In the first of an occasional series, LJS founder Jessica Rose offers advice on aspects of running your own jewellery.
Selling your jewellery online is an excellent way of extending your customer base and reaching people who you may never be able to in a craft fair or by selling through a physical shop.
It takes a bit of work to get started and does require a fair amount of perseverance but is well worth it in the long run as you can build a professional looking presence and offer an excellent forum your customers to purchase your beautiful handmade pieces through.
Popular online platforms
- Etsy – www.etsy.com
- Artfire – www.artfire.com
- Folksy – folksy.com
- Misi – www.misi.co.uk
- Asos Marketplace – marketplace.asos.com
Other places to try:
- Independent Boutique – www.independentboutique.com
- Bouf – www.bouf.com
- From the Wilde – www.fromthewilde.com
- Two Red Trees – tworedtrees.co.uk
Top ten tips for selling through online platforms:
1. Make a plan – treat it like a business
Like anything, you get out what you put in and it really pays to make a plan of what you are going to be selling, when to do it and exactly how you will go about making it happen. Selling online is a business like any other so planning ahead will help better equip you for future challenges.
2. Do your market research
Some things will sell better than others and when selling online in particular it helps to have trend-relevant designs that are suitable for the season and made with your customer in mind.
Do your research beforehand – think about what trends and styles are popular and sell well.
Also decide who your target customer is and keep them in mind with everything you do.
3. Provide excellent images
When selling online your images are all that your customer has to go by, because they can’t try the jewellery on. Make sure you have clear, precise images that accurately show-off the piece, including scale where possible. If you don’t have excellent photos and representative imagery of the jewellery, there isn’t a huge point in putting below quality ones up – you won’t be doing your pieces justice. (If you are thinking about great images, you might want to enter our September competition to win a professional photoshoot).
4. Do your own marketing
Don’t rely on the marketing of the online selling platform website alone. In order to get sales you need to do as much of your own marketing as possible.
Print your own personalised business cards with your shop link on to encourage people to go directly to your page and browse your shop. Also create a mailing list of previous customers and interested parties, so that people who already admire your work have a chance to find out new offers and collections. I would recommend emailing such a list a few times a year – you don’t want to put people off by spamming them.
Through your marketing and promotion you want to think about building a brand,, being consistent, using your own logo and having a clear mission or message that your business represents.
5. Use SEO and social media
SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’, this is all about getting your website as many relevant visitors as possible and appearing higher up, so more immediately, on Google searches. One way to do this is to have keywords (the things people would search) in titles and descriptions on your listings and web pages. Another way of getting good SEO is using social media and linking to your shop page. Great social media presence can include having a business Facebook page, Twitter and if possible a blog with lots of current, key word rich content, all adds to success. Make sure to get help from your friends online to spread the word about your Facebook Page and Twitter account!
6. Get your pricing right
It’s really important for your business to get your pricing just right, so you don’t lose money. This means calculating all you outgoings: listing fees for the particular site you’re using, material costs, Paypal fees if going via Paypal – which is always recommended and shipping costs for various different countries).
Check what prices similar items are selling for to make sure you are fitting within the market and try to offer a range of different priced items to attract a wider audience.
7. Provide excellent customer service
Selling online is very immediate. Always respond to customers as soon as possible. Be polite, friendly and engaging, even if you’ve been asked the same question hundreds of times. Retention in business is key and customer service is vital for gaining repeat customers and referrals. The main difficulty with selling online is shipping problems, often mail is slow or there are problems with addresses – the central way of resolving and keeping on top of this is to make sure communication with customers is prioritized so check your messages everyday.
8. Provide a detailed and accurate description
Make sure all descriptions for your pieces include measurements, materials used and techniques listed. If there are allergy warnings state them obviously and ensure that If you’re making multiple copies of the same piece i.e they are not one offs, make sure its clear to your customers that each piece is handmade, so may differ slightly from the photo shown.
9. List your items regularly and keep your listings in top condition .
If you list your items regularly you’ll usually be more included in the sites ‘recently listed items’. It will also help with your SEO and keeps your shop fresh and current, so visitors are more likely to keep coming back to see what’s new.
10. Be original and enjoy yourself!
Selling websites such as Etsy are notorious for designs being copied and re-sold as your own. Make sure your original with all your designs, don’t be tempted to copy others as it is unethical and bad for business in the long run. Finding creative inspiration is part of the process and the satisfaction that comes seeing your designs come to life and sell cannot be replicated. Finally, remember why you started your own jewellery business, make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, it can be hard work, it will take time, keep at it!
Find out more…