You’ve decided to take the plunge, take those daunting first steps and are considering creating an arts and craft ecommerce store.
From selling items of hand crafted ornaments made on your pottery wheel to the next must-have t-shirt that you have designed and created yourself.
Regardless of your business endeavour, the creation of a website is recommended to help get your brand discovered, but also to sell your item.
How to create an ecommerce business can seem like a daunting task. With many different elements to consider and parts that you have to combine, it is not just about creating a business, but a profitable one that is important.
If you are considering turning your arts and crafts hobby into a fully fledged side business or taking that big leap and quitting your full time job to focus on your new arts and craft ecommerce store. Making sure that you have all the correct information in front of you can help to minimise failure as you go.
We can help, we have put together a how-to guide on how to start an ecommerce store. Keep reading to discover how.
Do you need a license to sell ecommerce?
Before you rush ahead and follow our fantastic 10 top tips for how to start an arts and craft ecommerce store, first you need to discover whether you need a license. It may come as a shock, but you may require a license before you can sell your homemade product online.
If you are a new business asking yourself, do you need a license to sell ecommerce? The answer all depends on the product that you are intending to sell online.
Considering you are correctly set up with HMRC and have followed the regulations in place within your country, then you may not require a license.
1- Start with an Idea
Before you can start purchasing a domain and designing the layout of your website, first you need a golden idea. Is your product unique and will it sell to consumers? Along with creating an attractive and desirable product, making sure that it is cost effective to be made is also important in making sure that you can run your new arts and craft ecommerce store with a profit.
If you are planning on selling homemade pots made on your wheel and you only have the time to throw and fire two a week, building a website may not be feasible. Instead, it may be recommended that you consider an Etsy page where once the item has sold you pay a small fee.
By looking at your idea and expanding upon it and the finer details, you can have a clearer idea of how to create your ecommerce website.
2- Look at your budget
You have taken the time and worked out the product that you intend to create and sell, but before you can progress any further, what about your budget? By evaluating your budget, you can discover how much money you can use to get the website built, but also allowing you to purchase the required materials.
Without money in the pot to begin with, you will be unable to purchase the domain name if required and get creating your items to sell.
If you are finding yourself struggling to generate the funds to get your new business off the ground, there are a number of options available. Consider asking family members or friends to contribute or how about crowdfunding? You could offer those who contribute to your business free samples or a personalised gift to say thank you.
3- Choose the best platform for your business
Choosing which platform to list and sell your items on will depend on the product and you as a seller. If you are determined to throw everything at this business and get it up off the ground a website where you can upload products and create content is recommended. If, however, you are only planning to sell a few items a month, then a marketplace site such as Shopify, Etsy or Ebay might be more suited.
Each platform has their own unique benefits and additional features, so taking some time to review each platform is recommended.
You might also find that through your research of the different platforms, that you have a preference on company, yet your budget is not in line with the monthly costs.
Perhaps you are technically savvy and know a website builder who is willing to create a Woocommerce store for you on WordPress.
Choose which platform you are capable to use and that can allow you to fully market your arts and craft ecommerce store to the maximum.
4- Purchase a Domain
If you have decided to go ahead and create a website, then purchasing a domain is recommended.
A domain is your online identity and is required by any business, individual or organisation who are planning on having an online presence.
When it comes to purchasing a much needed domain, there are a number of sites that you can purchase it from. Luckily, if you are planning on hiring a website builder to create your site for convenience and affordable monthly billing, you can purchase a domain through the company.
Whether it is GoDaddy, Wix or Squarespace each offer domain purchasing at a low yearly cost.
If you are feeling brave and have decided to go ahead and build a customised website, then there is another thing that you will need to consider.
Along with the purchasing of a domain, hosting will also have to be considered. For those arts and craft ecommerce stores planning on building a website on WordPress, hosting is already included and will automatically be placed on a large communal server.
If you are building a site with hosting not included, shopping around for where to place your website is recommended. With different companies offering a different level of hosting and with some having a higher uptime than others. Shopping around is always recommended.
What may originally feel like just a location that the site is stored upon, the final hosting location can play a huge part in the performance of the site. A site secured on an insecure server located halfway around the world, will result in the site taking longer to load for UK visitors. While the data shared between the visitors and the site being insecure through the lack of protection.
