Tuesday, September 14, 2010

increasing sales ((& keeping them)) series: part 1


i've had many a friends & strangers, alike, asking me how i got started with my shop. they are disgruntled  & discouraged. they want sales, but they aren't coming. now, everyone goes through these sale slumps, but i wanted to do a little series on a some ways you can increase your sales...and how to keep them.

do i know it all? ha. no. but i am willing to share what worked for me!

ready? let's do this.

 be creative & unique. 
i honestly believe that if you don't have at least ONE item that is unique to YOUR shop, then you are doing yourself a disservice. i realize that people may take your ideas, but keep working hard to keep something only YOU offer in your shop. 

work hard to find your niche, and when you do, pursue it and put all your crafty energy towards it. create your brand and stick with it. this doesn't mean your products can't change or your shop can't take a different direction, but be true to yourself & true to your brand.

social media is your bff. 
twitter, facebook, blogging ((!!!)) 

  • twitter is just fun & i think it really helps you network with other crafters! if i have a question about if something is a good idea, where to get a certain product or a shop recommendation, my twitter community quickly comes to the rescue with great ideas & encouragement. 
  • facebook: what a great, quick way to share with your customers a sale, promotion, or new product. plus, the etsy app for facebook allows your shop to be on your facebook page! easy peasy & convenient.
  • blogging gives your customers a look into your personal life & into the behind the scenes of your work.  you can make it as much business or as much personal as you want, i generally do about half & half. i think i like blogging because it reminds my customers that i'm human. 
i talked ilene into joining twitter a few months ago and these are her opinions about social media:

"twitter definitely has been a huge help in promoting the shop, which i think has affected my sales increase. twitter also helps in making your "blog-self" known. i've met some cool people - including other etsians or bloggers - who have helped me in the whole learning process of my blog and my shop."


boom. moving on...

customer service
i think this should go without saying, but there's obviously some slack that needs to be tightened. if you want sales & return customers, be nice...and i mean really nice. i think customer service ((and affordability)) is what keeps my customers coming back. i rarely have someone buy just one thing from me and not return. bottom line, they are buying something from you. they are keeping you in business. they are supporting your handmade shop. why wouldn't you be thankful & nice?


also, follow up. this could be a brief etsy convo, tweet, or an email. make sure they are satisfied with their product and maybe see if you can do anything else for them. 


wear your own products!! 
you are your own walking, talking advertisement.  ((allora handmade talks about this here))  most of the time, chase does the hard work for me ((the talking, not wearing products!)), but when people stop you & compliment you ((which will happen, because your products are handmade & GREAT!)) you can say "thanks! i made it! here's my card." most of the time i get sheepish smile and say "thanks" and chase says "she made it, you should buy one."  i love his bluntness. :)

giveaways
giveaways are a GREAT way to get people really excited about your products. yes, it is sometimes difficult to GIVE away something you worked hard on. the up side is this: there have been multiple times that i have entered a giveaway, didn't win, and purchased that product. also, the exposure is great! i  like to do giveaways when my sales are low and i want a boost! 
((speaking of giveaways...stay tuned for a fun giveaway announcement. here's a hint: two day extravaganza!))



be positive
this entails a few things. don't get discouraged & just keep doing what you love, is one. 
the other? no one likes a negative nancy. don't bash other sellers or products on twitter or on your blog. you never know if a future customer is reading, thinks you are rude, unfollows you & won't want to buy something from you. i've been that customer before. 

and for the record, being positive doesn't mean you can't be real & honest

legit pricing
pricing is SO hard, but so rewarding when you get it right. i know the stress. how high is too high, how low is too low? i want to make lots of sales, but need to make a profit.

bottom line is, people want a good price, but they don't want to pay pennies.

 customers want to buy something and spend a decent amount on it, so that they feel special. if people didn't want to pay good money for cute items, anthropologie wouldn't be in business. also, i don't think prices like 4.99 are good for business ((they weren't in my shop, at least)) unless it's a sale item. round your prices and make sure they really reflect your hard work, creativity, and cost to make. don't jip yourself. 

a friend of mine has even gone so far as to say that when she doubled her prices, her sales increased dramatically. crazy thought, no?

tomorrow: part 2! see you then.


love. 

17 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the tips! I'm going to try to put some more time into my shop this season, so I'm sure all of this will really come in handy.

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  2. fantastic post! i couldn't agree more!

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  3. This is all really great advice! Well said, m'dear :]

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  4. Great insights. Sometimes it seems that I try to do all of those things, and the sales don't come. But this is encouraging me to keep on going! Thanks

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  5. Great, great, great advice! I'm already doing some of these things so it makes me feel like I'm moving in the right direction!

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  6. Hi Kim. :) I loved this post. My friend is starting a little design business so I'm going to forward it on to her. I dont' have a business but I do have a lot of people that go to my blog everyday and I wanted to be able to do giveaways to showcase different business - like from Etsy and stuff. I was wondering how I get started on that? Do I ask people if they'd be interested or do I buy something and then showcase it? How do YOU do it?

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  7. Glad I'm not on Etsy! Or creative at all :)

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  8. OH Kim, once again you have hit the nail on the head. Pricing is one of the hardest things for me, because I personally am a huge bargain hunter, but I think that the things I make are worth paying the extra money.

    Another thing that I will add to your comment about wearing your products & being nice - be nice in craft stores. Walmart, Hobby Lobby & Joann's employees aren't usually crafty people; they just work there. This past weekend I helped answer multiple customer's how-to questions in Hobby Lobby while waiting to get my fabric cut b/c the employee didn't know the answers. People started asking how I knew, and I got to say "oh, i run my own handmade business, i sew for a living, etc. and I handed out SIX business cards right there.

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  9. I breezed thru your post ( with plans to read a little later - you have been starred on the GReader) and all I can say is so cute you are in the dress - YOU MADE! Happy anniversary as well - wedding and blog. Busy little lady indeed!

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  10. THANK YOU so much for these great tips kim!! as you know i just started my shop and could definitely use all the help i can get in getting my business out there (excited for the giveaway extravaganza)~!! i also wear my pins all the time hehe. :)

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  11. Love it... off to read part 2! I am still new to blogging and it helps to read a very successful one. Thanks!

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  12. This is great. Now I'm off to read part 2

    Thank you for sharing
    with us.

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  13. I love the style of your blog and the way you use different font styles and photos to enhance your ideas. Also, great advice!

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  14. Great post! Thanks for taking the time to share your tips!!

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  15. These are good, helpful tips! Sending it along to some friends. ;)

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