Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fostering Repeat Business

Before the Sale
  • Label your work. Branding is important. Not the plastering-a-giant-logo on the front of a T-shirt kind of branding, but how about a simple tag with your Etsy shop name sewn under the collar? Do your art prints have your Etsy shop name on the back? Branding and labeling will help your buyers know where to return!
  • Customer service is the key to fostering repeat business, and this starts with setting up the right expectations. Be sure to have up-to-date and thorough Shop Policies. (If you are in the EU, you’ll be happy to see we’ve added a Seller Information field for you to comply with customer protection laws. More info here.)
  • Include shipping information in your Message to Buyer. (Do you ship on Tuesdays? First Class mail? Is there a way the buyer can contact you for a shipping upgrade?)
  • Entice loyalty before the sale by encouraging fans of your work to participate in your business without even making a purchase. Can they fan your Facebook page? Donate to a Kickstarter campaign? Sign up for your MailChimp newsletter? (All of these tools will give you access to contact these fans again!)

After the Sale
  • Check the Notes to Seller area on your Etsy and PayPal invoices to avoid missing a request from your buyer.
  • Try to ship slightly faster than your policies and Note to Buyer state. Quote a slightly long shipping timeframe and drop that package off a day before. Your buyer will be thrilled!
  • Creative packaging and a handwritten note is just enough to turn that casual buyer into a fan. If this item could be a gift, think about including something fun for the buyer that they can keep for themselves. (Be creative and try not to eat into your profits with this one!)
Stay Connected With Your Fans
Think of your core group of customers as  your fan base. Here are some ways to keep in touch:
  • Leave thoughtful feedback instead of a generic, “Great buyer!” Look for clues in your buyer’s profile, the Note to Seller or other communications.
  • Ask your buyers to sign up for your mailing list. (Many mailing list providers offer a landing page where you can direct your new buyers to sign up.)
  • “Shout out” return buyers on your blog, Facebook page or via Twitter. (This can even be anonymous: “Just wanted to send a big ‘Thank you!’ to my lovely buyer from Hawaii. I know she’s going to rock these handprinted leggings!”)
  • Ask your customers for their help getting the word out!  You’d be surprised how willing they are to support you! (And reward those who do.)
  • Unveiling a new line? Let your past buyers, blog readers and followers in on the secret first.
  • Team up! Work out a cross-promotion with a complementary Etsy seller, small business or your Etsy team. Supporting handmade, vintage and other small businesses in general will keep us all thriving!
There you have it: my tips to keeping buyers “tuned in” to your Etsy channel. So, sellers, how do you keep your buyers coming back? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!

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