I seem to receive a lot of questions from Artisans. Being an artisan myself, this isn't too shocking. One of the first questions I get asked goes something like, "I want to be able to sell online, but I do not have the capital to purchase an e-commerce website".
For most Artisans, that's usually the way as most artisans I know don't have big budgets when starting out, so I usually have the same suggestions for each one.
The first and foremost thing about the web and being an artisan is that you need the ability to sell online. After all, the Canadian economy dumps $22.3 billion dollars (up 10% from 2011) into the web-o-sphere every year. Our neighbors to the South spend $289 billion (up 14% from 2011). This is without a doubt a large chunk-o-change.
So having the ability for visitors to purchase from your website is without a doubt a key tool. For most, I usually suggest going on a third party platform like Etsy. Don't expect Etsy to promote you, oh no. You will still need to do the marketing aspect of e-commerce, however, Etsy will provide you with the tools to be able to do it cheaply.
Etsy is similar to ebay in terms that sellers can list items for sale online. Etsy allows people to list their items for minimal cost in their own stores. It also allows people to view your entire store to see the different options.
As someone who was on Etsy, I spent some time digging into the basics of it. Etsy's growth from 2011 to 2012 shows that this website is definitely on the upward trend (64% growth!)
1. One of the big Etsy tips is internal linking. Be sure to link to other products of yours within your descriptions. For instance, if you have multiple fox photographs, be sure to link to them in all your fox product descriptions. This way, people may not be interested in that specific photograph, but they may be interested in one of your other fox photos.
2. Be sure to use more than just one image. Use three to four. If you can reproduce a buyers particular conditions, you are more likely to be able to sell them something. As a photographer who sells quality art, one condition that makes it easier for people to be able to purchase art is to reproduce different settings. So for instance, I would take a photograph of one of my pieces on my walls at home and upload that picture. They then can get an idea of how it would look over a couch or on the wall in a nice frame.
3. Join teams. For instance, I created a team/community for Atlantic Canada called "Team Atlantic Canada". It has 116 members across the Atlantic region. Your teammates will create what is known as a treasury, which will help you get publicity.
4. Think quality over quantity. On Etsy, users can rate sellers, so it is extremely important to have a high rating. It's easier to make a sale if you have a very high rating vs a very low rating.
5. Patience is key. You know the age old saying, Rome was built in a day? Oh wait, it wasn't. Nor will your online store. It all takes time.
6. Your photography is everything. You might have a beautiful product, but if it is not photographed well, you won't sell anything. Good looking photographs are important (might take a few tries for the newbies but that's okay!).
7. Social media plays a big role in almost everything online these days, so be sure to get involved. Be sure to send out those tweets or Facebook updates. Be sure to put links on your Etsy
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