Folksy Ltd

The professional approach, or does it not matter?


(Susannah Ayre) #1

I’m just wondering a few things that I’m sure other people must think about as well.

For me, Folksy is a way of selling things I love to make that in an ideal situation it will become more of a full time profession. I realise these things can take time though, so while I print, I also work a seperate full time job.

But- I still try and keep my Folksy shop professional. I am really picky with how I shop- so maybe that’s why I’m like that with display mine. I try and take bright, airy looking photos which display my work in the best possible light. I also try and think about what I write, making sure that it makes sense and provides plenty of information for a potential customer.
I also make sure any correspondence is kept professional and that I am honest with whether things are custom made or not.

Sometimes I look at other shops (particularly those shown on the main front pages) to see how they display their shop and their work, and it surprises me sometimes.
Often I see shops where people say things are custom made, yet they claim to have several in stock already- as a customer, I would question that straight away.
I also notice some discriptions are incredibly short and often not very descriptive- which is again something that would put me off as a customer. (Although I’m also put off by poor spelling/punctuation etc in the description so maybe this is just me)
Even the postage seeming really high for the object makes me wonder whether the seller is simply making money from the postage.

But this often makes me wonder who has the most success online- is it those who treat it more professionally (as I would expect- the same as a nicer looking, more professional looking B&M shop) or does it make no difference?! Is it even just down to price? Are people willing to let all the little issues go, if it means they’re getting a bargain?

I can’t be the only one that thinks about these things or notices these things right?
I’d be interested to see what other people think. :blush:
Although- for the record I would also like to say I come across some really beautiful shops on here- where even if I’m not their target market I still think they are putting themselves across in a really lovely and positive way!..so maybe it’s just each to their own?! Hmm…


(Eileens Craft Studio) #2

It does indeed matter. If you are running a business you have to be as professional as possible.

Descriptions and photos are vital they are what the customer will need to make an inform decision on whether to buy or not.

Photos don’t have to be fancy just clear shots of the item showing different sides and insides where appropriate.

Descriptions should be to the point giving all the necessary information, they don’t have to be over long but must have the correct information in them.

Grammar and punctuation are extremely important as you don’t want to sloopy and can be hard to read and understand.

I don’t worry to much about postage costs as there is more to postage then what you pay at the post office. There’s packaging materials and the cost to even get to a post office, that is part and parcel of overall delivery costs. Some sellers might have to drive a few miles to get to a post office. I’m quite lucky I live only a 10minute walk from mine.

Some shops are just starting out so might still be working on things. I do remember doing a lot of research before I set up shop. I read the forums for months, as a guest, and did the same on other selling platforms, however when I started my photos weren’t the greatest. I did far more editing when I started out than I do now, but I still find I’ve made tiny silly errors and have to edit things.


(Christine Shephard) #3

I think it depends on the buyer - some just want a bargain and don’t care about whether the photos etc are perfect or not; others are more discerning and prepared to spend a bit more if they really like something and might be put off if it doesn’t look good. It doesn’t hurt to be as professional as you can be - you won’t lose buyers if you are, but you might miss a few if you’re not.


(Roz) #4

I do think detailed descriptions and good photos are important. My photographic skills are not the best but I like to think they are slowly improving and I do try to include as many photos as possible. I sometimes think my descriptions are a bit OTT with measurement information etc but I like to give the customer as much info about what they are buying as possible. I would rather people buy knowing what they are getting than be disappointed once they receive the item because its not quite what they expected. As far as price is concerned I think that is a very difficult one because some people are selling to make money, i.e… it is their main source of income whereas for others it is a hobby and they are happy just to cover costs and make a bit extra. I do think underpriced items do not necessarily sell though as people may be concerned they are not getting quality.

I struggle with postage too. UK postage is generally OK - I charge at cost with a little extra to cover packaging/petrol costs and generally send items over £10-£15 by signed for delivery. Overseas is more difficult though as signed for international is so expensive - I’m never sure if I should just risk it and send normal mail and reduce postage costs accordingly.


