How To Sell Underperforming Products

How to sell underperforming products

Why some products sell very well and others don’t? What’s the dynamic between your products and your customers? How to push underperforming products to success?

Every ecommerce brand experiences issues with the slow moving products in its range. And while it’s absolutely normal to discontinue some products, it doesn’t have to be the only way.

If a product sells very badly compared to your other items, it doesn’t necessarily mean people don’t want it. Probably they just overlook it and choose something else. A little product analysis can help you solve this problem and up your sales without changing your range.

Generally, underperforming products are:

  • invisible
  • unappealing

The problem is in presentation – how you promote them. Here are a few ideas how to sell more of the items that don’t sell well. And none of them includes discounting, devaluing your brand or faking urgency!

How to make a product more visible

Create more content about low-performing products

If you focus your marketing on your flagship products, your other products definitely suffer low traffic and conversions.

In your ecommerce analytics you’ll see they don’t get as many product page views as the rest.

To turn it around, make them more visible literally – in visuals, in emails, in PR features:

  • Talk more about those products on social media.
  • Explain them better on your blog.
  • Give them out as samples to influencers.
  • Run a special campaign for user-generated videos for the underdog products specifically.

The more exposure a product gets, the more conversions it makes. Sometimes we create the bestsellers through marketing and not through real merit.

Better yet, make sure all of your products are well presented and explained with dedicated space so they get an equal chance to get picked by the right customer. Third Love has a whole section on fitting guides, product types, troubleshooting, etc. so no product is left behind.

Third Love Content Example


Turn underdogs into a loved item for loyal customers

Some items are not bestsellers but have a high repurchase rate, meaning people love them. The success of a product is not just about volume sold, but about its effect on customer retention.

Product Report 1 Metrilo

Metrilo shows unique orders vs quantity purchased so you can see which products get ordered repeatedly and which ones only trick people once (pictured right above). This simple insight will probably change your opinion about some of your products and make you put more efforts into promoting these quiet loyalty drivers a.k.a superstar products.

More about the Superstar product technique

How to make a product more appealing

Bundle more value together

Another reason for some products to sell less is that people simply choose other options in your store over them. This can be due to a better perceived value for money, simpler usage method or just because one is essential and the other is an extra.

Metrilo shows what people viewed and what they purchased in the end. In other words, which products cast shade on the underperformers.

Product Corelation Report Metrilo

Bundle the two up – the good and the bad performer together. Product bundles always seem like a good deal and people are more likely to buy a related product as an add-on if the price seems right. The good one will be driving the buying but you’ll get rid of excess stock as well. This option is much better than flash sales that undermine the value of your brand. Clearance sales also send bad signals.

The bundles your customers want

What products are similar in your buyer’s mind? Which ones they choose between?

A frequently bought together product report gives you insights on the best combinations according to your customers. These are the best ideas for complementary products and bundles. Sometimes it’s not what we as marketers expect but shopping behavior does not lie and we’d better listen. Plus, bundles are the easiest way to larger order size!

Related Products Report Metrilo

Fix issues

Retention analysis by product is a more sophisticated but very practical way to improve your products (and brand image as well).

It is possible some of your products disappoint people and they don’t come back. Is it one product causing the trouble, can you spot a trend?

If yes, email those unhappy customers, offer a refund/ exchange and ask what happened. You’ll learn more from them than from any positive feedback.

More on negative feedback and how to use it to your advantage

This way, you can fix the troublesome product, make things right with customers (maybe even win them back) and set up for more sales ahead with a better product that doesn’t drive customers away.


Product correlations and product performance analysis will open up new opportunities to sell more, increase average order value, repeat purchase rate, customer loyalty and reduce slow-moving item stock.


About the author

With experience in FMCG and marketing, Dimira writes to help the brands of tomorrow succeed and believes passion is a key ingredient in any business.

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