why haven't I made any sales? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I started my website business 2 months ago, selling slings, and I haven't sold any yet. I've had 500 visitors to my website. How do I turn those visitors into purchasers?

I believe that my website looks great, as do my slings. I reduced my prices a little while ago, thinking that would help, but it hasn't.

If some of you could take a look, and give me some input, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!
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#2 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 02:22 PM
 
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Your slings are beautiful and I think the website looks great. I don't know much about marketing, but maybe you need to work on that (where do you have your site linked to etc.?) Maybe you could also market to specialty baby shops as well as selling on your site.

I've seen a lot of sling sites, but I think something that is different about your slings is the fancy/formal fabrics and the beading. Maybe you need to play that up some more.

I think your product is beautiful, but you need to focus on marketing.

Good luck,

Rebecca
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#3 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 02:25 PM
 
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Where has your focus been. Sales are going to depend on what types of visitors are visiting. Are they babywearers? Its hard to tell if its just curious people checking your link and site or if they are people actually looking for slings.

Get listed at TBW (www.thebabywearer.com) and participate in those forums (required signature listing as disclosure, free at TBW). That way you are targeting an audience that you KNOW is interested in slings and on the lookout for new ones. Advertise to your target market as well as the general AP community which is what you are doing here. Perhaps have a "grand opening" sale to entice browsers to buy. Trade your products for others, this gets them on the market and a buzz can start. Get them listed (if possible) at places where you know others will already be shopping, congos or WAHM malls are a great start.

Goodluck!

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#4 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 03:15 PM
 
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Where are you advertising? If you aren't advertising no one can fid you very easily. Get listed on topsites & directories. Advertise at www.freewahmhosting.com & www.hyenacart.com. Good target audience.
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#5 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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These are some tips from the customer shopping experience side:

The main page says your slings are made in Canada, so when I view the pricing, I would assume it to be in CAD$, yet it's not. You have another page stating it's in US$. I would like your prices as US$69.00, that way people know up front. I'd also list your prices in CAD$ so Canadian customers don't have to convert...which seems weird for us to have to do considering you're in Canada? Customers shouldn't have to dig around to find out what currency the price is in. Frustrated web site visitors often don't turn into customers.

I also didn't see your return policy anywhere. Someone may be hesitant to order if they don't know if they can return or not. Even if your policy is "final sale", it should be stated. What happens if someone accidentally receives the incorrect item? Also, you don't state if you ship insured and trackable. Personally, I only order from places that ship items insured and trackable. It would be useful to state HOW you ship.

Additionally, it would be beneficial to have a short page on the security of your payment process and what type of payments you accept. The only way someone can currently find out how to pay, is to add something to their shopping cart and continue through the buying process. That a lot of effort just to find out if you take Visa (for example) or not.

One other thing I noticed is that your web site is centred. There is a ton of wasted space on the left and right edges. For example, I have a 21" monitor and your web site takes up about half of my screen when I have the window full-sized. This means I have to scroll down on every page of your web site. The site could easily be designed so that the layout is flexible for people with any monitor size and any screen resolution. This would mean less scrolling for people with larger resolutions/monitors and more of your information available without scrolling. It would also still have the same useability for people with smaller resolutions/monitors.

Tofie ~ mama to DD1, DD2 and Pookie v3 debuting December 2011
Oh my God....women are the COWS of PEOPLE!! --Reese, Malcolm in the Middle
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#6 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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I am currently in the market to purchase a sling as a baby shower gift. I checked out your site but I can't find any info on how quickly the sling would ship and since you are in Canada and I am in Florida, I have no idea whether or not I'd get the item in time or not. Also, I don't think any of the fabrics you are showing would work for my SIL, unfortunately (for me, were I in the market, yes, but not for her).

I love the beading and details on your slings. I do think that $69 is a fairly reasonable price but $89 seems high and of course, those are the slings that I find myself attracted to most.

HTH.
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#7 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The slings would ship within 2 days. Why do you think the fabrics wouldn't work for her?
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#8 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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Brutally honest? I don't get a good feeling from the home page photo. You can't see the baby's face, and the woman is looking away from the camera and the baby. The brick background is pretty cold looking.

Your slings are really beautiful--it would be nice to see a warmer photo to compliment them.
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#9 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone, for the input. I've made some changes to my website, and hopefully that will help.

Further input is always appreciated!
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#10 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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they are pretty. i do think you need some more info though.

my concern about the slings would be:

a) how do i wash with the beadwork? and b) how secure is the beadwork? are beads going to be coming off and presenting a choking hazard?

on mdc, you do have to pay a fee to advertise in your sig. look at the top of the page and you should find info.
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#11 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 05:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klink2
You can't see the baby's face, and the woman is looking away from the camera and the baby.
Agreed. The woman and the baby are beautiful but the baby looks scared in the sling.

I also agree with wolfmama's comments.

