Identifying New Uses for the Same Old Products

new uses for old products

If you’re like many businesses, the shut-down may have left you with a surplus of unused inventory. You need to find ways to entice old customers to buy more, while attracting new customers to your doors.

You’ve probably noticed ads promoting new product uses. Sellers of dryer sheets claim that using multiple dryer sheets per load helps to avoid ironing. Product modifications include cold and flu products that now come in coffee maker pods, and coffee maker manufacturer now offer other non-coffee products in pods, such as lemonade and cider. They also offer all types of attractive pod storage, including one touted as art in a product review.

Have you considered new ways that customers can use your current products or services? Sometimes, creative marketing is all you need to sell more of your products. Other times, designing minor upgrades or adding compatible new products to your line are necessary. The point is that you can often make your products appealing to a wider audience.

Take a Creative Look at Your Current Products or Services

You already know the value of your products or services. But, if you think outside of the box, you can increase their value to a broader customer base. Here are some ways to get creative.

First think about potentially-popular off-label uses

Your employees who use your products may already have found some practices that are not necessarily normal. How many men love the organic shampoo that you market to women? How many people also use that shampoo as facial wash? (OK, I admit that I love using my invigorating peppermint shampoo on my face.)

You may often discover that a few tweaks to your marketing message will attract new buyers. But, keep in mind that regular, long-term customers who now use up your products more quickly will also boost your sales.

Customer feedback can be a source of innovative ideas

Look at the bright side of customer complaints: they can provide a beacon for new ideas. What if customers call because your custom line of blue jeans tends to stretch out too much at every wearing? Of course, you’ll want to choose a different fabric for future runs. But, rather than tossing your current inventory, maybe you can give them a different label, like Kumfy-Fitz Jeans, and advertise that “These jeans are always comfy. They grow with you during the day.” Of course, if you see buyers flocking to this new brand, you may actually decide to continue offering them before your current stock runs out.

Figure out if minor modifications will make a product attractive to a wider audience

If inexpensive changes will increase your customer base, then they may be worth implementing. Let’s say that you have developed a line of hand tools that are popular with the younger home-repair crowd. You can attract boomers, too, particularly if you add rubberized hand grips. In fact, even young do-it-yourselfers will probably prefer the extra comfort.

Of course, other times, new labeling may be the only change you need. Back to the shampoo example, exchanging a flowery label for one that is more neutral may fit well with your new marketing campaign and invite more men to avoid embarrassment when they drop a bottle into their shopping carts.

Service businesses are ripe for expansion

If you sell services, it may cost little to expand on them. Appliance repair companies can add pickup and delivery services that cause busy moms to take care of repairs faster. Dog groomers might offer in-home lite tidy-up sessions to keep dogs looking fresh between full grooming visits. As an added benefit, these session will probably make the full sessions easier for you.

Seasonal product businesses can sometimes find ways to add services for customers during the off season. For example, bicycle shops can improve business when customers lose interest in buying their products by offering spin classes during the winter months or throughout the year. Of course, if those classes create massive interest, you might consider selling exercise bikes and related products, as well.

A Diverse Marketing Campaign Sells to a Wider Audience

If your current marketing message already attracts customers reliably, then you do not need to change it. To grow your customer base, however, you also need a new message, possibly using different media to attract specific new buyers.

Sometimes, you can use the same media. A number of years ago, Road Lodge ran a series of ads in Rolling Stone Magazine that touted its low one-star ranking with the slogan, “We use our one star for what counts.” Some of the off-color images targeted younger readers, but one showed an elderly couple kissing in their motel room. Rolling Stone Magazine has been around since 1967. Since many age groups might continue to read this magazine, that one image might have attracted older travelers by complimenting them about their continuing youthful activities.

Once you figure out how to target your messaging, you may also need to add a variety of media outlets to better reach a new customer base. You might easily capture younger audiences through social media. Still seniors are more likely to see your ads in AARP-related media — or any media that captures the interest of older audiences. Of course, you should always consider using foreign language media when seeking more cultural diversity in your messaging.

Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t appear to be pandering to your new audience. No one will buy your products if they receive an obviously-insincere message.

Sometimes, A Little Can Go a Long Way

You may not sell dryer sheets, and your products may not be usable in coffee maker pods. But the your current products and services may be of greater value than you previously considered. In some cases, you will need to make modifications to attract a wider audience. Other times, however, you only need to change your messaging.

You often do not need to do much to increase your customer base. You just have to look at your offerings with open eyes, and get creative.

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