(Susannah Ayre) #5

Yeah. I think I agree with you all.

I am one of those people who get put off by sloppy spelling/grammar in descriptions, and difficult to see photographs- it would actually stop me from buying from someone even if the item was cheap- although for a lot of people, especially handmade, cheap is also a turn-off.

I think being OTT with descriptions is better than saying barely anything. Especially with it being all online where the customer can’t hold it or see how big it is in person.

But part of me does still think some customers really don’t care about all these things- although yes you’re right in saying that you certainly won’t put anyone off by it seeming more professional, but you may lose a few by not.

I shall continue to play around with my photos and re-read my descriptions a dozen times before I submit! Haha


(Amy Paterson) #6

I agree you have to be professional but friendly. If you had a physical shop you would do the same.
I would expect to see bad grammar / spelling / photos / short descriptions on eBay!


(Helen Clifford) #7

Yes, yes, absolutely it matters!

But there are a spectrum of sellers here varying from those wanting to make a living from their craft, to those wanting to make a bit of pocket money from a hobby (I’m down at this end, by the way!). While those at the front end are highly motivated to provide a great customer experience - including creating a welcoming shopfront with stunning photos, interesting and accurate descriptions, appropriate pricing, and then promoting to the hilt - it just may not have occurred to some of the sellers at the ‘hobby’ end how important this is. Their sales are likely to remain disappointing as a result.

But we can all learn, and one thing I LOVE about Folksy is just how many of those sellers who are excellent role models are more than happy to help us newcomers with advice and hints and tips, on any topic, whatever jam we get into!


(Jo Sara) #8

That’s exactly what I was going to say, some of the things on here are listed very much like eBay listings. They may think they are saving time, but they’ll probably end up answering a lot of message about measurements, materials, etc.


(Sonia Adam) #9

If I had to ask loads of questions about an item because the description was too short/vague then I probably wouldn’t bother at all and I don’t think I’m alone there. The only way you are going to sell an item on folksy is by having decent photos and a detailed description - the buyer has nothing else to go by. If a seller can’t be bothered to explain the basic details about their item then buyers will look elsewhere. If a seller knows that they have a problem with grammar/spelling they should ask someone to proof-read listings before they’re made public. Buyers are fickle and a seller should try to do everything within their power to avoid them clicking away.


(Susannah Ayre) #10

Good point @HelenCliffordArt I guess for some people it probably has never occurred to them. Funny, I never really thought of that! Haha I just assumed for someone who writes an eBay type description like a few people have said, I just always thought (wrongly I guess) that it was just laziness.

I worry that on websites like this (and other similar ones) the more people that just write rushed misspelled descriptions & post hard to see photos, the more amateur the whole website comes across. Does anyone else think this? Or do you just treat it as a selling platform & not worry about the bigger picture on the rest of the website so to speak?
Although, there are plenty of sellers on here that sell amazingly well…whether it be as a full time business or a hobby. So maybe my worries are pointless…most probably. Haha


(Alittlesparkle) #11

Yes it does matter, but Oh dear I am hopeless at spelling and punctuation I did not do well at school, this is why I keep the descriptions short I can’t even see when I have made a mistake I love to make things but think I do let my self down, maybe I should look in to a collage course but have so much going on at the moment, feel free to have a look at my shop if you have suggestions please let me know x


(Karen Ellam) #12

Hi

I’m loving this topic :smiley:
I would love to one day work full time on my shop. It would be a dream come true.
For now I enjoy it as a hobby as I need my day job to pay the bills.
That aside I treat my shop as professionally as I can, after all I’m trying to grow it, and nurture it into shape and hopefully it will flourish in time.
I’m registered with the HMRC and keep tally with all my accounts as I think its so important to start a new path correctly.
I’m quite a perfectionist, and I wind myself up no end trying to capture great photo shots or writing a good snappy but informative description. That said I’m thoroughly enjoying learning these new skills, and I feel I’m getting better as time goes on.

