Welcome to part five of the Stay True Project Series - the final installment!
In previous parts of the series I discussed how I brought the Stay True idea to life (i), created the Kickstarter project (ii), printing & production of the products (iii), fulfilling customer orders & shipping (iv), and now is the time I go over how I showcase my products for sale.
Now let’s jump into how I put my products online and started making sales!
What you will need to set up your online shop
It’s now easier than ever to start selling your own products online. However, it still takes quite a bit of research and a lot of work.
Here’s what you’ll need to start:
This is pretty obvious, but if you plan on doing anything onlines you’ll need one.
The cost can be anywhere around $10/year for a ".com". Recently I’ve used iWantMyName.com – they keep the entire process clutter free and painless.
For your domain, you'll want to keep it as short as possible, easy to remember, and accurate. The worst thing you could do is register a sentence of a domain or something completely irrelevant to your business/content.
It’s free to reach people on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but if you’re ready to get serious with your online business you’ll need a hosting service.
Search around a bit and choose the host that’s right for you.
Building your online shop
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a designer or developer, so you’re probably capable of designing your own website. If not, contact me and I’ll help with that! ;)
In all seriousness – make sure that you invest some time and maybe even a little money into creating your site/online shop. Don’t cut-corners!
I’m starting out small with my online shop, so I’m powering my shop with Big Cartel.
Big cartel is a simple shopping cart for artists, designers, bands, and more. They charge a flat monthly fee, which allows me to keep all of the sales I make.
My experience so far has been great! There are a couple features that I wish were implemented, but overall it's been perfect for my needs.
Once you have a platform to work on, be sure to include high quality product photos and descriptions. Your products will have to visually sell themselves on your shop, so if you cut-corners here, you could be losing out on sales.
The best and most commonly used solution here is PayPal. It’s not a perfect service, but they make processing orders and payments easy with competitive prices and no setup fees. They take a cut from each transaction processed, but that’s just how it works.
15 Ways to make sales online and promote your products
The most difficult part to this entire experience has been getting my products out there and making sales.
I’m still learning and growing in this area daily, but here’s a list of possible ways you can get your products out in front of your customers:
- Word-of-mouth: telling friends and family. Also, happy customers are likely the spread the word.
- Easy to use website with high quality product photos and effective descriptions (seo).
- Create special promotions and discounts.
- Share your process and experiences – become an authority.
- Encourage customers to send photos, share and add them to your shop’s gallery.
- Use social media to your advantage: Instagram yourself packing orders, make a Vine, etc.
- Give out a few products to influential people.
- Ask influential blogs in your product’s market to feature you and do them a favor in return.
- Add your shop to your Facebook page. (Big Cartel can do this for you with ease!)
- Offer great customer service.
- Create unique promotional designs or videos for your promotions and discounts.
- Follow-up with customers.
- Create and use a mailing list!
- Make the customer’s experience fun. Throw in some extra goodies and write them a thank you note.
- Stay relevant and updated. Post to Facebook and Twitter at least once a week.
Be sure to check out the other parts of The Stay True Project series:
PART V: Setting Up Shop & Making Sales