The long tail is a form of selling that describes how things can be sold unpopular. Such form of selling is called the long tail because one can be able to see a long tail representing different items or products to be sold whenever it is plotted on the graph (Anderson, 2006). The other side of the graph (y-axis) presents the head that comprises of the extent of popularity or the number of items sold.
The popular items represented by the head on the sideways sell in large quantities because the majority of consumers want such items. However, at the bottom, the long tail represents unpopular items that only sell one or three in a month or so. The long tail selling allows distributors or retailers to make the profit by selling a few or merely one of the less popular products or items that commonly sell once in a month by selling it at a higher prize.
Selling the long tail promotes competition because it ensures that most popular items or products attract more customers thereby cutting the running costs. The higher competition for the popular products will help the distributor or the retailer save on prices that would otherwise be incurred excessively by the unpopular product and/or item. Moreover, long tail selling justifies the importance of investing or stocking items or products that are either hard to find or are in low demand because they are costing high.
Items that can be sold through long tail selling should be rare, hard to find, durable, and renewable. The essence of long tail selling is based on the understanding that sellers only require one person to buy the item and not necessarily a group or a large number of customers.
The Long Tail selling is currently being employed artists and the entertainment industry. That is, the iTunes series has realized an increase in its sales, yet the CD sales that form the main form in which most music is availed is decreasing alarmingly. Consequently, artists through the entertainment industry have resorted to long tail selling; the artists give the music for free in order to allow their listeners to access such music via iTunes' website. The reason behind such distribution is the zero costs created by music industry thereby allowing the artists in the entertainment industry to make their prizes zero.
Products that scare such as live performance show cannot be zeroed in the prize. This is because such product is considered to be a scarcity economics. Scarcity economics products cost more and might only come once in a lifetime (Anderson). For instance, a ticket for live performance might cost up to $ 61 while CD for the same artist might only cost $ 5. Moreover, live performance has increased by 16% thereby placing the cost of a live performance at $ 3.6 billion in North America.
The ability for long tail selling depends on the cost of inventory storage and the cost of distribution. That is, unpopular products should be sold when the inventory and distribution costs are inconsequential. High costs of inventory and distribution facilitate selling of popular products. Nonetheless, choice of long tail selling among consumers is determined by supply and demand.