazon’s own search listings.
Optimize Content with Trending Keywords
As an Amazon seller you have access to a host of different promotional programs and advertising platforms that can boost a product’s performance. Here are a few:
Amazon Vine. Designed to seed product reviews, the Amazon Vine program allows you to send samples to 20 product reviewers designated by Amazon who will post comprehensive reviews about the product.
Amazon Deal of the Day, Amazon Lightning Deal. Found in the “Today’s Deals” section of the Amazon site, Deal of the Day and Lighting Deal Promotions make use of the current trend in flash sales. You offer a set number of units for a deep discount for the six-hour Amazon Lightning Deal until inventory runs out. The Deal of the Day Promotion works in a similar manner, only the discount may not be as steep, but it lasts for a full 24 hours. These promos can provide a stimulus in sales and help introduce new customers to your brand.
Amazon Prime Day. This is an opportunity to take advantage of the biggest traffic day of the year for Amazon. It functions similarly to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but takes place in July. Like the other promotions, you specify a group of products and inventory for the 24-hour Prime Day section on Amazon.com. All participating sellers make discounts super-attractive, while Amazon promotes the upcoming event.
Amazon Treasure Truck Program. A newer promotion that Amazon is testing in the Seattle area is called Treasure Truck. The Treasure Truck drives around the city using social media to announce stopping points throughout the day. The truck sells a limited assortment of popular items from your brand for a deep discount. This promotion puts your product in the hands of new customers quickly with the excitement attached to an in-person exclusive deal. This program does not currently apply to third-party sellers. However, depending on the success of the program, it might someday.
Apply Your Learning Forward
Finally, apply what you learned from one product’s success to the rest of your catalog. If you observe increased sales after adding a keyword to one page, use it on other applicable products. If a particular set of lifestyle images improved one product’s sales, replicate the formula. Likewise, if you find a content change had a negative effect, take note not to repeat it.
Responding to a downward-trending product requires a multi-pronged strategy, one that relies on continued learning from previous successes and failures. Track performance changes based on your content changes and promotions, and continue to evolve your strategy and tactics based on your findings on a scheduled basis.
Eventually, you will find a formula that reverses or at least slows the downward trend until you have reached the end of the product’s lifecycle. The key is to remain proactive.