I began this small series of blog entries yesterday with the cons about selling handmade arts and goods online. I chose to begin with the cons so that the pros might keep you, my readers from being discouraged. And without further ado, here are my pros about selling online.
1.) It is easy and fairly inexpensive to get started.
Most online sites that allow artists to sell their wares are very user friendly. For example, I currently sell my jewelry on Artfire.com. Artfire is extremely easy to use. They have tools that make listing items very simple and quick. There are all sorts of "short cuts", such as their shipping profile button. You can save a shipping profile and just click the button on all your listings after that. Makes listing items a shorter and smoother process.
As for cost, many places charge fees based on the number of listings you have. Some places, such as Artfire, charge nothing to set up a basic account. Absolutely free. Now, that being said, paying the fees on Artfire to become a Pro seller are definitely worth the investment. They offer you more tools and services as a paying member and depending on how much you are selling it can easily be covered each month.That's just a decision each seller has to make for themselves.
2.) Your items are seen by anyone who has internet access and a search engine.
Instead of only being seen at local arts and crafts fairs or in boutiques in your immediate area, your items can be seen and purchased by anyone in the world who has internet access, a search engine and a working paying account. With a market that large, it should increase your chances of having your work seen, recognized and possibly even sold. Now, that being said... you have to go out and promote your work on the web to make certain it is being seen and searched by the spiders on the web. We call this SEO or Search Engine Optimizing. That's a whole different topic for an entirely different blog entry though. ;)
3.) Your customers can browse your items at their leisure.
One of the most wonderful things about the internet for me is that I can order whatever I need to from the comfort of my own home. I love to order things late at night while I am in bed with my laptop watching the Late Show. And if there is something I can't find in my local shops, chances are I can find it online and have it delivered right to my door. This is true of your customers. They can find your products on their time. I also find this helpful when doing craft shows. If someone sees a piece at a show I do but can't afford it at the time, it's nice to be able to hand them my business card and say "Here's where my shop is. You can stop in later and see if it's still available." So much simpler for that person. Plus, there is the added bonus of having that person go out and share your website information with their friends, work colleagues and family members.
4.) Your items will find their niche or reach their target market.
Let's say you make handmade children's clothing. But you live in a place where there are relatively few children to be found. Not a problem! Your online shop can be seen by anyone anywhere and therefore, the customers for your products can find you and your products. Let's say you make something a little off the beaten path but live where there is little to no interest in your art. Not a problem! There is a market of customers out on the internet somewhere probably looking for items just like yours. Selling online allows you to find your market and your market to find your products.
5.) Selling online can generate revenue.
Yes, you can make money selling online. I'm not going to promise you'll make boatloads of cash and be able to quit your "day job" or pay for a cruise or anything but who couldn't use the opportunity to make a little extra spending cash now and again? Am I right?
I know there are once again probably more pros I am missing. If you would like to add to my list, ask a question or comment on your experiences selling online, please do! Comments are encouraged!