Saturday, October 8, 2011

Selling Online

by Carolina Gonzalez
Carolina González - My Little Magick Shop
Victorian Tribal Esoterica

The Problem

Sara asked me a few days ago to write an article about making the best of your Dawanda shop, since she had read several threads in the forum where sellers showed their concern about the low amount of sales they had. I have to admit that I had mixed feelings about the topic.

On one hand, I absolutely love Dawanda. I love the place, I've had the pleasure to confirm the efficiency and maximum care for sellers that the administrators have, I love the politeness on the forums. Oh, and listing is free! I do not even consider moving my shop to that "other" online venues with more traffic.

On the other hand, I really dislike that "ohmygod I'm not selling" attitudes from sellers. If venues like Etsy have such a success, visitors and sales, it's 80% a merit of sellers only. Etsy sellers are fans of Etsy; they buy there, organize themselves in Street Teams, write blogs, make blogrings, Flickr groups... and a million things I could add here. They promote the venue everywhere, all the time.

I don't see that on Dawanda. If projects like Sara's promo bags are doing so well, why not do it and send her your items? If what we need is traffic, then it's our responsibility to bring it in, in all the ways we can. We cannot just list things and wait for sales to come – selling online is not that easy, on Dawanda or on any other digital market.

To be honest, the only seller that makes a success is the one that works hard and patiently. You can't expect a flood of customers if you have only five items, badly photographed with your camera phone. You can't make what everyone else is doing. You have to become a real professional in order to have a successful life as an online seller. From banners to categories, from pic's layouts to business cards, everything is equally important. Look for an art/craft seller that is making a life out of Internet, and 9 out of 10 sacrifice long hours, sleep and personal life as much as someone who has a "physical" shop. If you really think there is success and future without complete commitment to your business, maybe you should be doing something else.

Do everything that is at your hands to promote your shop, don't use shortcuts and learn from those that you admire. And waste your time learning and becoming a better artist instead on complaining on the forums.

Tips To Become A Better Online Seller

LOVE what you do: the key of it all. If customers can't feel your passion about what you make, you will never sell it, no matter how well done your product is. You have to be in love with what you create to make others love it too. I think that the secret to find our true creative energies is to give it time and being humble. Look up for those that you admire, but don't copy! As we are all unique, there IS a unique way for you to express yourself.

A cohesive look: your banners, advertisements, business cards and pic layouts should all go in a theme, so customers can identify you easily and quickly. Iconographic branding is one of the most important parts of your business, believe it or not! Your image should reflect not only your personal tastes, but also the market niche you want to get to.

Good photographs: you won't make a sale without them. Learn to use macro settings and be playful and original. Attractive colours and textures can say more than any description, and they are the calling for impulsive buyers.

Good descriptions: the more information the better. Customers love to read a mix of personal stories, inspirations and all commercial data about the product (size, weight, uses, etc.). Take your time! My tip: writing descriptions in a document instead than in the listing window – I always write longer and better descriptions when I can see the whole text, and I can use the spell check. The key for non-impulsive buyers.

Professional customer care: there are quite a few online sellers I will never buy again from because they didn't even bothered to send me a thank you note, wrap the parcel secure and pretty, and things like that. A good presentation and safe shipping are a must to make your business known. Your customers are your only investment – treat them as they deserve! Always send them a thank you message after their purchase, and another one when their item is shipped.

Networking: be everywhere! Organize groups, participate in sample gatherings, promote other artists in your blog, write in forums, write in Squidoo, Stumble your friend's pages... again, the more the better. You won't attract traffic if people can't find you.

Organize your time: check the traffic at your page and learn to select the places where good traffic comes from, and leave others aside, so you get targeted traffic. Targeted traffic=sales. Give promoting a time every day, 30 minutes for example, and keep inside that time!

Don't put all your eggs in one basket: diversify the applications of your knowledge by teaching, giving seminars, selling locally, selling at home parties, etc. Online selling has better and worse times and you don't want to rely all your income on it. Also, the more things you do, the most interesting your blog will be. Customers want to know about the artist as much as they can, and who wants to know about the life of someone who's always at the computer?

Become an expert: first, learn as much as you can about your craft; then, help others learning for free. Writing articles, making tutorials and helping in forums is the best way to earn a good reputation, and will always take you to sales.

Having an online business is not instant success; it needs commitment, sacrifice, and above all, it needs true Love, because if you don't love what you do, you will grow tired of it quickly – and patience and continuance will be very much needed to make your business succeed. This process can take a long time and you shouldn't be afraid to make sudden turns and change your business direction until you really find something you can't get tired of exploring. There are no failures, but new beginnings!

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