How to Run a Successful Online Craft Store
Have you ever dreamed of opening your own business? Do you want to work at home? Do you want to make a little extra money? Do you like to knit, crochet, or sew? If the aswer to one or more of these questions is "yes", then your dream may be easier than you think.
Two years ago, I became an accidental business owner. I never set out to own my own business, but it happened when I decided to turn a hobby into a part-time career by opening a store on the online retail site, ETSY.COM.
I love to knit. I also enjoy the music festival scene and am a bit obessed with the hippie culture. For years, I wanted to own some type of business that catered to the counterculture movement. One day a friend suggested that I open an ETSY store and I took her advice. Although my store is still growing, I have found the experience to be challenging, educational, and rewarding. If you have been thinking about opening your own store, here is some advice.
Taking The Plunge
It is easy to open an online store on ETSY.Com. All you really need is a Pay pal account, a valid e-mail address, and great store name. When you open your store, the system will guide you through the process. This is the easiest part of the process. The real fun is found in the next step: listing your items to sell.
The key to a successful shop is to know your customer. When I first opened PeaceCrafts, I found the need to experiment with several different products. I knew that I wanted to cater to the hippie-music festival crowd, and in order to accomplish this goal, I needed to know the needs of my customer base. It took some time, but I finally achieved the right mix of merchandise. In the process I learned how to crochet, how to make natural beauty products, and how to make feather hair adornments. Don't expect results right from the beginning, growing your store takes time and effort. If things start of slow, give your customers time to find you. Take advantage of the advertising program offered by ETSY and remember "All good things come to those who wait."
It is also important to photograph your wares so that the customer will see an accurate portrayal of what the product looks like. It is also a good idea to write product descriptions that are clear, consice, and very descriptive. Make your product appealing to potential buyers, but don't overstate the value or the condition of the item. Be truthful and straightforward with your description. Consumers value integrity.
Congratulations, you have made your first sale. Now what? Another contributing factor to a successful store is great customer service and effective communication. Answer your customer's questions in a timely manner, respond to customer complaints and issues, and be prepared to issue a refund in the event the customer is not satisfied. As a store owner, Etsy will allow you to set your own store policies as long as they fall within Etsy's rules. Before you open for business, peruse some other Etsy stores to get a feel for how shop owners handle things like returns and complaints.
While this part of the business can be unpleasant and a bit of a headache, customer complaints are inevitable; however, don't take these complaints personally. Try to be posiitive and upbeat. More importantly, Don't argue! If a customer insists on receiving a refund, give him or her what she wants.
Take the Quiz
What Type of Store Would You Most Like to Open?
Some Final Words of Wisdom
Running an Etsy store can be a daunting task at times. Order overload can be a blessing and a curse. If you are every blessed to suffer from order overload, try to remain calm and organized. Do not make promises that you cannont keep. If you find that you are running behind, do not be afraid to communicate with your customers. Chances are your customers will be willing to wait a bit longer to receive their order if you are up front and honest.
Remember you can do this! Just hang in there and success will come your way.