PDA

View Full Version : Selling from web sites.



tea lady
16th Sep 2009, 10:29 AM
Does it happen? We hear in the media all the time about how the intenet allows people to gain direct acces to thier customers etc. I was thinking that I perhaps should put more effort into my website and perhaps even have a way for people to purchase through it. But is it really worth it. Does it happen? Do people really purchase art or design objects off someones website? :?

I'd like to hear from people who have either sold through their own web sites or bought from a web site (other than ebay.:rolleyes: ) Or do the web sites act more like a shop window, and if people want something they will still come and look in person? :shrug: Or at least make personal contact. :think:

I have been meaning to get a proper domain name and all that. And get some more up to date images on there. :doh: Just have to wait until my web master has some spare time and no gardening to do. (might be easier and quicker to get someone else to do it.:C )

So what are peoples thoughts?

Waldo
16th Sep 2009, 10:51 AM
G'day Tea Lady,

Depending how you sell through a website it can be very costly:

If it were a shopping card with payment bt credit card then the following apply:

1. Hosting SSL certificate and static IP address ~$250 / year

with

Online Payment
Indicative cost over 1 year based on up to 3,000 transactions:
Option 1 : Bank + Payment Gateway provider
● Payment Gateway ~$1,200
● Bank fees. ~$600 +~1.5% comm. on transactions

2. Paypal 3% commission on all payments then an additional charge on transferring your money out of Paypal into your account. For this reason most will do one transaction when there is a nice bit of $ to transfer. But businesses can't wait to build up sufficent funds.

3. Shopping cart for all intents and purposes looks like a shopping cart, when all it does is collect the information by the customer and sends it as an email to you, you then follow up with customer to take Visa details and process payment - but you need a Visa machine; or

I suggest this for my clients where it is a small business, where you have a higher turnover then option 1., but that as you can see comes at a cost.

4. Money is deposited by the customer via a direct deposit into your account and good are shipped on receipt of money in full.

Hope this helps. :2tsup:

Ozkaban
16th Sep 2009, 10:52 AM
Hi TL,

It's an interesting thought. I would guess that wood craft is a very tactile type purchase - it's the picking it up and feeling the texture and weight, etc that makes you want to buy it.

I'd be really interested to hear how people go selling turnings on the web. I would imagine pens and the like would be ok.

Cheers,
Dave

echnidna
16th Sep 2009, 01:45 PM
I sell a little bit from my websites.

The easiest practical way is to use Paypal, that way you can accept credit card payments without any of the the hassle & expense of setting up credit card merchant accounts. Apart from actual sales fees there is also a modest withdrawal fee to transfer less than $150.00 to your bank account but every time you buy with paypal your purchases come off your paypal balance.

Paypal is much easier to track than bank deposits and also makes international sales very easy.

So if it costs you $3 for each $100 of sales that seems ok by me.
If you can't afford to get $97 out of each $100 sale then life must be very grim for the odd detractors.

It's an excellent starting point for online sales.

Gil Jones
16th Sep 2009, 03:19 PM
Hi anne-maria,
Check out this site to sell things handmade...
http://www.etsy.com/
I am considering ETSY, but am still looking and studying them.
Good luck with it; your work looks very nice to me, so maybe online sales will be a good outlet for you.
Gil

NeilS
16th Sep 2009, 03:32 PM
TL - can't comment on your exact question (don't have a website or sell online) but make the following observation from considerable experience and knowledge of online stuff.

Websites are a great way for artist/craftspeople to promote and support their work. Not so much for attracting new customers and making online sales, but more a case of adding value for your existing customer base. The odd sale arising through your website would be just a bonus.

Alan Stirt's website (http://www.alstirt.com/index.html) is a nice example of what I think works well.

For me, having been an Internet pioneer (started back in 1991) and done so much of that I've been happy to leave that part of my working life aside, at least for now. But would definitely recommend any serious woodturner that is regularly exhibiting and selling their work through galleries to complement their other support/promotional materials (eg tickets and catalogues) with a website.

Ozkaban
16th Sep 2009, 04:07 PM
TL - can't comment on your exact question (don't have a website or sell online) but make the following observation from considerable experience and knowledge of online stuff.

