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Sales Plateau

What would make your online sales plateau?  The obvious answer is that you’re not adding new products to sell, and you’re already capturing all of the available sales.  There’s actually a bit more to it than that.

When I carry a new product, sales usually peak at some point and then taper off after a while.  It may remain profitable to continue selling the product for years, but not many of my products hit a peak in sales and then stay at that level.  Normally sales hit a peak and slowly decline.

If your existing assortment of products is declining in sales volume, you have to add to your product line up just to maintain steady sales.  Therefore, it’s easy for your sales to plateau even while you’re adding new products to sell – it just means that your increase in sales from new products is balanced with the decrease in sales from your older products.

The solution to a sales plateau is to increase the number of products you carry at a faster pace than you currently do.  For a small business owner, adding to your product line up is usually limited by either the money to increase inventory, or the time required to find good new products. 

If you’re limited by money you can drop slower selling old products to pay for inventory of better selling new products.  This of course means you need to find even more new products to sell, because you’re giving up all of the sales of an older product line.

If you’re limited by time, you’ll need to find a way to become more efficient in some other aspect of your business so you spend less time on it, and free up time to find new products to sell.  I normally look for ways to automate some process, for example writing a program to automate routine tasks. 

Alternatively, any mechanical aspect of your business can be performed by someone else, but that of course costs money.  As an example, I sell on Amazon, and I use their Fulfillment By Amazon service.  Some products need to have a label applied to them before you can ship them to the Amazon warehouse.  Putting a label on products is very time consuming, and I was planning on hiring someone to do that for me to free up some time.  Fortunately, Amazon just happened to start offering a labeling service as I was planning this, and instead of hiring someone I pay Amazon to label the products for me.  It’s more expensive to have Amazon do it than to hire someone, but it allows me to avoid hiring another person, and having employees consumes some amount of time itself.


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