E-Commerce DIY: ECommerce

Setting your craft business up for success.

By Sarah Sewell

Setting your craft business up for success.

Setting yourself up for Success:

Are you setting the scene for success? I believe the fact that you are here reading this blog means YES you are ready to take your craft business to the next level. Success can look different to different people. What matters is what you think success would look like to you. You may want to earn 6 or 7 figures a year selling your work, you may only want a side hustle to supplement your spouse’s income, whatever your reason for wanting to grow your business it absolutely is and should be an exciting endeavor.

 

Doing what you love and earning a living from it is an amazing feeling. My personal idea of success is simply having financial freedom and living my best life. This may be your idea too! The feeling of supporting yourself from something that you made or designed is a feeling that is hard to beat! I am here to tell you that this IS possible! I earned just under 7 figures in my handmade business before growing into my current career now. In my Flourish Craft Business Community we have a few hundred members living that dream now and still wanting to grow further. It is not only possible but probable if you believe that it can happen for you, but you must have a vision of success formed in your mind in order to adjust your sails to take you there.

 

My members in the Flourish community are more than likely not all AMAZE-BALLS at business, or sales or entrepreneurship. They ARE however great at their craft or have honed a skill that has enabled them to be a creator, maker, artist and designer. This is what usually creates doubt in the minds of creatives, they see themselves as hobbyists and NOT as business owners. They know they are great at what they make but usually feel they fall short in business. I have something to share about this… You DON’T have to be an expert in business in order to find success. What you do need is a belief in yourself and a belief in your craft. If you have a desire to make and a desire to sell what you make you are already half  there.

 

Let’s go over some tips and tricks to set yourself up for success:

 

  1. Goal Setting: Set up some clear objectives. You don’t need to know the end game or even what that would look like. Start simple and small if you like. Ask yourself questions like how much money you would like to earn in your first year? What online marketplaces would you like to see your goods sold on? What products will you create for the holiday seasons? If you are more of a seasoned seller already perhaps you can ask yourself bigger questions like am I ready to build my own website? Is wholesale right for my business? Etc etc…. having some clear objectives can help get you headed towards your path of success.

 

  1. Create a Space to Flourish: Many makers craft or create from their dining room table, or even the living room couch! I am not here to judge as many successful craftpreneurs also started this way and now have multiple warehouses they are utilizing for their business. START where you are, but spend some time thinking how you can maximize your creativity within this space. Fill your surrounding with inspiring things. Make use of the space you have to work with and get organized. Creativity thrives in spaces that feel good. Take some time to clean out, repurpose and organize the space you have to work in. You will find when this is done the creative juices will be flowing!

 

  1. Get Inspired. It’s hard to find success when you don’t have a dream or the excitement to get to that dream. Inspiration and Excitement is the heart and soul of a creative business. If you are feeling down, (which happens to us all sometimes) get out of the house, let the sun shine on your face, breathe in some fresh air, listen to feel good music, take some classes, go to a museum, spend some time on Pinterest whatever it takes….find some inspiration and stick with it! Creating a vision board is a great way to stay inspired. Pin visuals of your goals & dreams to this board and look at them daily! This will help you stay focused on your dreams and inspirations.

 

  1. Improve your social connections. You have probably heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with, I am not sure if that is true, but I do know we are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Take an audit of the people around you and make sure you are spending your time with those that are encouraging, uplifting, positive and supportive. Sometimes we can’t get away from those who suck our energy but try your best to reduce face time with people that aren’t aligned with your ideas of growth and success. If the people we surround ourselves with influence our behaviors, then it makes the most sense if we want to have success to surround ourselves with those who are successful and those who believe that we too can succeed. This is a core value in my Flourish community, we are a network of artisans that empower and uplift one another. We believe that celebrating and sharing our wins enables others to know and believe that they can do it too!

