Well, the winter storm has passed and we fared well. We did get a good deal of snow, but we were spared much of the destructive winds that many others experienced. We were fortunate that we never lost power, which was our main concern as losing electricity means to water, heat or phone. Unlike most people, we don’t have cell phones as we have little use for one. Last year, when Keith accidentally washed and dried his phone, we never saw a need to replace it. Perhaps one day we will get a ‘pay-as-you-go’ phone, for the one to two times per year when we need one, we just don’t feel that it is worth the extra cost.
I spent the weekend working on the painting pattern packet for the mask ornaments, and I really think it is ready to go. We should be doing a site update later on today, as all I have to do is finish the newsletter for that. Hopefully, I will be able to get that out today, and then start on the next projects.
Keith spent a great deal of the weekend working on our Ebay products again. Working on that site made us appreciate the software that we have for our site. The Ebay software has a mind of its own it seems, and it really became quite frustrating to work with and have it function properly.
Our main obstacle was calculating the shipping charges. Since Ebay frowns on selling PDF products, we find it necessary to sell ‘hard copies’ of our patterns, which means that there need to be shipping charges involved. However, if a customer were to buy more than one pattern from us, we felt it was unfair and just not right to charge them the base cost of shipping on each. But programming that into the Ebay site was no small task. It fought every step of the way.
We had a couple of orders too yesterday that were from customers that bought more than one pattern. Since the patterns certainly fit into one envelope, it would naturally be foolish and wasteful for us to package them separately and charge twice for shipping. We had one customer even order three patterns and he was charged shipping three times.
Naturally, we sent him Paypal refunds for the duplicate shipping costs, but we were still charged fees on the totals of those transactions and they were not considered in the refunds. It was not a good thing.
But when we checked our settings on Ebay, for some reason, the shipping rules we set wouldn’t stick. It kept going back to the default settings which charged shipping on each individual transaction. It was quite frustrating.
Finally, after several hours of fiddling with it, it decided to work. Keith still does not know what changed or why it began working, but it does seem like it is working properly now and everything is set. We are able to have only one shipping fee if customers wait to pay their Paypal invoice until all of their items are ordered. Then they will receive the discount for shipping multiple patterns. Otherwise, each transaction is treated individually and shipping is charged on each.
I am not fond of this way of doing things, and neither is Keith, but we are getting sales from there and hopefully it will bring in some new customers that will visit our site and buy from us directly in the future. We wonder though because we are concerned that we are not putting forth a great first impression when all this goes awry.
It’s all a learning process I suppose.
Our experiences on Ebay so far have been positive, but not without obstacles. Finding new ways of selling your products takes a bit of time and energy, no matter what you are selling. There is no easy way around trying new venues, which involve learning new setups and new programs and investing a great deal of time into it. Sometimes you come out good, and other times you just figure you are better off not using that resource. It is all a trial error process.
I get lots of emails from customers asking how to market their products. I suppose my best answer to them would be that they need to take the time to try different places, as we are doing, and then they can judge which places pay off the best. Not every venue is going to have the same results for everyone. The only way you will be able to tell is to give it a try. You may have a pleasant surprise.
Have a great Monday! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"