It is extremely important for every craft business big or small to have an internet presence. In today’s market having your craft business online means having your store open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For the crafter who operates from home it is a perfect outlet for your crafts, you now have a place to send your regular customers to view your new products without them having to wait for the next craft show.
Having an online store gives your craft business creditably, because now when your customer wants to purchase that special gift they don’t have to wait until your next craft show, your customer can now contact you directly to make a purchase, or to order a custom made product. Having an online presence also gives the crafter who would normally just sell their crafts locally the opportunity to sell their crafts globally.
Some crafters have the ability to build their own e-commerce web sites while others are overwhelmed at the thought of hiring a web designer, finding a host, learning how to manage and promote their new site, not to mention security issues and merchant accounts. All of the above is time consuming and can prove to be very expensive.
There is another option to consider!
Online Craft Malls have been around for a long time and they might be your answer to having an online presence, but be careful and do some research before signing up. In the larger malls although they may look good you are going to have a lot of competition and your small craft shop may get lost in the mix. Some malls charge a flat monthly fee, no commissions, no product listing fee and in my opinion this is the best way to go, some charge commission plus a monthly fee, some charge a monthly fee plus a fee to list each product and some charge a product listing fee and a commission.
Most crafters want to handle all aspects of their business, so when researching the online malls make sure that you are going to have your own control panel where you will be able to add your products, product descriptions and product images easily. Also make sure that all orders and payments are going directly to you, in some malls payments go to the mall owner and you will have to wait to get paid for the product you just sold.
In every business craft or otherwise it takes time to grow your business and even though opening a store in a craft mall brings you instant traffic this does not mean you will start selling right away. It takes time and hard work to build your business, so at first use your new craft shop to send your regular customers to view your new and existing crafts and in time you will start getting new customers from around the world.