Attending the Etsy seminar “Selling with Success” gave me great insight into how to push my new little business a little further. The two main components I learned is the importance of photos and being able to express what makes your shop special.
The first hurdle is to overcome the idea that your shop is online. Start thinking of your shop as if you owned a physical space, on your favourite shopping street with trendy bars and cafes.
If you owned a shop on this street, you would have a great sign outside that would attract passing buyers - this is your shop banner. Your front window would have a collection of attractive good to catch the shoppers eye and bring them inside - this is your featured items. Once they were inside, they would be able to see your items on display, in lovely light and the display would tell a story - this is your thumbnail picture. When you customer approached your display, they would be able to see the item better, they would be able to pick it up, turn it around, see the details of the texture and colour, and most importantly they would be able to visualise themselves owning such a beautiful piece - this is your photos when someone clicks on your shop item.
Because your shop is online, you can’t bring customers all these physical experiences, but you can try your best to recreate them. Use all 5 available pictures to communicate to them the angles and different perspective of your item! Make them able to see themselves in your item or owning your item in their house. For clothing this is best done by using a model, but if that isn’t available hang the piece with jewellery or other items you think someone would pair with it. For other vintage items, put a vintage jar with flowers in it. Put the jar on a bookcase. Pair some vintage books with a coffee mug or pens and paper. Create a story!
This is where photos are important. Photography doesn’t mean the best camera, or studio, it is working with what you have got and making it the best. When shooting, natural light gives the best outcome, and this is often done in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not as strong, creating soft shadows. If natural light is impossible for you, research into making your own light box, there are many cheap options to build your own if you look online.
Start with thinking about making your brand cohesive. The means choosing a colour scheme, font, background, different angles, and items that work together. Use one fabric pattern or colour to shoot your items. Consistently have the same background for pictures. Add that colour or patten to your banner. Doing this can also create a link between to dissimilar items in your shop. This link can also create a story within your shop which is important for communicating to customers your story.
Often shops will group items which are similar to each other - in style, patten, colour or theme. By rearranging your shop you can do this too. Put blue items together, and cream on a different row. Place sunglasses above dresses and shoes below. By looking at this your customer can see parts of an outfit working together. You can also create mini “trends” in your store - spring, summer, wedding, accessories, kitchen good - endless!
One of my interests is colour, and different colour palettes. After experimenting across many different medias and channels I’ve found that swatches suit my taste, and therefore I use them continuously through my shop. Inspiration can be found anywhere, but a great start is somewhere like an indie fashion magazine, store windows, Instagram, Anthropologie etc. Many underground magazines can be found online for free at Issuu.
To recap - banner, featured items, thumbnail picture, item pictures and cohesiveness!
Now, grab a piece of paper and write this down: What do you want to say? What makes you special? Who do you want to hear about how special you are?
Use these focus questions to brainstorm about your shop. Once you have done this, translate it into your ‘About’ page. This is you being able to “talk” to the customers in your shop as they browse. You story can engage them and make them relate to you and further, to your items.
In my ‘About’ page I share the type of person that Laura Does Vintage was created for, and I keep that “person” in mind to make sure my shop is special, because I believe everyone has a part of her in them.
Thanks to Laura for her sharing what she learned with the world and for her insight!