Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rethinking : Selling Online

Yes, I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately.  No, I have no immediate plans to close my etsy shops.  All I've been doing so far is thinking.

You're probably wondering what is prompting all this deep thought.  Even if you're not wondering, I'll tell you anyway.

As many of you know, I sell my work at craft shows, the state fair, on consignment at galleries and wholesale to gift shops.  All of those sales venues result in Sales In Bunches.  I've never actually counted the number of sales at any one of those venues because it does not seem like a relevant number.  Only on etsy is the number of sales visible and attention-getting.  I always measure the success of my business by the amount of money I make.

ALERT -- the crux of my deep thinking is about to be revealed

Why does it make sense to sell (and ship!) items one at a time halfway around the world??  Okay, sometimes it's 2 or 3 or 4 things at a time.  And sometimes it's only a quarter of the way around the world.  But I think you get my drift.  Selling online in small quantities is not only the polar opposite of earth-friendly, it's inefficient and expensive.

Think about all of that packaging and time involved in getting each individual parcel ready to be shipped.  When I look at the etsy sector of my business, I sometimes laugh out loud at the sheer silliness of it. I'm sure there's a better word than silly, but that's what is coming to mind right now.

I have no alternative to what's going on with online shopping, but I hope this post has prompted you to think about your online selling and shopping habits.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.


Brandi said...

I have no advice.

I haven't put any effort into offline opportunities. Every once in a while, I'll waffle over wholesale or craft shows, then ultimately come back to the same decision - I'll just stick with what I've been doing.

I could try trunk shows again, but they, too, are also pretty labor intensive. And with the economy being what it is, it's become harder and harder to find people to come or host them. Which leaves me with selling online... if there's no money locally, I'll keep my options open for where there IS money available and where people are buying.

I guess what I would do if I were you is to figure out exactly how much I'm making at craft shows, consignments, wholesale, and Etsy. If you left the online business all together, where would you be? Could you still maintain a good stream of revenue?

The other thing I would consider is how much of your offline business found you online? If it's a substantial amount, then it's worth keeping some kind of online presence to cultivate new sources, you know?

Definitely food for thought.

cindy shake said...

That is so crazy! I JUST posted about all of this new media!! I put a link to your post in my comments box! There has been a lot of discussion between artists on whether to Etsy or not to Etsy! Hmmmm...more food for thought.

Pricilla said...

I have no other option. Living in the middle of nowhere and not being able to drive it's online or nothing.

ShinyAdornments said...

I hear you and think the same. Luckily or unluckily, selling online isn't my livelihood. I'd much rather be able to utilize a local venue for my work, but don't actually create enough volume to warrant it.

That's the crux of it for me. Selling locally requires a volume of output of which I am not capable. I envy those of you that can do it. There just aren't enough hours in the day for me.

So, to do my part, I use recycled boxes, recycled bubble wrap and peanuts. It's not much though.

Great post by the way. Smart chica.