It is the holiday season and I have been a shopping machine. Well, an online shopping machine! I prefer shopping in my pjs and people stare when I go to the mall like that 😉 One of the biggest trends I noticed this year was people using the Big Sites (where all of the customers are) and using it to their future advantage. I have a few good examples to share with you, and I hope you can use them in your indie biz.
I placed orders on eBay, Etsy and Amazon, all huge sites with millions of customers. The three businesses sold items on these sites and then funneled the customer (me!) to their main sites, so I can continue to buy directly from the in the future.
Let’s start with eBay, I bought my mom a charm for her charm bracelet, the price was great and it came in the mail very quickly. When I opened the package, they had included a note on letterhead (with their online shop address, not the eBay store) and advised me of their shipping policy, their refund policy and ways to contact them.
After they got the admin stuff out of the way, they said “if you liked the merchandise you have just received, we have thousands of other 14kt gold and Sterling silver charms on our website: (website url)”. They know I am interested in charms, so of course I am going to keep the letter or visit and bookmark their site. They have used eBay to get a customer, and then funneled me right to their own shop. Brilliant!
The second example is a purchase I made through Etsy, I bought a few custom necklaces for family members. I haven’t actually received the necklaces yet (and Christmas is a week and a half away – eek!) but a few days after I ordered them, I received a promotional email from the jewelry maker about a sale she was having in her online shop (not Etsy). I didn’t even know she had an online shop, and there were so many more gorgeous necklaces there, than what she was offering on Etsy, I ended up ordering a few for myself. Something as simple as adding a customer from a “big site” to your email list, is enough to convert them from a random buyer to a repeat customer.
The last example is an experience I had on Amazon; as you may or may not know, Amazon does not handle all of the products they offer for sale (and I am talking new products, not their used section). Companies use the Amazon system (customers and payment), and then they physically pack up the products and ship them to you. I bought some housewares, and in the box there was an instruction sheet, with information about the store and their return policy. I decided to check out the site, and I noticed their prices were less than Amazon, and I have since ordered twice, directly from the shop.
So the lesson here is (yes, I am going to beat you over the head with it), if you sell physical, real life products, it is a very good idea to also list your items on eBay, Etsy, Amazon or all of the above so you can increase the amount of sales you get with their vast amount of customers, but more importantly, funnel the people into your own online shop and make them customers for life.
So get out there and start using the big sites to sell more and sell often!