y guest author jessica van den
What's the first thing that comes to a person's mind when they visit your online shop?
What is her perception of your brand?
- Is it modern, vintage, fresh, funky, fun, classic, eco...?
- Does your shop scream 'professional' or does it cry 'hobbyist'?
- Do your product photos catch their eye and entice them to click?
- Do your descriptions answer all their questions?
- Do your prices reflect the true value of your work?
These are just a few of the questions you should know the answer to if you're serious about your business.
A visit to your shop is often the first time a person encounters your brand.
If your shop doesn't have a coherent, professional look, you can't expect people to believe you have a serious, professional business.
Most of us in the handmade biz scene start off as hobbyists. We cobble together a banner, trial-and-error our way through photos, and basically just keep tweaking things until we're satisfied enough.
However, this can often leave our shop looking a tad haphazard – I know mine did when I first started out!
It took me years to hit on the combination of elements that finally felt right – to truly craft a band - and I'll be honest when I say that might not last forever. A brand is a coherent thing – but it doesn't have to be a permanent one.
If my product changes, my brand might need to change with it. But that's a story for another day.
Let's get back to brand perception.
I want you to cast your mind back to the last online shop you remember that really caught your attention.
You know the shop I mean. The one where your first reaction was 'wow' – where you got that tiny little frisson of excitement because you'd stumbled across a real gem.
If you remember the shop – go visit it now (go on, open another tab in your browser, I'll wait...).
Examine it and ask yourself - why did you have that reaction? Was it one thing in particular that caused it, or was it the overall aesthetic – the branding – of the shop?
I'm going to take the leap to guess that it was the latter.
A truly wow-worthy shop doesn't just have one element right – it has all of them sorted.
Everything works in cohesion. All the elements fit together and create a mood. And that creates confidence in you as a professional that can be trusted.
Trust is a CRUCIAL element to online business.
You don't have a physical place someone can return to. Most of us don't have a phone number our customers can call. All they have to go on is the image you portray of you and your business through your branding.
By taking the look and cohesion of your shop seriously, customers will start to take you seriously. You'll gain their trust... and their business.
So – go take another look at your online shop, and ask yourself – does your brand shine? Or does it need a little spit and polish?
Jess Van Den is a jeweller who's been making a living from selling her craft online since 2010 under the Epheriell label.
She's also the editor of Create & Thrive – a site for those who want to turn their handmade hobby into a full time business by learning from those who've actually done it!
This April she's running a brand-new 30-day e-course called Set Up Shop that will help you take your shop from go to WHOA.