Websites are a great way for artist/craftspeople to promote and support their work. Not so much for attracting new customers and making online sales, but more a case of adding value for your existing customer base. The odd sale arising through your website would be just a bonus.

Alan Stirt's website (http://www.alstirt.com/index.html) is a nice example of what I think works well.

For me, having been an Internet pioneer (started back in 1991) and done so much of that I've been happy to leave that part of my working life aside, at least for now. But would definitely recommend any serious woodturner that is regularly exhibiting and selling their work through galleries to complement their other support/promotional materials (eg tickets and catalogues) with a website.

:whs:

I think AlexS has a similar setup - gallery of his goodies and a like to request a quote, but then again he's selling to order, no selling from stock.
http://web.mac.com/alexspringall

Only flaw is that's made on a Mac, but we can over look that in light of his talent with boxes. Can't have everything :D

Cheers,
Dave

tea lady
16th Sep 2009, 05:57 PM
Hi anne-maria,
Check out this site to sell things handmade...
http://www.etsy.com/
I am considering ETSY, but am still looking and studying them.
Good luck with it; your work looks very nice to me, so maybe online sales will be a good outlet for you.
GilHave looked at Etsy, but feel that a lot of the 5hings on there are a bit "crafty"


:whs:

I think AlexS has a similar setup - gallery of his goodies and a like to request a quote, but then again he's selling to order, no selling from stock.
http://web.mac.com/alexspringall

Only flaw is that's made on a Mac, but we can over look that in light of his talent with boxes. Can't have everything :D

Cheers,
DaveMade on a Mac? I got no probs with that.

I do sell through a few galleries, so I prolly shouldn't under cut them, or cut them out. Maybe I should direct customers to the galleries if they wish to purchase something? :shrug: Or maybe I should get my act together and get the galleries working for ME more. :C:rolleyes:

TTIT
16th Sep 2009, 06:52 PM
When I set my site up, I had no interest in making sales from it at all and wanted no advertising on it whatsoever - it's just my online diary/album so-to-speak. I did suggest though that if anyone was interested in anything they saw they should contact me and one recent sale I made that way has paid the next 8 years webspace fees :U . The queries are few and far between but they have added dozens of species to my wooden egg collection so I can't complain :shrug:
Unless you can build a secure commercial website yourself TL, I reckon you'd be better off to just include links to the galleries that hold your works and let them do the haggling for you :shrug:

Grumpy John
16th Sep 2009, 07:27 PM
TL, I don't have anything constructive to add except that I have been wondering the same thing myself. Great idea for a thread :2tsup:, greenie sent. I'll be wathcing this one with interest.

Woodwould
16th Sep 2009, 07:50 PM
I've been selling from one of my sites for over a decade and only I accept PayPal (I don't want the hassle of any domestic buyers paying by direct deposit and expecting to pick up or buyers calling in with cash). I make daily sales all around the world (excepting the few countries that PayPal doesn't support). I also do freelance work for a number of international clients and so far, they've all been happy to use PayPal too.

Adding a PayPal shopping cart to your site is simplicity itself and as others have said, it makes credit card payments a breeze. Some people bemoan PayPal's fees, but it's virtually foolproof and buyers these days are familiar with PayPal and trust it more than direct credit card transactions.

You should give it a go - you can get started in half an hour and there's nothing to lose.

Claw Hama
16th Sep 2009, 08:07 PM
Hi TL, my web site is my only advertising, I do not have a shop front only my workshop. People email or phone me with an enquiry and I get back to them as quickly as I can usually only a few hours at the most. My sales are larger and they either pick them up or I deliver so its either foldy money, cheque or direct deposit. I only need about 20 -30 transactions a year so I haven't done the Paypal thing but it is the one I would choose I think. I get around 50 individual visitors a day to my site. If you did have one LOML would have bought some of those beads and buttons by now.
Good luck.

tea lady
17th Sep 2009, 12:26 AM
Adding a PayPal shopping cart to your site is simplicity itself and as others have said, it makes credit card payments a breeze. Some people bemoan PayPal's fees, but it's virtually foolproof and buyers these days are familiar with PayPal and trust it more than direct credit card transactions.

