Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Madness - Selling Live and Online at the Same Time

I can't be the only one struggling to get sales on Etsy.  Blame it on the economy, cheaper mass produced products, Walmart, the weather, whatever!  In a lot of ways, it doesn't really matter why. We have loads of supplies and even got more than 100 products in our shop at one point.  I market in person and online and wear our jewelry so people can see it more.

My solution?  Selling at live events while continuing to sell on Etsy.  You may have noticed that many Etsy sellers who do this will put their Etsy shops on vacation while they are selling live to prevent problems with duplicate sales.  Others will take a different set of inventory with them to the live event to avoid a conflict with their Etsy inventory. Not me!  I want all my stuff available for purchase in both locations.

How do you put your products up for sale in  person without removing them from your Etsy inventory?
  • Prepare - Keep a list of your Etsy inventory and their prices. You will need this information.
  • Get an App - I get tired of people claiming they didn't bring any cash, so I wanted to be able to take credit cards.  Let's be honest - people will buy more with a credit card.  On Etsy, I rely on Paypal to handle the credit cards.  For live sales, I found Square, a really awesome credit card processor to use with Androids and iPhones. They will give you the card swiper for FREE and it's amazingly easy to use.
  • Put your smart phone to work - I have an iPhone and I regularly check my email during the event to look for emails from Etsy about any sales. If something sells on Etsy, I can pull it from my table/booth right away.  It works in reverse as well.  When I sell things at the event, I quickly jump online with my iPhone and deactivate the listing on Etsy. (I don't have an App for this part - I just use the web browser.)
  • Offer discount codes - I plan to start offering discount codes in my Etsy shop that I will give to shoppers at the live events.  Maybe that will push them to check our shop if they don't buy from us in person.  My husband often points out to shoppers that our prices are lower in person since we don't have to ship it to them.
We've been setting up at the Provo Farmers Market and the Wasatch Front Farmers Market at Wheeler Farm.  I really enjoy the atmosphere at the Wasatch Front Farmers Market.  It's so peaceful and beautiful that it doesn't really feel like work.  Here's a peak at the fun:


I met another Etsian doing the same thing and she was just as excited about using Square as I was.  You can email or text the person a receipt and can even take a photo of the item being purchased to add to the receipt.  Another nice touch is that you can enter your cash sales as well so you can track all your sales for the day.

It's been an adventure.  I don't recommend trying to hide from the blazing sun under an umbrella, but we can't afford a nice canopy/tent just yet.  Meeting people is always the best part and we have a lot of conversations about tatting and Native American interests. With our diverse offerings, my hubby discovered it worked better to mix things up in our display instead of segregating the "Native" and "Pilgrim" parts. Sales have been better in person than online, but we're only breaking even when you figure in booth costs and gas.  It beats just sitting on our inventory, though.

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