As artists ourselves we have been where you are. You have started an online store but not really sure how to drive traffic to it. Making art is the easy part. Converting that into cash money can be hard work.
We have put together a few tips here to help grab new customers, make your followers feel special and convert your time and marketing efforts into sales for your homewares / apparel store.
CURATE YOUR SHOP
Only put up your best possible pieces that you are really proud of. A large body of work gives people choices, but having a consistent style or vibe helps customers get a sense of who you are as an artist. Be original and stick to what makes you happy…. because that is why we make art.
ALWAYS BE CREATING
Some designs will sell a little and some will sell a lot. The larger your range the higher the chance of one being super successful (we all dream of that viral overnight fame).
If you create new art and products regularly you also have more content to post about on social media and keep your followers excited and coming back for more. They like to follow you on your journey, see your progress and any excuse to come back to the shop.
Release new art slow and steady so nothing is missed and customers keep coming back.
ADJUST YOUR ART
If you are selling both apparel and homewares, adjust each design to suit the product. T-shirts work best with central designs, whereas you can fill more of the space on homewares with a repeating pattern. Landscape for pillowcases / Portrait for tea towels / square for cushions and totes. It is a good idea to offer each design on a few different products so customers can choose to wear / carry / sleep on / dry dishes with your art.
TRACK YOUR BEST SELLERS
Make sure you have a system to see which designs are selling. This will help the direction of new art and also to know which products to repeat in social media posts to grab as many sales as possible.
Email newsletters are apparently a MUST DO. I agree but sometimes forget to do them regularly because I am not a fan of receiving them. But it is a great way of getting information out about sales, new products etc. Have a sign up form on your site or pop-up to encourage visitors to enter their details. This way they are choosing to be spammed. Ofter them a small incentive to join like 10% off their first purchase.
SALES AND THE SILLY SEASON
Follow what is going on with other brands each month or google when to expect commercially relevant holidays. Customers are starting to expect sales at certain times of the year and it is a great way of rewarding them for being long-time fans. Promote products best suited to that season and start promoting 4-6 weeks before the event so people have time to order online and have it shipped. We also recommend designing your social media posts and mail-outs in advance. We always get our Boxing Day sale Insta pics ready a month or so before so we can enjoy a break over the festive season ourselves.
CREATE A HIGHER CONVERTING WEBSITE
If you have a bit of traffic coming through your store, but not a lot of purchases, you may need to change your website slightly. Figure out peoples behaviour and simplify processes. This is always a challenge for me. I designed our site and also look at it everyday so knowing where to find a particular item is easy for me. But for a fresh pair of eyes where to click might not be as obvious. Test your site on friends and family.
Another massive part of online sales is addressing abandoned carts. Approx 68% of shoppers will ditch their cart after selecting items and not make a purchase. A few simple reasons customers might click through and then give up: excessive shipping cost & added extras (#1 reason), price in foreign currency, too many clicks, website too difficult to navigate, excessive payment security checks, concerns about payment security, delivery options unsuitable. The solutions to these problems are not always simple or possible to change, but there are solutions out there. Mailchimp can be used to send a automated email after they leave to follow up and keep customers interested.
People are also using their phones more and more to shop rather than computers. So make sure your store is easy to use on a smartphone.
Social media is great. It is a way to promote products, show customers behind the scenes and advertise sales and specials all while directing traffic globally to your online store.
Our top tips for social media (mostly for our fav, Instagram)
DON’T DO THEM ALL
Pick one or two and make it work for your business effectively. We do not have time to be creating content for every social media site. Instagram is our favourite. Its great for artists and online stores to share sketches, designs, photoshoots, product shots.
REPETITION IS KEY
I cannot repeat this enough. Not everyone who follows you will see every post and those who do see it and love it need to be reminded that it is still waiting for them. This helps turn a ’like’ into a sale. If you don’t want to feel like a broken record always posting ‘BUY THIS’ try sharing more about yourself to your followers. Early sketches, work in progress (#wip), experiments, collaborations, time lapses, behind the scenes product shoots. Post great content people want to share to build your following.
CURATE YOUR FEED
Think about matching colour tones to create a vibe or tell a story, multiple posts to make a larger image, text or quotes to break up imagery.
You do not have to be a professional photographer but edit your pics so you are always putting up your best work. Check out our previous post for a few tips on basic photography.
Buy samples of your tees and take pics with models or homewares in houses so customers can visualise themselves with your products.
We spend a few hours each week taking photos and making content, and then space these pics out over the remainder of the week. Planning your posts ahead saves you time and stress.
When you have a small following start rewarding them for their amazing support. Competitions and giveaways on social media not only say thanks, but help grow your following. With more and more people curating their own feeds, avoid competitions that require them to re-post your pictures. Tagging a friend in the comments is a great solution to encourage them to enter and reach new people.
Social media can also be used to test new art out on social media before adding it to your store. Ask for feedback and get people involved with comments. This not only provides you with direction on what might sell better, but the more people comment the more relevant social media algorithms make your posts in their feed. It is also a great way to interact with followers. Show them you are a human not a robot.
CHECK YOUR ANALYTICS
Instagram also offers analytics for business accounts so you can see a few stats on who is following you. It tells you the age and location breakdown of your followers and the best time of day / week to post based on when your users are generally online. I love the feature to see your most popular posts. This helps us predict and generate new content we think people will like e.g our best performing posts are close-ups of patterns printed onto fabric so we make sure we add a new one each week.
As always…. Here at the Club we are trying to help small artists start up their own businesses. We are not marketing experts but have attempted to round up a few ideas we find useful and we hope you do to.