The market is wide open for makers to connect directly with customers. A beautiful piece of jewelry or a scarf made today can be in the hands of a happy consumer in a matter of days – there is nothing more direct than that. But if you want that customer to come back to your online shop, you’ll need to be strategic about how you treat them after they click the buy button.
You can secure repeat sales by treating every transaction like the beginning of a a long-term relationship with your customers.
Mei is also a business coach, offering advice through her website Creative Hive. She sees each sale as an opportunity to connect with her customers.
But a common mistake many business owners make is to assume that once they’ve made the sale, the work is done. In actuality, it is only beginning.
“There is really an opportunity there, after the fact, that you can really start to excite your customers and build that relationship that you have with them,” Mei says.
Here are a few ways makers can connect with customers after the sale.
Like an in-store transaction, customers are given a receipt when an online purchase is complete. For crafters, that receipt is often generated through PayPal. In addition to the receipt, PayPal sellers can also set up a thank-you email to go out after each sale. Whether a purchase is made through PayPal, Shopify, or a crafter’s website, a seller has the opportunity to personalize post-order emails, adding social media links and branding.
“It’s also a great place for you to just talk about yourself and maybe introduce who you are and why you make the things you do,” Mei says. “Hardly anyone takes advantage of this thank-you email, so make it look good if you can.”
For crafters that use shipping programs like Endicia, Stamps.com, or ShipStation, Mei recommends branding the shipping notification email that each customer receives. Crafters that have their own websites have the opportunity to brand every email that goes out to customers.
When a customer places an order on a crafter’s website, they are usually automatically redirected to a page that says “Thank you for your order.” This purchase confirmation page can be customized to include invitations to share news about that purchase on social media. This can be done through the simple installation of an app like ShopSocially or Social Annex. At the very least, you should use the page space to find ways to create a lasting connection with your customers.
“Even putting your social media links on there helps your customer convert into someone who could be a long-term customer with you,” Mei says.
To get a realistic overview of your business, Mei recommends going through every step of the process as though you were a customer. Look for opportunities to add your personal touch to everything you do. Mei favors a personalized packing slip with each shipment with a handwritten note in pink ink. That final touch ends the purchase on a personal note.
“Think of your entire shopping experience as a whole,” Mei says. “How can you brand that? What is your brand? Your brand is almost always a version of yourself, tweaked to match who your customers might be.”
To learn more about selling your crafts, check Mei’s “business of crafting” classes on Creative Live.