Friday, October 17, 2008

6 Common Mistakes Which Will Turn Buyers Away From Your Store

Everyone wants their Etsy store to be successful. Here are 6 common mistakes that sellers make, which can easily turn potential customers away.

1) Poor Photos

Customers want to be able to see what they are buying. Online, they are not able to see your item first hand or hold it, so it’s the pictures job to talk them into buying it.
You have several spots on your listing to post pictures, take advantage of them. Take pictures from various angles and distances. Zoom in on small details that potential customers may appreciate.

Try to avoid using flash in your photos, it can distort colours, cause glare, and give your item an overall “cheap” look. Shoot your photos in natural light whenever possible. Setup near a bright window, or take them outside. If all else fails, build or invest in a light box and some photo lamps. You can even build your own light box for next to nothing. Here is a tutorial that makes one with a cardboard box and Bristol board. Google “Build your own light box” for many more ideas.

Be aware of the background when photographing. Laying the item out on your couch or floor, showing a full view of your untidy kitchen behind the item or using a background that is too busy can really give people a bad impression. Also, if you are photographing something that is reflective, please make sure you are fully clothed :)

2) Brief Descriptions

Besides the photo, potential buyers also rely on the items descriptions when they are deciding if they should buy. It’s our job to make our descriptions well, as descriptive as possible.

Include all the details you feel people need to know about the item. Give them measurements, colour descriptions, scent descriptions. Tell them about the benefits of your item. What will it do for them? If you’ve used materials that you feel make your doodad better than all the other doodads on Etsy, let them know.

Most importantly have fun. Write a description that will keep the readers interested, tell a story about the item, and give it some personality and flare.

3) Total lack of Shop Policies

Customers like to buy with confidence and they like to know how the seller is going to handle the transaction, how the item will be shipped, when it will be shipped, what your return policy is, what payment methods you accept etc. All this information should be listed in your shops policy section. Be specific, give as much detail as possible, and stick to them. If you run into a difficult customer and you have a detailed policy section, you easily have something to fall back on if trouble arises. Also, if you do wholesale, consignment or custom orders let everyone know in the Additional Policy and FAQ section.

4) Spelling and Grammar Errors

Spelling Errors and Grammar Errors scream “UNPROFESSIONAL” at many people. Before you post your store announcement, your descriptions, your store policies, or send a convo, run everything through a spell check first. Have a friend or family member read things over, just to make sure you sound coherent.

5) High or Inflated Shipping

Nothing makes me run away faster finding a small item I love, then scrolling down and seeing it’s going to cost me more than $20.00 to ship. Yes shipping can be expensive, especially if you’re from Canada like me. But keeping your item cost low and making up for it by adding a little profit to your shipping can do you more harm than favour.

Try to estimate the shipping cost as accurately as possible. Work with different packing ideas to keep the shipping cost low. Contact the shipping companies and let them know that you are a business. Many offer business discounts and rates, added insurance benefits, free boxes etc.
If all else fails, in your policies offer to refund any shipping overages of a $1.00 or more.

6) Slow responses an lack of communication

Try to respond to your conversations and emails as quickly as possible. Buyers expect that if they send a seller a question, they will get a response later that day, or at least early the next. Check your accounts often, if answering a potential customers question is going to take some time to research, send them a quick note to let them know you are working on it. After you make the sale (yay!) send them a quick thank you note. Also, send them a note when their item is shipped giving the time of arrival, and the tracking number. Quick and consistent communication gives the buyer confidence in you, and hopefully will bring you a repeat customer as well.

Selling on Etsy can be challenging. There are many things that can make or break your shop. Taking the time to improve your photos and descriptions, to write clear detailed shop policies, to check and double check your spelling and grammar, to accurately estimate and lower your shipping costs and to provide your customer with quick clear communication can quickly help turn your viewers into your buyers and bring them back over and over again



Debra said...

Great post!! Something every seller needs to read over and over.

Brandon said...

Thanks for that Melanie!

bijouxdesignsforyou said...

Great tips! Thanks for the link to making a light tent.

esque said...

Great suggestions! I agree, pics are very important and it's something I still struggle with!

piggy said...

Great post!! Superb tips especially for Etsy newbie :D and good reminders for those experience sellers as well :D

Nyblaque said...

excellent article...thanks so much for posting it:)

CarmenNC said...

Thank you for the tips, I'm trying to learn all that I can.