You know what’s really nice first thing in the morning? A nice cup of tea while checking email, and seeing money rolling in! Now that makes a day start off on the right foot. Craft shows are great but if you aren’t standing there working, then you aren’t making money. This is where your online store comes in. Your store, be it your own website, or a marketplace like Etsy.com, works for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Now is the time to spiffy up your online site before the crazy shopping begins. People are looking, and bookmarking, but many won’t purchase until the holidays get closer. It’s time to go over your site and make it as inviting and easy to use as possible.
Here are 11 steps to help you build up your online business for the holidays.
- Make it easy for a customer to find you. Your website address, email address and phone number should be listed EVERYWHERE. Put these on your business card, all over your website, on your facebook profile and in your email signature. If they can’t find you they can’t give you money
- Check the useability of your shop. A really good exercise is to ask someone who’s not very computer literate to try and buy something from your shop. Ask them to document problems they have. If someone can’t figure out how to use your Buy Now buttons then they can’t buy your work.
- Let the customer know about shipping deadlines. This is critical for the holiday season! Have the cut off date for shipping on the front page, especially as that date gets closer. The post office gets slower as they get busier so err on the side of caution. Make sure you list deadlines for both local and international.
- Post your shipping information somewhere accessible. Make sure you list your shipping options and give them a choice. Last minute shoppers are usually willing to pay extra for express shipping as long as they know how much it will cost.
- Have a picture of your shipping packaging. Do you gift wrap? (an excellent option to offer at Christmas). Let them know. If you don’t have a picture of your packaging, describe it well.
- Take a good look at your shop policies. If they aren’t clear now is the time to rewrite them. Can they be easily found?
- What is your refund policy? At this time of year people are buying gifts and one thing on their mind is “what if my sister doesn’t like it? Or if it doesn’t fit?” So what are you going to do if the recipient doesn’t like it? How will you exchange it? In what time frame? Decide now and let your customers know. Post this information somewhere prominent
- Make a list of the new work you have for the season and make a schedule for putting this online. Each piece needs photos and a description. Put this on a calendar and get the work online. Listing a piece on December 10 is too late, people are actively looking now even though they may not click that Buy Now button until late November.
- Speaking of photos, how do yours look? Photos can always be improved, if you have some time, try shooting different angles or putting them on a different background. If you are making wearables it’s always a good idea to have one photo of the item on a model. Round up a good-looking friend and see if they’ll model for you.
- While you’re looking at improving your photos, read through your product descriptions. Are they all that they could be? A good description provides all the necessary materials, dimension and size information. A good description includes an interesting story or quirky detail. It’s always good to suggest who this item would make a great gift for.
- Communicate your payment methods. They like it, is it clear to them how they can give you money?
Your online shop is always a work in progress, one thing that keeps people coming back is having new work or information there every time they stop by and visit. Rather than updating everything all at once, my goal is to update my online shop in at least a small way every single week between now and Christmas. It’s easier on my workload and it keeps my shop nice and fresh.