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Are These 5 Mistakes Killing Your Sales?

RetroSupply March 31, 2021 · 7 min read

Why isn’t anyone buying my product!? You’ve just sacrificed your mornings, evenings, weekends and family time to create an incredible product. You know it’s great, but you’ve barely made any sales. As you obsessively refresh your Creative Market sales page, you start to get deflated and down. How can I sell more products and make more money?
If it feels like a mystery why your product isn’t selling, but I have good news: 80% of the problems with your sales are the result of just 5 things. If you take a close look at the 5 mistakes I’m about to share with you, I’m confident that you can double your product sales.
There’s just one thing I need you to promise to do: take action. Next time a product is selling poorly, check for each of these five mistakes. Most importantly, make changes to your product and monitor the results.
(Important note: This list assumes that you’ve created a high quality and useful product. If you’re not sure if that’s the case, you might want to consider creating a post in the Discussions area asking for feedback.)
Here’s the 5 mistakes that can kill your sales (and what you can do to fix them):

Mistake #1: Your Cover Image Needs Help

Your cover image is one of the most powerful influencers for your sales. Imagine you’re a customer, browsing through hundreds of products, scrolling quickly looking for something that catches your eye. Your product cover has to be so powerful that it stands out and begs to be clicked.
Remember, your product cover has one job and one job only: to get the potential customer to click on it. That’s it! Once they click, they’re on your product page and you can tell them all the details about how awesome your product is.
Start paying attention to packaging. Start taking photos on your smartphone of packaging that you see in stores that begs to be picked up. Ask yourself, what about the package made me want to grab it? Was it the copy? The color?
This cover image by Nicky Laatz does its job. It’s eye catching, explains what the product is, and is hard not to click on!

Mistake #2: You’ve Priced Your Product Wrong

Often, the pricing on a product is an afterthought. We look at what others are pricing their products for, slap on a price, and never think about it again. Or worse yet, you’re afraid your product isn’t as good as everyone else’s, so you price it crazy low.
You need to put some consideration and research into how you price your product. It can make the difference between piles of cash and no one ever buying your product.
According to a study done by Stanford GSB and the California Institute of Technology, your pricing can effect how much customers use and enjoy your product.
“Price is changing people’s experiences with a product and, therefore, the outcomes from consuming this product.” says Stanford faculty researcher Baba Shiv.
Here are some things to consider when you’re pricing your product:

  • What are similar products selling for? You don’t need to sell your product for the same price, but you should know what customers other options are. Tip: customers don’t automatically buy the cheapest product. Think about your own buying habits, aren’t you willing to spend a little more for something you really want?
  • Am I pricing out of fear? If you’re feeling the prelaunch jitters about your product, you might price it too low. Pricing low is generally a bad idea. Not only does it kill your profits, but it also communicates poor quality. People associate price with quality. If you price your product too low, people will assume that it is poorly made.
  • Can customers get this product anywhere else? If you have a totally unique and useful product, considering pricing higher. If there’s no other option than your product, customers will simply have to pay the price or not get the results your product produces.

Jessica Johnson produced a unique product with significant demand. As a result, she priced the product about 50% higher than similar products. This is a smart move considering she was the first to market with the idea (and it’s a comprehensive product).

Mistake #3: You Haven’t Provided Enough Information

People don’t buy stuff when they’re not sure it will work. The last thing your customer wants is to give you their hard-earned money only to discover your product is useless to them.
To get as many sales as possible, you need to be sure that you answer every question and objection your customers have. Here are some common pieces of missing information that can kill sales:

  • Resolution (can I use your textures to print a gigantic poster?)
  • Compatibility with other software (will it work with software other than Photoshop?)
  • License (can I put this on t-shirts and sell it?)
  • Examples (I need to see more examples to feel comfortable)

Mistake #4: Your Preview Images Aren’t Selling Your Product

The first (and maybe only) thing your customers look at on your product page is the example images. You need to be sure your preview images are communicating the most critical information about your product. It can be useful to think of your cover and preview images as a mini presentation, as opposed to a collection of random examples.
Here are some things you should consider showing in your preview images:

  • Before and after image
  • How the product works
  • The top three features
  • A diagram
  • Close-ups
  • A montage of everything they get (if it’s a large pack)
  • Bonuses

I absolutely love this preview shot by Ian Bernard. It communicates all the features of the product, and it looks good while doing it!