You should give it a go - you can get started in half an hour and there's nothing to lose.:think: Could be worth it. I was thinking of having a few "products" that people could purchas on line. Then for other things that are more "one of" I can send them to galleries.

tea lady
17th Sep 2009, 12:30 AM
If you did have one LOML would have bought some of those beads and buttons by now.
Good luck.:doh: So beads and buttons should be on of the products. :cool: I know there is a whole world of people trying to do craft even though Lincraft and Spotlight keep down grading it. And all the little craft shops are struggling on.:)

Woodwould
17th Sep 2009, 08:17 AM
:doh: So beads and buttons should be on of the products.
Don't forget wig stands too!

tea lady
17th Sep 2009, 10:09 AM
Don't forget wig stands too!:rolleyes: Yes! Highly sort after in this day and age.:doh:

Claw Hama
17th Sep 2009, 03:43 PM
LOML and I have decided if at all posible to only by hand made things ie coffee mugs, bowls etc if there is a handmade option we would rather that, it will cost more but you get things with integrity that have been made with love and passion rather than machine made and chinese made crap.

tea lady
17th Sep 2009, 03:59 PM
LOML and I have decided if at all posible to only by hand made things ie coffee mugs, bowls etc if there is a handmade option we would rather that, it will cost more but you get things with integrity that have been made with love and passion rather than machine made and chinese made crap. Depends what you compare it with. I have an artical in my magazine collection somewhere that can still make me slightly mad if I ever make the mistake of actually reading it. (I only buy my design mags for the pictures.:cool: ) Its supposed to be all about different ceramic things and has some hand made things and says exactly that. Ie: "Hand made things will cost you more". But if the pictures on the pages before and after there was Nigella Lauson mixing bowls, that you would have had to mortgage your house for, and wedgwood that you had to sell your grandmother for. :doh: The hand made things were cheaper.:rolleyes:

ElizaLeahy
17th Sep 2009, 05:58 PM
These days I advise people to go the blog route rather then a website. Updated daily, spend 5 minutes a day visiting other peoples blogs (do search for similar interests) and you built a network. I know artists who did a painting a day, put it on their blog, sold each one for $100.

Selling from websites, on the other hand, CAN work, if you have a nitch market, but it's more work, and is going to take more time and cost more money.

Used properly a blog is worth more.

Waldo
17th Sep 2009, 06:07 PM
These days I advise people to go the blog route rather then a website. Updated daily, spend 5 minutes a day visiting other peoples blogs (do search for similar interests) and you built a network.

Very good advice. :2tsup:

tea lady
17th Sep 2009, 06:58 PM
These days I advise people to go the blog route rather then a website. Updated daily, spend 5 minutes a day visiting other peoples blogs (do search for similar interests) and you built a network. I know artists who did a painting a day, put it on their blog, sold each one for $100.

Selling from websites, on the other hand, CAN work, if you have a nitch market, but it's more work, and is going to take more time and cost more money.

Used properly a blog is worth more.Was contemplating this. :think: But not sure I'd be that interesting. :rolleyes: At least I'd have to make something everyday. Or at least regularly. :shrug: And I wouldn't need a web master would I. It seems like its jjust like posting sommething on here. And little projects I think up could be done fairly instantly, instead of them thinking "OK! I have to find a shop to sell this through. or a gallery to exhibit at." Although I should do that too. :think: And if I feel that someone is "watching" me I'd have to actually finish it, like my "finials with box" box.:D

AlexS
17th Sep 2009, 07:13 PM
I get quite a bit of my work via my website, but I suspect that's because of links from other websites and people who have seen some of my posts here. Because it's on web.mac.com rather than www, google doesn't seem to pick it up.
The gallery works - people will say they are interested in a box like ...., or when we're discussing a job, I can point them to different types of timber. Usually, though, they like to actually visit and have a look at some examples before they actually commission. In a couple of cases, people have bought a sample as well as commissioning a piece. I can only think of one case where someone has commissioned a piece without meeting me and seeing an example.

Ed Reiss
18th Sep 2009, 12:23 PM
Eliza, just to clarify, how does the blog thing work? Is it like setting up a web site?

