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Whether you’re already selling your work online or sitting on the fence about it, there’s a lot to consider when expanding your business to the online market. Here are a few big pros to give you that nudge to try it or to keep your existing shop open.
1. Create a Strong Online Presence
Let’s face it, nowadays a lot of people are looking to the internet to find what they want. I can’t even remember the last time I picked up the phone book to find a number! As internet usage continues to grow, getting online is more important than ever. Easy to use websites such as Etsy, Ebay or Artfire offer inexpensive (or free), attractive looking options to sell your work. Having your own domain with a retail aspect is more expensive but a wonderful option if you can afford it.
If you’re thinking about selling online, research what each option can offer you and go from there. I choose to sell my work on Etsy because it’s dedicated to the handmade marketplace and allows me to sell my work internationally. I also feature my work on a site called 100MileFinds, a new Canadian site, because it promotes local shopping as well. It’s great to have a shop that’s open 24-7 too!
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2. Enhance Your Portfolio
Even if you never sell a single item online, there are still benefits to be had. Selling online requires great photographs and descriptions of your work. Your online shop offers an instant portfolio to potential buyers. It’s also an excellent tool when applying for juried shows. My shop has been instrumental in getting me into many juried shows, blog features, consignment opportunities and more. My local customers also appreciate seeing what’s new before they drive down to my studio. Even though they don’t shop online, they enjoy seeing what I have and then shopping in person.
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3. Track Historical Data
By having gone through the process of photographing and documenting your work, you’ll have loads of data with which to examine your progress as an artist and expand your portfolio. It still surprises me when I come across a photo of something cool that I made and temporarily forgot about. I sometimes get inspiration for future projects by looking back at past work. Also, in terms of sales, I have access to lots of data about what people like to buy, when they like to buy it, price points and so on using Etsy Stats. This is exactly the kind of stuff I’m terrible about tracking from my in-person sales. With my Etsy shop, this information is saved automatically and is available to me whenever I need it.
"Having support is worth the price of admission alone."
4. Join a Community of Artists
If you’re a member of TAFA and have an Etsy shop, be sure to join our team! This is a great opportunity to meet other members and see their work. There are countless tips and tricks for online success, and networking with other sellers is a great place to gather information. Selling online is an art in and of itself and a tricky nut to crack. Having support is worth the price of admission alone. On Etsy there are literally thousands of teams. Search out teams that suit your needs and participate. You’ll reap what you sow.
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These are just a handful of benefits to be had from running an online shop. While selling online may not be for everyone, it’s something to think carefully about. If you decide to give it a try, being persistent and patient will take you a long way.
What are your thoughts about selling online? Share your comments with us!
Christine Marie Ford
Next week: Marketing Yourself Online for Free!
Last week: Introducing The Savvy Seller Café