Tofie ~ mama to DD1, DD2 and Pookie v3 debuting December 2011
Oh my God....women are the COWS of PEOPLE!! --Reese, Malcolm in the Middle
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#12 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 06:06 PM
 
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Hmm, the baby does look scared and part of the face is hidden. Very nice slings though, I get a feeling that some of the pictures on the site are too dark and need some more light. It also takes time to get a business off the ground! Word of mouth is the best, and it takes awhile to get that going for you. Link exchanges would probablly help to raise your profile. Also there are some good biz yahoo groups you could try for hints/support - http://www.apbiz.com, and http://www.themompack.com. They have directory listings as well.
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#13 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 06:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplefrog
The slings would ship within 2 days. Why do you think the fabrics wouldn't work for her?

Because she's a pretty main stream first time mom so some of the more colorful or bold designs wouldn't work so well. I think that the black designs are really nice BUT she lives in Florida and black would just be too hot of a color for that state, simply not practical despite being beautiful. My SIL's favorite color is purple, so I was thinking that perhaps a purple-blue batik fabric might be nice but I guess I'd have to see it to be certain. If (when) I buy her a sling, especially if it's expensive, I need to feel really confident that she is going to like it enough to wear it and I have to admit, she's a little picky. Hmmm...does that help? Perhaps if you were to offer a few more colors/choices just by showing alternate fabrics and mentioning that those custom pieces would take a little longer to ship? Sorry, I'm not even sure that's a good suggestion, but you can decide that.
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#14 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 07:28 PM
 
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I agree with the website suggestions. The fabrics are beautiful and lovely but the pictures are dark. I love the look of them but the only thing I think of when I see the beading is "choking hazard."

Advertising is pretty essential to a new business until you've established your name. Even then you'll probably still have to advertise, just not as much. Sites that allow free signatures, like The Baby Wearer, are great. Most people will agree it's worth the $$ to purchase a signature ad here, but only if you post regularly.
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#15 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I put on a new home page photo. What do you think of it?
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#16 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 10:29 PM
 
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I still dont like it. I would assume you are the one in the pic? Look at the child with the gaga eyes all mommies have for their kids. In the pic you look like you dont like your kid!!

agreed you need to advertise. People have a hard time shelling out that kinda cash on someone they have never heard of. Its really hard to get started...what I would do would be to send out a couple testers...get some feedback...and HOPE that they start talking you up on certain boards. Word of mouth is THE BEST advertising! Post at places that there are like minded people with your website in your siggy...(make sure if you have it in your siggy you are aware of the posting policies, like MDC you have to pay...and right now it looks like you havent yet) I find that when I get busy and dont post as much...my orders start to go down.

Good luck!
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#17 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 10:41 PM
 
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I agree the slings are gorgeous!

When I wore ds in the sling a lot I got *tons* of requests for more info - I actually carried the card of a friend who sold slings and handed them out to people at least once a week.

So whenever you leave the house... sling that baby! Maybe you could also contract with someone on the TP to buy a discounted sling but give out your card and talk up the sling whenever someone asks about it. A LLL leader or even just a mama who has had lots of sling experience and has a young baby and walks a lot...

Also, consider putting up fliers at your local crunchy hangouts, and maybe get a banner ad at MDC.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#18 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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Some of my fave sling pictures are at http://www.pookababy.com/. There is a slideshow thingy, and my FAVE one is of the brunette mom with the chubby baby in the wrap facing forward, they both look so HAPPY . The one to the side with the sleeping baby getting a kiss is super cute too.
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#19 of 47 Old 01-10-2006, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SammyLucasNHarper
In the pic you look like you dont like your kid!!
Hmmm, when I don't like someone, I usually don't hug them closely with my face in their hair.


Edited to apologize - Sorry for my snarkiness. While your comment struck me as insulting, I did ask for opinions. Thank you for sharing yours.

Laura
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#20 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 02:24 AM
 
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It is so hard when you pour so much of your heart into something like this and then it is not quite what you expected. I have heard some wahms say that they did not get their forst order for 6 months. If you don't have the money to advertise, then you must announce your store in the fsot forum at thebabywearer.com. That will bring in an order hopefully

There is also a Babywearing Business forum there so other mamas can help you out.

I will tell you though, local is the way to go now and the internet is FLOODED! I would say that to open a cloth diaper or babywearing shop with no investement money and to think that you would make money is almost a sure let down. There are just so many stores out there and not enough people buy online. Have you shown them to any shops? I have brochures in obstetric offices all over Atlanta. A Le Leche meeting or AP meeting would be a good place to sell your slings...hospitals...PM me if you need any more help. Good luck!
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#21 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 10:21 AM
 
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I tried to view your site and I couldn't get it too load...and I'm on high speed. I've just read through this whole post and it's still not loaded. That will loose you TONS of sales. I'll have to try again later. If I was a customer, though, the chances are slim that I'd be back.

It is tough when you first open. I advertised for two months, BEFORE I even opened my "doors". I got *one* sale my first week, and then one the next. It's slowly grown over the last 6 months to a handful of sales of week. I didn't really expect it to grow this fast, as I also did a lot of research into this trade before jumping in. I expected to be where I am now, in another 4 months or so. It has taken many, many sleepless nights, though!! Don't give up! I'll try to check out your site later. It could be your server or something, but it's still not loading. Anyone else having problems seeing it?