Mistake #5: You’ve Structured Your Offer Wrong

This could be an entire article in itself. How you structure your offer is critical to how customers perceive your product.
Let me give you an example. Which one of these offers would you be more likely to purchase:
Offer #1: 120 Seamless Background Textures
Offer #2: 101 Seamless Background Textures for Web Designers (Plus 19 FREE Bonus Textures)
I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that offer #2 will outperform offer #1. But did you notice, they’re exactly the same product? We’ve just structured our offer a little differently. By using some of the textures as bonuses, and speaking directly to a specific audience (web designers), we’ve structured the deal to generate more sales.
Can you see the power of this distinction? If a product isn’t doing well, consider changing the structure of the offer. You’ll be surprised how a little tweaking can turn big profits.
Artimasa created the fantastic font Hipsteria. They could have just provided the font and been fine. But instead, they added “+ Bonus”, which communicates more value in the offer.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, the most important thing you can do to increase your sales is to take action. Don’t just read this article and never implement the advice.

Shop Owners, Here’s What I Want You to Do Right Now:

Tell me, what mistakes have you made (or seen others make) that hurt sales? How, specifically, did you fix it? Add your comments below and share them with the community!

Dustin Lee is the owner of the best-selling shop RetroSupply. He’s also working on creating a comprehensive guide to help designers sell more goods online. Sign-up for updates on the guide here.

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About the Author

RetroSupply makes brushes, textures, fonts, and templates for retro-loving illustrators and designers. Our products are made by a full-time team of creatives for use in Procreate, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Affinity.

