Monday, May 16, 2011

Understanding & Overcoming the 5 Sale-Killers

Hello teamies! This month's sales & marketing post is about understanding and overcoming the 5 reasons we lose sales. I can almost hear you now... "5 reasons?!" you say, "what do you mean 5 reasons? There are a thousand reasons!" Maybe someone likes your item but is buying it as a gift and isn't sure their friend will like it, maybe the color isn't quite what they had hoped, maybe they realized their energy bill was higher than usual this month and they shouldn't splurge on your goods, etc. etc. etc. The thing is that all of these "maybes" really boil down to 5 primary reasons someone won't buy something, and these are:

Large Tote by DorahDesigns
Money- Obviously, this one is key and is possibly the primary reason we lose a sale. You can't control how much money people have to spend, but you can address this sale-killer in a few ways.
1. Consider your pricing- try lowering some items bit by bit and seeing if there's a "sweet spot" they seem to really fly off the shelves at. 2. Offer occasional discounts- this is a great reward for existing customers, and works well with promotional efforts like your Facebook fan page, email newsletter, or Twitter base. Plus Etsy has an easy to use coupon code feature that makes it even simpler now. 3. Offer perks that build value- reduce shipping or offer free shipping upgrades, advertise free gift wrapping, or even include a free gift with orders of a certain value if it makes sense for your business.

ACEO Cat Art Limited Edition by LaBerge
Urgency- This hurdle is akin to your customers thinking "eh, there's no rush". If a product is always available and never goes on sale or gets removed from your shop, this apathy-related sale-killer is easy to overlook. The "no urgency" issue can be tackled by:
1. Retiring items- let your customers know that this item will only be available for a certain period of time and never made again. Artists address this with "limited editions". 2. Offering one-of-a-kind products- commonly marked as "OOAK" for those in-the-know, this tactic virtually ensures urgency. There will never be another item just like it, so if they want it, they need to get it before it's gone.

Itty Bitty Initial Necklace by PunkyJane
Need- You're in a shop, you see something awesome, you pick it up and think, "Oooh I want this! But I guess I don't really need it..." and you put it back down. The "no need" issue can be a tough one to overcome in this economy, especially because most of us don't make goods that are necessities. However, it's also the one issue people will most often reason away on their own. So attack this one by:
1. Making sure the other 4 sale-killers are addressed. Many people do not function on a needs-only purchasing mentality, and if your item isn't terribly expensive, they really like it and want it, they have faith in your ability to deliver a quality item and it's on sale or is a limited type of item, people will convince themselves to just get it. 2. Addressing your demographic- "Need" is defined differently by different people. Adjust your marketing to reach out to a different audience if your current efforts don't seem to be working.

Wire Wrapped Dachshund by WireArtInk
Desire- Let's face it, we're emotional beings. A burning want for something in your prospective customer is the surest way to a sale. So how can you make someone really, really want something?
1. Make it awesome! High quality items with lots of well-taken photos and a fun description appeal to the emotions of your buyer. Make them laugh a little, dazzle them with eye candy, and that "buy" button gets more and more appealing. 2. Target audiences that you know have an interest in your product- Sales and marketing go hand-in-hand. You may have awesome stuff, but if no one ever sees it, you won't sell anything. If the people who do find your items online are random browsers, you have no way of knowing that they are interested in what you do. So explore features in blogs that are related to your item or have tables at shows that your products fit well in to increase the odds of finding shoppers who want and must have your stuff.

Love Birds Chalkboard Mug by hummingbirdcraft
Trust- Even if all of the other stars align, if a shopper doesn't trust you, chances are they're not going to whip out the credit card. When working with online sales, trust can be improved with:
1. Feedback- I suggest that you don't hound customers for feedback, but it's generally acceptable to send a polite note to ensure that something arrived safely and to make sure the customer is happy with it after a transaction. It seems the best way to do this on Etsy is through the conversation feature, which keeps it professional, so that you don't make someone feel intimidated by using their personal email address even though we can see them after a sale. 2. Answer common questions in your policies & procedures- Concerns about shipping, refunds, exchanges, broken items, timeliness and packing can be easily addressed in the policies and procedures section of your shop. I include the following verbiage in all my listings to direct customers to these: Feel free to read my feedback for reviews from other people who have purchased my artwork. Check my policies for shipping information. Questions? Need more photos? Contact me through Etsy's Conversation Feature! Thanks for looking! [Feel free to use something similar for your shop.] This assurance goes a long way with new customers.

So that's it! Stop spending hours wallowing in self-pity, wondering why no one is buying all your wonderful inventory, and address these issues to ensure you aren't losing sales. ;) Good luck!


Antonia said...

I really enjoyed this article!! There was at least one little nugget that I really need to focus in on!! Thanks!!
Also thanks for including my little wire wrapped dog. It actually sold this week!!

Kelly said...

Just reading this now, but I thought it was well written, informative and it definitely motivated me to get going on a facelift for my listings! Thank you!!!