Marketing Low-cost Products: The Dos and Don’ts

Marketing low-cost products can offer a gold mine to your business either as your core business or as an add-on to a more expensive product, like the watch band for a Galaxy Smartwatch shown below. Sometimes, it’s part of a business plan to market these small products, while other times, it’s a means to increase the average order value of a purchase. Did you know you need a different strategy when marketing low-cost products and that it matters whether they are an add-on or the reason for making a purchase? Well, it does.

marketing low-cost products
Photo by Rachit Tank on Unsplash

But how do you go about the task of marketing low-cost products? What should and shouldn’t you be doing when marketing these types of products? Today, we’d like to share some of the dos and don’ts of marketing low-cost products to meet either purpose.

Low-cost products

What is low cost?

First, let’s get some definitions straight. For some, low cost might mean a cheaply made piece of c*ap. For others, low cost might mean the product is inexpensive. To my way of thinking, low-cost refers to products that are very affordable to the average consumer, but still offer value for the price. That raises several other questions, such as what we mean by affordable, as a new car might be affordable to a billionaire. At the same time, a hamburger might seem unattainable to an unhoused person. It’s a matter of degrees.

Rather than complicating things by providing examples of low-cost products, let’s agree on a definition based on the individual’s resources. Thus, low cost is seen through the consumer’s eyes.

Why add low-cost products to your product mix?

To understand why marketing low-cost products might make sense for your brand, consider the psychology of consumer buying when it comes to making such purchases. And that’s a highly complex topic, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Low-cost products might be considered cheap by some consumers. In fact, in his book, Persuasion, Robert Cialdini recounts a story of a retail owner who left word for her manager before going on vacation to mark down the price of her turquoise jewelry by 50%. The manager misunderstood the instructions and raised the price of the jewelry by 50%. When the owner returned, she was pleased to see that all the jewelry had sold and congratulated herself on a wise strategy. When she discussed this with the manager, the manager was horrified that she’d marked the price UP by 50%. The rationale behind this story is that the jewelry was seen as cheap costume jewelry at the original price but more valuable at the higher price. Hence, low price doesn’t always sell.

In contrast, anyone who has ever bought or sold a car knows it’s easy to add a few hundred dollars to the purchase price by adding on the cost of inexpensive floor mats or the extended warranty. Compared to the monstrous price of the car, the add-on isn’t considered by most buyers as worth discussing or thinking about, which makes it very profitable to add the price to the final cost of the car.

Price line pricing is another strategy that often works. Using this strategy, a company makes products containing various options that allow a consumer to purchase the one that fits their budget while still achieving value. For instance, a designer might create a product for the runway made out of the best materials by hand while selling one made of less costly materials and mass production techniques to sell at a boutique or upscale store. The designer might then license the design to a firm in China to make it available to mass markets, including Walmart. It’s smart business to capture as much of the market as possible with the same intellectual property.

Finally, you might consider marketing low-cost products as an entry point for acquiring new customers or as a loss leader for those purchasing other products from you. For instance, you might offer an entry version of a product or even a free trial (or sample) to get prospective customers to give you a whorl. Once they try your brand at this low price point, they may decide to buy additional products from you that are priced higher. In this case, the low price reduces the risk associated with making a bad decision and increases willingness to buy a higher-priced item. You might offer a low-cost cookie to entice shoppers to order a larger cake (at a higher cost) from you.

A loss leader is pretty much what it sounds like — a product you sell for a small margin or even at a loss to entice shoppers to buy all their needs from your brand. Milk and bread, for instance, are often loss leaders for a grocery store since the owners know shoppers are likely to buy more than just these low-cost products during a shopping trip. Instead, most shoppers will buy everything on their list from the retailer rather than hop around to various grocery stores to fulfill their orders.

Marketing low-cost products

It doesn’t make sense to intentionally market low-quality products, as this can hurt your reputation and make it harder to rise above the image of a company that doesn’t sell good products. Instead, remove as much cost from the materials and manufacturing process as possible to create a quality, low-cost product. Also, consider products that work great but don’t offer a long lifespan as a means to create value on a budget.

Do target your market

First, you’ll still want to target your market, even if the products you sell are low-cost. Know your target market so you can create low-cost products that still provide value without a lot of extras that add to the cost. What really matters to them? What’s the minimum that still solves their problem?

Then, market your products with the right message. Ultimately, you need a message that resonates with them, shared where they are, and in language that tells the consumer this product was designed for them. You have to say things that make them go “aha” and want to buy more. If you stick with generic branding or product appearance, you are less likely to make sales.

Do offer excellent customer service

There’s never an excuse for offering less than the best customer service. However, you can reduce your costs while still offering good customer service. For instance, employ chatbots trained to address common questions and concerns rather than live customer support. In many cases, a well-trained chatbot can quickly and completely address everything the customer needs whenever they need support. Chatbots never take a day off, don’t have a bad day, and never act surly.improve customer service

Optimize the customer experience provided on your website to ensure you address anything a customer might want to know without requiring them to reach out for support. For instance, you might set up tabs on your product pages to quickly get visitors to the information they need without requiring them to page through reams of information searching for the answer to their questions.

Do focus on packaging

It’s also a good idea to focus on packaging and get that right. The more attractive you can make a low-cost and cheerful product, the more likely it is to sell. Don’t settle for generic brown paper wrappers. Jazz things up a bit with some color and splash.

Don’t be afraid to invest in a sticker maker or get a publisher to create branded labels for your boxes, cases, and jars. Make sure it reflects your logo and conveys the impression you want to make so you carry through your branding on your packages.

Do use a variety of channels for marketing

Often, low-cost products offer a small profit margin to your brand. Thus, marketing low-cost products means selling a larger quantity, which probably means reaching a larger number of potential buyers. That requires you to use a variety of communication channels to get your message across, including traditional advertising, social media, digital advertising, and more.

You must coordinate your message across the various media platforms to ensure your message doesn’t get muddled and, instead, reinforces messages a consumer received on a different channel.

Don’t ignore quality photos

Even if you’re selling low-cost products online, remember to take high-quality photos of them. Polishing them and making them look as good as possible won’t necessarily allow you to charge premium prices. Still, it will allow you to sell items for what they’re worth and convince customers that they’re professional despite your low prices.

successful facebook contest

Don’t spread your brand too thin

If you are going to sell low-cost products, don’t try to sell everything. Instead, focus on what your brand does best. Look for ways you can improve it over the months and years, focusing on your highest-selling lines where possible.

Don’t ignore customer feedback

Another thing you want to avoid is ignoring customer feedback. If they tell you they want improvements, it’s a good idea to make them, even if they don’t expect them to buy from you again. That’s because the changes you make will benefit other customers and let you gain more positive reviews in the future.


So, these are some dos and don’ts of marketing low-cost products. I hope you find it valuable and, if you want more on marketing, check out other pages on this website.

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