 

  1. Be Flexible. It is important to be aware that life doesn’t always move us in a linear motion. Sometimes it’s a step forward and three steps back…. then 20 giant hops ahead only to stumble and lose 10. It is LIFE. The more flexible and fluid you can be the less you will be knocked down for any length of time. You must remember as a business there are seasons, there are slumps, there are highs and there are lows. If you have a growth mindset you will be prepared for this and will have a plan of action to work on something else when the slowdowns happen. Those who find it hard to succeed are usually those commiserating with others about why everything bad is happening to them. They play the victim and when they do this, they are giving away their control and power in owning their business. Successful business owners are in it for the long game. They know there is a natural ebb and flow to things, and they adjust as needed to move forward.

Starting a craft business is thrilling, the thought of supporting yourself on what you make IS incredibly freeing. I am here to say YOU CAN DO IT but you must ensure you are setting yourself up for success. Take action to move yourself in a forward motion direction, be flexible through the peaks and valleys and keep a growth mindset. Believe it, See it and Be it! You got this!

Read more


Sales Down? How to keep your head up during slow times.

By Sarah Sewell

Sales Down? How to keep your head up during slow times.
Successful handmade businesses use the slow times to double down. They use the time to work on all the things they "didn't have time for" during the busy time. Some use it to make new things, work on new collections or product development, many use it to plan for the upcoming busier times ahead and others use it to take a much needed rest that they haven't been able to have in months.

Read more


Use these 3 selling strategies to increase revenue in your store.

By Sarah Sewell

Online Craft Business

Do you offer gift wrap or extras within your product listings? Do you offer your customer upgrades, or the option to buy your products in bundles? 

Small e-commerce businesses often miss out on adding in these additional revenue opportunities within their online storefronts. Adding upgrades and add-ons to product listings increases sales without having to procure additional customers. This means more sales from the customers already shopping in your store.

Let's look at 3 simple sales strategies that increase sales per transaction: Up-Selling, Cross-Selling and Add-Ons.

1. Up-Selling:

Up-selling is when you offer the shopper upgrades to encourage them to spend more money. If you look at mainstream retail you can see this being done on almost any product online on sites like Best Buy, Walmart and even Amazon. But what about small businesses? What about Etsy boutiques or Artisan businesses? Do they have the same opportunity? The answer is absolutely YES.

Up-selling is used once a customer is already in a buying mindset. It is a way to offer added value by improving their available options while they move through the checkout process.

If an Etsy Shop Owner is an Artist how could they add in Up-Selling to their sales strategy? Perhaps they offer Digital Prints in their Etsy store, these would be printables, a file that is downloaded once a customer checks out and is able to be printed as needed. An up-sell in this scenario would be to sell the physical print and even further perhaps a physical print that is already framed. It would look something like this:

  • Digital Print: $9.95
  • Physical Print: $14.95

or maybe offer bundles:

  • Single Print: $9.95
  • 3 Prints: $24.95
  • 5 Prints: $39.95

Let's look at some other examples, let's say you sew bags and purses, your up-sell offer might look something like this:

  • Fabric Bag $29.95
  • Vegan Leather Bag $49.99
  • Genuine Leather Bag $89.99

or Alternatively

  • Wristlet $29.95
  • Handbag $34.95
  • Crossbody Bag $49.95

An Up-Sale is offering an upgrade, improvement or better option for your shopper. Once the customer has made a decision to purchase a product and add to their cart they are confronted with these added value options. More often than not, they choose the upgrade then continue through the checkout process.

2. Cross Selling:

Cross Selling is when an additional product is recommended that would compliment the current item they are adding to their cart. Usually this is an item from a separate category or even a different shop. For example when purchasing something on Amazon you might see at the bottom recommended items or people who bought this also bought these...etc. This is a great way for an online marketplace to increase sales overall, but it doesn't help the individual seller much unless it is another item from their specific shop. 

