Thursday, March 12, 2009

Adventures of an On-Line Seller
Continued: Selling Through On-Line Malls, Personal Experience

To find my previous posts in this series, please use a search box on the right side of this blog. Your keyword is "Adventures".
Adventure is by definition an undertaking of a questionable nature, and finding the right on-line venue for your product is definitely a questionable thing, with no guaranteed success. There is no recipe that would fit every seller and his product either. Some people manage to maintain accounts at all kinds of possible sites, others stick with one favorite place.

I guess, my approach is somewhere in the middle. I am a quick learner, but it takes time for me to find out all the bells and whistles of the on-line mall and figure out the best strategy to make it work for me. I am not even talking about figuring out what buttons to push (although this may be tricky at times as well); I am talking about a general strategy that would allow my jewelry and tutorials to be at least found on the particular site. I know, I can promote my shop, give out business cards, and in many other ways let people know the address of my shop in the on-line mall. This, however, is not the point of joining such malls. I can promote my own web site in the same way, and probably get even better results, because people who visit it would not be distracted by the other (competing!) sellers. The only reason to join an on-line mall, I think, is to take advantage of the existing traffic to that particular mall. And then comes the next question: how can I make my shop visible to the presumably numerous visitors of the site.

I already mentioned eBay and in my previous posts. Enough said about eBay elsewhere, so I will not waste time repeating it here. JustBeads was a lovely site, with reasonable prices, good traffic, but with a small enough community of sellers that allowed everybody to be found relatively easy. I would love to see this site re-launch in the nearest future and hope they will regain their strength once the site is up an running again.

My other endeavor (and rather unsuccessful one) was This is the place where I totally failed the task of being found within the site, I think. They have a good traffic, and I know a number of happy RubyLane sellers, but it did not work out for me. It is quite sad to admit, especially because I was cautious about joining this site to begin with due to their fees. I did manage to sell enough to just about cover my fees, however the time spent setting the shop there and taking it down a few month later is lost.

My current shop is set up with I am quite happy with it, although I know for a fact that it does not work for everybody. I registered my shop there in 2006, but did not give it enough attention until more than a year later. Since then, I am working on my shop there almost every day, and still learn a lot. There is a number of ways to get noticed within this site, but my advice to any new sellers would be to visit Etsy forum and look for threads about marketing. They offer a lot of information, and everybody can pick and choose the ideas that may work better for them. Again – different things work for different people.

Right now I am trying out two sites, and Being new, both of these sites lack in traffic (and the second one is not even officially launched yet), but they allow listing your products for free, which is very appealing.

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