Points to think about before you start selling online
Hi Kirsten, tell us a little about the process involved in making your jewellery, from inspiration to finished piece.
Thank you Judy. My work is based on anything that surrounds me. Anything can spark an idea which I then work on in my workshop until I feel satisfied it’s the best it can be.
I’ve recently been working on a collection based upon dandelion seeds. I begin by researching the shape and form, make several sketches and models, and then work on master designs. These master designs must be perfect as they are cast to make replicas.
Some of my other designs are completely handmade such as my chains. I make each and every link individually. Some of my chains came about from unplanned experiments at my work bench.
What made you decide to selling online was the way to go for your jewellery?
I decided to start selling online as soon as I launched in 2010. While my initial websites were basic, I felt it was definitely worth giving my website visitors the opportunity to buy my designs while they happened to be on the site.
Selling online provides me with an extra income source to showing in shops and galleries, without paying someone else a commission! If people like my work enough to visit my website, it would be silly not to offer the opportunity to buy it.
My e-commerce site runs itself. Customers are sent automatic receipts and updates on the order and I get an order notification so I know what has been purchased and when. My customers can make a purchase easily and choose from several designs and finishes.
The product descriptions include weights, dimensions and prices, so I’ve tried to cover every aspect so each customer is given all the information they require.
What would you advise home business owners to think about before selling online?
I think the main aspect of selling online is to keep a strict eye on the costs involved. Many assume that setting up a website is quick and relatively affordable.
But if you consider the cost of product photography, model shots, the website design and development itself, user testing to check your site functions properly, and online marketing, suddenly costs can soar.
Time is also something you should invest into your site. Your content should be unique and well thought out. This is fundamental in the Google search engine process.
I spent a lot on my photography. It has to be perfect and show off the jewellery from multiple angles. Model shots are essential, because I want to remove all doubt and any reason for a customer not to buy, so the more I can provide the better. I still have more photographs to add and a zoom feature to allow customers to see the jewellery in as much detail possible.
Do you have any tips to attract visitors to your site?
Getting traffic to your site is a huge battle. It takes time and knowledge of SEO. I’m lucky to work part-time within online marketing as does my husband. I will therefore be developing my traffic levels this year.
Firstly I’ve made sure I have written unique content for every single page of my website. My product pages include keywords such as silver earrings, contemporary silver ring etc, which will help increase my chances of being found within Google for these particular searches, and of my work selling online.
I’m also in the process of learning SEO for myself, there are many books out there, and professional help isn’t within my budget, so as with everything else I have to roll up my sleeves and give it a go myself!
I also find sites such as fashion4media.com a great help. It gives me access to fashion journalists, and I can issue press releases and respond to journalist requests for magazine and web features. The more you’re seen, the more brand awareness you will achieve and also website traffic.
Social media is also another method to attract visitors. I constantly link to new products or blog posts to attract visitors away from social media and onto my site.
My blog is vital. Google places regularly updated websites first within searches. If you write regular blog posts, you are indicating to Google you are very much current and active. If possible post one weekly.
If you are referring to an event or another company within a post, link to it and mention the company names and all the information within the post. You are extending your search reach and might end up attracting visitors searching for something else completely. This means attracting new unique visitors who might otherwise have missed your site.
Kirsten will be back soon to explain how user testing makes sure customers get a good experience on your site, and how to choose the right people to help you develop your site. In the meantime, have a look at her intricate designs.