Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How to (lose and) get a boost in sales for summer

May and June are annoying months, economically speaking. Also known as "the months of renewing annual car expenses" (insurance and test, with an overall of about 1250$) they always seem to get me anxious for some extra income. Ahh, where are the happy days of leased high-tech cars. I always miss those boring Mazdas this time of year. Add to that the idea of a little Etsy get together near Glasgow in July and you get a Sharona who worries about money 100% of the time.

I don't like worrying about money 100% of the time. It doesn't leave me time to stress about other things I like to stress about and that stresses me out even more.

The obvious solution to this issue is increasing sales on my Etsy shops. That should be easily done! Selling more in the hardest months of the year, where no holidays are anywhere in sight, people are stressed about their taxes, and global economy is in recession. Oh yes.

I have a lot of useful ideas how to (not) earn more during these months. Each of these ideas will hurt my income directly or indirectly. Here are just a few:
  • Offer free shipping on both my shops for a month
    Free shipping is the worst sales boost you can offer. It eliminates your only fee free income, one you make no profit on to begin with. It's like sweeping a rug from under my own feet. Not to mention the fact my shipping expenses eliminate any incoming on my ribbon shop.
  • Offer huge discounts on items on my shop
    Nothing ever sells on sales, from my experience, plus it will only decrease my income. I may reduce prices as much as I like, but my investment in each item stays the same. Right? right.
  • Plea with people to help me out by buying my stuff
    The most embarrassing, degrading way of finding customers. They may buy from me, but I will feel guilty and ashamed.

I do have some good ideas though, that are based on generating more traffic to my shops. These include:

  • Promos
    I already took advantage of Moo's special offer, and ordered two packs of mini cards for both my shops. These will turn into a large batch of promo packs which I will send to other top-selling Etsians to ship to their customers upon purchase.
  • Create an independent website
    Work is already on the go. First draft of the website is prepared (and I mean a beautiful bilingual Flash website designed by a pro, as opposed to the old website made by me). This will also help attract Israeli buyers who are not comfortable with the English Etsy interface.
  • Buy ad space
    There is no way to go around this. I need to get paid advertising space. I think it's time to check Project Wonderful and other advertising opportunities.
  • Making freebies for my customers
    This may be a good way of giving an added value to shopping at a specific time, most needed for me, and still not losing or bagging. I can make a batch of a special edition item that will be added to every (?) purchase on my shop during the problematic months. Will that be a sales boost?
  • Start an ad exchange
    You put an ad on my blog (or website, when it is ready) and I put one on yours. That is a good idea, in websites that generate traffic and blogs with a lot of followers.
  • Start selling tutorials
    This is am excellent way to boost sales, just ask Yoola.

I think it's time for a poll. I will post one on this blog in a little while. I will also love to hear ideas, your past experience, promotional opportunities you are aware of at this time, and so on. Let your voice be heard! Mama needs a new set of wheels, and she wants to buy them in the UK.


Linda said...

Great post.
I've used mini moos for over a year. They are just fabulous.

I completely agree about the "post free" idea being no use. It also smacks of desperation.

I have 10% discount printed on my mini moos. No one has ever taken me up on that and I have used over 100 cards.

I have found several free advertising sites. http://linda-considerations.blogspot.com/2009/03/free-advertising.html talks of two I used. I Googled and found them - I think these are UK specific, can't remember.
There is also this http://www.craftsitedirectory.com/index.html
I don't know if these have worked!

I was wondering about some freebies. Right now I'm abit unwell with little energy but it is on my radar screen.

Valerie's Essentials said...

Great tips Sharona! Thanks... Wonderful write up. Thanks so much!

AMIdesigns said...

I have run sales at times in my shop and occassionally have a sale from it but rarely. I offer repeat customers 15% discount and this definitely brings them back again. will interested on any other ideas you find

pleasurearts said...

great idea, thanks for sharing!

Sharona R. said...

Thank you guys!

I agree Linda, I don't think anyone ever used the discount coupons I have been distributing the past year or so.

AMIdesigns, your repeat customers discount is an interesting idea. Maybe I will take you up on that. How do you let them know they have this option? Do you give them a code, or use the notes to buyer?

YooLa said...

Fab post Sharona, your writing is so "airy" really fun reading !!! also thanks for mentioning my tuts.....

Linda said...

"I offer repeat customers 15% discount and this definitely brings them back again."

Probably done via email?
I had a shop email which people subscribed to. It went out once a month.
6 signed up, no one took any advantage of the varied offers given uniquely to them.
I stopped it after a year; it just took time and reaped no rewards.