Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Good and bad for online sales

As my regular blog followers know, I think there's a lot of luck involved in successful online selling (see this blog post on luck if you missed it). However, looking at my stats now another financial year has ended, there seem to be some patterns in my sales and some things that I can't back up with hard evidence, but are serious 'hunches' and I wondered how many of you agree that these are good or bad for sales and views? Here goes, and remember each one is just my opinion or gut feeling.

A great eternal truth of shopping:owls are really popular
The recent sunny weather prompted these thoughts and my first proposition:

Sunny weather is bad for online selling. People are outside instead of in browsing the Internet. So bad weather is much better for views and sales.

Winter, autumn and spring are better than summer for sales and views. Even if it's a bad summer in the UK, there's still less Internet activity. This applies to Etsy too, even though it's a global marketplace.

August is the worst month, October is the best. It's either very organised Christmas shoppers who are attracted to my shops, or the change to autumn sends more people to online buying.

Weekdays are better than weekends for both views and sales. The exception is late Saturday night when some folks clearly go back to things they spotted online earlier, and being at the most relaxed and happy point of the week, decide they will, after all, treat themselves.

Evenings are better than daytimes - certainly for views.  But sales can happen at any time of the day or night.

Sales (as in discounts) and promotions are counter productive for smaller sellers without high numbers of returning/repeat customers. If your customers mostly find you online through searches (rather than being sellers on Folksy or Etsy themselves), then they are probably browsing your shop for the first time. That means they never knew what your non-sale prices were, and they probably don't care much if you've got 20% off today. In fact, if they like your product and it fits their needs, they may well have been prepared to pay the original price for it. 

Returning customers are different but if they think you might be having a sale, they may decide to wait for it, and in the meantime get distracted and buy elsewhere.  Better to offer your returning customers a discount for future purchases, then they may be attracted to buy whenever they see something they like, knowing they are making a saving.

And lastly, and most controversially...

Like marmite - love it or not, instant reaction
Hard selling and persuasion don't work.  At least, not for me with jewellery. Jewellery's not like double glazing - you don't need to be talked into the merits of getting it, you either like it enough to buy it, or you don't. 

Good pictures and descriptions help to reinforce that gut reaction you get when you see something you really like.  But they don't actually sell items. 'Wanting' and 'needing' feelings control whether people buy things, even so-called impulse buys, and you as a seller can't really influence much whether your potential buyer has those feelings.  Sure, you can tempt them.  So the main thing is to make sure those potential buyers can see your products... and that means focusing on listing and SEO. 

What do you think - agree or disagree?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Please help with my addiction!

So, I've been a bad blogger.  No posts for a week.  I have been really busy.  Not making jewellery, listing it and selling it.  Just buying beads.

Not beads, but shells.  Still part of the addiction though!

By now, I must be officially an addict.  Practically my waking thought is 'another day, I could look for some beads'!  It's always been a bit of a problem, but it's got worse recently.

Gemstone chips?  Still beads, really

Partly, I blame the OH who did mention that after April we'll be a bit worse off, so I should 'stock up a bit'.  Then there are the customers.  Every time I have a sale that just encourages me to buy more to make more things.  Also, as it got towards the end of the financial year, and it looked like I'd do slightly less badly than I predicted in last year's tax return.  So, it's all a vicious circle.

So what's the problem?  Well, for one thing, we live in a really small house. Instead of being confined to my beading table, gemstones and findings have spread throughout the living area, and some stray ones were recently even found in the bathroom!  Plus, now I seem to have too much choice.  Just can't decide if I've got the right combination of my vast stash to commit to making something.  And there the normal guilt of spending money, of course.

Even small animals get caught up in the bead obsession!

I've compensated a bit by making and selling more items for charity which is a win-win as far as I'm concerned.  And I know I'm lucky to have the money to indulge my passion - I can still remember the time when we were fishing for pennies down the back of the sofa to scrape together enough for a tin of beans - so it still seems a bit of a wonder that I can afford a hobby at all.

So, what to do?  Any suggestions welcome.  As well as anyone wanting to help form a support group ;-)

Friday, 1 April 2011

Folksy Friday: Blues and whites

Working with some lovely handpainted blue and white ceramic beads gave me the idea for this weeks Folksy Friday.  Aren't they beautiful?  Click on any of the pictures to go directly to the shops.

buttons tea cosyhat

1. Blue and white oval buttons by Amanda Mercer/Designer & Maker
2. Tea cosy by Ruby Ruby
3. Pill box feather hat by Rachel Wykes Milliner
4. Glass bowl by Abundant Glass
5. Felt flower brooch by Charlys Gems
6. Shopper by Ann Lampitt

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