Not On The High Street have thousands of visitors looking for craft goods. If you are considering Not On The High Street (NOTHS) or just want to improve your current NOTHS store, here are some tips.
1. Research your competition
Because NOTHS is a popular platform you'll need to consider competitors. Key areas for competitor analysis here are:
Product. Is your product the same or similar to competitors?
Price. Does your price reflect the current market and the quality of your product?
Saturation. How saturated is this area of crafts all ready? Is your product a niche? If not, how will you compete?
Offers. Are others including free shipping? What about gift wrapping? Seasonal promotions? I'll talk about these a bit more later on, but these are worth a consideration.
Other areas for research are looking at photography to get a feel for what you like. It's really important here that you don't cut corners with research, as you may be missing some vital ideas or creative genius that will give you inspiration.
2. Photography is key
We mention it in almost every post that involves selling a product. Photography is vital to the overall success of a NOTHS store.
The images above are good because they:
Use a clean background. Neutral colours with a scene that is relevant to the product being displayed.
Show the product in action. The image is used to demonstrate it's use. I want one!
Keep it seasonal. Baubles in the background provide a seasonal backdrop and relevance.
Are consistent. This will make your product listing pages look better.
For your product images all the above are good points to note. Other considerations for your images are also to:
Ensure there is no obstruction.
Make sure products are tidy. Creased clothes and tangled jewellery for example are a big no-no.
Images should be taken with a DSLR or high quality digital camera.
Here is a quote from professional photographer Yeshen Venema on how to shoot an image:
The factors at play ‘in camera’ during your shoot include: angle of camera, lens type, aperture, lighting, background, shadows and highlights. In processing you should aim for a standardised approach covering: crop factor, sharpening, saturation and finally how you save for web (size and quality).
In Kate Newlin's book, 'Passion Brands' , she describes the importance of personalisation in an increasingly demanding consumer world. She believes that personalisation should be part of the modern day 'marketing mix'.
With this in mind try to focus on making your products as personalised as possible. Products on NOTHS are becoming increasingly personalised; don't be left behind. Ways in which you can do this are:
Name and message. Give them the option to have their name and or message on their product, whether this is a felt fox or a piece of silver jewellery.
Gift wrap. Offer gift wrap the whole year round for birthdays etc., but also make a big deal of it around the seasonal periods.
Send them a birthday card. If they've bought from you send them a birthday card or postcard. It will remind them of your company as well!
Personalisation can help you create a real song and dance about your brand and what you have to offer. I would encourage you to read the aforementioned book (especially those of you with a crafts store).
4. Create a positive reputation
Ok so your brand may not be as strong as Ferrari, but you probably could improve what you have.
With this in mind the most effective form of marketing, if done properly, is word-of-mouth. To ensure that you use word-of-mouth advertising effectively you should focus on the following key areas:
Ensure that your service is impeccable. Ye olde message of 'the customer is always right' I feel is a bit extreme, but when you are building up a business, it does have some sense to it.
Encourage customers to talk about you. Offer an incentive for the buyer to tell a friend about your product. It could be that they get a voucher to shop with you.
Post purchase satisfaction. Ensure that you monitor every ones experience so it can be improved for the future, in turn creating improved word-of-mouth.
5. Social Media
Linking social media to your Not On The High street store is fairly easy. Making use of it in tandem with NOTHS is another thing. I could write loads on this, but here are a few tips:
Ensure social media icons are placed sensibly. Put all icons in a place where customers will see them quickly. Be careful not to steer them away from buying though!
Use a social media management tool. This will help to save you loads of time managing all accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) and will put them all in one place. We use Hootsuite.
Think outside the box. Tweet at NOTHS with relevant posts, if you get a retweet it's to the exact audience you're aiming at. Tweet out to other big brands that are on NOTHS saying how much you love their products. You get the idea.
Social media is a great way to gain exposure through various creative channels, it also provides a great platform to communicate with your audience. Tell them what you're up to, make videos, provide photos of shoots and develop a rapport with your customers, for free!
Our favourite ecommerce word: 'Upsell!'
We are really lucky to have amazing clients that are great at this. It's so important, and can make you a lot of extra revenue. Ways you can do this on NOTHS are:
Offer free shipping over a certain amount.
Offer money off their next purchase if they spend a given amount. Create a loyalty scheme and give them money off vouchers on their favourite products to encourage repeat business.
Don't be too over the top. Don't hassle them with vouchers and money off by sending them 50 emails everyday, just a gentle polite reminder on your website and an email once a week which tells them what offers they're entitled to should be sufficient.
6. Have variety
William Cowper once wrote, 'variety's the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour' , and we think that sellers should take heed of the Romantic poet's advice. Of the five listed points that NOTHS say they are looking for in a partner, "high quality and range variety" seems the one that people can often forget about.
NOTHS wants to benefit from having lots of businesses selling a wide variety of products on their site, so, linking into our first point about researching your competition, make sure that you are offering NOTHS something in your application that they won't have received before.
A lot of businesses have their applications rejected by NOTHS because they don't have enough variety to bring. Ensure that you're not one of them by:
Looking through the categories you'll be competing with on NOTHS and make sure there aren't any products that are too similar to your own
Having a selection of products in your portfolio, however small, that are not offered by any other merchants on NOTHS
Dedicating your business to the 'unique' and 'eccentric' ethos of NOTHS
As the wise old Porky Pig said, 'that's all folks'.
The key with all the aforementioned activities is to ensure that you try to replicate what the successful companies are already doing on NOTHS, then replicate it with your own personal style.
All the above tips are proven to work, but if you don't have time to implement all of them just do one at a time, I promise you'll recognise the difference.
With expertise in business development and content marketing, grounded in a technical understanding of the web, Rob helps us gain traffic and exposure with innovative and effective tactics. Prior to helping both our clients and ourselves with lead generation, he worked on social media strategy and execution for James Caan's HB Prime Advantage advisory business. He combines entrepreneurial skill with a dynamic approach and a focus on results.
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