1. Photos are important!
Really, really important! The photos of my items is what will make or break a sale. Crappy photos, busy backgrounds, backgrounds with shadows will not show off my photos to their best. Because my items can not be seen in real life, the photos have a huge part to play in an online shop. If I went into a shop and was interested in buying a hat I would pick it up, I'd feel the material, I would try it on and stand in front of a mirror, I'd look at the different colours available. Buying that hat would be a very sensual as well as visual experience. Online selling is all about setting a great visual picture.
I have a blog (well of course!) and instagram, facebook and post on pinterest. It took me a while to realise that each post doesn't have to be about my shop and what I am offering. Now I view social media as more about keeping my name out their, building trust and credibility and offering information. Social media takes time but it is part of marketing and free at that. Now I spend time each day on social media.
3. Get the pricing right.
This one took me a little time to work out. In the beginning I under priced my toys but I was so thrilled when I made a sale. I didn't have any set formula for working out my price and I didn't take into account my time. Then I came to the conclusion that I was spending a hell of a lot of time sewing for little reward (but I was loving it). I almost felt guilty for raising my prices but now I know that I am offering really well made toys, that are unique and I am paid for that service. It is an equal exchange and it is right to price for my time, for profit as well as materials used. See here and here for more about my pricing formula.
4. The more the better.
At the beginning I had a page of items and sales were slow. Along the way I added more and more options and variations. I now make my crowns and hats in many different colours and styles. I offer custom and personalised items. I also have many different items available and try to keep about 100 items in my MadeIt and Etsy stores. The more items means I have a greater chance of coming up in searches. It also means that when a prospective customer comes into my store there is more to see and they might hang around looking (and hopefully buying too).
5. Keep working on your online business.
I have learnt that my store is never perfect, never at its best. There are always improvements to do. Like building a house I plod along one brick at a time. One day I may work on my descriptions, redo some photos or rearrange my shop order. The next day I might learn more about SEO's or marketing. I have learnt that selling online involves constant work. But boy, I am enjoying it!
Please share in the comments what you have learnt from selling online. I can't wait to hear!
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