Who doesn’t want to sell more handmade products? Of course that’s what every handmade business owner is after. But there’s a common misconception when it comes to sales.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from business owners when wondering why they don’t sell more handmade products:
People love my work, but they’re not buying!
I’ve said the words myself.
The problem is; you can’t go by what people say, you have to go by what people buy.
It’s easy for someone to say “that’s really nice”. We all do it and probably say or think it a hundred times when we’re shopping at a craft show or the mall. But when it comes time to put our money where our mouth is, although an item may be “nice”, we may not be willing to let go of our hard earned cash for it.
There are millions of nice things in this world that we could spend our money on but we all have limited funds.
Compliments don’t pay the bills so let’s find out why people are saying they love your work but not actually buying it. Here’s how you can sell more handmade products.
WHICH LOW HANDMADE SALES SCENARIO ARE YOU?
There are a couple situations in which business owners who want to sell more handmade products are wondering why they don’t have sales or why their sales numbers aren’t as high as they’d like them to be.
- YOU HAVE SHOPPERS – traffic is coming to your website, your products are being liked/favorited and shoppers are stopping by your craft show booth. But at the end of the day, the sales aren’t there or you’d like to sell more handmade.
If this sounds like your craft business’ situation, below you’ll find a few reasons people may be looking at your handmade products but not buying.
- YOU AIN’T GOT NO SHOPPERS – you’re posting your crafts on social media, joining every online handmade marketplace, selling at craft shows, etc. but shoppers aren’t noticing them. There are no likes, no traffic and no browsers in your booth.
If this sounds like your craft business’ situation, you most likely need to work on your marketing. First, head over to this article to see if you’re making these common marketing mistakes.
Once your marketing is up to par, you’ll start seeing shoppers come in. If they buy, great, you don’t need this article 😉 If you have the shoppers but still no paying customers, come back to this article.
YOU HAVE SHOPPERS BUT NO CUSTOMERS
In this article, were going to assume you’re getting your handmade products in front of people but they’re just not buying or some are but you’d like to sell more.
Attracting shoppers and getting your handmade products viewed is a different ballgame than actually selling them. How much traffic are you bringing to your products?
It may be that your sales are on average for your traffic and you’re just not attracting enough shoppers.
Unless you’re the best sales person in the world, every person who visits your craft business’ website, online shop or craft show booth, will not buy.
The average conversion rate is 1 – 2%.
That’s it! That means that if 100 people visit your craft show booth and you sell your handmade products to 1 or 2 of them, you’re doing pretty good conversion-wise.
Puts things in perspective doesn’t it? Although you may have thought you had lots of traffic, views, likes, etc. this week and should have a sale by now, your sales numbers may actually be on par with the average conversion rate. Perhaps you just need to attract more shoppers in order to sell more handmade products.
So before you assume you have more than enough people visiting your craft business’ online store or looking at your handmade products, do some calculations.
What’s 1% of your website’s traffic for the week? If it’s less than the number of sales you want, you need to work on marketing and drive more shoppers to your handmade products. Start with this article.
If you’re selling to less than 1 – 2% of people who visit your online shop or craft show booth, see if the reasons below may apply to your handmade business when it comes to low sales.
REASON #1 YOUR HANDMADE SALES ARE LOW – PEOPLE ARE JUST BEING NICE
If you’re hearing “I love your work!” but have no sales, is it possible people are being kind?
Let’s get the harsh, hard to swallow possibility out of the way first. There’s no shame here, we’ve all been there. I’ve had to take a hard look at all the businesses I’ve started and be really critical.
There hasn’t been one product or service I’ve offered in my 15+ years of being an entrepreneur that didn’t require me swallowing my pride, going back to the drawing board and changing what I thought I got right.
Of course my first reaction when questioning if I might actually have a bad product or service was to get defensive. No way! So many people have said what a great idea it is and that they’d totally buy one. There must be another reason I’m not selling more.
But if at the end of the day, no one is buying; how good could my product/service really be?
Then I thought about it. If a friend, family member, or even a stranger was telling me about their business and how excited they were to start it, would I tell them it was a good idea, even if I didn’t fully believe in it? Yes, yes I would. Not to lie to them but I just wouldn’t want to rain on their parade.
So if I could lie to someone about thinking their idea or product was great, isn’t it possible others have done it to me? Absolutely.
I had to decide; did I want to be right in my own mind or did I want to sell more?
Once I accepted that my business might not be as amazing as I thought it was, I was able to look at it with a critical eye and make the necessary changes.
HOW TO KNOW IF A SHOPPER IS JUST BEING NICE & DOESN’T ACTUALLY LOVE YOUR WORK
- shoppers look from a distance
- they don’t pick anything up
- they don’t ask any questions
- they don’t stay long at your craft show table
- lots of likes and comments but no views
- not many likes or views
- low website traffic and product inquiries
WHAT TO DO TO SELL MORE HANDMADE PRODUCTS
You’ve come to the realization that maybe people don’t like your product as much as they say they do.
