Monday, April 26, 2010

Selling Your Handmade Books: Selling by the Golden Rule

Since my first post on deciding what level of a seller you want to be, we have ventured into pricing, keeping record of finances, taxes and making all the small print decisions.

We are now taking a step from behind the scenes to the viewable you. For this post, I'm going to start by taking you shopping. 

We're going to take a stroll through my local grocery store. There are certain things that I expect when I go grocery shopping.

1- I expect a clean store. I don't want to see muddy footprints all over in the produce section or dust all over the jars of peanut butter. I want to know things are fresh, new and clean. 

2- I expect the store to be well organized. I want to know that when I go down the aisle marked "Baking Goods" I can expect to find the flour and sugar that I'm looking for. 

3- I expect visually pleasing displays. I don't want to be distracted by ugly neon sticker flags all the way down the aisle. But an occasional little poster to show a new item is often received well. 

4- I expect well marked sale items with no tricks involved and no hassle (like mail in rebates...ick!)

5- The store must be well lit so that I can see the food that I am purchasing. I want to know whether the food is good or if it's gone moldy.

6- I expect the boxes/bags of food to have good descriptions of the contents. I expect them to be in a language I can read and I like it when they make the item sound like it's the perfect food even if it's just a box of graham crackers, however, they must remain honest in their advertising of it. I also expect all the ingredients to be on the box so I know what I'm getting.

7- I expect a friendly atmosphere. I want someone there to answer my questions when I need them answered or help me with getting stuff down from the top shelf (which happens often as I'm only 5'2")

8- I like my grocery store to have a variety of items but hate it if the store is just too big and I don't like it if it takes 5 minutes just to get the milk from the back of the store. 

9- I expect things to be in the right place. It's annoying to me when I go to get a canister of oats, to find that there isn't any. And then while browsing the juice aisle I happen upon a lost canister of oats that has been misplaced. I like to know I can find what I need in the place it should be.

10- I expect fair prices and honest people to run the store.

11- I expect a simple, hassle free check out.

12- I expect the bagger to bag my groceries well so that the eggs will not be broken and the jar of pickles doesn't end up on top of the grapes. I want my food to be packaged nicely to arrive safely home.

Your expectations of a good shopping experience might be different than mine. However, I am now going to illustrate how my shopping experience has affected the way I run my own Etsy Shop. This is called Selling by the Golden Rule. The golden rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Do you provide your own ideal shopping experience for your customers? 

1- Is my store clean? Well, no one is tracking mud in, but when a customer comes across my store, they get to see my banner, shop announcement, and titles of my items. I like things in my grocery store to be clean, so this is the feel my banner has. I keep my shop announcement short to allow for a nice flow right into the items of my shop. I also try to keep my titles to the point and I don't clutter the titles with too many adjectives. 

2- I expect my store to be well organized and I do this by using the "sections" option. I keep my sections to the point and well organized. I also make sure that if I'm using the sections, I put everything in a section so all the items have a place or "shelf" in my shop.

3- I expect visually pleasing displays. Eye candy, that's what my items should be to my customer. My sale announcements should be as well. Think about how you like to be notified of new items or promotions. Keep this in mind when creating your own announcements in your Etsy Shop or for advertising elsewhere.

4- If I offer something on sale, I shouldn't make the customer go through a lengthy process of paying and refunding and then putting up a custom listing and then making them pay again etc. If I offer a deal, it should be hassle free on the customer's part. 

5- I can't exactly change everyone's brightness on their monitor screens, but when it comes to lighting, having good lighting on the items in my shop can really help the item to sell. Just as I don't want to have to squint at items on the back of a shelf in the dark, my customers expect to see the item in detail up close and in the light. 

6- Since I expect good descriptions of food, that's what I should give my customers. Nice clear descriptions in a language they can understand (without too much jargon and fluff) and I should make the item sound appealing while being honest about it. I should also let my customers know what the item was made with.

7- Since I expect help when I want it, I should also give that to my customers. I should respond promptly to conversations about my products and answer any questions I can. 

8- Since I don't like huge mile-long stores, I shouldn't make mine too long to wade through. Keeping the number of items in a reasonable range is best so that my customers can easily find the item they are looking for without a long wait of trudging through page after page. However, I should offer more than just a few books and really give my customers a variety to choose from. 

9- To keep things in the right place, I need to use the right tags. If someone does a search in my shop for a blue book, I hope they can find it, as it's been properly tagged. I also hope they don't have to stroll down the red aisle to find that a blue book was misplaced. 

10- Since I expect fair prices and honest people...well...that's just a given from me right?

11- I expect a simple hassle free checkout and hope my customers have that same experience. This also goes with #4- a simple checkout in my opinion requires very little of the customer. 

12- Since I expect all my groceries to arrive home safely, I should package all my own handmade goods in such a way so that they can arrive safely to their destinations as well. 

Have I reached my ideals in all these areas? Probably not, but I work toward them, and try to improve when I begin to see where I need to. 

We'll talk more in depth about some of these aspects of our Etsy shops in future Tuesday posts but for this week, I urge you to take a moment to list your own expectations from the places you shop and how you can reflect those expectations in your own Etsy Shop. 

Please share your own expectations of an ideal shopping experience!

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