It’s really frustrating when you’ve spent hours or even days carefully crafting a product for your handmade business, only to find that you’re not getting the sales you expected from it. You might even be thinking of adding that particular product to the reject pile and going back to the drawing board with a new design.
If this has happened a few times, you may lose confidence in your creative process and your ability to grow your business! The thing is that even your best and most interesting handmade products won’t sell as they should if you’re not pricing them correctly, or if you’re not selling it via the right platform – or if you don’t yet know who your target audience is.
Before you give up and try something new, work through the following steps first to give your handmade products the best chance of selling!
1. Understand your niche and make sure you sell in the right places
There are so many places to sell your handmade products but not every channel could work for you and your handmade business. You might have an online shop on Etsy or Artfire as well as trying to sell at local fashion boutiques or on craft stalls – yet your products may not sell well across all channels.
For example, if you’re trying to sell personalized wedding jewelry, you might find that you don’t have much luck selling at craft faires because what you’re offering is very specific and more suited to someone who is planning a wedding and looking for gifts.
If you operate in a specific niche, find out where your target customers hang out and market your products there. This could mean branching out to Facebook groups, joining Pinterest boards and taking part in wedding faires rather than craft faires.
Going one step further, if you’re finding that you’re not catering to a profitable niche, you could try to widen the market that you’re selling to.
Taking into account the personalized wedding jewelry example – it could be quite easy to alter the size of your pieces to capture buyers that are interested in personalized christening gifts or luxury children’s jewelry.
2. Check your product descriptions look good and don’t contain mistakes
If you sell your products online via Etsy for example, it’s worth checking that you’ve listed your products in the right categories and that your descriptions are optimized so that potential buyers can find you easily when they search for products like yours.
For example, if you’re selling beaded hair accessories, make sure you have some good keywords in your product descriptions that relate to the color or materials used, such as “White Pearl and Swarovski Hair Comb” or “Pink Beaded Sparkly Headband”. Be as descriptive as possible.
Another important point to check is that your product descriptions are informative, interesting and don’t contain any spelling mistakes!
3. Watch out for seasonal timings
Whether you like to be influenced by seasonal trends or not, product sales will usually be good or not so good at certain times of the year. What you can do to prepare for seasonal trends is to consider which of your products might work well for the current and future seasons and promote them more heavily during those times.
For example, some of your handmade products might make great gifts so pushing those at Christmas or Thanksgiving could really pay off in terms of sales. Similarly, you could divide your product inventory into different color batches and promote pastel pieces in the spring and darker colored pieces later in the year. You could even create a specific range of products for events like Halloween or Independence Day.
4. Analyze your pricing structure
A common mistake to make when trying to sell handmade products is setting a pricing strategy that’s either too low or too high. If you price your product too low, you could end up giving out the impression that you’re an amateur and not the professional handmade seller that you aspire to be! Price it too high and you could be pricing yourself out of the market.
Check out your competition to get an idea of a price range that seems to work and then develop a pricing strategy that will also leave you room for profit.
5. Obtain feedback so you can improve your designs
If you’ve sold handmade products in the past, see if you can get feedback from past buyers as to what they liked and didn’t like about their purchase from you. Be prepared for constructive criticism and remember that any feedback is useful!
Sometimes you can become so close to your craft that you might be overlooking some important considerations that your customers can benefit from, for example, offering some products in different sizes or colors may make a huge difference to sales. You could also find that your designs need a facelift or freshen up as trends move on.
Handmade businesses thrive on creativity and change
Like any business, it’s critical to frequently take a step back from what you’re doing to make sure your business is continuing to grow and develop. If you notice that your sales have dropped or you aren’t selling as much as you used to, there’s probably a reason which you can get to the bottom of fairly quickly and rectify if you take some time to do so.
We hope you enjoyed this article about what to do if your handmade products aren’t selling. You might be interested in taking a look at more articles like this in our business tips category!
*Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.