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It’s late. You’ve fallen asleep on the couch with the television on. You waken with a stiff neck at 2:00 a.m. to the sounds of a vigorous pitch, exclaiming about the benefits of a unique gadget like the PedEgg. The infomercial runs for the next 20 minutes, and you start to think, “I really do need an ergonomic way to shave dead skin off my feet!” But you hesitate, worried about giving your credit card information to the number on the screen.

So what is an innovative product producer to do to get you from need recognition to purchase? Make it easier to buy by putting those products in retail stores.

At Walgreens, Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, end caps and highly visible displays announce “As Seen on TV” and showcase the already advertised products, which usually sell for low prices. All the retailer needs to do is show that it carries the Windshield Wonder (a cloth-covered, ergonomic tool to clean the interior of a car’s windshield), and customers, who have already been convinced by the infomercial, likely consider it a necessary, low-cost splurge.

Through these tactics, 30 million PedEggs, at $10 each, have sold since December 2007. The Smooth Away hair remover, targeted at adolescent girls whose parents do not want them to use razors, has sold 10 million units since 2008.

Most infomercials follow a buying pattern in which they wait until the last minute to buy their television time to get a better price on leftover airtime. When airtime prices drop, as they have during the current recession, infomercials offering niche products can purchase better time slots than they could have otherwise. Therefore, you do not need to be watching in the early morning hours to have seen ads for the Snuggie, a popular, widely selling product that often appears in primetime advertisements and infomercials.

Katherine Rosman, “As Seen on TV … and in Aisle 5,” The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2010.

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