Making prospects WANT to buy

The art and science of making customers WANT to buy is called merchandising. Successful companies make merchandising an obsession. Nothing boosts sales like knowing just what steps it takes to motivate lots of people to want to buy ALL of it NOW.

Here are several top merchandising strategies. Think about how you can apply these to your situation. These ideas can be adapted for stores, web sites, even selling via email.

1) Stack ’em high and sell ’em cheap! Walk into K-Mart, Wal- Mart, or Target and you’ll notice tables near the front stacked high with a commonly needed item. The price will be slashed to the bone.

This is one of the most successful merchandising techniques of all time. The giant stack of stuff gives customer the impression of great abundance. That combines with the low price to make people want to buy several. Why take just one when there is so much available at this LOW price?

  • Put a sign on your stack showing just how much it has been marked down from the list price.
  • Position the stack near the checkout so customers won’t have time to talk themselves out of the big purchase before they get in line.

2) Offer your product or service in a package of two or three for a single price. Instead of pricing your item at $1, mark it “two for $2” or “three for $3.” Most customers will take the sign’s suggestion and pick up several. Better yet, make it “three for $2.95.” Customers will be less like to do the math and take just one.

Offer less at a lower price. This is a very common strategy the public often misses. Rather than offering the same product or service as your competitor, simply offer a slightly SMALLER product at a lower price.

Asian business woman holding a sign saying "lower price"

Ever notice how those low-priced boxes of breakfast cereal at Wal-Mart are a bit smaller than the same box at the grocery store? That’s how they offer a lower price and still earn a profit.

I used to feature a $184 ad package on my site. Then I figured out we could give people almost as much advertising with a smaller package that would only cost $145. Customers loved the lower price. The smaller package reduced my cost and I ended up earning more profit per package than I did with the higher priced ad deal.

3) Where can you put your item so customers will notice? When a product or service fails to sell, it is usually because customers just didn’t notice it. Their eyes went elsewhere.

The service on your web site will probably start selling better if you position it nearer the top of your home page. Putting a graphic next to the item gives it even more eye-catching power.

Make your order link big enough to see when skimming through the copy. Don’t bury the link at the bottom of the page after 2,000 words of copy. Hardly anybody has time to read all that. Few are going to go on an Easter egg hunt to find your order link.
Place the link several places: near the top of the page, in the middle, and at the end.

4) Finally, learn new merchandising tricks by watching what your competitors are doing. Borrow ideas that seem to be working for them. Most of the great merchandising strategies you see successful companies using were learned by studying others.

Some businesses just make you FEEL like you have gotten a great deal or better service. Reality may be the price was actually higher than elsewhere, but you FEEL like you got a good deal.
That’s merchandising at work. Customers want that feeling of value and will thank you when they get it.

About the author
Kevin Nunley provides business writing, promotion packages, and free marketing advice. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at
Reach Kevin at or 603-249-9519.