People seem to have a love-hate relationship with online sales sites. Most are easy to set up, have relatively low fees, and offer a seemingly easy way to sell product. The problem is that unless your product is priced correctly, your product fits into that website’s demographics, the site allows searches to end at your product, it’s not over saturated and your client actually SHOPS in these online sites, you will have a hard time selling.
How do you sell product online? Where is the guarantee of sales? Is it true what they say, “Build it and they will come”? Nope. It’s not that easy. In fact it can be excruciatingly difficult to sell your work online.
First reason: it takes up too much time and money.
Some sales sites ask for a flat monthly or yearly fee while others ask you to pay per product upload or re-listing. Before you join a site, find out all the fee details. What happens when a piece sells and you want to re-list it? Are you charged per piece and can you list limited edition products that you make more than one of? Is there a membership fee as well as a product fee? Do they take a percentage of sales? If you have to constantly relist items to keep yourself “on top” of their internal search engine, do you have the time and money? Do you have the time to upload images and descriptions to both your website AND online sales sites?
Second reason: the online site you choose may be over-saturated with similar products, making you invisible.
Try to find a site that is not as “famous” or limits the products or even juries them onto the website. If you’d rather stick with a larger online sales site packed with an abundance of product, make sure that you link your account to your other social media sites and send EVERYONE you meet to your product page. Make sure to use keywords specific to your product (if possible) and promote yourself and your product in and outside of the site.
Third reason: the site you chose doesn’t have enough room for descriptions, doesn’t allow enough ways for clients to pay, or not enough thumbnails for your different angles.
Before you sign up with a sales site, research the other products and get in touch with people using the site to get their opinions. If their sale amounts are available, pick people will all different sales numbers so you can get varying answers.
Fourth reason: your client doesn’t shop there.
Before you set up an account with any online site, make sure that your client shops there. How do you know? If you have a way of contacting your clients (through e-blasts or Facebook), send out a questionnaire. Ask them their online shopping preferences. If you can’t ask your clients, click around the online sales site and find products similar to yours in a similar price range and check out the amount of sales that these accounts have. Realize that accounts with higher numbers may have been in business longer or market and promote themselves quite a bit, sending more people to their sales site. Also while you’re researching, check out the amount of products similar to yours and determine if it’s even worth adding yourself to the list.
Fifth reason: your price points or styling doesn’t match the products that are primarily sold on the site.
Now this can be a pro or a con. If your price points are too high, compared to the top sellers prices in your market, than you probably won’t sell well. However, if you’re not a mainstream product with a mainstream price, you may be able to grab your own share of that market on the sales site. If the fees are low enough and you have the time to set up a shop, go for it. It doesn’t cost much more than your time and you can call it a research and development project!
Sixth reason: no one will find you.
What happens when someone searches for crocheted, baby booties that you’ve uploaded on an online sales site? The search will being them to the sales site (and more sites that have crocheted baby booties listed) but where will it ULTIMATELY take the searching client? Will it take them to your specific shop listing? Probably not. The searching client will most likely end up on a main listing page of the sales site with thumbnails of many crocheted pieces to view. Yours may not be there at all! Unless the searching client puts in your company name, you probably won’t be found at all on the sales site.
The MOST important aspect to remember in online selling is that you can build your own brand image over a period of time if you send people to your own branded website to purchase your pieces rather than use an over saturated or over priced online sales site to sell. With proper keywords, blog articles and SEO set up on your website, people who search for you, as an artist, will find you. Your website will be built to your specifications with as many images and as much room for description as needed. You will have you press links, recommendations, blog articles and links to your social networking sites and if your client wants to reach your directly, they can.
For a list of online sale sites, visit my Resource Page
For a VERY interesting article on ETSY and how it’s not what it may not be what it’s cracked up to be, click here: Is ETSY Dying?
*What are your online sales experiences? If you sell well, what are your tips? Please comment and SHARE this article by clicking the buttons below. Thanks!
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