I always wanted an online store, but the timing isn’t right, until the shutdown.
I looked for ways to kill my boredom during the quarantine. So when the CDC gave us the
green light to use cloth face masks, I jumped at the opportunity to make some for my family.
I had not sown in twenty years 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 my family, I decided to sell some on Etsy. I
opened a store and put a few listings out. My best friend supported me on my birthday by making a purchase.
I was ecstatic with my first sale, many orders came in until I ran out of fabric.
4 lessons I learned:
1. When Demand Meets Supply
You don’t have control over customer demand, Initially, I had 4 listings with assorted face mask, 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.
Why did I take orders when I don’t have them in stock? At the time, I felt reordering the fabric would take 2-3 days to get to me, but it took over a week…
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 get free shipping if they spend $25 or more
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.
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