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Forum topic by Mr M's Woodshop posted 11-23-2014 08:37 PM 1107 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mr M's Woodshop

394 posts in 2529 days


11-23-2014 08:37 PM

I’m looking for a good solution to sell my work onilne … as well as to sell my wife’s handmade lotions, for that matter. As of now, I haven’t found a solution that I’m happy with.

The one “real” online store we have up is for the lotion products, Mrs. M's Handmade. WordPress is the provider, and we have an ecwid store that’s embedded. One problem is that the site isn’t really mobile-friendly … and that’s a top priority for me these days. The world is mobile. Further, that retail website cost is $300/year, and our sales haven’t been high enough to justify that. Finally, we’re limited to only 10 products, so there’s no way to fully flesh out the lotion product line, much less add my cutting boards & such.

I did put step-by-step instructions on how to order through my non-retail blog … see that post, here. That is working, but I know it’s not an elegant solution.

I’ve been told to get on etsy. I’ve looked at the facebook solution with shopify as a provider. Nothing feels right to me.

So, what am I missing? What’s the right way for a hobbyist – a serious hobbyist, perhaps, but just a hobbyist – to sell diverse products online?

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA, http://www.MowryJournal.com


8 replies so far

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pidaster

10 posts in 1381 days


#1 posted 11-23-2014 08:53 PM

I don’t have the correct answer to your question but I can tell you I have tried etsy and wasn’t pleased. It’s cheap to list it for 4 months but getting your product to show up in the search engine sucks. You have to add the tags that you think people will use while searching for your product. The biggest complaint I have is that the more you list, the more “shops” you are friends with, and the more people that follow your store (networking) determines how your items show up in a search.
I listed two items a while back and did a search before I listed, a few hours after listing, and a day afterwards. Since I’m only friends with one other shop and I only had two items for sell, the search engine put other items ahead of mine. When I searched my exact title or tags, even with “newest first”, I was still a few pages behind other sellers who had listed way before me. This made me angry and I never bothered adding more stuff.

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JAAune

1640 posts in 1778 days


#2 posted 11-23-2014 08:58 PM

How computer savvy are you? For products like yours I’d look into a Wordpress-based website built with a custom theme and possibly Shopify or eBay for the check-out process. Social media would be used to drive traffic to the website.

The cost for the above should be less than $200 per year. The downside is doing all that work unless you’re comfortable handling websites. Wordpress is pretty simple but it does help to have basic knowledge of coding and MySQL databases just in case you encounter a problem or wish to modify a theme.

But that may be bigger in scale than you care to attempt and if your budget can’t handle $300 a year, then you may not be operating on a large enough scale to justify a website.

If that’s too complicated, then I’d suggest picking several social media platforms and setting up a picture blog at Blogger or Wordpress. Try to get subscribers to an email newsletter and send those out monthly. Use those tools to build a base of followers then direct buyers to an Etsy or eBay account to handle transactions.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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JAAune

1640 posts in 1778 days


#3 posted 11-23-2014 09:18 PM

One thing I should add is that there are no magic short cuts to getting listed on the search engines. It takes time and work. If you treat it like a full time job you’ll get higher ranks than someone that just posts stuff then waits for customers. Etsy is no different than any other site. If you want results, you have to be active for a long period of time.

Search engine optimization is a big enough job that it’s considered a trade in its own right.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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Von

218 posts in 1675 days


#4 posted 11-23-2014 10:30 PM

Etsy is ok for single unit items, but a bear to manage with multiple listings or multiples of a given item. 4 months for a set price….sure… but then the re-list, and quantity updates give you nightmares. I’m actually leaning on a Fulfillment by Amazon setup. The initial fees are a little higher, but you get a larger customer base, easier to find and advertise your product, and item/quantity management is much much much easier. Basically, you ship a quantity of your product to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers. You create a link and a product description on their website, and they take care of the rest. Joe customer sees your item on the ‘zon, orders it, Amazon packages it from their center & ships it to the customer. Try a search on the web for “Fulfillment by Amazon” and see if it’s an option for ya.

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JimRochester

376 posts in 1076 days


#5 posted 11-24-2014 12:22 AM

Also not a big fan of ETSY. I keep some listings so when I’m at shows or applying to a juried show I can say “yes, I have a website”. Haven’t sold anything through etsy yet and have the same problems as others. Do an exact search for my own product and I’m 20 pages back. Now part of that certainly is a problem with my products, many are common products taken from or inspired by different woodcraft magazines. There will be 50 guys selling the latest box from Woodsmith magazine inside of a month. How do you differentiate your cutting board from the hundreds others? Wish I could afford a primo website like Boardsmith, but I’m not that sophisticated yet, plus since this is a hobby, I can’t guarantee delivery dates.

-- Schooled in the advanced art of sawdust and woodchip manufacturing.

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Mr M's Woodshop

394 posts in 2529 days


#6 posted 11-24-2014 02:25 AM

These are all good tips & observations.

For me, I am comfortable with WordPress. I’ve got a blog there, MowryJournal.com, and I’m the webmaster for my company’s site (which I maintain, but didn’t design).

My problem is that the ecwid retail solution through WordPress drives the price up, but limits the products. If I can connect another provider to the WordPress site, that’s going to be a good solution for me, I believe.

I know that trying to drive SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a constant battle of trying to hit a moving target. I’m doing that with my professional website (SmartsBroadcast.com) as well as my blog … and as JAAUne suggests, it’s a job that is ever-demanding of your time.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA, http://www.MowryJournal.com

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iminmyshop

258 posts in 1455 days


#7 posted 11-24-2014 02:33 AM

How has custommade.com worked for folks?

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JAAune

1640 posts in 1778 days


#8 posted 11-24-2014 04:42 AM

Sounds like managing your own website won’t be a problem then. If you’ve got the skills, it’s a good way to go.

If you get a self-hosted Wordpress site (meaning not the free ones on Wordpress.com) there’s likely a plugin available to connect to just about any third party site. For example, the eBay plugin linked here. I’ve never tested that plugin but it’s something worth looking into.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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