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What are the biggest mistakes made when selling online?

Traders- Hints & Tips

We tackle the common mistakes and help to find solutions.

Camilla summary notes, pedddle

Camilla from Folksy and Pedddle founder Nicki recently had an IG Live Chat, where they discussed the question, ‘What are the biggest mistakes made when selling online?’, including the benefits of getting an online marketplace and ways a small business can sell online.

So let’s get into it!

What are the biggest mistakes made when selling online?

Here are the top tips from Nicki and Camilla’s chat about the biggest mistakes made when selling online.

Don’t rush the listing process

Try to change the way you think about the making process so that the listing forms an equally important part of it. Around 30-40% of all traffic on Folksy comes from organic searches, so if your listing is full of lovely keywords (the words people actually type into search engines) it reduces the time you’ll need to spend on social media driving people to your shop.

Write a descriptive title and pepper your description with keywords and synonyms to help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You may find these Folksy blogs useful:

Not using tags or using the wrong ones

One of the biggest mistakes made when selling online is that people forget to add tags to their product listings on Folksy, or don’t always know how to use them correctly. Tags are used by search algorithms to show results to customers so if you use words or phrases as your tags that a customer is searching for, you’ll show up in that search. Check out our blog on the best creative hashtags for inspiration (but remember that while the ones in this list work well for instagram they might not be right for a product listing).

Use single words or short phrases as your tags, separated by commas, and use all 15 tags available on your product listing – e.g sausage dog badge, dachshund, dog jewellery, pin badge, gift for pet lovers, gift for dog lovers, sausage dog, puppy, dog badge, made in Yorkshire, funny gift, birthday present for dog lovers, sausage dog gift, dog mum gift, enamel pin, and so on. These Folksy blogs have further explanations on the best ways to use tags:

Too many products or a seemingly random range of items

The risk when you’re a maker is to fill your shop with everything you make and can think of to let your creative juices flow, but try thinking of yourself as a brand and limit yourself in this. Work out what your niche is and focus on that.

You can’t have something for everyone, and doing a bit of this and a bit of that means your shop will look muddled and customers won’t have as much confidence in you as a skilled maker and expert in your field.

Read more on how to find your niche and build a strong brand:

Not filling in your ‘About Me’ section

Your ‘About Me’ section is a brilliant opportunity to tell customers all about yourself, and again one of the biggest mistakes made when selling online if you miss it! Tell customers exactly why they should buy from you, as well as filling your page with lots more lovely Google-friendly keywords. 

Read more on how to write a great blurb:

Don’t copy listings from other platforms

Don’t get penalised by Google. You can import from Etsy to Folksy for free, but once your listings are imported make sure you change the title slightly, alter the description order and vary your tags. If the two product listings (or product pages) look the same, then Google will only show one of them in its list of search results – usually the original or most-linked shop, which means your lovely new shop and products could end up being invisible on search engines. 

Spending your marketing time in the wrong places

Think about where your audience is. If you only promote your items to other sellers (e.g. in seller forums and Facebook groups), it makes sense that your audience will mainly be other sellers. That’s fine! But if you want to reach other people you need to think about where else you could be promoting your work.

Think about who your target customer is, where they hang out online, who they follow and so on – then focus your efforts there. For example, Pinterest is a great platform – especially if you post to the US – and Folksy have loads of regional boards and other boards you can join and post to as well.

You can find loads of marketing tips here:

Start a mailing list too, so you can email your top fans with offers and give them first dibs on new products ranges etc. Treat your subscribers and make them feel special. They should always be the first people to get special offers, as a thanks for subscribing.

Read more on how to build up your mailing list:

Missing out on the opportunities the community gives you

One of the best things about selling on an online marketplace is that you have a supportive community at your fingertips. Make the most of this by joining our Facebook group where you can ask for advice, joining in with by #folksyfriday where you share other seller’s work by creating a grid on a theme, sharing it on social media and tagging other sellers, as well as sharing other Folksy sellers’ posts where you see them, liking and commenting. We’re all stronger together.

Check out Folksy’s blog on how to direct people to your Folksy shop:

Don’t take poor photos

We’re always saying this, but it’s almost the SINGLE most important thing you can do. Folksy have a brilliant blog on how to take lifestyle shots:

Always pay attention to the platform you’re posting on too – for example, Folksy use square pics, so don’t upload a rectangular shot that cuts off half the image.

Expensive postage

We didn’t have time to talk about this in our IG chat but it’s a biggy. The single largest cause of cart abandonment (i.e. the biggest single reason people don’t go through with an order) is high postage costs.

Try to ensure your postage costs are reasonable. If you want to encourage multiple orders, make sure you set the additional postage cost in your listings to ‘0’ otherwise they will be charged postage on every item they buy.

Read more on postage tips:

Why is a marketplace a good place to start? And/or a good space to have online? 

It’s the best place to start selling – you can try and test ideas as it is low risk. Paying just £5 a month to Folksy for unlimited listing or 15p a listing – no set up costs, maintenance and SEO worries like you have with a website.

You can customise your shop. If you don’t even have images to use for your shop banner, there are some on Folksy you can use to start with.

Having a website is great but with a marketplace you also get lots of valuable advice to help you grow a more successful business. For example, on Folksy you get a free ‘Make It Sell’ e-course when you sign up, which gives lots of tips on things like writing listings, plus access to groups and a community of other sellers.

Folksy do brand awareness campaigns, pay for Google Ads etc – as long as it fits into Google’s terms. Once makers feel more established they then move on to their own sites- but it’s good to start with this. Can have Folksy URL and own URL pointing at your store. 

Just to be clear and dispel any myths or external pressures or self imposed pressured- it doesn’t make you any less professional to have an online marketplace shop rather than a website.

If you want to start to move towards a website but don’t want the full hassle of one a blog is a good intermediary stage – can be free and you can have lots of content to share that links back to your shop for links back to your shop. 

We hope you enjoyed this IG Live if you got to view it first hand. Here is a link to the blog about the Copyright IG Live we did.