Home – New Forums Starting your journey Would Having Set Opening Hours Help ?

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  • #968064
    haycreations
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    I am trying to re-establish my homebased handcrafted jewellery business having moved to a new region & it is proving rather difficult & frustrating.

    My plan was to build up new clientele by selling my work at a couple of at local handmade/handcrafted only markets – problem is they are all booked out indefinately & jewellery is the most requested stall.

    I have lost contact & perhaps the interest of my old customers because of ongoing website problems.

    I have tried attending local open markets & found my work did not sell very well because it is handmade & deemed too expensive compared to cheap imported mass produced jewellery which every second market stall sells as a sideline.

    So I thought I would try just operating from home. I have a dedicated room for my jewellery making & have been advertising my business & jewellery related services via the local school newsletter & handing out brochures at markets & to everyone I meet. Trouble is I am not getting any enquiries or business at all!

    Now it might be that I’m grasping at straws but I’m wondering if having business hours as by appointment only is intimidating for potential customers?. In addition to other types of marketing such as having an Open House, would having set business opening hours perhaps be more appealing & convenient for potential customers? Should I advertise these hours on signage out the front of my home as well as in all my other forms advertising (website, flyers, brochures?)

    Thanks

    #1030681
    Chris Bates
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    PAPYRUS, ARGHHH!!!! That would be enough for me to close your website, haha.

    It sounds like you’re goal is to get people to come to you. That’s a lot of work for a prospect. It involves street directories, cars, traffic, stop lights, excessive amounts of time, zzzzzzzzzz

    You’re doing the right things, but you’re funnelling them poorly.

    Your website is the place to sell it, you have beautiful jewelry and an ugly website.

    There’s two things:

    1) Sale of your existing jewellery –
    Again, people aren’t going to travel to have a browse at a shop. Use your website, direct them there, they’ll happily buy online. If not, they can contact you to organise a face-to-face viewing of the jewellery.

    2) Sale of your custom jewellery –
    I don’t see why you need a face-to-face meeting until they have already bought, or on the verge of buying. There’s A LOT of tyre kicking to be done before they get to that stage. You’re using your marketing to invite them to your home for you to sell to them, would that excite you as a consumer?

    Use your marketing to invite them to your WEBSITE (which should be beautifully designed to reflect your creativity and your products). On your website you can FUNNEL them to either (1) or (2). They can then (1) buy your products straight online, or (2) send an enquiry about your custom work.

    Want more? Email me, [email protected]

    #1030682
    donnafrithdesign
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    Hi Melanie!

    Your jewellery is really beautiful, you do have a lot of lovely pieces on your website. I do have to agree with Chris regarding the ‘setting’ it’s being sold in though – your website is unfortunately quite bland and could do with a bit of an uplift! I do think it’s the place to focus on selling your jewellery so put your efforts into driving traffic there and present a site that sets the scene and is bold in displaying your work and encouraging decisive action from the visitor by way of enquiry or sales.

    Have you tried setting up a store on Etsy? (http://www.etsy.com) This is a great online marketplace for sellers of handmade items, it is global and the standards are incredibly high so it attracts shoppers who understand this and are prepared to pay the price.

    If you are keen to establish your home as an avenue for sales, have you considered jewellery making classes? If you have the room and an interest in teaching, this could be a way to attract a different client who could also buy supplies from you, and you could showcase your products. Not sure if this would suit your situation, but it’s an idea.

    You could also approach hairdressers / make up artists to appeal to wedding and school formal clients in some way. Perhaps showcase some work at the salon, or have flyers there…

    I’m sure you’ll find lots of ideas and people willing to brainstorm for you here on the forums :)

    Good luck!
    Donna

    #1030683
    JayTurn
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    Hi Melanie,

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say that your site is ugly, this is ugly >> http://www.fivedoves.com/

    I would say that your site could be designed better to sell yourself and your services. You are obviously passionate about your jewelery designs and rightly so because there are some very elegant pieces you have made.

    I agree with Chris that visiting your home to fit jewelry is a tough ask. There is a lot of effort involved for the customer. Although you are already selling your jewelry directly from your site, I get the feeling that you may not be receiving many visitors.

    Further adding to Chris’s great suggestions, I would initially focus on a site redesign, specifically focusing on displaying your jewelry being worn with fashionable clothing that matches the elegance.

    If you don’t have access to fashionable clothing or models, try talking to a few clothing designers. You will likely find a designer willing to showcase their clothing with your jewelry on your website as long as you mention where the clothes come from.

    Website traffic, you need to build it. I had a quick look through your blog and noticed it was very touch and go. A number of posts mentioning how long it had been since your last post.

    You really need to find your voice, target your content towards a particular theme and then write everyday. Topics could include matching jewelery with clothing, the difference between jewelry types, reviews of what celebrities are wearing, ways to dress elegantly for low cost… the list goes on. Obviously you have more ideas about this than I do.

    Your current ordering system takes a while to get through and is a little confusing. You could reduce the ordering process down to 3 pages. Cart review, information entry and order/information review.

    Your front page should display your jewelry categories as image links to your jewelry for sale and your written content on the home page should be displayed under those image links. With jewelry, images sell.

    Other ideas include allowing your visitors to suggest jewelry designs to be custom made, offering a newsletter to update visitors with what is happening in the jewelry industry (not just a sales pitch, provide quality content in there), an image gallery on your site where customers can upload images of themselves wearing your jewelry to events, videos of you creating the jewelry…

    Of course all of this will take work but if you continually build content on your site, remain persistent and consistent with link building/community networking, you will see results.