An Etsy shop can cross sell by recommending complimentary items within a product listing copy. So for example let's say a business on Etsy makes and sells weighted blankets but also makes essential oil sprays to reduce anxiety. The focus of the shop is to enhance calm and reduce anxiety, it would make sense then in the listing for the weighted calming blanket to include the link for the lavender essential oil calming spray (which would be in another category in the sellers same shop). It isn't always relevant to cross sell, and some experts may say not to distract the buyer with another link when they are already in the buying process with a specific item, but if it adds value to the customer experience it is a good way to add more to the basket while adding value to the customers purchase.

3. Add-Ons:

Would you like fries with that? Sounds funny but it is something small businesses need to take seriously. In 2017 over 35% of revenue from retail sales came from add-ons. It's a pretty big deal and a significant revenue source to add into your e-commerce store.

Add-Ons for Artisan Commerce Sites might look something like this:

  • Silver Earrings $24.95
  • + Silver Polishing Cloth additional $4.95
  • + Gift Wrap & Gift Message additional $6.95

In an Etsy Shop it would look like this:

  • Silver Earrings $24.95
  • Silver Earrings with Polishing Cloth $29.95
  • Silver Earrings with Gift Wrap & Card $31.95
  • Silver Earring with Cloth and Gift Wrap $36.95

Let's look at an example using multiple sales strategies within a listing: A maker sells graphic tees, baby bodysuits and hair accessories for kids. The listing maybe set up like this:

  • Baby Bodysuit $14.95
  • Baby Bodysuit with Hair Bow $19.95 (Add-On only)
  • Baby Bodysuit with personalization $19.95 (Up-Sell Only)
  • Personalized Baby Bodysuit w/ matching Hair Bow $24.95 (Up-Sell / Add-On)
  • Within the listing a link to matching Mommy T-shirt (Cross Sell)

Using these simple sales strategies will add a good source of revenue to your online business. Take a look at your current offerings and think of different options you could offer in your shop to get the moolah rolling in. Remember this isn't just about making more money, it is a win-win both for you and your guest as it is a fantastic way to add more value to the customers shopping and hopefully buying experience. 

Happy Selling <3

 

 

 

Read more


How to keep your sales momentum going after Cyber Monday.

By Sarah Sewell

How to keep your sales momentum going after Cyber Monday.

This weekend was the largest online shopping weekend EVER. It is estimated that 6.22 billion sales happened on Black Friday this year which is a whopping 24% increase from last year in 2017! Cyber Monday's numbers just came in with an astounding 7.9 billion in sales 2 billion of which was done from a smart phone. Small Business Saturday sales were up 25% this year bringing in over 3 Billion in revenue. These numbers are INCREDIBLE and give retailers both in person and online much hope for the next 3 weeks moving toward Christmas.

These numbers show that retail is surely not dead and that e-commerce retailers have now got the large slice of the pie. With numbers like that surely the main question on shop owners minds is how to keep the momentum going. 

The best way at looking at this is not to think of this past sales weekend as a Grand Finale, instead look at it as the opening ceremony. This past weekend was great for BIG business, lots of TV's, Appliances, Big Toys and Prime Deals were made, this means now the door is wide open for small business. Take advantage of this opportunity.

Now the big gifts are out of the way, shoppers are looking for smaller more meaningful gifts. Those businesses that offer personalization, customization, one of a kind items, or small batch craft goods have the upper hand to big business for the next couple of weeks. Craft businesses in general are sought out on platforms like Etsy or Handmade at Amazon because of the unique gift-able products they offer. This week is GO TIME for the makers, crafters and creatives.

Be sure to use social media to promote this week, shoppers may have PROMO overload so you want to promote a bit differently then offering something crazy like 40% off your entire store in bright neon lights, instead you want to appeal to buyers emotions. Remember they are seeking out the special gifts they couldn't find in the mainstream big box stores.

Here are some examples of how you can promote your business without sounding to sales-y:

1. Offer meaningful and value based promotions:

  • Free Gift Wrap with purchase (solves a problem, helps the consumer)
  • Buy One Donate One (this time of year shoppers like to give to charity)
  • Free Personalization (adds value to their purchase)

2. Share your story! This time of year is when yesteryears times are often talked      about and shared. Nostalgia is BIG during the holidays. Sharing your story is a great way to take a walk down memory lane, what inspired you to do what you do? When did you learn your craft and who taught it to you? You can turn your story into a video, or create a slideshow even that plays a nice tune. The story is what sells your brand, your product, yourself! Shoppers are attracted to those authentic brands who are great at storytelling. 

