Shop SOS – how to boost sales
In this post I’m looking at the reasons why a visitor to your shop doesn’t choose to buy and what you can do to fix this. I’ll explain what a conversion rate is and why it’s important, show you how to work out the conversion rate for your shop, and share ways you can improve your own conversion rate, so you can get more sales!
In just a few weeks Folksy will be running the much anticipated Weekend of the Maker where I will be offering one-to-one sessions to help you boost your sales.
To book your slot you need to head over to the Weekend of the Maker booking page. Sessions cost £20 each and you will also receive a copy of my best-selling book ‘Online marketing for your craft business‘. I’ll be looking at your shops, websites and blogs and offering advice on how you can improve them and boost your sales or you can email me a question in advance and we can focus on a particular aspect of your marketing activity.
In the meantime you can read my tips below for boosting shop sales.
What is your conversion rate?
First of all, what is a conversion rate?
The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to a website or individual web page that take a desired action. In this case the desired action is we are looking at is ‘making a purchase’, however it could be signing up to a newsletter or adding your shop to their favourites list, so they get weekly updates of your work by email sent by the Folksy postie.
How to work out your conversion rate
To get the sales conversion rate of your website as a whole you can do a simple calculation. The number of sales divided by the number of visits to your shop and listings combined as a percentage. However, it’s best to look at the individual listings you have to find out which products ‘convert’ best.
eg. 100 visits and 1 sale would be a conversion rate of 1%
so if you had 30 visits and 1 sale that would be 1/30 = 0.03 and to write it as a percentage you multiply that by 100 which = 3.33%
here’s another example –
3,566 visits and 43 sales
43/3566 = 0.01205 then multiply by 100 to get the percentage = 1.21%
The higher the percentage the better your conversion rate. Ideally you’d like every single visit to your shop to result in a sale… but realistically around 1% to 3% is quite healthy.
How to increase your conversion rate and make more sales!
For a top conversion rate you need to have customers arrive on your page who are very interested in your product and are ready to buy.
Naturally, not all visitors will be ready to buy but if your marketing is right they should all be interested in you or your product. If they’re not ready to buy, you can encourage them to add your shop to their favourites so they receive updates of your new listings. Think of these visitors as in the buying cycle and still highly valuable. The visitors you need to discount are those that have come to your page expecting something else and simply bounce away within a few seconds.
How do you attract ‘quality’ traffic?
There are three important parts to attracting the right ‘quality’ traffic, ie people who would be interested in buying your products at some point in the future.
The first is making sure you have correctly identified your market. This post on Bullseye marketing will help with that if you haven’t already spent time on this.
The second is search engine optimisation. This post Top 5 SEO do’s and don’ts is a great place to quickly understand how to boost quality search traffic and we have a whole category dedicated to SEO here – SEO tips for craft sellers for you to learn even more on the subject.
The third (and often the most neglected) way of attracting the right traffic is through intelligent networking. Networking and partnering with like minded bloggers and collaborating with fellow online businesses can help to drive highly targeted traffic to your site. Read more about this here – How to get your work featured
So what happens when you have read and acted upon all the advice above but they still aren’t buying? What’s going wrong?
Is your work overpriced? Probably not!
People’s first reaction to why they aren’t selling is often that their work must be too expensive. In our craft forums we often hear stories of shoppers at craft fairs baulking at the price of a handmade item, rudely commenting they could “make that at home for less” or they’ve “seen similar stuff cheaper on the high street”. This can be a slap in the face when you have an original design that has taken hours of work to finesse and, unlike mass-produced products, you use high quality materials.
Don’t be bullied by comments from people who do not reflect your target market to lower prices. Look at the competition and learn how other designers price their work. We have a useful post from Cat How from Howkapow on Pricing Your Work that’s worth reading if you’re not sure where to start.
Do remember that while you may be searching under the sofa for the bus fair to town, lots of people who shop at Folksy regularly buy expensive items because they really value the craftsmanship that goes into the piece and the joy of buying direct from the artist or designer. It’s easy to forget your all -mportant target market and assume that everyone is looking for a bargain.
Little hand-stitched doll – Haapi Things
Fill your potential customers with confidence!
How to build buyer confidence and increase your conversion rate
If you are working hard to bring people to your site you want to ensure that when they arrive they have a good experience and can find all the information they need to make a purchase from you with complete confidence.
Things that may worry a new customer…
Not enough information about the product
Write a thorough description of what the product looks like, what it does and how it can be used. Include dimensions, textures, materials. If the customer feels like they’re not quite sure of any aspect of the product they may just leave your shop and carry on searching. This post has everything you need to know about writing great product descriptions.
Poor quality primary and secondary photographs
We still see far too many low-quality photographs on Folksy. It’s actually really upsetting, as we can see the item is probably great quality and has been well designed, it just doesn’t give the buyer enough confidence. If you’re struggling then take a day or two days to find out everything you can about how to take in focus, attractive, well-lit photographs. Start with our blog posts – Product Photography Tips
Do you want the honest truth about your product photos? Post them here for a critique if you sell or are planning to sell on Folksy.com
No information about the maker
An incomplete or rushed, typo-filled ‘About me’ section on your shop will not boost buyer confidence. A good bio can help to add value to your work, they will read about your inspiration and your journey to becoming an artist or designer. They will be inspired and hopefully delighted at the prospect of buying direct from you, the maker of the beautiful work they have discovered. Objects become more beautiful when they have a story, a history, a meaning – so let people know who you are and what makes you smile. Read our advice on how to write your About me section.
Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors (so unprofessional!)
We all make mistakes and while we can forgive the occasional spelling mistake or missed capital letter, if your shop is littered with them your credibility as a professional will dissolve in the eyes of the buyer. Take the time to check through everything that you publish online. Get a friend to read over your work or, if there’s no one at hand to be your sub-editor, read it out aloud – those grammatical errors and typos will pop out at you.
No information about lead times or returns
Think about what’s important to you when you’re shopping. Once you’ve made the decision to buy, you just want to know how it’s getting to you and when! Make this really clear – this is especially important on commissioned or personalised items. Use your shop policies (your ‘buying from me’ section) to add as much relevant information as succinctly as you can to give the buyer confidence in every aspect of the transaction.
No reviews from past customers
The more positive reviews the better. We’re looking at bringing reviews to product level to really boost buyer confidence, so make sure you do all you can to encourage your buyers to leave feedback with you. Read our post about Customer Service – sometimes it’s not the product itself that influences the review but the way you handle the sale. A beginner’s guide to customer service
Don’t panic if you’re new and have no reviews to share yet, just be patient. A good way of getting going is to promote your work in the Folksy Forums where there are other sellers who understand just how important leaving feedback is for fellow sellers. Visit the Folksy Forums (make sure you read all the rules and don’t be a spammer!)
Do you have any tips or advice on how to boost your conversion rate? Or do you have a question? I’ll be reading all the comments and will try and help with ideas to boost your sales! Please leave a comment below.
If you would like more advice and help I’m offering 1-to-1 sessions at the upcoming Weekend of the Maker event in Sheffield on the 27th November. I’m also offering sellers who book a session a free copy of my book ‘ Online marketing for your craft business’. (PS If you can’t make it I have copies available at 30% off on my blog)
featured image: Cloth doll by Red Hand Gang on Folksy.