By Sarah Sewell
By Sarah Sewell
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.
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
- 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.
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
By Sarah Sewell
A gift guide is something you create to offer suggestions for those wanting to purchase a gift. They are super fun to curate and they don’t take a ton of time to put together. Consumers love visuals and gift guides are a quick way for them to see a collection of items relevant to their gift buying needs.
Studies show that during the holiday’s; emails containing gift guides are purchased from 50% more than any other email promotion. As much as shoppers still want to be in control of their shopping, they still very much appreciate and even look forward to recommendations. ESPECIALLY from brands they love and trust.
How to Get Started:
1. Pick a Theme or Topic for your Gift Guide. You want to keep your audience in mind. The whole point is to provide value and suggestions for your target market. Some examples may include:
- Gifts ideas $99 and under
- Unique Gift Ideas for Millennials
- Gifts that say I Love You for that special person in your life.
- Stocking Stuffers under $10 for the littles
- Gifts for the Manly Man in your life
- Eco-Friendly Gifts under $25
- Holiday gifts to make your teachers feel special.
2. Curate a Collection that fits your theme. It's totally ok to add your own products into this collection just be sure to omit any products that you have low stock in or items that might sell out quickly, you want the guide to be shoppable throughout the holiday season. It is key to ensure your items match or coordinate with the other products as well, the look and feel of the guide is what will determine its success.
You do NOT have to add only your product! Gift Guides are flexible! You can totally promote say a list of your favorite things! Let's say you have a handmade shop that offers handcrafted wands. Perhaps put together a gift guide titled "Gifts for your Wizarding Friends" and add in your wizard wands, but link to other products within the same theme like cloaks, crystal balls, spellbooks etc... You have freedom here to create what you love. You can add all your own products, add others products, or even work together with other friend shop owners and cross promote one another! As long as you add value to your target audiences lives during this busy season you won't lose!
3. Create your layout. You can use Graphic Design Tools like Canva or similar to help you curate your collection. The best 3 formats to use are:
- PDF that can be downloaded and shared
- WebPage that can be linked to
- Pinterest Board…. (my personal fave... and with Pinterest you can create a main gift guide with sub categories for multiple smaller niches).
Be sure to offer cute captions with the items. A quick title and price will make the viewers more likely to pin, share or purchase.
4. Share it & Promote it!
- Create a Social Media Graphic and share on your Social Platforms
- Create a FB ad for it to be boosted or promoted as an ad
- Create an Email Promotion around the Gift Guide
- Post it to your Websites
- BLOG BLOG BLOG about it!!! Even connect with other bloggers with similar target audiences to share with their followers.
- Share it in your Etsy Shops
- Create a link for it and add to your mailings that ship out
Be sure to get your gift guide up as early as possible, consumers are shopping early this year and have their credit card in hand! Also, if you offer customization or personalization you want to ensure you have enough time to create the orders in time for holiday delivery!
The point is to have fun and share the fun with others. Have fun curating and creating!
By Sarah Sewell
Throughout my time as both a online shop owner and an online business coach for makers ,I have collected enough data to know what makes an online business successful.
I created the 5 Pillars of E-Commerce after 15+ years of experience and research. These are the 5 main areas in your online business that you must improve on until you just can't improve it any further. Working in some of these areas will be a consistent project you work on for the entire time you own your business.
The important thing to note, is that you will never have a one and done type of experience with an online business. You must remain fluid and flexible and update and change things as needed and as the market fluctuates.
These pillars can be worked with your own time table, some shop owners only want a part time commitment and income from their craft business, others are looking for 6 figures plus. Your revenue will increase as you increase your time and focus. No matter what revenue you want to see, you won't find much success without mastering these 5 main areas of your online business.
These 5 pillars are the basic backbone of the Flourish program. We touch on many different topics from Social Media Marketing to Web Design and Development, but will ALWAYS daily and monthly teach these pillars, as we have proven that they work no matter what platform or venue you sell from.
Start working the 5 pillars ONLY IF you have figured out WHO your target audience is. If you haven't a clue WHO you are selling to, then you MUST first work on your Target Market. Once you have that clear then move to these 5 Pillars.
The following 5 areas are the MOST important in having a successful online shop.