Folksy is my only selling platform at the moment so I know I need to spread my wings a little bit. :blush:

Karen


(Eileens Craft Studio) #13

If your laptop/computer has the Mircosoft Word on it that can be a great tool to help with writing descriptions.

This is because you can type up your description into a Word document and use it’s Spell Checker and Grammar Checker. It’s not fool proof but it sure does help. Just remember to click on UK English as the default is USA English. Then you can copy and paste what you’ve typed in your Word Document into your Folksy listing. It will also help with punctuation problems.

I have to do this with every one of my listings, due to being slightly dyslexic. I’m sure folks are aware of this by the way I’m forever editing my posts due to seeing glaring grammar and spelling errors. :blush:

lol I’ve edited this post a total of 5 times now doh!


(Stevenbowlerdesigns) #14

Yes, grammar and stuff is important. I agree.


(Silvapagan) #15

Even if you don’t have MS Word, you can use the free Open Office software. I do and it works just fine (has all the same bits as MS Office such as spreadsheets and paint, just not all the newer features of the MS Office suite).

Being professional certainly does matter, but different people have a different expectation of what “professional” means. Equally, the definition of “successful” will be different for different people. I feel successful if I get one sale here on Folksy, others aren’t happy unless they are selling something every day (or even every hour).


(Ronald Koorm) #16

Having a professional approach matters if you are serious about your business.

My partner is currently offering for auction some items through an auction house, and their inaccuracies in description and other things has been some cause for concern. Yet they are a successful, and well-respected auction house.
It’s probably because they deal with so many different people and items that they don’t check their text and figures enough, and rely on the customer to do so. Not ideal, but I wouldn’t say they are not professional, but just a bit sloppy. You should not have to rely on the customer to point out errors, but we all make mistakes sometimes. We just have to learn from it.

Presentation of your goods and descriptions are very important.
So many examples I see on various sites of what are excellent products are poorly described, or presented. They put me off, and sales will be lost as a result.

Whether you are doing Ebay, a craft fair, or a Folksy description, take the time to present your goods well.


(Roz) #17

Just as an aside to what is considered professional, the standard Folksy email to customers when an item is shipped reads something along the lines of “Woohoo your Folksy order has been shipped”. While I personally have absolutely no issue with that wording I do wonder if some people may see the inclusion of the word Woohoo as “unprofessional”! Just interested in what others think.


(Margaret Jackson) #18

I have thought the inclusion of the ‘Woohoo’ slightly odd and not entirely professional. It’s a very small thing though and doesn’t put me off.


(Margaret Jackson) #19

Inadequate descriptions and spelling/grammatical mistakes do put me off though, as do out of focus photos. They look ebayish and I do think they reflect badly on the whole site, as these sort of listings may be the first thing someone sees of Folksy and it looks distinctly unprofessional. Buyers might not then take Folksy seriously and move on…


(Samantha Stanley) #20

I too really like this topic and I’ve found all of the responses interesting. It seems to me that as all of us are working from the position of being just one (or maybe two) people trying to sell our crafts online it is very likely that we all have a weakness of some sort, whether that is the confidence to write a long and wordy product description, accounting and pricing, photography (yep that’s me), the list goes on. Whilst it is important to be earnest (!) and professional as possible, I don’t think comparing ourselves to corporations like say Boden or Joules is the right thing to do. They have enormous marketing departments, professional photographers and models and glossy catalogues full of lifestyle tips and professionally written jokes and I don’t think that is necessarily what our customers are looking for anyway. There is a question of balance between working on marketing and working on your craft, and as somebody whose mother buys a lot of craft and original art, our customers value the fact that we don’t do a lot of marketing and use a lot of flashy tricks to make our products look better than they are. In fact, they rather like the idea that they have been clever enough to find this maker and they are the only one to own the thing they’ve bought.
Personally I think we can all be a bit kinder to ourselves and each other, until the day when we are all superstars and can afford to sell out :wink:

Love Sam x