If you’re a jewelry designer, you know how important it is to establish a strong online presence. This opens up both a national and an international market to our jewelry business. Sometimes it seems as if the online jewelry market is too competitive with new jewelry designers coming on board every day pushing prices down. This is particularly true on auction venues such as Ebay. On the other hand, can you afford to ignore this mega market if you’re serious about making money marketing jewelry?
I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Ebay. I love the way the high traffic brings in jewelry sales but dislike the constant fee hikes. Having sold both via auction and through Ebay stores, I know it can be a great market for handmade jewelry. BUT, in order to be extremely successful, you need to think of Ebay as another tool in your marketing arsenal. Don’t expect to be able to post your handmade jewelry without doing a bit of self promotion. This is especially true of marketing through Ebay stores. My Ebay store sales were modest until I put into practice some easy to implement techniques to drive traffic to my store.
When comparing Ebay auctions vs. Ebay stores, I much prefer the store format. Auctions tend to be more labor intensive and subject to price depression. Bargain hunters tend to gravitate toward the auction format in an attempt to get a deal whereas store buyers tend to be more motivated to buy and less price conscious. Ebay stores allow you to set your own fixed price and, thus, maximize your returns which is a big advantage over the auction format where the market determines the selling price. Another big advantage to the store format are the promotional and tracking tools provided free with an Ebay store. These tools if purchased separately would cost more than the price of your monthly store fees.
Ebay auctions can be a great tool for driving traffic to your Ebay store. I found that when I listed jewelry auctions, traffic to my Ebay stores would increase by several times. I found the best strategy was to list around ten Ebay auctions weekly for the purpose of driving traffic to my store. When I did this, traffic counts to my store listings would often as much as triple. I’ve talked to several other jewelry designers who have Ebay stores and they have confirmed that this strategy works well for their jewelry business also.
An Ebay store can be a useful tool for directing traffic to your jewelry website. Although Ebay won’t allow a direct link to your website from auction or store listings, you can include your website address in the “About Me” section. Surprisingly enough, people actually do read this section and will often follow through with a visit to your website. It’s important that you have some price consistency if you plan on cross promoting between your Ebay store and website. Customers won’t be very happy if you sell at a discount on your website relative to what they paid in your Ebay store. I recommend offering a 10% discount on items purchased directly from your website. If you do this, people will often bookmark your site for direct purchases in the future.
Another way to drive repeat traffic to your jewelry designs is to use the power of email marketing. An Ebay store account gives you the ability to send out professionally designed promotional emails to your customers to trigger repeat purchases. I found this tool to be quite helpful in building a mailing list and increasing sales of my own handmade jewelry. You can send out a newsletter showing new jewelry items, sale items, specials, and can even include a photo of your auctions and store listings.
In my experience, customers particularly like educational newsletters that teach them something. For example, if you sell jewelry with semiprecious stones, you could send out an informational newsletter on the origins and meaning of particular stones. Interspersed throughout the newsletter, you can have links to your current Ebay auctions or store listings. Customers will look forward to your newsletter as you’re educating them as opposed to trying to sell to them.
Another Ebay store tool that’s quite useful is the keyword search analysis. This tool will show you what keywords customers typed in to reach your auctions or store listings. This will help you to fine tune your auction and store titles. For example, if a significant number of viewers typed in the words “handmade bracelet” to reach your bracelet listing, you’ll want to consistently include this term in your auction or store listing title when you list a handmade bracelet for sale. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at the keywords people will use to reach your items and by putting these keywords into titles, you can see a significant increase in traffic.If you want your listings to be found, don’t forget to harness the power of keywords for your jewelry business!
Stay tuned for more articles on how to market jewelry on Ebay and other online venues.