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Use novel ways of selling to boost your marketing

It can be difficult to find ways to make your business stand out from the crowd. Whatever products or services you sell are almost always going to be available from a competitor, so you need to offer something extra in order to get noticed.

Some firms experiment with very different ways of selling their products, in a bid to be different. Taking an unusual approach also has the benefit of being interesting to the media, so it can win free publicity.

Here are some less usual methods of selling, which might inspire you to consider doing something a little out of the ordinary.

Selling by weight. You’re used to buying fruit and veg by the kilo, but how about clothes or books? A fashion store in Italy has recently experimented with selling garments by weight, and a Spanish seller of second-hand books is trying the same approach.

If you know your products and market well, you could probably create a pricing model that brings in the same revenue as traditional selling, but this unusual approach could well boost custom.

Customer chooses the price. You might be surprised at what you learn when you allow customers to pay what they think your product is worth. You wouldn’t want to do this with all your products, but it could work for selected lines, or old stock that you want to shift.

Heads or tails. When the customer comes to pay for an item, you flip a coin. If it’s heads, they pay; if tails, they don’t. Some restaurants do this as an alternative to buy one main course, get another free. The law of averages ensures that the outcome is the same, but spinning a coin adds a bit of fun when it comes to paying the bill.

Bartering. Negotiation is common, but not universal, particularly in retail settings. You could actively encourage this, putting up suggested prices and allowing customers to haggle. Again, you’ll need to be confident in your pricing strategy, but it could be a publicity winner, even if you only do it for a short time or on selected products.

Exploit innovation. Entrepreneurs are developing a stream of products that take advantage of today’s technology. Smoke alarms that send text messages, wallpaper that changes colour or a bike that gives performance feedback to its rider. These are just some of the newer ideas in the marketplace.

Being at the cutting edge of your industry could help get you noticed and will help ensure that you really do have products that are not available from most of your competitors.

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