6- Site features
Whether you are deciding to build your own site or to use a platform such as Squarespace or Wix, you need to familiarise yourself with the features that are on offer.
What features do you need, which are missing? By discovering how to fully utilise the available technology can you sell and market your products to the intended audience.
It might be that you want a carousel on the home page of your site, an automated inventory system that updates when a product is out of stock.
You can even create a newsletter subscription on your website, allowing you to gain customers’ details and contact them in the future with the related marketing material.
7- Keyword Research
You have created the website that you intend to upload your homemade arts and crafts upon before selling to the masses. The time has come to populate it and add your products and their details to the category pages. Before writing copy, take the time to conduct keyword research.
Keyword research is the act of looking at the search terms used by searchers in search engines to discover their searching habits. By using the correct terms within your titles, product copy and in the meta, you can ensure that your products are appearing high up in the search results for the most accurate search term.
Looking for keywords that have high traffic and medium competition can help you to get as high as possible.
Along with the addition of keywords to the product copy, adding a blog to update customers on industry developments, the progress of your company and new techniques you are attempting in your craft can also help your ranking position. Through adding long-tail more specific keywords to your blog, you can target a niche audience who are looking for the content that you are supplying.
While adding keywords is important to the product copy, when writing copy and content marketing, focus on fully describing the product. Leave no potential question unanswered. This can ensure customer satisfaction when the product arrives on their doorstep.
8- Inspiring Images
An image is worth a thousand words. To fully sell your product, but also your brand to visitors who have stumbled across your site, be sure to take and use only inspiring images. Images that sell the product in its true glory, leaving no side uncovered can help to sell and get customers clicking the buy now button.
If photography is not your strong point, advertising for inspiring photographers or hiring the services of a professional photographer is recommended. A professional photographer will also have the skills to edit the image, adding it onto a white background.
Although a white, clean background may look appealing, consider also adding lifestyle images. Lifestyle images allow the shopper to visualise the product in their own home, or image what the product may look like when wearing it for themselves.
9- Social Media Presence
You have created an attractive and functioning site in line with your budget. Put together optimised product copy and hired the services or a photographer to take images of your product in all its glory. The time has now come to get discovered and get your product found.
Through the use of social media, you can add and advertise images of your product and any updates and developments surrounding your new start up business. Seasonal discounts and free delivery offers can all be advertised across social media, along with competitions that you intend to run.
When it comes to the best social media platform for advertising and selling products, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are the most recommended platforms. By focusing on the images that you use, each of these platforms allows you to add a shoppable link that, when clicked upon can take the viewer to your site to complete the transaction.
Don’t make the mistake of just posting to social media. Instead, communicate and interact with consumers, this can create and build a community. A community who will share and repost your material to their friends and family. Increasing your expose to a potential audience.
10- Remarket to engaged customers
Sales are rolling in through the website, and visitors are converting into enthusiastic customers. As you build your site and your brand begins to grow, you can consider communicating with these customers and remarketing to them.
This you can do through the addition of an email newsletter. Inviting customers to sign up to the newsletter to receive an introductory discount or seasonal offers, you are being allowed to freely communicate with them following their transaction.
When communicating with them, instead of sending out bulk emails, personalise and segment your email database to make sure that you are sending them the most appropriate content.
This storing, segmenting and communicating with newsletter signups can be completed through various email automation platforms such as MailChimp. These platforms are available at a variety of budgets.
The importance of remarketing and the power of email marketing for ecommerce stores is so important and is a valued addition to a marketing strategy. With email marketing being 40% more effective than social media marketing and should therefore be included in your marketing for your arts and craft ecommerce store.
Taking those initial first steps in creating an ecommerce website for your arts and craft hobby may appear to be a daunting task, but it needn’t be.
The hardest part is creating a quality product that is unique and able to sell. The creation of the site and the marketing of the product is relatively easy in comparison.
By following our 10 recommended steps for how to start an ecommerce store, you too can be confident in traffic and selling of your product.
Regardless of your aim or the size of your ecommerce store, working in line with your budget and your ability, you can help to get your side business up off the ground and in the homes of people nationwide.
Have you taken the daunting steps and created an arts and craft ecommerce store to sell your homemade products? We would love to hear from you and discover your experience of creating an ecommerce store.