Are you considering selling your products online but are put off from creating your own website due to time and financial constraints?
Fortunately, there is another way. There are many sites that you can sell your crafts on directly. These sites are already established and have the ‘traffic’ or interested buyers searching for items just like yours. This is a very cost-effective way to sell your products and these sites increase the chance of your products being sold. This also leaves you freer to concentrate on what you do best, creating your products and not having to be concerned with the marketing side.
Three Types of Online Sales
Channels Online directories; The Craft Council Directory, Design Nation and Design Maker GalleryOnline sites; that allow you to directly create an online shop, such as Etsy and Folksy.
Online shops; that will sell your products directly, such as Not on the High Street.
The charges differ, as does the amount of input required from you and they do charge varying rates of commission.
How to start selling your crafts online
• Research the different sites available and work out which ones suit your products the best.
• Look at the cost implications of using the sites.
• Do they sell the right kind of products?
• What is the returns policy?
• How do you get paid?
The best place to do your research is online and you may decide that more than one selling platform suits you and your products.
Presenting your work
As you will be selling based on a visual concept, make sure you have decent pictures of your products. It’s important to make a brilliant and enticing first impression, as you may only have a few seconds to actually impress. Research how other sellers present their work. Are images taken with a white or dark background? Are models used? The ideal situation would be to work with a professional photographer but you can still take suitable pictures yourself.
Check the amount of images you are allowed to use and ensure you use as many as you can. Each image should show a different view of your product.
It is important that you choose your keyword or ‘tags’ carefully. They will form part of your online marketing campaign. These are the words you attach to your image and that people will search for. You need to be as descriptive as possible, giving as much information about your product as possible. You may need to use colour, material, size or type of product that you are selling. Be as specific as possible.
Quite often, when people are shopping online for craft products, it is because they want to gift it to someone else. If your products fall in to any of the seasonal categories,such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, make sure you take advantage of this surge in ‘eager to purchase’ traffic.Prepare your listings and include the right tags to make sure your products get consideration.
Building online trust is imperative to a successful online selling career. So how do you do this when a potential buyer has never heard of you? The fact that your products are being presented on a site they are familiar with will start to build this trust. They will be confident purchasing through a reputable platform. As you start to sell more products your online feedback will increase and your professional trust rating will automatically improve.
Make sure you have a full shipping and returns policy as well as a completed profile. If people see a landline phone number, they are also more likely to trust you as a seller.
Think of common questions people may ask and create a FAQs document. This document increases the chances of people trusting you enough to buy from you. If people email you questions, make sure you respond. This is your chance to build up your relationship further. Remain professional in all communications but also keep it friendly.
When you have received an order, communicate with the buyer to inform that it is being processed.Thank them for purchasing from you and try to get their permission to communicate future special offers or promotions via email. If you do this, make sure it’s made clear how they can unsubscribe at any time. We all hate SPAM mail, so don’t do it!
Make sure that you package your products well and securely; you want to avoid any potential claims for a damaged delivery. If you offer a gift wrapping service, make sure it looks professional, people are much more likely to buy from you again in the future.
If you do encounter a transaction which requires a product to be returned, make sure you have a clear policy in place. See if you can work out the situation with the customer before taking any further action. Selling online is a great way to get your products out to a much wider audience and if you remain professional and deliver what you say you will, your online reputation will increase.
by Suzanne Smith