If your business has reached a good level of sales, but it’s not growing, then unless you’re happy with what you’ve achieved and want to stay there – for instance, you have enough income to support your lifestyle and you really don’t want to work much harder – you’ll want to do something to get it back on the growth track.
The first and most obvious way to put some oomph into your sales is to launch more products – but not just any products. Leveraging your existing strengths is a sensible way to move forwards.
So for instance you can look for new subcategories in the main categories that you sell in. If you already sell perfumed soaps, for instance, look at the other premium beauty categories; perfumes, cosmetics, nails, haircare. Do any of those look good? Or you could also look at the themes, such as Asian or Black beauty products, or ecologically sustainable beauty products.
Check on your product pages to see what Amazon thinks you should launch – I’m not joking. “Sponsored products related to this listing” and “customers who bought this item also bought” are the Amazon algorithm telling you what products your customers and competitors think complement yours. Look at your major competitors’ Amazon Stores, too. They may be slightly ahead of you on the curve.
It’s also time for you to move up into slightly higher ticket products to get better margins. For instance, if you already have several types of beauty products, package together your different aromatherapy soaps, soaps plus washcloths, or add soap dishes or dispensers to make all-in-one packages. If you sell table napkins, it’s time to add runners and other textiles at a higher price point.
Of course, adding new products will cost money, and if you’re adding higher-priced items your new inventory will cost you more than your first order did. If finance is going to be an issue, then you need to look for capital. You might be able to get bank finance, but banks aren’t always good at understanding this particular business model. It may be easier to use a credit card to fund your next step, though make sure to look for a low-interest rate or zero interest card and pay the loan off as soon as possible, as this is an expensive source of finance.
Occasionally, Amazon extends an invitation to selected FBA sellers to apply for loans. This is a great source of finance, but you can’t apply for it proactively – Amazon gets to choose.
Moving into new marketplaces can also boost your business. You may not want to sell in Egypt or India, but you should definitely consider Canada (if you’re in the US) or other European countries (if you’re in Europe).
And of course, you can diversify by selling off Amazon. You might use Shopify to set up your own site, or you might decide to sell on eBay or Walmart. (Walmart is choosier than Amazon, though; you need to be registered as a business with a US business address.)
But it may be your business hasn’t got stuck because you don’t have enough products, markets, or finance. What’s missing might just be the time to grow the business. If you started on your own, and you’re still on your own, it could be time to think about building your virtual team. You don’t need to take on employees, but you need to find freelancers or virtual assistants who understand your business and can work with you on a long-term basis.
You might need a photographer/videographer who can take the content of your listings to the next level, or just an assistant to handle day-to-day queries while you try to source your next product.
Whatever it is your business needs, though, you need to get through this sticky patch in order to grow – and you can do it!