Don’t get discouraged. This is all a part of running a handmade business (or any business for that matter) and I actually think this is the fun part.
You get to go back to the drawing board and be creative. You can brainstorm new ideas, test new handmade products and shake things up a little.
But you’ll need to be strategic if you’re going to make changes to your handmade products. Don’t guess what needs to change and which features might make your products better. Do your research.
Follow the steps in this article to determine how you might make changes and if they’ll help you sell more handmade.
REASON #2 YOUR HANDMADE SALES ARE LOW – YOUR PRODUCTS AREN’T PRICED RIGHT
If you truly do believe that people love your work but they’re just not buying, it could be your prices.
PRICES ARE TOO HIGH
I would never suggest a handmade business owner randomly drop their product’s prices. And I’m not suggesting you cut corners, undervalue your work, or set prices based on your competitors’, just to sell more handmade product.
In most cases, handmade vendors under-price their work. But if you’re starting out and using the pricing formula: materials + time = cost, cost x 2 = wholesale price, wholesale price x 2 = retail price (or something similar), it may just be that your material and time costs are too high, bumping the rest of your totals up.
You can’t stay stuck in the mentality of: well that’s how long it takes me to make an item and I can’t lower the price or I’d make no money.
If the amount of time you put into a handmade product is pushing the price higher than people are willing to pay, you don’t have a sustainable business.
HOW DO YOU SHOP?
Let’s say you’re shopping for a basic white t-shirt. If you found two very similar styles and quality of shirts at two stores, one selling it for $30 and the other for $25, which store would you purchase from?
Shoppers never want to pay more than they need to. So if they can buy a similar handmade product, of similar quality, and pay less, they will. It’s not about getting into a pricing war with your competitors; it’s about showing the shoppers who come to you, why your handmade products are worth the price and giving them more reasons to buy from you than not to.
Shoppers will pay more for a brand. Let’s say the $30 t-shirt is in your favorite store. You love shopping there. The staff are so friendly, the smells, sights and sounds are always amazing, the vibe is cool and you love carrying around their branded shopping bag and unwrapping your purchase once you get home.
The $25 shirt is in a store you’re not as familiar with. You don’t get a great feeling when you walk in the store, there’s not much attention to detail and you have a hard time finding any help.
In this case, you may see the $30 shirt in your favorite store, know you can probably find a similar product at another store, but not bother looking because you’re willing to pay $30 for the experience, convenience, and the quality you know they offer.
If you want to sell more handmade product and you believe your prices may be hindering your sales, you can either find a way to lower your material and time costs, or work on your brand.
PRICES ARE TOO LOW
There’s also the other side of the spectrum; you may be pricing your handmade products too low. If shoppers think your prices are lower than they should be, you could be sending the wrong message.
Shoppers assume low prices mean low quality or that they’re making some other type of sacrifice (e.g. poor labor standards, materials are bad for the environment, etc.).
The handmade vendor also loses a bit of their authenticity. When you come across a pair of earrings priced at $5 and another pair priced at $30, you automatically think the vendor selling the $30 earrings has more experience and knowledge in jewelry making. They seem more authentic and confident enough to charge that price because they know the value of their work.
It’s easy to think the price is so low, why wouldn’t someone buy? Everyone can afford it. But that’s not always the case.
HOW DO YOU SHOP?
Let’s go back to shopping for that basic white t-shirt. This time, imagine shopping online, when you can’t examine the product. Again, you come across two stores. The shirts look identical but one is priced at $5 and one at $30.
Do you think you’ll be getting the same quality t-shirt if you go with the $5 one over the $30? I’d assume the material is thinner, it likely won’t wear or wash as nice and I won’t get through a year before it starts to wear out.
$5 may be great if you’re looking for something cheap to throw on under sweaters. But if you’re looking for a classic white tee you can wear for years to come, feel good when you put it on, and get a great fit, you’ll probably go with the $30 t-shirt.
Which scenario do you think a shopper is going for when they’re buying handmade? Something they can only use a couple times before it falls apart, or a high-quality item they’ll be proud to show off?
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR PRICES ARE TOO HIGH OR LOW
Some of these situations may indicate there’s an issue with your pricing:
- If people at a craft show stop at your table after something catches their eye but they don’t end up buying
- If they spend a lot of time in your booth but don’t buy
- If they put items down after learning the price
- If they buy your lower priced items
- If views are high but sales are low
- If lots of people make it to your shopping cart page but don’t buy – they may have had second thoughts based on the price
- If your bounce rate is high – people follow a link to your product, learn the price then leave without visiting other pages or learning more
- If the average time spent on your website is low – something changed their mind quickly
WHAT TO DO TO SELL MORE HANDMADE PRODUCT
PRICED TOO HIGH
If your work is priced higher than average for a reason, it’s your job to point that reason out and help shoppers understand your prices. If you want to sell more, you also must be sure every aspect of your business says your handmade products are worth their price; this is where your brand comes in.
