Shopping these days just isn’t like it used to be. (I can hear my mother coming out of my mouth!) But the truth is, the way we shop now is completely different from ‘way back in the day’ when I was growing up. Now it’s easy to search, click and purchase without leaving home. There are HUUUUGE outlets to buy at a discount or in bulk. Stores are open 24/7.
All these options lack one of the shopping experiences that I miss the most – personal connection. Sure, it might be easier to find what you are looking for and pay the minimum amount for it, but the valuable interaction between a sales person/shop keeper and buyer is missing.
I think the recent movements to buy local produce from farms, support small boutiques in your neighborhood and purchase crafts straight from the maker are an effort to re-establish this connection in our fast-paced world. When you interact with the people directly responsible for the items they sell – growing them, making them or selecting them for their shops – it changes the purchase experience and makes it personal.
Selling my clay art in person is the best. I get to meet people, see how they interact with my pottery, talk and develop a bond. When my pieces are sold in other shops and galleries, I rely on the pottery to attract a buyer, include a short story about the piece with a hang tag and trust the salesperson to help seal the deal. On the internet – it’s a whole new ball game and I’m still tweaking this interaction to make transactions happen.
To make a sale online, I rely on photos and words to create the customer connection to my clay art and to me. Capturing just the right balance is a work in progress. Luckily, on the internet it's easy to find fantastic examples of great product photography and tons of tutorials on making a sale. Attracting people you don't know to make a purchase is a matter of communicating and making a personal connection.
Attention to detail is key for continued sales success online. Making sure the product matches the photo and description goes without saying, but follow through, quickly responding to emails, answering questions and even providing added value to the sale all contribute to building success.
I often include little extras – like recipe cards – to add value to a ClayByLaura purchase. I've found this additional detail provides another layer of personal connection. People often tell me how they use one of my pieces on a regular basis and how it makes them feel good -- that's the ultimate compliment and best connection I could hope for. Now I just need to figure out how to capture that sentiment and spread it to new and potential ClayByLaura customers 'out there.'
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