What you think your customer needs and what your customer actually wants are often two very different things.
It happens all the time at the Energy Shop: I design a bracelet that I’m sure will be a hit, and it sits on my virtual shelves for weeks. At the same time, I list a new stone that I’m not sure will appeal to anybody, and it sells out that day.
In fact, when I opened shop I thought my Feng Shui supplies would attract customers, and I hoped my gemstone bracelets might interest a few along the way. I created a few pieces of jewelry and sold out of them in the first week. A year later, I still had the full stock of Feng Shui supplies I started with, but I had sold more than 1,200 bracelets.
Your customers and clients are always telling you exactly what they want, and to figure it out, all you need to do is make sense of their patterns.
Learn and use the customer’s language
Pay attention when reading their comments and feedback. That way, you can begin to use the same words they use in your listings. Their words represent the things they value, such as: beauty, fast shipping, cozy, bright, comfortable, etc. My customers often comment on quality, so I offer a quality guarantee at the end of every listing in my shop.
Additionally, using the customer’s language will improve copywriting, conversion, and overall branding. The best way for me to explain this is with my blog, Marketing Creativity. I only speak “handmade” on that blog because I know they’re largely a community of Etsy sellers like me. Even if a reader is not on Etsy, I trust they’ve been around long enough to know what a “convo” is.
Too often I read handmade terminology in store listings, when sellers tell potential buyers to convo them. That’s probably not the customer’s language; that’s Etsy-speak. It would be more appropriate to invite them to send you a message or use the “contact” button, as there’s a contact button on every page of your Etsy shop.
Learning how your customers classify and search for your products is a great way to serve them better.
Ask for their input
Once when I was hosting a customer appreciation special, I went to my Facebook fan page and asked my customers what attribute they were looking for more of in their life (i.e. peace, wealth, love, stress relief, etc.). It was just another case of what I think they need vs. what customers actually want. The response to my request was overwhelming, and none of it matched what I thought they would be looking for in a sale.
Repeat what works
I am trying to practice what I preach on this one, because I often sell out of best-sellers and never think to restock them. If one of your products sells out as soon as you list it, be sure to replace it. It’s a winner, and you want to keep it in stock. Even if the replacement stock doesn’t sell out as quickly as the first batch, rest assured that it’s presence improves the overall look and quality of your shop.
This also serves as a gentle reminder to not go all-in on a new project because you assume it’s going to take off. For instance, last summer I created a new wrap bracelet that seemed so trendy and fresh. I made the design for my husband, children, and some friends to rave reviews. For all of us who had one, we never wanted to take it off.
So, in anticipation of this new design selling like hotcakes, I spent several hours making a large stock before listing it in the Energy Shop. They never sold. Not even one! New designs are always worth a shot, but I shouldn’t have invested all of that material and labor until I had proof that my customers would love the design as much as I did.
A well-planned business is one that prioritizes what has already been proven to work. It’s fabulous to experiment and keep things fresh for both you and your customer. However, be sure you’re doing a lot more of what you already know works and brings in income.
Until next time and all the best~