Mama to DD#1 (03/05) and DD#2 (05/08). Expecting baby #3.
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#22 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 10:31 AM
 
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Got it to load. I'm not sure if it was the size of the front pic or not, but just something to consider.

Your slings are beautiful. I agree that the Babywearer is probably the best starting point for you. I actually don't mind the pictures, I think you've done a nice job (these could be new ones? I don't know). I think your homepage could use some sprucing up, though. You want potential customers to stick around and right now your site looks like everyone else's that is selling slings. You have to find a niche (being in Canada might be it!) and work with this.

Also, I'd work on getting link backs. Email around to individuals that are not competitors but might compliment your product line and ask if they would consider exchanging links. This has helped me quite a bit, especially locally. As a pp said, local really is the way to go. The online market is *so* saturated that if you are just sitting around waiting for customers to come to you, they probably won't. You need to search for them.

I hope this helps and doesn't discourage you. It really takes way more work than most people realise. My site has become a full-time job for me (unfortunately, without the pay! ).

Good luck!

Mama to DD#1 (03/05) and DD#2 (05/08). Expecting baby #3.
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#23 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 12:23 PM
 
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I would look around for for a template also, if you can't afford web design. Something in purple & loads faster.
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#24 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a reply to many of the posts. Thanks for the encouraging messages.

I think the server must have a problem this morning, because I can't get my website to load very quickly either. Usually this is not the case.

I did use a template to design my website. I really love the way it turned out. Inchwormz, you thought that my homepage could use sprucing up. Do you have any suggestions? I really wanted to keep it uncluttered and classy.

As for selling locally, I have had some success doing this, however, I live in a really small town. Most of the mothers here are happy to cart their babies around in their carseats. So, it's not a huge market. Last week, I mailed letters, photos, and fabric swatches to several boutiques in Vancouver and Victoria, to see if they'd like to buy them wholesale. Hopefully somebody will be interested.

I have signed up at The Babywearer, and have started looking into some of the other advertising suggestions. I'd love to have a banner ad here, but I can't afford it right now.

I'll keep plugging away. Someday, somebody will buy one! (I hope) I just know that if people could see the slings in person, they would love them.
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#25 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 01:11 PM
 
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They are very pretty slings but too pricey in my opinion.
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#26 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 01:20 PM
 
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I think they are beautiful slings!
I don't make slings, but when I got my sling, and started wearing ds around everywhere, I could have sold lots of slings! Everywhere I went, people were asking me where I got it, how much it cost, how well it worked, etc. I told them I got it online, and even gave the name of the website, but I'm sure most people forgot by the time they got home. There also seemed to be a bit of resistance from some people to shopping online.
So, I'd wear your dc around everywhere in it, and keep business cards handy! That way, when people ask, you can tell them that you make the slings and give them your card. If you can, maybe have some friends wear their dc's in the slings as well. You might even consider carrying a few with you as you walk around. (We were at a home remodeling show one day with ds in the sling, and we had about 12 people ask where they could get one!)

Vegan, mom to : Joe and Josh ::
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#27 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 08:02 PM
 
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A few suggestions:

Since people can't feel or see the product you are selling in person, the picture is the number one selling factor. Buying is an emotional process, with rational justifications following later.

You can appeal to the emotional aspect by:

Using beautiful pictures, preferably taken outside, in natural light with a similing or laughing mama (or papa) and happy, smiley baby.

You can appeal to the rational aspect by:

Explaining your product thoroughly. Why is the price justified? How is it made? Where's it from? Who designed it? Why is the best out there? Why do I (the buyer) absolutely NEED one? etc.

I like the name of your business, very evocative.

The website could be designed in brighter, happier colours to go with the African theme.

Good luck!
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#28 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 09:27 PM
 
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I like your site design. It looks like your sling is one style - right? If so, I would try to find as many shapes and sizes and genders as possible to model it. Also, at a glance I couldn't tell if your pricing was CD or US $. If it is CD I would put a currency converter on.

Good luck!
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#29 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 10:00 PM
 
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From a consumers perspective, I'll tell you what I think. There are very valid pints brought up by some of the members here. I do agree that the pictures need to be more "upbeat" Smiling/laughing outdoor photos are better. The photo on the front page is gloomy looking.
Another thing is that you can find WAHM slings a dime a dozen. There are so many out there that people are usually going to go with the tried and true....UNLESS you are offering something that others don't. Your slings are beautiful. But you can find 100's of beautiful slings. You have got to give the customer reason to want your sling vs going with something they know everyone else loves like the Maya.

I hope that you start making sales and get your name out there. Good luck.
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#30 of 47 Old 01-11-2006, 10:57 PM
 
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I don't know if this is possibe, but could you place your items at several shops on consignment? That way it's not a risk for the shop owner since your brand is relatively unknown.

I would agree with the template advice. Even though you love the way it turned out, you have to appeal to the customer. Look at your competitors websites for ideas.

And advertise, advertise, advertise. Good luck!

Danielle, fabric artist, mama to Eleanor 5/05 and Charlotte James 09-26-09
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