Saturday, January 17, 2015

Are You Making Your Customer Jump Through Hoops?

Hello Again!  One of the things I want to do with this blog this year is offer tips and thoughts on jewelry design and maintaining your own business.   I love that you come visit me to take a peek at my challenge designs or to find out what I am working on, but I am also looking forward to adding additional information to the blog as well.

This month,  I would like to take a look at the idea that I titled this post with.   Do we make our customers jump through too many hoops?  This is especially important to consider for those of us who sell online.  Why?  Because when you sell in a store or at a fair, the customer comes up, admires your goods then hands you cash or credit card to pay for the item.  Your interaction ends there, and you are both happy.  You can see your customer, see and touch their payment (even if it is delayed by your payment processor for a few days)  and you feel safe in knowing that, in most cases,  a fair exchange of goods for payment has occurred.

However,  for many online sellers, they are wary right from the start.   You look for the right online platform to sell from, do your research and try to feel secure.   Once you start getting ready to sell, one of the first things you do is type up your policies with great fonts and bullet points.  Of course, every online retailer needs policies.  Your customer can't talk to you face-to-face, so they need to know what to expect when purchasing from your shop.   But, take a look at your language; does it sound friendly and inviting or is it worded in a way that it makes your customer feel like they are walking down the hall to the principal's office just to get the pleasure to purchase from you?   

Ok, your customer decides that she must have that fantastic pair of earrings you just listed, great!!!!  Now it is time to purchase and...wham!!! Hoops again!   Do you offer all the payment options the site you list on offers?  Let me tell you a little story to make an example of why this is important.   I was given an Etsy gift certificate for Christmas.  I love getting them because I love to shop handmade and treat myself.   Well, I go looking at beads, some of them made by very well known artists.  I fall in love, add something to my cart...and get sad.   They don't take Etsy gift cards!  So I have to delete my order and move on.  It happened, not once...not twice... but four times!!!  I would understand if a payment type was questionable,  I certainly wouldn't be comfortable accepting Bitcoin, but  when it is a well known type of currency, in this case created by the listing site itself, you are just letting sales slip away.  Either your customer jumps through a hoop to make you happy with the sale,  or they move on by to the next store who is more willing to make the experience a much more pleasant one. 

Ok, your customer has purchased those must have earrings, where is the next place we make our customer jump through hoops?? Shipping!  It isn't really the rates, as much as the timing involved. Please try to ship your customer's order in a timely manner.   I can't get to the post every day either, I know how it is.  But,  your customer deserves the effort of you trying to get the item on the way to them quickly.  If you only go to the post office on Monday and Friday, put that in your policies so that your customer is aware.  And don't print out a shipping label unless you know that your going to the post office in the next 24 hours.   Your customer gets notification their item is on its way and they are expecting it.  Not expecting it to be sitting on your desk for another week.   I've really had this problem with bead orders lately.  I need those beads for designs I am planning and it frustrates me.  Can you imagine if your customer ordered those earrings to wear to her engagement party  and you have just let them sit?

I really wanted this post to give you ideas to think about.   Take a look at how you run your business from your customer's point of view.  Are there things that you can change to make the experience more inviting?  When customers have to jump through hoops, they most likely will jump right on over to another seller.   Re-assessing how you run your business may just have more business headed your way.  
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  1. Great tips! I might add sometimes it is hard to find people; friends don't list their shop on their personal page or they have a unusually spelled name you can't remember or they have different names on different platforms. I love promoting others artist's work and if I can't find them easily I look for someone else!

  2. I just opened my etsy in May 2014, I'm grateful & learned a little from this blog of hoops. Thank you for sharing.


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