Are you making it easy for people to buy your handmade products?
Do your customers have to work too hard to find you or spend money with you?
At a craft fair recently, I fell in love with a vendor’s felted animal figurines. She was using local wool in natural colors and making the most adorable dogs. I asked her if she had any border collies since I have the world’s best border collie and she told me that while she didn’t have any made, she can do one custom for me if I will provide a photo of my dog.
What??? I was so excited by this prospect. I didn’t even ask her how much it would cost because I was already 100% ready to purchase and at this point, the price wasn’t even a barrier.
Realizing that I will need to contact her to supply a photo of my dog, my next question was, “Do you have a business card?” To which, she said no. Hmmmm. Ok, maybe she wasn’t prepared for custom inquiries at this show. Both of us sat there for a moment trying to think of the next possible step. Finally, I say, “Oh, I will take a picture of one of your tags…do they have your contact info on them?” Nope. Ok, so then I ask, “Do you have a website? I can just write down the name.” No, no website. Facebook page? Negative. Ok, how about email address? She said, “Oh, shoot. My email account is all messed up and I have just stopped checking it altogether. I’m getting a new one, but haven’t done it yet.”
At this point, I’m just standing there because I am feeling a bit like a guy asking a girl on a date and she doesn’t want to go. “Want to go out Friday?” No I’m busy Friday. “How about Saturday?” Oh, sorry, have plans Saturday. “Sunday brunch?” Ooooh. Well Sunday is no good either.
Maybe she is just not interested.
Finally, she said, “I’ll send you a text so you’ll have my cell… what’s your number?” Encouraged, I give her my number and she sends a text. We chat a bit longer and then I leave. Later, I see the text and all it said is…. “Hi, this is Mary.” That’s it.
So here’s what I took away from this encounter. I never want my customers to have to work this hard to spend money with me. Whether it’s a custom order they are after, or just letting people know where my website is so they can purchase later or share it with their friends.
I am still interested in buying this felted dog from that amazingly talented seller, but I can’t help but think that many people would just give up if they had to jump through too many hoops or work so hard to get in touch.
My husband recently was given a business card for an artist that was asking him to refer her services to his clients. The fact that she had a business card was a good thing.
The problem is that in order to get to her website, you need to scan the QR code on the business card. Kinda fun if you have the app already and know how to do that, but many people don’t. And there wasn’t a website address provided on the card so if you want to see this artist’s work, you are required to go to the app store, download an app, then scan the code.
This is too hard. There are too many steps.
These examples are the most recent, and the impetus of this post, but they are not isolated. I thought it might be a good idea to share a list of ways to make it easier for your customers to spend money on your handmade creations. I have learned some of these the hard way. 🙂 Live and learn, right?
How to make it easy for people to buy your handmade products:
1. Have a business card with ALL of your contact information on it. It should include your business name, your name, website, email, address (if applicable), phone number, social media. And one I learned recently is if your business name doesn’t expressly say what you make, your card should. I make jewelry out of old coins and when I handed a woman my card she said, “But how can I remember that you are the coin lady?” Oops. We hand wrote a note on the card, but I made a mental note for later.
2. Have an online presence. Websites are so easy to set up these days. You can have a shop on Etsy, your own shop on a number of hosting services, or a Squarespace site to name a few. If you don’t have a website, at the very least, you can have a Facebook page. It’s free, takes minutes to set up, and gives your business a little credibility. You can post photos of your products, alert people about upcoming shows where they might purchase your products and it is a way people can get in touch with you.
3. Respond to messages in a timely fashion. Creatives are notoriously flaky people. Maybe we are just too busy making the world a more beautiful place? I know I personally have to force myself to return phone calls, emails and social media messages. We can’t just think that we will do it later. I think within 24 hours is a good goal.
4. If you make custom items, have procedures and pricing in place. This makes it easy for people to make decisions. I recently added a custom order page to my website and tried to answer as many questions as I could on my site. I listed prices when possible and I tell people exactly what information I need from them to do the custom order.
5. Stay on their minds by posting on social media. I know it can be overwhelming with all the different platforms out there, but even if you choose just one and post regularly, you are keeping yourself in the forefront of people’s minds and when they are ready to buy, you will be more likely to get the sale. They say people need 7 points of contact with you before they buy. Social media is a great way to achieve this. It also shows people more about your business. When others see your passion, it becomes contagious.
These things can seem simple, but I think it’s a good idea to put yourself in the place of your customer. Go through your business with that in mind and see where you can make things easier, smoother and more simple.