3. Engage with new customers. This may sound like a no brainer, but often we get busy with orders....especially makers as we are making our products as the orders come in. Don't let conversations go unanswered for any length of time. Respond to posts and comments on your social media sites as they happen. Sometimes just being there to answer questions is enough for the shopper to turn into a buyer. 

Remember this is the time of year for you to increase awareness of your brand. Get out there, engage and give stellar customer service. The momentum will keep going as long as you are up and moving forward. The big box stores are taking a break, which means it is your time to shine, so go out and MAKE IT HAPPEN!!

Read more


It's Black Friday Weekend! May the Odds be Ever in your Favor!

By Sarah Sewell

It's Black Friday Weekend! May the Odds be Ever in your Favor!

It's that time of year again, let the shopping madness begin! This week is the Super Bowl of commerce! Shoppers are excited they are going to find the very best deals and business owners are excited to make a lot of sales. It is essentially a win-win for both the customer and the seller! When it comes to E-Commerce however this weekend can be a roller coaster ride of emotions for online shop owners. 

60% of shopping done on Black Friday is done "In-Store" not specifically online. This however shouldn't be super worrisome because there is still a rush of customers shopping both in store and online over the holiday weekend. Let's go over some helpful tips to optimize that traffic and turn it into sales for your online storefront.

Engage your audience across Social Media:

Let's be honest, as a small business owner you don't want to even try to compete with the big box stores as far as advertisement goes. Big business is going to flood the marketplace with ads on TV, in Newspapers, Email Campaigns and promos throughout their own websites and stores. This is your time to capture YOUR market where they are most likely to be spending time, on Social Media. The week leading up to Black Friday you want to spend time connecting with your audience on your social media pages (Note: This isn't the time to spam your accounts with product listings, leave that for the actual shopping holiday days.) Curate posts that encourage engagement and interaction. Create a space that is enjoyable to visit.

Posts Tips & Suggestions:

  1. Give Thanks. Being the week of Thanksgiving the perfect post would be saying Thank You to your customers, fans and followers. Make this post heartfelt. You can create a graphic on Canva or make a video even using Animoto just be sure it is genuine and meaningful. Showing your appreciation for your customers lets them know they do matter to your brand.   
  2. Hold a Giveaway or Sweepstakes. Some of the most fun are "share your fave recipe" posts, or "share a photo of your holiday table". Let your followers vote on a winner or randomly pick a winner from random.org
  3. Share a Story posts always create a lot of engagement. Letting others share memories from their holiday traditions or photos from way back then! People love to talk about themselves and share stories, this is a great way for you to start a conversation with your fan base.
  4. Create a "What are YOU Thankful for" post. Be a light during this crazy holiday weekend and create a post encouraging others to share what they are grateful for this year. Thanksgiving week is a perfect time to show and talk about gratitude.
  5. Macy's Day Parade!!! What are MOST people in the US doing on Thanksgiving morning? They are watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade!! Create a post asking what their favorite float was, or maybe post in the morning asking what performance they are looking forward to!

Bonus Tip if you are a designer: Create some downloadable coloring sheets for the kiddos. Share on your social media free coloring sheets for the kids to color on Thanksgiving day. You are adding value and will surely create a buzz for your brand. Moms will also share like crazy! Little effort and work on your part with a crazy big return.

Creating posts that engage and build excitement ensures that when it is time to post your promotional ads or offerings your followers WILL see them and will more than likely interact with them and or purchase. Ads and promotions ONLY with no other value based posts will turn off your customers and will surely not get you the traffic and sales you seek.