    #1030684
    Craig_H
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    Melanie I don’t think I can add anything further to the already excellent responses you have received apart from photography.

    Not sure if your shots were taken by a professional as the shot looks pro but the lighting doesn’t. I’d suggest getting nice studio shots done with some pro lighting to really give some life to your products. The designs are fantastic, original and creative and I don’t think the photography does them justice.
    Hope i’m not stepping on any toes with that comment though.

    #1030685
    haycreations
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    Craig, Jay, Donna & Chris,

    Thanks so much for your great suggestions.

    I had not even considered the customers perspective of what it takes for people to actually get here.

    I also appreciate your candid opinions about my website & consequently a re-design is already in the pipeline!

    Funny you should mention Etsy Donna – I’ve actually been researching Etsy & another online handcrafted market place called Artfire, trying to decide which one to sign up with. Most people seem to be more familiar with Etsy because it has been around for longer but Artfire seems to offer easier links to Twitter & Facebook as well as better Tech support.

    Craig, no you’re not treading on anyones toes – (except mine!) about the photography & yes I see your point about the lighting. Will work on that too.

    Many thanks everyone.

    Melanie

    #1030686
    JayTurn
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    Hi Melanie,

    Glad to hear the suggestions helped.

    Are there any restrictions to placing your jewelry on both Etsy and Artfire? Last time I heard about Artfire they allowed a few products to be sold there for free. If it is still the case, you could set up accounts on both whilst only having to pay the fees for Etsy.

    If you need any help with the web orientated stuff, even if it is just an extra pair of eyes to look over your new design, feel free to PM me and I will help you where possible.

    Jason

    #1030687
    haycreations
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    JayTurn, post: 36980 wrote:
    Hi Melanie,

    Glad to hear the suggestions helped.

    Are there any restrictions to placing your jewelry on both Etsy and Artfire? Last time I heard about Artfire they allowed a few products to be sold there for free. If it is still the case, you could set up accounts on both whilst only having to pay the fees for Etsy.

    If you need any help with the web orientated stuff, even if it is just an extra pair of eyes to look over your new design, feel free to PM me and I will help you where possible.

    Jason

    Hi Jason,

    You raise a good point:

    From what I’ve read, there aren’t any particular restrictions for placing my work on both except that I’m not sure I have enough stock for 3 online shops.

    & I could be wrong but duplicating listings across shopfronts for one of a kind jewellery seems risky – what if the same piece sells at the same time on your other site? (wishful thinking I know!)

    The only drawbacks to the free basic Artfire account is that it doesn’t have a lot of the widgets, easy integrations (to Facebook, Twitter) & customisations compared to the pro account & when it comes to technology & internet exposure I need all the help I can possibly get!

    Many thanks for offering to be a second pair of eyes too.

    Regards

    Melanie

    #1030688
    JayTurn
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    Hi Melanie,

    You may want to consider the following setup.

    Use your website as your main selling strategy. It is the one online store that is in your complete control. If you build up a strong customer base primarily through Etsy or Artfire, you risk losing those customers should those sites change in some unfavorable way.

    You have a slight inconvenience regarding one of a kind items however depending on how much access you have to make changes to your site/other sites, you could place all of your items on your website and then place some of the items on Etsy and Artfire. By saying “how much access” I am referring to how quickly you could get online to make changes.

    If you have an Iphone or Smartphone, you could be notified of your sale and immediately make the necessary changes. It might be best not to sell the same products on Etsy as you do Artfire.

    Start off using both sites if you can afford to do so, assess which one is performing better and get rid of the other one.

    If you do place products on a third party site to sell, do your best to get them to your website in the future. I am not too familiar with the Etsy or Artfire setup but you could look at ways to bring potential customers from those sites, to your own website. This could be via a link to your website, suggestion to sign up to your newsletter either on the site or in customer invoices, follow your work on your website blog etc.

    The more people buying directly from your website, the more control you have over your business.

    Regarding Facebook/Twitter and any other social sites, use your own website to integrate into those.

    Ideally your web designer would help you with the implementation of these social media sites, educate you with the technology and methods for increasing your Internet exposure.

    All the best for your site and let me know if you need any further help.

    Jason

    #1030689
    haycreations
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    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the great tips about using third party websites to sell my work.

    Having had so much trouble with my website over the last 2 years I was all but ready to just shut it down altogether & use third party sites such as Etsy or Artfire. But you have reinforced the importance of keeping my jewellery site & using the others as a way of eventually driving more traffic to my site.

    I also appreciate the great idea about using mobile phone technology when an item sells so that to some degree I can have duplicate listings, & at the same time have my work exposed to a larger audience.

    Regards

    Mel

    #1030690
    YoungNomad
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    A bit off topic …

    BUt a close friend of mine is looking for engagement rings … he looked at diamond merchants online, and is using a company PURELY based on the service their website provides.

    THey have high res photos of diamonds, plus a video of each individual diamond, he said they cost more than the others, but the confidence he has in the product outweighs the extra margin.

    Point in case – the website, and the confidence the website brings has made the sale (and he’s spending 25k)

    #1030691
    JayTurn
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    • Total posts: 35
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    Hi Mel,

    Glad to hear you have chosen to stick it out with your own website. If you need any further help with your website let me know. Our company specializes in this line of work but I am always willing to offer free advice, ideas and assistance to people whether or not they use our services.

    Kind of my own personal quest to ensure people are not taken advantage of in an industry that is largely unregulated.

    My last piece of advice as you have a renewed motivation for your website, once you know what you should be doing, understand it takes time to build an online presence.

    You can’t expect much within the first few months but after a year you should be receiving at least 100 visitors per day without spending a dime on advertising.

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