More info please. Thanks

Waldo
18th Sep 2009, 12:29 PM
G'day Ed, this is one of the easier and gives more scope for how much you want to post at a time.

https://www.blogger.com/start

Woodwould
18th Sep 2009, 12:34 PM
WordPress (http://wordpress.org/) is another excellent free blog service. I've used both Blogger and (currently) WordPress.

rhancock
18th Sep 2009, 11:22 PM
Lots of advice from sellers here, but not many buyers! We buy lots of stuff online, from baby nappies to artworks, a lot is from ebay, but we're moving away from ebay as it starts to deteriorate, and online sellers become more sophisticated.

We've bought a number of paintings from websites, and swmbo has bought a lot of hand made or unique dresses etc.

My only advice, is that you're presenting yourself in a very crowded market, so you need to make sure your pictures are very clear and easy to understand at first glance, and that your descriptions are equally clear and quick to read - if not, the buyer will skate over your site and move on to the next one.

Good luck!

tea lady
19th Sep 2009, 12:01 AM
We've bought a number of paintings from websites, and swmbo has bought a lot of hand made or unique dresses etc.

Good luck!Oh! An actual buyer. :oo: Thanks for your feed back.

I was thinking of doing a blog so that I can build a relationship with on line customers, kinda like you would chat with someone over some months at the market perhaps, and then come to you if they needed wedding pressies and stuff. One great blog I came across accidentally has little projects on the go all the time so that people on line feel like they are coming along on the journey, (Here (http://mochimochiland.com/weblog/) it is if you are interested. Its knitting, but very querky and funny, which is always good.:cool: )

Ed Reiss
19th Sep 2009, 11:36 AM
Waldo and Woodwould...thanks for the info on blogs guys.

NeilS
19th Sep 2009, 12:19 PM
WordPress (http://wordpress.org/) is another excellent free blog service. I've used both Blogger and (currently) WordPress.

My daughter in-law also uses Wordpress. She makes and sells sock monkeys. The blog for her Little House on the Hill venture is here (http://littlehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/). But her blog does highlight one of the downsides of blogs... it becomes very obvious if you stop doing it for any length of time, as was the case when her second baby was on the way. The inactivity would have been less obvious with a standard website.

Woodwould
19th Sep 2009, 01:24 PM
My daughter in-law also uses Wordpress. She makes and sells sock monkeys. The blog for her Little House on the Hill venture is here (http://littlehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/). But her blog does highlight one of the downsides of blogs... it becomes very obvious if you stop doing it for any length of time, as was the case when her second baby was on the way. The inactivity would have been less obvious with a standard website.

So... are you proposing blog-writing an argument for contraception? I do take your point, though I think a long absence would affect sale whether on a web site or blog, unless you had a fully automated web site - if such a thing exists.

ElizaLeahy
19th Sep 2009, 02:01 PM
I buy from Etsy and eBay.

But then, I'm usually only after things like beads to put on top of hair sticks.

Johncs
20th Sep 2009, 08:02 PM
I'd like to hear from people who have either sold through their own web sites or bought from a web site (other than ebay.:rolleyes: ) Or do the web sites act more like a shop window, and if people want something they will still come and look in person? :shrug: Or at least make personal contact. :think:



I rarely buy from websites, but people in my generation tend not to, An exception is sawandbits.com, when it first had lots of router bits at $5.50, and lots of good reports here, in this forum.

I do use websites to inform my purchase decisions, and do quite a bit of "window shopping."

A website that describes what you do, and has pictures of your work would be useful to me. To my mind, Bunnings and Mitre 10 haven't sorted it out properly.

Carbatec, H&F and Timbercon have okay websites, I can get most of the detail I want, and they have prices. Prices are important, not just to compare the price of a "a Maktita 3612C" but to tell me whether I can (or wish to) afford thing at all. I also interpret the price as an indication of quality, I expect a 10" table saw priced at something over $5,000 is better than one for $400.

Organisation of a website is important. Some sites are organised by brands, so to choose a router in my price range I might have to view Makita, Hitachi, Maktec, Ryobi routers separately. I'd rather a list o routers, and the ability to choose to sort the list by price, by brand and maybe by (input) power.

It also frustrates me when a website lists 500 widgets in groups of 10. I like the ability to choose longer lists, 100 and up. Even on dialup, it's quicker to get to the 41st item in one transaction of 100 than in five groups of ten.

Having a well-organised website with lots of goodies for sale isn't a lot of use without prospective buyers finding it, so you need some kind of marketing plan.

