Mar 26, 2009

What I've learned from shopping online

I'm sure I'm not the only one that's been there (or here) before, you know, buying something online and crossing your fingers that it's what you were looking for? And then, when it arrives, realizing it's nothing like it looked in the picture?

I just made my first large purchase from a new jewellery supply company and more than half the order was not what I wanted! The last two days I've been waundering around saying 'I should've just spent the extra and bought from a local shop'; but a moment a go a light bulb went off. If I'm trying to convince my customers from all over the world to buy from me online then I can't give up on it either. What I need to take from my exprience (besides frustration and product I don't need) is to make sure my customers don't have this happen to them and more importantly, feel confident that it won't!

Here's the things I learned from this expierience that will help me fix any of my online sales:

1. Images from multiple angles of the product.
2. Images large enough to see detail.
3. What to do if you aren't happy with it.
4. Who pays for shipping of unwanted items?
5. Send a confirmation email of any phone orders, or online orders before shipping it.
6. Include in the delivery box FAQ's about your products.

I'm sure there's others, but I'll start there. That will keep me busy.

Mar 18, 2009

Can't teach a customer new tricks!

Well, my frustration with the new layout of Facebook has prompted this rant. I like my old facebook, not this new one. I used to laugh at people that said this to things, mainly my mother actually, because to me that meant she was 'old'. Unwilling to admit that I must be 'old', I'm blaming Facebook. In doing so though it got me thinking about business choices.

Facebook probably made these changes based on a combination of customer feedback, gut feeling, trends and what the competition is doing (have you seen Twitter lately?). The trick however, is in the customer feedback. In most cases only unhappy customers speak up. And often these people (I know not always) are going to find something to be cranky about no matter what. So, if you make changes just to satisfy them, which may be never happen, then how are you making your other customers feel? If you going to make a change to your art, your business processes (like where your selling your work) then you need to do so in collaboration with your customers - all of them! Especially your champions. Change is hard for anyone, so make sure to have lots of customer treats to reward them!

Mar 11, 2009

Grants, Glass and Good old fashion work

My days are full, my brain is full and my hands are sore. If you are fine craft artist then you are probably in the midst of preparing your Ontario Craft Council grant app (and if you're not doing one, you should be!....) I know I'm not only preparing mine, but helping 4 other local craft artists with theirs as well. If you're not doing one because you think the odds are just too high and you won't get one. Think again. For the Ontario Arts Council grants I helped 3 artists apply for one in the winter and 1 out of the 3 got it. That seems like pretty good odds to me, especially when the prize is $5,000!

So my days are full with grant apps. My brain on the other hand, is full thinking about how close we are to beach glass hunting season. Matt (the hubby) starts to have restless sleeps around now because he starts dreaming (and reenacting) sailing regattas as he gets excited for sailing season. Me too - but not for the sailing. To hear the sound of the waves, smell of the shore and touch the great glass finds. Not too long now....

And lastly, my hands are sore as I prep for the upcoming spring show season. I'm now registered for more shows than ever before, my website is selling more and I have more stores carrying my work. I think I only have 12 items in stock (5 of which are christmas cards, 1 is the ring here) Which are all good things, but keeping up with products is hard. I guess that's a good problem to have.