7 Hot Sellers in a Cold Economy

Jamila White
I know, I know. The news is everywhere and it's hard to escape. You don't need CNN to tell you that the U.S. economy sucks. Oftentimes, small business owners are the first to feel the pinch.

But let me tell you something. The real enemy isn't Wall Street, the banks, the government, or any particular presidential candidate. The real enemy of your business is FEAR.

Fear can slay your business faster than any stock market, and fear doesn't care whether the economy is good or bad.
As Brian Tracy once said, "the antidote to fear is doing."

Yet, too many times we let fear paralyze us from doing what's best for our businesses, our families, ourselves.

In your business, the solution is in the doing. Get out there and strut your stuff! Be proactive. And most importantly, focus on the things that are within your power to control and stop worrying about the things you have no control over.

As I said in my last newsletter, there are lots of folks who have thriving businesses in a rotten economy. The success starts in your head, with the choices you make and the attitude you have.

So stop focusing on what you can't do and focus on what you can do. And one of those things is to get your marketing program in sync with the buying trends we're seeing right now.

What's selling well right now

1. Safety and security
Did you know that stores like Home Depot and Wal-Mart are running out of safes? Yep, financial fears are making some folks nervous about keeping their money in banks. If you sell any products or services related to safety, security, home protection, wallets, safes, and other things that protect your money and property, put 'em out front on your web site and tout them in your newsletter.

Even if you don't sell these products, look to emphasize the safety and security features of your merchandise in your product descriptions.

2. Comfort food
A few weeks ago when every stock on the exchange was taking a nosedive, Campbell's Soup's stock was strong. Why? Because when people are worried, they turn to comfort food! And what food makes you feel more safe and secure than good ole chicken soup?

If you have any "comfort food" items in your inventory (or products that smell like or look like comfort food), put 'em out front.
Same thing goes for other comfy, snuggly-type products that make people feel safe and secure. Like maybe big comfy down comforters to make you feel safe and protected from the harsh world outside.

And also highlight any "nostalgic" items - retro music or styles, antiques, wooden toys, etc. - that make people remember better times.

3. "Little Luxuries"
People are cutting back on big luxuries like gas-guzzling SUV's and a full day at the spa, but that means a boon for "little luxuries" like spa products, makeup, beauty products and other items that help us pamper ourselves when we're on a budget.

Put these products out front on your web site and use marketing language that emphasizes "affordable luxury" and "at home spa/beauty treatments."

4. Money Management Tools
Anything product, service, or tool that helps people save their money, budget their money, and manage their money will go over big right now. People feel like the world's finances are out of control, so they're looking for ways to better control the money they've got.

If you have any services or products like this, put 'em out front. If there are any money-saving features of your product, highlight it. Put it in your newsletter, blog about it.

5. Value-Size Products
If you have a family-size or value-size version of any of your products that produce savings over buying multiple quantities of a smaller size, put it out front and tell your customers about it.

6. Education, Training, and Self-Help
Everywhere you turn, people are trying to get a leg up. They're hungry for new skills that make them more valuable in the job marketplace, for new strategies to help them grow and manage their businesses, for ways to get more fulfillment out of their relationships.

If you offer any kind of workshops, training, education, or self-help products, now is the time to go all out and promote them like crazy.

(And if you're looking to strengthen your own e-commerce business to create more financial stability and abundance, check out my new E-Commerce Masterminds mentoring and coaching program!)

Want to add another profitable revenue stream to your "regular products" business? Try offering teleseminars - they're easy and cheap to do, and they're 90% profit!

7. Payment Plans and Layaway
When I was a kid, my mom used to put me and my sister's school clothes and holiday gifts on layaway at the store, and make periodic small payments until it was all paid for and she could take it home. But there's a whole generation of young folks who don't know a thing about layaway because all they know is credit cards - can you believe it?

My Prediction: layaway will make a BIG comeback this year, and I also predict that it will come back with a 21st century twist next year: e-commerce layaway. I bet the shopping cart and other software developers will start to introduce tools and add-ons that will allow small online retailers to let their customers set up layaway payments for merchandise.

If you don't offer some form of payment plan for your big-ticket items, now's the time to add it. When I added payment plans for my higher-end coaching and training programs, they started to sell out much more quickly.

Oh... while we're talking about strategies for selling in a bad economy, there's one thing I do NOT want you to do: lower your prices. I know it's tempting, but don't do it!

Lowering your prices devalues your offering, and once you lower them, it will be next to impossible to convince those same customers to pay more once you decide go back to the regular price. In addition, you don't want to get into a low-price war with a competitor - you lower your prices, then they lower theirs, then you lower yours again, and so on. Next thing you know, neither of you is making any profit at all. And you're both out of business.

If do you feel it's absolutely in your business' best interest to offer a lower price point right now, there are alternatives:
• Offer your products in smaller, more affordable sizes.
• Offer entry-level packages or sets with a lower price point than your "premium" products.
• Offer introductory or trial-period rates.
• Offer bulk or quantity discounts.

Remember: fear is the real enemy here. Make smart decisions based on what's healthiest for your business, not based on what scares you. When making decisions, ask yourself: "If I had no fear at all, what would I do in this situation?" That's usually the best answer.

Go forward in abundance!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamila White, “The E-Commerce Diva™”, helps small business owners develop their web marketing strategy to attract new customers and increase their web sales and traffic. Get a free subscription to her "Sell More Online" newsletter at: http://www.ecommercediva.com/newsletter.