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It costs you money to attract new shoppers.
>> You spend time posting to social media, sending newsletters, pitching to store owners, etc. And your time = money.
>> You spend money on ads, business cards, flyers, etc.
So when you’re spending all that time and money just to bring potential customers to you, you want to be sure they’re spending money with your business.
Otherwise, you’re not making a return on your marketing investments.
*If you’re not sure what your return on investments are; how to track them, calculate them, and use the info to improve your business, The Success Planner will help.
Not every person who visits your online or offline store will buy from you; you will never have a 100% conversion rate.
Average conversion rates tend to be closer to 1 – 2%.
So it’s really important that the people who do buy from you, buy enough to help cover your marketing (and other) expenses.
When you increase your value per transaction, you increase how much each customer spends. And it’s easier to do so than you may think.
It doesn’t take much to have a big impact.
>> Just think about the shoe polish or insoles shoe stores always try to get you to buy when you purchase a new pair of shoes.
>> Or the hair products hairdressers suggest at the end of a haircut.
That’s them trying to increase the value of your transaction, just ever so slightly.
That’s all it takes to make a big difference over the course of a year.
Of course, the shoe store would love for you to spend another $100 on an additional pair of shoes, but they know that’s not likely with most customers. But encouraging each customer to spend another $9.99 on some shoe polish is not something to brush off. Sell the polish to 10 already-have-their-wallet-out-people (which makes the add-on sale that much easier) and it’s the equivalent of selling another pair of $100 shoes, with minimal effort.
One customer buying 2 or more items can help make up for the 98 – 99% of shoppers who don’t buy.
This sales technique shouldn’t be thought of as trying to squeeze as much out of your customers as possible
But rather, enhancing their experience with your business and its products.
Here are 3 methods to try which will help you earn more revenue without increasing your acquisition costs.
1 – CREATE PRODUCTS THAT BUILD ON THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
You want your customers to get the most of your products.
Not only is it bad for business when customers don’t actually use your products or find value in them, but I’m sure it’s not what you want for your customers either. You want your products to bring joy to your customers’ lives.
So instead of trying to cater to a wide variety of customers and only partially fulfilling their needs, focus on one target market and just a few types of customers within that market and completely fulfilling their needs.
How you can create a better experience for one type of customer and what would help them enjoy your products even more?
For example, if I sell jewelry, instead of thinking: what other styles of necklaces could I make to sell to the customer who doesn’t like this style?
I would think about the customer who likes one style of necklace I’m offering and what else they would want to go with it.
>> If I’m selling semi-precious jewelry, they may want a beautiful soft cloth bag to protect the necklace and make it feel precious, even when it’s in their jewelry drawer. Or if it’s being purchased as a gift, they may want the soft cloth bag, and a gift box, and a gift card.
>> If I’m selling a delicate gold charm necklace, they might want a set of delicate gold charm bangles and a dainty gold ring to wear with the earrings.
>> If I’m selling a teething necklace, they may be interested in teething rings and teething pacifier clips.
Although you may already have a craft show table full of options, to increase your sales per transaction (a.k.a. how many items each customer buys), you must have products that clearly work together and make a customer feel like they need the other items in the collection or as an add-on.
Cotton bibs and burp cloths in a variety of colors and patterns could be purchased together. But when a customer picks up a blue and white polka dot bib and then sees different colors of burp cloths on the other side of the table, does it really create excitement to buy them together?
I would say no.
But seeing a nautical-themed collection displayed together showing blue and white: bibs, burp cloths, and nursing covers is what makes shoppers think: oh how cute! I need the set.
They can imagine how cute their baby will look in the bib and how put-together they’ll feel with the matching burp cloth and nursing cover.
Or, they can imagine gifting the nautical-themed items to the new mom in their lives and how their eyes will light up when they see the set; knowing it was a well-thought-out gift and not a bunch of random items purchased together.
A set that’s a mix of colors and patterns that don’t really work together just doesn’t have the same effect or create the same desire to buy the entire set.
Customers need to have product options to choose from that allow them to purchase more than one item.
As another example, imagine if I make hair accessories, but no two look alike. I would only have one boho-style headband, which would make it hard for a customer who loves boho style to find 2 accessories to buy. But if I offer a boho collection of hair accessories, a customer who loves boho style may buy 2 boho-styled headbands, or a boho-style headband, barrette, and hair tie.
Or, if I make handbags and I only offer one style of bag: a gym bag. It’s unlikely my customers will purchase 2 gym bags. But they may purchase a shoe bag to go with their gym bag, a wet bag to keep their used gym clothes separate, a matching toiletry bag to hold their gym soap and shampoo, etc.
Be sure you’re not creating products willy-nilly.
Think about your target market what types of products they need for the upcoming season, and what types of products they might buy together.
Plan collections of products that work together.
You could do one collection with several pieces that work together.