If you feel your sales would benefit from lowering the prices of your handmade products, you must first lower your costs. Otherwise you’re eating into your profits and you have to sell more to make the same amount of money. This article covers what to do when your prices are too high.
PRICED TOO LOW
If you believe your handmade products are priced too low, simply start raising your prices. Many handmade vendors are skeptical about making an increase in price and believe it may harm their sales. But if you’re currently unhappy with how much handmade product you sell, what’s the harm in bumping the price up and seeing where it gets you?
Many handmade business owners have reported they sell more handmade product when they raise their prices.
Again, be sure the elements that surround your handmade products support your price point. If your photos, descriptions, packaging, etc. are lackluster, the higher price point may not help communicate higher value and you still won’t sell more.
If you need help increasing the perceived value of your handmade products at a craft show and creating a display that supports your prices, join the FREE CHALLENGE – 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY. Check it out here or sign up for free below.
REASON #3 YOUR HANDMADE SALES ARE LOW – YOUR SELLING TECHNIQUES NEED HELP
I know, you likely don’t enjoy selling but if you want to sell more, it’s necessary. You definitely can get away with less selling at a craft show if every other aspect of your display is on point, but even then, you need to give the shopper a little attention.
When it comes to selling online, the same applies. Your description is your sales pitch and all other elements (your product title, photos, bio, policies, etc.) need to play a supporting role and tell shoppers: you can trust me and you’ll be making a good decision if buy from me.
Not many products sell themselves and most shoppers need help picturing a product in their lives.
HOW DO YOU SHOP?
When’s the last time you saw something and bought it without a second thought? There was no display, no photos of the item on the model, no sales pitch and no signage pointing out the benefits.
Most of the time, there are hints from the seller, telling you: you need this product. It may be a mannequin in the front window helping you imagine the entire outfit (not just showing the top or an accessory on its own). Maybe the sales person told you: That face cream is our top seller. I use it every day and have noticed a big change in my skin’s texture. Or it could have been the packaging that pointed out the 100% organic ingredients used.
If you simply set your handmade products on the table or post a photo online, without much information aside from the price and what the item is, you’re leaving it up to the shopper to talk themselves into needing your product. Which doesn’t happen often unless they’re already familiar with the product or the brand.
There are times when you rummage through products and decide to buy without the persuasion of the seller. But generally it takes you longer to get to the “sold” point and it’s you selling yourself on the idea of owning it. You might pick up an item, examine it, tilt your head and try to imagine how you might wear it, where you might place it in your home, or consider if you’d enjoy using it.
Your shoppers may also sell themselves on your handmade products without any persuasion from you. However, they’ll likely need more time to think about it before purchasing, during which, another vendor may sell them one of their products. Shoppers also don’t have all the information needed to make a decision unless you share it with them. How do they know the gem used in the ring is vintage and from Europe? Or that the yarn used to knit your hats can be washed and won’t lose its color or shape? And how might a shopper know the benefits of charcoal soap if they’re unfamiliar and you don’t tell them?
If you want to sell more handmade, don’t assume your shoppers know everything you know about your products or the materials/ingredients/techniques you use.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SALES TECHNIQUES NEED HELP
- shoppers spend a lot of time in your booth but don’t buy
- they ask a lot of questions but don’t buy
- they’re interested in your products but start to back off when your sales pitch starts
- they walk away but come back later to buy – they had to convince themselves; your pitch didn’t quite do it.
- people spend a lot of time on your product pages but don’t purchase
- you receive a lot of emails asking questions about your products
- your description is one sentence.
- you only have one photo of your product
WHAT TO DO TO SELL MORE HANDMADE PRODUCT
Selling doesn’t have to be complicated or hard. You just need to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What do they care about when shopping for handmade products like yours? Which features are they looking for? What are their concerns?
First, switch from the mindset of a maker to one of a shopper. We’re often so close to our work, we talk to shoppers as though they’re our colleagues, with the same knowledge of products, materials, techniques, terms etc. as us.
For example, someone who sells soap may label their bars as “cold-processed”. Other soap vendors may know what that means and the benefits of cold-process soap. But I personally have no idea…..and I buy a lot of handmade soap.
If you need help with your online descriptions, please check out:
- PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS THAT SELL PART 1
- PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS THAT SELL PART 2
- PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS THAT SELL PART 3 (TEMPLATES, EXAMPLES & SAMPLES)
If it’s your in-person selling that needs a little help, you’ll find loads of tips in MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS.
And if selling feels painful and, you’ll like THE SUCCESSFUL INTROVERT.
Have another theory as to why people say they love an item but don’t buy? Share in the comment section below!
Links mentioned in the article:
- MARKETING MISTAKES MOST HANDMADE BUSINESSES MAKE
- HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR HANDMADE PRODUCT WILL SELL
- WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR HANDMADE PRICES ARE TOO HIGH
- FREE CHALLENGE – 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY