I always wanted an online store, but the timing isn’t right, until the shutdown.
I decided to find ways to kill boredom during the quarantine. So when the CDC gave the
green light to using cloth face masks, I decided to make some for the whole family.
Remember, I had not sown in twenty years! So getting back to it is a challenge, but I was
happy to make that commitment. I studied on YouTube to find the proper guidelines and
procedures to make the face masks.
After successfully making face masks for me and my family, I decided to sell some on Etsy. I
opened a store and put a few listings. My best friend decided to support me on my birthday.
I was ecstatic with more orders flowing in until I ran out of fabric with more demand on one of
4 lessons I learned:
1. When Demand Meets Supply
You don’t have control over customer demand, Remember, I said I had four listings with four face masks. And for some reason, customers were buying the same face masks, until I ran out.
I had to reorder the fabric, but then it took a while to get here, due to COVID-19 delays.
Which led to a volume of delays, with customers asking,(Where is my order?!)
So why do you take orders when you don’t have them in stock? In the beginning, I thought
that reordering the fabric would take 2-3 days to ship, but it took over a week to arrive.
Lessons learned, do not take orders when you don’t have them in stock.
2. Shipping Method Doesn’t Always Work
When I put out the listings, I used the free shipping strategy. Little did I know, using standard
shipping can take 7 to 10 days to deliver.
Remember with all the delays of my fabric getting to me and the delays of shipping their
orders, it adds up to three weeks for them to get their order.
This is not a good strategy after significant delays adding up to three weeks, it’s a recipe for
I rather let them pay for shipping or set a free shipping payment of $25.
3. The Right Pricing Will Sell
When it comes to pricing your listings, checking on your competitors to see how they price
their listings will help.
Pricing your listings too high above the moderate prices set for the same item can make you
lose customers who are searching for a bargain.
However, on some occasions, quality matters. So let us say your prices are a little higher
than your competitors, try using the free shipping technique to balance it. Or, you can use
coupons to make it more appealing.
4. Negative Customer Reviews Isn’t Bad Afterall
Anybody shopping at Etsy would notice most stores have five-star reviews. (I can say they
wear it like a badge). Most customers will like to work with you if your ratings are spotless. I
used to do it on Amazon before I purchase anything.
I would scroll down and check for the five stars and the comments. Even though not all their
comments are accurate, I depend on their feedback.
So when I started UNICONN, after all the shipping delays, I was nervous about what people
would say about my shop and the negative reviews they can leave on my page. My first
review was a 1-star! (hey at least I got one!)
It helped to improve my communication skills. You know customers are not robots, they are
humans with feelings. So you should interact with them as such.
Let them know their orders are being delayed, and if there’s anything you can do to help.
In doing so, I formed good relations and trust with my customers.
In conclusion, I learned my lessons, and it helped me to serve my customers better. The
only way to be successful in online business is to listen. They’re the ones using your products, and can also help you improve.
By Gifty A.Korankye