In my gym bag example, I might only offer one style of gym bag that comes in black, but have 5 other types of gym bag accessories that could work with that gym bag, or be purchased on their own and work with a customer’s existing gym bag.
Or you might plan 3 – 5 product collections.
In my hair accessory example, I might plan 3 product collections. They would all have a bohemian style, but one collection would use silver, another gold, and another rose gold.
Set your business up with products that work together.
You should hear customers say “I could buy everything” or see them debate between several products (and then hopefully buy more than one). That’s a good sign that you’ve catered your products to a specific customer and given them the option to buy more than one item.
Here are some additional articles to help you thoughtfully plan your products to generate the most revenue possible from each customer.
- How to correct the layout of your craft show table to increase the chances of customers adding to their order
2 – OFFER DEALS THAT ENCOURAGE MORE SPENDING
If you’re wondering how you could possibly offer a discount on your products, it means your profit margins are too low.
(The Success Planner will help you get your business’s numbers in order)
Products should be priced to allow you to offer discounts once and a while.
If you’re thinking that’s impossible, consider if you can:
1 – Lower costs. That may mean speeding up your production, purchasing materials at lower prices, cutting back on time-consuming product features, etc.
2 – Raise prices. If you’re currently under-pricing your work, it’s a simple matter of putting higher price tags on your products. But if customers already hem and haw over your prices, and they’re the lowest among your competition, then you need to raise the perceived value of your products.
If lowering costs and raising prices aren’t possible, it may be that you’ve simply picked a product that isn’t suitable for a handmade business.
Check out this article to get a better idea of why some craft businesses are more profitable than others and which ones tend to be the most profitable.
Unfortunately, not every type of handmade product helps build a profitable business.
When you have healthy profit margins you can offer deals that encourage customers to purchase more than one item.
Yes, they’re getting a discount on those additional items, so you’re not making as much money as you would if they were purchased separately by different customers. But as long as you’re still profiting with each sale, it’s a win.
Here are a couple of ideas for offering deals:
With each item they add to their bag, it can unlock bigger savings.
The company ThirdLove does this. When you put an item in your cart, you see a message that says “when you spend $135 you save $15”. So now it gets you thinking: well I was going to get another item next month, but maybe I’ll just get it now and save. When you do add another item and get up to that $135 point, you see a new message: Spend $200 and save $30. This technique encourages shoppers to add more to their cart to unlock savings.
You may have a minimum quantity of products that must be in their cart to get a discount or a minimum dollar amount.
If you sell items that are the same price point, such as greeting cards, the minimum quantity would be a good method to get customers to increase their purchase by a more significant amount.
If they have a $5 item in their cart, purchasing another $5 may not warrant a discount. However, if they unlock a discount when they have 5 greeting cards in their cart, you’re getting them to increase the value of their purchase by a more significant amount, but not so significant that it would turn them off.
However, this technique wouldn’t work for a business selling a broader range of price points.
For example, let’s say an artist sells original pieces of art, prints of their art, and printed greeting cards. If a customer is purchasing an original piece of art for $500 and can unlock a 15% discount if they have 5 items in their cart, they could simply add 4 greeting cards at $5/piece, increasing the value of their shopping cart by $20, but then discounting it by $78.
In this scenario, a minimum dollar amount could unlock a discount instead.
The discount you offer should ensure you’re still profiting. And that the profits from selling 2 items with a discount, will still be greater than the profits of selling one item without a discount.
For example, if the artist’s profit margins are 25% on paintings, they would profit $125 on the sale of a $500 painting.
Let’s say they offer a 10% discount when a customer spends $1000 and over, and that encourages a customer to buy 2 pieces totaling $1000 (before discount).
The customer then gets a discount of $100 off their purchase; juice that’s worth the squeeze (a $10 discount wouldn’t have the same effect).
Instead of the artist profiting $250 from selling both paintings without a discount, they’re profiting $150; $100 less profit.
However, they sold a second painting without having to spend any additional time or money.
If they had to sell that second painting to a new customer, it would require more time and potentially more marketing costs (to pay for another craft show to sell at or to list the item online and pay commissions). Those costs would also eat into the profits of that second painting.
They didn’t profit as much by offering the discount, but they doubled their revenue without much more time, money, or effort.
That revenue covers ALL the costs of both paintings. Meaning, they make money to buy more paint and canvases and they’re getting paid for the hours they spent painting the 2 pieces. On top of that, they’re still earning a profit on both pieces.
A few other ways to unlock savings are:
- Minimum cart value for free shipping – free shipping is never really free (if implemented correctly). The cost of shipping simply gets distributed into product prices. If a business has decent profit margins, they may simply reduce those margins slightly when they cover shipping costs, and keep product prices the same. If profit margins are tight, then offering free shipping means you must increase your prices to work shipping fees into them, or sell more items to unlock free shipping.
