Before you can make a sale, you must first catch a shopper’s attention.
If a shopper doesn’t notice your craft show booth or Etsy listing, or they do but aren’t drawn to it, you won’t have an opportunity to sell.
You can’t build a display or create a listing that appeals to everyone.
So you must pick one type of shopper you want to attract (i.e. your target market) and present your products in a way that’s attractive to that shopper.
Here’s a simple exercise to help you determine what will catch your ideal customer’s eye.
Step 1 – Become the shopper
We’re often too close to our work to see the obvious opportunities. So try forgetting about the product you’re wanting to sell, and be the shopper looking for a product to buy.
You can shop for the product you sell, or you may shop for a product that’s similar.
For example, if I make sea glass jewelry, I may become a consumer shopping for sea glass jewelry, or I may shop for sea glass art.
If you go shopping for a product different than the one you’re selling, just be sure to choose a product your target market would also be drawn to.
Step 2 – Go shopping
Enter the type of product you’re selling (or a similar product) into a Google search bar or Etsy’s search bar.
For example, if I’m selling sea glass jewelry I would Google “sea glass jewelry”
Switch to the “Images” tab or the “Shopping” tab.
Step 3 – Save eye-catching images
Don’t spend too much time looking at/thinking about each product or photo.
You want to be a shopper who must sort through hundreds of options; not a business owner analyzing the competition.
The point of this exercise is to see what catches your eye when you have endless options.
Scroll at a relatively fast pace and make note of which images you’re drawn to.
When an image catches your eye, right-click on it and open it in a new tab.
You want to stay on the page and keep scrolling, picking out more images.
You may also choose just one photo that you love and examine its elements.
Step 4 – Define the primary eye-catching element(s)
Once you’ve scrolled through dozens of product images, look at each image you’ve saved/opened in a new tab.
What do they all have in common?
Define what initially caught your eye.
Make note of:
- Photography style (e.g. light and airy, dark and moody, colorful and sharp, etc.)
- Colors (e.g. light neutrals, pastel colors, primary colors, dark colors, etc.)
- Theme (e.g. for example, beach theme for sea glass jewelry, or candles that follow a floral theme)
- Props (what type of props are used in photos, if any?)
- Style/Vibe (what style do the products follow? Modern or vintage? Boho or classic? Does the photo have a feminine vibe? Whimsical vibe?)
How would you describe the images you’re drawn to in one or two words?
Summarize the general look/feel of images that caught your eye.
For example, if I’m browsing photos of sea glass jewelry, I may notice all the images I’m drawn to have a light and airy feel.
“Light and airy” would be the look/feel I’d go for in my product presentation.
Step 5 – apply eye-catching elements to your presentation
What you’re initially attracted to in a product photo is likely what your ideal customers are also attracted to.
Determine if and how this look/feel can shape your craft show display, product photos, or online shop.
List the elements of your product presentation.
Online elements may be:
- Photo background
- Photo props
- Photography style and editing
Craft show elements may be:
- Display fixtures
- Display props
- Your attire
Then take the word(s) you used to describe the images you were drawn to when shopping and combine it with each element of your presentation.
For example, I would take “light and airy” and brainstorm how to communicate that at a craft show:
- white tablecloth
- white display fixtures
- white sea-themed props (e.g. white starfish, white seashells, white driftwood, white sand)
- highlight/feature lighter-colored jewelry (e.g. soft blue and seafoam green pieces rather than deeper blues and greens)
- clean, simple, and modern font for signage
- dress in an all-white linen outfit and wear light blue sea glass earrings, necklace, ring, and bracelet.
Online, when planning photos for my listings I may use:
- clean white background
- minimal props used to keep the photo clean and light, but if any props are used, they’d be white.
- bright and crisp photography style/editing.
On the other hand, if I was drawn to images that incorporate seafoam green, I might create a monochromatic craft show display with seafoam green (e.g. seafoam green tablecloth, display fixtures, spray painted props, feature seafoam green pieces). Other coloured pieces would still fit in my display, but the punch of seafoam green color in my space would likely catch my ideal customer’s eye, just as it catches mine.
Another way to find a general direction for your craft show display, photos, or online shop is to look at a “competitor’s” website.
Think of your competitor in this situation as a business you admire and look up to, rather than one you’re competing with.
You may even examine the businesses you’re drawn to that sell a different product than you.
List a few businesses you love and then visit their websites.
- How would you describe the general vibe of their website?
- What’s the color scheme?
- What’s the style/vibe of their website photos?
- What type of fonts do they use?
Try to mimic these elements in your online shop or craft show display.
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!