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  • Anonymous
    Great, You can help a lot. Thank you 8 years ago
  • Awesome article as usual, @Dustin Lee ! This is so helpful! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Fantastic post @Dustin Lee, the tips are spot on. 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Awesome article! Very useful. 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Excellent post Dustin and thanks for featuring me. It is also excellent timing for a product I've just released for Creative Market sellers, which is a kit of preview PSDs to help showcase their products like I've done with mine. 8 years ago
  • Thanks @Vittaya Lertthammajak @Beth Rufener @Creative Stall ! It means a lot to hear that the product was useful to you : ) Thanks @Josh Johnson for all your help and support : ) Thanks @Ian Barnard ! Wow, that's a brilliant idea for a product. Nice work! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Thanks a lot for these great tips @Dustin Lee! Will be using this article as a checklist to review my existing stuff and for my next releases! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    So stoked my InstaGlam Kit was featured!!!! PS, I'm dropping a BIG update tomorrow and a BIG happy surprise for everyone who bought it already and who buy it this week! So excited! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Wow, one of the best tips for sellers :) Thank you so much for sharing! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    PS it's funny my product was mentioned, since I clicked on this article for the tips for my shop! PS thanks @Dustin Lee for the mention! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Something you did not mention, Dustin, that absolutely attracts me, as a buyer, is an "Early Bird" offer. There are some artists that I have come to highly respect and value. I make it a point to ALWAYS check in on Tuesdays, the day you normally offer new products, as you have a pattern of giving a discount for those of us who purchase within the first 24 hours or few days. Pricing can be a make or break factor for me. Your products are most definitely worth more than the pricing you start with. I am, however, on a limited income, retired, and there are - at this moment - at least three dozen products from other artists I would love to purchase but simply cannot justify increasing that part of my budget to get them. If I was actually creating something that I was then selling, it would be different. (And I do NOT want this to come across in any way as a negative towards those products that are currently priced outside my budget.) You win my attention, and dollars, as I have come to enjoy and appreciate your work and I know it is better for me to purchase early when you have a new release. (Then again, it might not be a good thing for my pocket book as I would purchase many more items if others adopted your "early Bird" pricing approach!) ;-) As to the point you make about how one words their offer, as a buyer I do know how it can sound more attractive to be getting "Bonus" items when in reality they were going to be part of the product all along, but you and some other artists take that a step further and sometimes offer the truly "early birds" additional bonuses that do not get included later on. It might be some sort of a Pavlovian approach, but it does keep me salivating each time you post a new product! ;-) Most important of all, to me, however, is how you have always interacted with me, in an open and very personal manner, every time we have communicated. It is that part of your way of doing business that has had the biggest positive effect on why I keep coming back. The same is true for Ian and some of the other artists I most frequently follow and purchase from. Hope this feedback, from a buyer, helps. 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Great insight @Louis Hazard your comment is a blog post in itself with a helpful look from a buyers perspective. As a seller it's hard to tell whether initial sales are due to an offer or just that people really want the product or both! Like you said, having a personal relationship with the customers is key and an online shop shouldn't be any different from one you would walk into on a highstreet. Thanks for buying my products and all the other sellers, that you choose to spend your hard earned dollars on! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    I agree @Ian Barnard, customer support is CRUCIAL and can make or break the experience for a sale. As a seller, it's not hard to message back in a timely manner. Every day a customer has expressed surprise that I write back right away-- but in full disclosure, that is more to do with knowing I'll forget if I don't and having an attention span the size of a hamster. As a customer in the past, I've messaged two shops and once didn't get a reply and other time, it wasn't so fast, but at least it was friendly! Definitely makes the difference. 8 years ago
  • FilterGrade
    Insightful article, and the comments take it a step further. Love this dialogue. I have started playing around with the structuring a pricing a bit and it has been so useful. Thanks for the tips, helps me more clearly see/understand some common mistakes I've been making! 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Some great points @Dustin Lee. I've just opened my shop today so it'll be interesting to play around with a few of these ideas and see how things turn out. 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Thanks for these tips! 8 years ago
  • Maybe sometimes its better to choose the right category to submit the product to? For example, I've added one page HTML template to one section (html websites), then moved to another (themes -> HTML) and I'm still getting low number of even previews. I don't talk about sales. Any advice? Thanks 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    These are awesome tips! I will definitely keep them in mind when I'm updating my shop. 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Great! Thnx for the tips. 8 years ago
  • Anonymous
    #1, #2 and #5 is my problem. Will definitely go through this.Thanks for the post. :) 8 years ago
  • Thanks for the awesome write up @Dustin Lee! Glad to see @Jessica Johnson is getting some props for her amazing work! 8 years ago
  • thanks so much @Paddington Pink *blush! 8 years ago
  • This is great! Thanks, I have a couple of items that I can't understand why they're not selling well - I'm going to re-vamp them right now! 8 years ago
  • Hi, thanks for this great article! Some more thoughts strictly from a buyers perspective: What attracts me if I am aware of this in advance, is a well structured product (e.g. name each layer properly) and a helpful documentation. Not everyone's aware how to install a brush, how to apply a texture to a layer or get the alternative glyphs of a font to work. Luckily lots of shop owners already provide this information- may it be directly in the item's description or as an extra pdf-file which is part of the download. You can take it even further if you provide a demo video in advance that shows your product in action. Take a look e.g. at some of Ian Barnard's items - his videos are awesome and truly show you what you get and how to use it. Another good example is Nicky Laatz - her helpful pdf-file provided with the downloads, does not leave any questions open. Plus she even provides some of the images (shapes) that have been used in her mockups - so it's easy as a pie to achieve first results on a professional level and get insights of how the item can be used, order to create an own masterpiece. Of course it is not necessary to provide a video or comprehensive documentation, if your product is self explanatory. In this case some helpful screenshots, e.g. like Dustin Lee does, say it all and make me want to buy the product (although he offers some fantastic demo videos as well). One last thing to all your wonderful font designers out there: I know it's hard work and additional effort, but I would love to see more fonts having international characters, e.g. German, French, etc... I could name a few fonts which I did not buy so far because of the missing international support. To be honest, I am not aware of Creative's market user demography, i.e. if you got lots of users from Europe like me. However, international characters are a deal closer for me - take a look at Yellow Design Studio - all their fonts come with international support. Of course it would also be possible for me to add two dots just above an a or o in order to get some German characters in my designs. But I am not sure if this would already represent a violation of the font license because I changed a character - although I did not change it in the font itself but only in my design. I really like to visit creative market just to flip through the offers and see what's new. The overall quality is truly outstanding! Have a nice weekend! BR Michael 8 years ago
  • @Dustin Lee After reading this article (in particular the #1), I have just decided to renew the cover images of this set of my products... thanks for the suggestions! 8 years ago
  • Looks matters most in Sell. When designers design a website or products they give a color or shape what they like. This is blunder they are making. They forgot the world beyond them. Designers are not the target for the design or color or product. Designers should vote or survey for the color, design or product before finalizing the design. This is the right way. 7 years ago
  • This article is very helpful. I'm pretty sure I've priced my photos too low. Would appreciate it if any of you could take a look and offer suggestions? I'm currently working on making the descriptions a little more descriptive, I'm not very imaginative with writing. Thanks. 7 years ago
  • Thanks for Fantastic Information.. 7 years ago
  • Thanks, very useful post! 7 years ago
  • excellent article .. 7 years ago
  • Brilliant, thanks! 7 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Thank You for article! I may be at the position of pricing them wrongly but, I have seen other similar designs are higher at search! Maybe I am doing something wrong. 7 years ago
  • Thanks:) very useful information 👍🏻 6 years ago
  • Thank you very much ! Very useful artical :) 6 years ago
  • i did all that mistakes. I love design my unique idea of fonts, but hate create good preview especially description. 5 years ago
  • Great tips, but I’m not sure it can help my sales( my account is dead 3 years ago
  • Awesome article! 2 years ago