- Free gift with purchase – you would set a minimum value a customer must spend, or require customers to purchase a certain product (or line of products) to receive the gift. The free gift would be of lower value than what they’re spending but would be an incentive for customers to spend just a little extra to get it.
- Create bundles – you can offer a discount on items you bundle together. Instead of allowing customers to choose their own item (e.g. buy any 5 cards and get a 10% discount or spend $100 to get a 10% discount), you can group items together in a set that’s discounted. This is a good method to implement during the holidays, as shoppers love easy to buy gifts. You’ll have an added expense for the packaging the items are grouped in (e.g. the gift box with tissue paper and a bow the bundle comes in), so be sure to factor that into your price and the discount you offer.
3 – WORK ON THE FOLLOW UP
Although you want to increase the value of each transaction, it’s not a loss if you increase the value of each customer instead.
Meaning, a customer may only buy one item in a transaction, but if you have a follow-up strategy, that same customer may buy more items in another transaction.
There are a few ways to do this, both online and at craft shows.
Email is king/queen when it comes to marketing online. There are a couple of ways to follow up through email when selling online:
ORDER CONFIRMATION EMAIL
You can go simple with a follow-up offer or suggestion and simply include it in the order confirmation email.
Those types of emails have much higher open rates than regular newsletter emails.
If you think about why, it’s because we’re excited after just purchasing an item. We want to know how soon it’s going to be shipped out and when we can expect it to arrive.
So we open that email with the subject line: Thank you for your order.
Within that email, you can give the customer a window of opportunity to add something else to their order.
For example, let’s say I was selling shoes online, and I had a 3-day turnaround time. That gives the customer time to add to their order before I ship it out.
To encourage my customers to add on to their shipment, I may add a message to my order confirmation email that reads:
Customers commonly come back to purchase these items. (have images for shoe insoles, shoe polish, and shoe protector). If you’d like any of these items, you can purchase them in the next 2 days and I’ll add them to your shoe shipment.
If the items I suggest are small and won’t impact shipping costs, the product links may direct them to listings that don’t have shipping fees. I would then point out the perk of adding the items now; “you can add them to your offer now and skip the shipping fees you would have to pay if you order them at a later date.”
If the items I suggest are bigger and would increase shipping costs, I would simply direct them to regular listings (that add on shipping costs) but point out a different benefit of buying now: if you add them to your cart now, you’ll get everything you need arriving at the same time…who likes waiting, right?
When you use a service like Convertkit (they’ve recently added a free plan to their options), you can set up an automated sales funnel (here’s a start to finish guide) that starts after they’ve received their items in the mail.
>> This can start with a “checking in” message to ensure they received their order and everything looks good (which is great customer service they’ll appreciate).
>> Then a week or two later, a message can automatically send that has some tips for getting the most out of their newest purchase; tips for use, how to care for, etc.
>> Then another week or two later, an email is automatically sent that suggests another product they may like, or that would work well with their existing product.
You can get pretty detailed with your automated sales funnels, especially if you use an email service like Convertkit (which is what I use).
You can link your Convertkit account with your online store so that an email subscriber is “tagged” to indicate which product(s) they purchased.
That “tagging” can then trigger a specific email automation to send.
For example, if I sell bibs, burp cloths, and nursing covers in my online store, and someone purchases a set of bibs, they could be tagged with “purchased bibs” in my Convertkit account.
I would create an email series specifically for customers who purchased bibs. They would have helpful information focused on feeding, how to clean the bib, and the third sales email would suggest burp cloths and nursing cover (but not more bibs).
I would also set a “rule” in Convertkit that triggers that automated email series to start sending to that subscriber 20 days after they are tagged with “purchased bibs”. This would give the bibs enough time to get to the customer.
I go into more detail about how to use email marketing, it all its glory, in this complete guide.
You have a similar email opportunity to follow up with your craft show customers, if you get them onto your newsletter list at the event (here’s how to grow your newsletter list at a craft show).
Of course, the emails would look a bit different, since the craft show shoppers aren’t paying for shipping or waiting for their products to arrive in the mail.
However, if you get a customer signed up to your newsletter at the event, you can still tag them in a way to identify what they’ve purchased, which can then trigger a specific automated email series to start sending.
Alternatively, you could place a coupon or flyer in their shopping bag with their purchase.
The flyer may have a list of the craft shows they can find you at in the upcoming season on one side, and a coupon on the other. The coupon could be redeemed at any upcoming craft show listed on the flyer, to get a discount.
Or the flyer may simply tell them where to find you this season on one side, and images of one or two of your best sellers, or products from an upcoming collection, on the other side; to get them thinking about the next items to buy from you.
The techniques suggested in this article may only increase the value of each customer’s cart by a small amount, but those small amounts will add up to big revenue increases in the course of a year.
I hope this article has sparked a few ideas on ways you can increase your revenue!
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!