If you have your own craft business, you may be looking for ways to expand your outreach. Maybe you make enough merchandise to fill an entire warehouse but you currently are selling only at arts and crafts sales. It may be time to expand your customer base to the world wide web. I have heard enough questions asked about selling online that I thought I would try to answer some of the questions here.
Where should you sell?: Selling your product on-line is made super easy with places like Etsy or Artfire where you can set up a store in minutes and only pay a small listing fee and commission when you sell. Unlike Ebay, these sites are dedicated to handmade or vintage items. However, having a place to sell your product is just one piece of the puzzle.
***Tip – If you register with Etsy, your user name will be your store name so make sure you register with that in mind. It can’t be changed once you register with your email. You can, however, register under a different email address. Some people have one account for buying and one for selling.
How do you get people to your store?: You need to get the word out! Maybe you already have a blog where you showcase what you make daily. Are you getting the traffic to your blog that you would like? There are lots of ways to promote yourself. A good place to start is with Facebook and Twitter. Social networking can get the ball rolling for you but you need to be active. It is a must to have a Facebook business fan page associated with your store or blog to get connected with your customers.
If you have a blog, take part in link parties or blog hops. These go on almost every day of the week. It is a great chance to get new readers over to see what you have. One or two blog owners will host a party where you can link up a post for the day. In turn, you should visit the other blogs participating and leave a genuine comment if you like their post. You will start to build relationships and find people with like interests who will most likely enjoy your blog and crafts as well.
Submit your blog or store URL to craft directories as well as general web guides and directories. Jayde and Illumirate are a couple of web directories that take free submissions. Also, the open directory is one of the largest. These will start to bring you more and more traffic. Traffic is key in getting people to see your crafts. Then hopefully what you have listed will be attractive to these visitors and your sales will start happening.
What about shipping? Another thing to keep in mind with selling crafts online is shipping costs. You will want to get an accurate charge to apply by using a shipping calculator from UPS, USPS, or Federal Express. Some heavy or large, low price craft items may not be marketable online if the attached shipping is too expensive. Save these for your arts and craft fairs. You also will need to decide if you are going to sell online in just your country or worldwide. If you are going to sell worldwide, you will want to have appropriate shipping costs listed for each country or region.
If you do all of these things, you should be successful with your new venture online!