I used to be a noted OS/2 guru, and had a website hosted in clients' space at iiNet, they called it "The Zoo" and they ranked it in terms of the number of hits. At my peak, I ranked second or third, behind someone hosting pictures of women wearing little.

I used to hang out on usenet, reading the OS/2 newsgroups and helping out. As I solved my problems, I wrote up my solutions and hosted them on my hand-crafted (but very crude looking) website. I quoted the URL in my sig, and regularly referred people to answers I had already written.

That was before google existed. The best search engine then was Altavista, created by DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) to show off its computing prowess. (It worked, Compaq bought DEC, just before HP bought Compaq).

Unlike a blog, I didn't need to update my site very often.

Oh, you could regard this website as a marketing tool for Ubeaut. I'd guess everyone who's here regularly knows about Ubeat and its range of inishing products.

A while ago, I created a site hosted on my ADSL connexion, isay.js.id.au, where it's made clear that "forum membership is by invitation only." Interestingly, a few uninvited people have tried to join, but none, so far as I can judge, with any good intent. I've done google searches on the usernames offered, domains where they claim to have their email and found some enrolling, in the same time period, at other sites. Some names are associated with spammers. Some give bogus email addresses, since the email bounces there is no prospect of their membership being approved, even were it open tor random requesters.

I've done little to attract visitors, the site's main purpose is to familiarise me with the software I used. If I wanted lots of visitors, I would populate it with articles relevant to those visitors I want. Maybe "how to" information on woodworking, pictures of my work, suggestions people "contact me" if they want more information.

Lists of links are annoying, they are the most useless hits returned by google, except for those links that are regenerated "to match my search criteria."

Oh, it's important that, if google returns a link to information from your site, I get the same information when I follow the link (I'm thinking of The Quokka).

I've wandered, I tend to do that.

I think a website is good. Think of it as an extended business card.
You need a plan to attract visitors in the numbers you need. Preferably visitors who are prospective buyers of your goods and services.

If you don't have a lot of content, consider working with some others with similar interests. Probably, the probability of a more interesting site overall will outweigh any "stealing of sales" that might happen. I imagine a few people who've responded to this thread could comfortably work together.

You might also write occasionally for magazines, people who are published in magazines seem to have more cred on that account. The notion of combining pottery and woodturning might seem commonplace to you, but I bet it would attract a fair bit of comment if an article or two were published in suitable magazines.


ps
You could start right now by updating your website with some wooden stuff.

hughie
20th Sep 2009, 09:41 PM
I buy from Etsy and eBay.

Selling on Etsy or Ebay wood turned items on the Oz site, for me is not a great money spinner and it would be doubtful if it would pay its way. On the other hand the US market has a history of greater appreciation to the point where many do well if not earn a living from doing so. Current economic times have slowed this in the US so I told. But there others more qualified to the details.

Never the less this is a great thread

tea lady
20th Sep 2009, 11:29 PM
ps
You could start right now by updating your website with some wooden stuff.:C Yes! Its on my to do list. But trouble is Its actually my hubby that has to find the time to do it. But it will happen I promise. (I even have some proffessional photoes to put on it. :cool:) Thanks for your invaluable feedback and pointers.:cool:

tea lady
23rd Sep 2009, 11:36 AM
I've been poking around on pottery blogs looking at what others are doing and their different styles.

Here is an interesting one that I really like. The combination of chatty style and beautiful photos. Some interesting links. Its even from Australia. There is some interesting thoughts on blogging down the page too.:cool:

http://strangefragments.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-08-11T08%3A43%3A00%2B10%3A00

And this one isn't bad either.:cool:

http://andrewwiddis.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-09-12T15%3A54%3A00%2B10%3A00&max-results=5

NeilS
23rd Sep 2009, 03:52 PM
I've been poking around on pottery blogs looking at what others are doing and their different styles.

Here is an interesting one that I really like. The combination of chatty style and beautiful photos. Some interesting links. Its even from Australia. There is some interesting thoughts on blogging down the page too.:cool:

http://strangefragments.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-08-11T08%3A43%3A00%2B10%3A00

And this one isn't bad either.:cool:

http://andrewwiddis.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-09-12T15%3A54%3A00%2B10%3A00&max-results=5


Spiffy blog sites!

.