2. Product Photography
Start wherever you feel your business needs to start. However, these steps should be done in order.
Pillar 1: Branding
Your brand is the foundation your business is built on. It isn’t just all about the logo, it is about the message behind your business. Who do you serve? Who do you make for? Who is your Target Audience?
Your branding needs to be attractive to your target market. It is everything about your business, from the products you sell, to the photos you take, to the colors, graphics and fonts you use, to the type of verbiage you use throughout your shop and on social media and even through emails and messages. Your brand is who your business is and what it stands for. It is THE MOST important aspect of your online business.
Do you have a brand? Do you have a story? When you make your products, write your copy, take your photos...who are you doing all that for? Your brand must speak to that person. It must be consistent, remarkable, attractive and inspiring.
Pillar 2: Product Photography
Just because you run a small business mainly from your home studio doesn’t mean you want your online store to look like you are renting a space in a flea market. The MOST successful online sellers take professional product shots of their items. Even if you aren’t able to hire a professional you can still have AMAZING photos. It takes practice and patience but you can achieve photos that make your buyers excited to purchase from your shop.
Also watermarks are not encouraged. With todays technology watermarks can be removed in seconds with simple photo editing photography, also many search engines will disqualify you from search results. If you want to work your business name into your photo there are many other creative ways to do so.
How do your current product photos look? Do you have proper lighting? Is the background light and bright? Is the photo clean, or is there a lot of distracting unneeded props in the frame? Visit the product photography section on the member site to learn more about how to take and stage great photos.
Pillar 3: SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Probably the most difficult area for online craft sellers. However, with a little work you can figure out what will work best for your shop. Basically SEO means how you optimize your listings to be found in search. This means you must use keywords in specific areas in your shop to alert the search algorithm’s that you have a certain product.
You must do keyword research to find out which golden words will bring traffic into your shop. Knowing your target audience well is super helpful for this step. There are many tools out there to assist you with your keyword research. Just remember that Etsy SEO is a bit different than regular website SEO. A bit of reading and studying is necessary for this Step.
Pillar 4: Pricing
Many craft sellers just guess at their pricing and throw up a number that sounds good for them. This is a big mistake in the handmade world. It is imperative that you treat your handmade shop as a real business. You must research your competitors and then adjust as needed.
You want to price mid to high against your competitors and also utilize psychology pricing which means using the 9 or 5 to the end of the price point. For example, if you want to price your item at $15.00 instead you would price at $14.99 or $14.95. This price strategy has been proven to increase sales across e-commerce sites and in person selling.
Pillar 5: Copy
Copy is short for copywriting. Your copy is basically any and all text you have listed throughout your website or listing descriptions. The copy in your shop is your “digital salesperson” the words that you use can determine whether or not your buyer leaves your shop or clicks the buy now button.
You want to ensure you are thinking of your target audience while writing out your copy. The words you use need to be delicious and persuasive. You don’t want to be boring or to technical, keep the words fun and lively. You want your customers to be saying “shut up and take my money” by the time they are done reading. You want them to be creating a mental image of using or gifting your product and you want them to be smiling at just the thought of it. Your photos and copy can do this without you having to do any "extra" work to sell the product.
Mastering each of these pillars can take some time, and if you feel that any of them aren't your strong suit, hiring a professional might be the best route to take. If you are however more of a DIY kinda makerpreneur then you can totally make it happen with a little passion and elbow grease.
By Sarah Sewell
Etsy began in 2005, during a time when EBay and main stream retail stores dominated the internet. Amazon was on the rise, but E-commerce wasn't completely trusted by the public yet. It was still somewhat new and in it's infancy.
Etsy came to carve out a space for the makers to have in the new online environment. Since then Etsy has grown to over 1.7 million sellers, 32 million active buyers and over 45 million in products. It is safe to say that Etsy is now a MAJOR player in the E-commerce world and one that isn't showing signs of slowing or stopping. If you make something and want to sell it, Etsy is THE place to start. It is a way for you to quickly build sales, customers and feedback to grow your new online craft business.
So that sounds great, but where do you start? There are a few things you will need to gather and a few decisions you will have to make to get the ball rolling. Assuming you already know what you make and what you will offer you will want to start asking yourself who is your target audience.
