Today there are more and more home business popping up and the Internet is lending opportunity for this with such places as Etsy, Artfire and more, where you can set up shop right in your own home and sell on line.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Map It Out
Put your business plan together by going over a few things from the start.
Where will you keep your handmade products to make sure they maintains their originality and can not be damaged. Perhaps you have a spare room, that you can set up just for your items and supply’s and keep that room available for packing and shipping as well.
If you are making crochet, crafts, jewelry, etc… how much can you realistically produce in what span of time. A downfall for sales is availability and the customer seeing ‘Out Of Stock”. Offer custom items that can be ordered to fit and let the customer know ahead of time how long it will take to make the item before it is shipped to them. Example: Takes 3 days to create, then ships.
What is the Competition Up To
Get online or open your local newspaper and search for your type of product to see if there is a market. Are there other businesses in your area selling the same or similar product? See what other items are selling for, who is buying and what area’s of the world would your product fit into.
To Market We Go!
Ever since pen went to paper, I bet there was some sort of advertising going on. Before the Internet it could have been, flyer’s, newspaper ads, radio, TV or someone with a sandwich billboard standing in front of a restaurant, some of these which could be quite costly. With the Internet you can now advertise virtually for free. Social Media has opened doors for many to advertise if done correctly on place like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and one of the things highly recommended is a Blog or website.
With Social Media, you no longer have the in your face type of selling rule, but instead you let people get to know you and your business. Offer information about your product by blogging about how beneficial it is or what makes your craft designs so unique. Offer tips that surround your products, for example if you sell shoes, talk about what makes them different or why they will make you feel like you have been walking on clouds all day when wearing them.
Everyone Loves A Bargain
You want to get your product out there and offering an incentive can be helpful. Coupons are used and popular with grocery stores and the companies offering these products use this marketing effectively. When a new product is coming out in your local grocery store, say a new flavored ice cream, to get that product noticed, the coupon gets the word out about this product and entices people to try it. Think about what you could offer a first time buyer. When you send the first order, include a discount for their next order, 10%, 20% etc off or Free Shipping.
Don’t you just hate when you call a company and get a voice mail saying I have stepped away from my desk? These days unless you are really exclusive with your product or services, chances are the word “Next” will be going through your potential customers mind. Making yourself available or have someone answering the phone or email makes a world of difference. On your website or blog even the words “we respond to emails within 24 hours” is helpful. Now with online shopping, going to another stores website is just a click away and you have the potential to lose a sale.
What is your Return Policy
One of the reasons I love to shop at certain retail stores is that I can return the item I bought with no questions. I will continue to spend my money at their establishments and actually, when I go to return that top or other item that just did not work for me, I usually turn around with my money and find something else. Money given back and spent in the same place is a good thing.
When shopping online, it is a matter of returning the product through shipping. This can be time consuming, but when a customer wants to return an item, they most often will take the time to ship it back. You can have a policy that states that you do not pay for return shipping, but are willing to accept returns. Returns on certain items such as crochet or clothing can be reduced by making custom fit products and no returns unless it is your fault by making the item in the wrong size. Search out shops on Etsy for products you want to make that are similar and see the return polices they use to give you an idea.
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