It's important to curate your social media space to be one that is enjoyable to visit, a place where your customers don't mind spending their time. Time is precious today, it is important to use it wisely, would you want to hang out on a page that is only posting ads of their products with no other value? Social media is a place to build relationships and connections. Don't use it as a catalog or a magazine. 

Don't forget to use trending hashtags:

Remember this holiday sales weekend is the BIGGEST of the year! You want to capture as much traffic as you can from the frenzy! Using holiday hashtags can help you grab attention from those who may not be familiar yet with your brand. Be sure you are using the main hashtags people use to search and shop over the holiday weekend:

  • #blackfriday
  • #blackfridaysale
  • #blackfridaydeals
  • #blackfriday2018
  • #cybermonday
  • #cybermondaysale
  • #smallbusinesssaturday
  • #shopsmallsaturday

Bonus Tip: Schedule out your social media posts on Facebook & Instagram so you aren't having to interrupt your holiday festivities with having to post content. There are paid services that you can use but know that Facebook itself has a pretty awesome scheduling tool. Simply carve out a couple hours on Sunday or Monday and schedule out your content posts for the week. Try to observe the 80/20 rule when curating content: 80% value based content 20% promotional. You want to attract buyers to your pages, spamming your wall with your products isn't the best way to do this. 

Use "FOMO" Verbiage in your promotional or ad copy:

FOMO or "Fear Of Missing Out" is verbiage you use in your copy to create a sense of urgency. Proper placement of certain words and phrases can encourage the shopper to shift from browsing to buying. It lights a fire under their bum so to speak to make a decision now, verses later. This verbiage you want to use within your ad or listing copy when describing or explaining the deal you are offering.

Some examples include:

  • Hurry
  • Shop Now
  • Instant Savings
  • Limited-Time Offer
  • Save Today
  • Don't Miss This
  • This Weekend Only
  • Limited Number Available
  • Today Only

Please note: You don't want to overdo this. There is a fine line between creating a sense of urgency and spamming people. You want to encourage and guide the customer to move through the checkout process....pushing them and getting in their face isn't going to give you the outcome you would like to have. Be gentle and  kind but firm with a touch of excitement and encouragement.

Remember that while 60% of shoppers this weekend will be in store, they are going to be spending most of that time standing in line. What do you think they will be doing while standing in line for hours? They are going to be ON THEIR PHONES. This means that even though you may not have a physical store, you can still capture their attention even while they are shopping from another store!! Think about this when writing your ad copy! This is a good opportunity for you to connect with your audience and stay fresh in their minds, this way when they get home they can kick off their shoes and shop from you for all those things they didn't find while out in the big stores.

Some other last minute tips to ensure you maximize your sales over the weekend:

  • Make deals front and center on your site or Etsy shop, people shouldn't have to hunt for your specials. This is the one weekend where these sales are truly for your customer. You want them to feel like they are special and getting the sale of the year! Put your ads and promos on the banners, featured listings, or the front page of your website.
  • Make the deal or sale significant (dig deep 10-20% off just isn't enough) I wouldn't hold a sale less than 25% off, every other sale of the year is up to 20% off... Black Friday through Cyber Monday needs to be better than that!
  • Check your quantities and inventory! So many sellers lose sales because they weren't aware they only had 1 or 2 available listed on their site. Make sure you raise your quantities available so that you don't miss those sales!
  • Respond LIGHTNING fast to customer messages. Remember a customer can be in your competitors shop in seconds! Have your notifications turned on and your phone volume up, respond back right away to a customer inquiry to ensure you get the business and not your competitor.

Remember also if you don't see a lot of action on Black Friday don't let it get you down, Cyber Monday is the BIGGEST holiday of the year for E-Commerce, keep interacting and engaging with your fans and followers and launch an Amazing Limited Time Offer on Cyber Monday! Most consumers will be home or at work and at their computers, they will also have gotten the bulk of their big item shopping done and will be primed and ready to shop small for those extra special gifts for loved ones. Monday is truly your time to shine! Good luck to you all, Happy Selling and may the odds be ever in your favor!

 

Read more