Step One: Define your Target Market
Determine who will be your audience/customers for your new business. Ask yourself who would buy what you make and why? Think about what these people might like and not like. Later on you will learn how to create a persona of this audience, for now just have a general idea so that you can move forward with the next steps.
Step Two: Pick a Business Name
Choose a name for your new business. Try to shy away from "insert your name here designs" or "your name creations" as those are very generic and don't speak to any particular audience. You want to choose a name that will attractive your target audience but also something that speaks to your products and offerings. This name will follow you across platforms, social media sites, in marketing materials etc, so this isn't a step you should quickly move through. Take some time and think it through. Rebranding can be done if needed down the line but why go through that headache later if you can choose wisely now.
Step Three: Grab Your Etsy Shop name and Web URL
Check to see if the shop name you chose is available on Etsy. When you go to create an Etsy shop they will ask you for a name, it is possible your name is already taken (even if you don't see a shop using it, it could be from a past business or from a new one that hasn't yet opened) be sure the name is available on Etsy. If it isn't you will need to adjust the name you came up with. Sometimes adding a suffix to the name like shop, studios, and co, etc can help you keep the business name you picked out.
Check to also see if your name is available for a domain. If it is, I recommend purchasing the domain, even if you aren't ready to build a website, domains are usually less than $20 and it is something you want to hold onto until you are ready to build your own site. Even if you think you will never build your own site, you don't want a future competitor snagging your name, so just do yourself a favor and grab it before you even get started.
Step Four: Create Your Shop & Banking Preferences
When creating a new Etsy shop, besides creating a name you will need to give Etsy some other information to get started. Your shop preferences (country, language, currency), enough information to create one product listing and your bank information to be able to set up payment options.
Step Five: Brand Your Shop
Once your shop is created you will need to add a few things in to brand it, and make it enjoyable to shop from. This is where you will add in your logos, branded fonts and designs etc. This makes the Etsy shop now your brands space to sell from. It also will build brand recognition and consistency for viewers and shoppers in your store. The 3 main areas you can use to brand your shop are the Cover Photo area (banner), Shop Icon & Profile Picture.
- Cover photo – The Large Banner that spans the width of your shop at the very top. This is a space where you want to list your Logo, Shop Name and Tagline. Think of this space as the sign above your door if you were in a physical shop. You want your visitors to know where they are and what they can expect to find in your shop.
- Shop icon – This is the square space to the left of your shop just under the Cover Photo. This can be your logo or graphic from your banner, it can be a symbol or initials of your shop name, or maybe you have a mascot. As long as it is consistent with your brand image (same color, fonts, graphics images) then it will work!
- Profile Pic – The square to the right of your shop under the cover photo. This should be a headshot of you! It will be listed right over your name and I recommend a close up shot of your face with a smile! Think of this as you welcoming your customers into your shop.
You may not have these designed yet. If you are pretty decent with design work you can design it yourself, or hire a graphic designer to build a brand for you. I like to leave that part to the professionals, as your brand has a significant impact on your businesses success. If you aren't at a place to hire a graphic designer yet, you can design one for yourself on Canva.com using their pre-made templates which are already sized appropriately for an Etsy Shop.
Step Six: Craft an About Page
There is an about section in your shop, you will want to fill this with your story. It doesn't need to be a novel, but a short and sweet description about who you are as a maker, why you do what you do, what got you started, what inspires you etc....you will share this information in the form of text, AND photos. There is a photo slide show where you can upload 5 pics or 4 pics and a video....do this!!!
This is a space for you to showcase yourself and your product as a maker and a handmade business. Show photos of the tools and materials you use, your crafting space, and even photos of your family. This adds value to the products you sell, it further enhances the handmade charm and encourages shoppers to turn into buyers.
Step Seven: Connect your other webpages and links
Lastly there is a space to add in any links where your new business is represented. Add all social media pages you are represented on like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter etc . This is the only section within your Etsy shop where these links are clickable and is a great way to get your customers to follow you on your other online platforms. This is also the perfect spot for you to add in links to your blog or website.
Following these steps will get the structure of your new Etsy Shop started, you still have many other areas within the shop to add to and tweak but this will get your store built and ready for you to add products into. Then you will need to set a launch date and hold a grand opening for your new handmade e-commerce business!