Help! My Competitor Is Outselling My Product 7 to 1!

by Robb Sutton

Several weeks ago, I was handed a project. An online retailer was selling two competing products from two different manufacturers. I was asked to help Product A gain market share because they were getting killed by Product B on this particular site. After doing simple online research (just checked out the site), I was able to conclude several key points.

  • Product A had better features and was priced several dollars lower than Product B. All things created equal, Product A should be outselling Product B 7 to 1…not the other way around.
  • The above the fold marketing of Product B was much better than Product A. Looked like simple web copy tweaking was going to fix this problem almost instantly.

As I dove deeper into this project, I noticed that Product B only offered one style of this particular product. That product was heavily featured in a top box and the two most popular models were shown at the top of the price list. All of this is seen above the fold on that manufacturer page on the retail site.

When you switched to Product A, they had a different, less popular model in their featured box and much more expensive kits located at the top of their price list. The competing products weren’t even shown above the fold on their product page. To find the competing products, you had to scroll half way down the page, and even then…it was difficult to find exactly what you were looking for.

So…What Did I Do To Increase Market Share?

For this project, the suggestion was easy! All Product A needed to do was change their above the fold marketing on this particular retailers site. A simple change to the featured box and price list was going to solve every single one of their issues.

We changed out the featured box to show the competing product with a well-defined picture and list of features that made it better than the competition. The product offering price list was rearranged with the most popular, featured items first.

Now…when a potential buyer transitions between the two competing manufacturers product pages, the differences are clearly defined. He can see the added benefits for a lower price and make his decision accordingly.

So What Was The Result and What Did We Learn?

Product A is now out performing product B. So what did we learn? Above the fold (the area of the screen that you can see without scrolling) is extremely important in web based marketing. The typical web shopper will almost always purchase items that they do not have to search for. If your marketing does not center around this above the fold area for your product or service, you are doing yourself a disservice.

I see a lot of manufacturers, blogs, news websites, etc. that do not focus on this above the fold marketing technique. Most of these sites have very low conversion rates, but the bigger question is why?

These sites have a low conversion rate because first impressions are EVERTHING! The above the fold region of your website is your first impression with your potential shopper, reader, subscriber or lead. This entire area needs to contain a call to action and focus on making the best first impression possible.

In the above example, Product A’s first impression was terrible, so the end result was a decrease in sales. By improving their first impression, they are able to sell more of their product. It seems like a simple idea, but it is done incorrectly more times than correctly.

When designing a site or working with an online retailer to sell your product, focus on above the fold marketing techniques to insure positive results and remember that first impressions will make or break your business with a potential buyer.

P.S. – A must have marketing tip! Sometimes the easiest answer is the best. Do not try to overcomplicate the art of marketing. When you go to make a copy, website or ad, think of your audience as a 3rd grade boy with ADD. You need to get your message across quickly and in a simple manner they can understand. Do not get over complicated.

Image by kandyjaxx

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Chris May 26, 2009 - 3:37 pm

Great article Robb! …if I may ask, what plugin/widget do you currently use to display/rotate your 125×125 affiliate ads?

Robb Sutton May 26, 2009 - 3:41 pm Reply

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