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About Me

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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Virtual Storefront

For only a brief period in the seven-year history of my little business was I actually a "store".   When I first starting out selling refurbished upholstered furniture, I was approached by an entrepreneur who was setting up an "eclectic" selling space in the heart of Atlanta.  My lovely pieces were integrated with fine oriental carpets, original art and other eye candy - it looked great!  BUT, she had almost no traffic and was forced to close after nine months.  I explored other space options and determined that I neither wanted to stand behind a counter nor pay the freight of leased space - so I started using eBay as a selling source.  I designed a simple listing format and haven't changed it much since.  I also have a website link to wydevendesigns.com  These two sites provide me with a virtual storefront that has brought customers from all over the United States.   I have had sales from Washington State to Florida and from Connecticut to California.  Over 90% of my sales are not in the state of Georgia.  The vast majority of my furniture pieces are bought sight unseen (and not sat on ... which may be even more important)!

There are some virtual storefront tips:

  • Create a simple format and stick to it - changing the look and feel of your site too often (whether eBay or website) does not generate viewer/client recognition
  • Use photographs to generate visual appeal - make certain to get all the angles and features
  • Be brutally honest in the descriptions - customers are already weary of online buying so they need to have confidence in you
  • Encourage and use feedback to create comfort for potential buyers - I use a testimonial page on my website and strongly encourage buyers to leave eBay feedback (it is REALLY important)
  • Respond promptly and courteously to all inquiries even if you can't provide all the information immediately (e.g., away from your product and cannot immediately get an additional measurement or obtain shipping rates)
  • Use a standard shipping rate whenever possible and explain carefully what that shipping process entails - I use Greyhound Package Express as my standard shipping rate since their pricing throughout the continental United States does not vary greatly 
  • Discuss speed of shipping by option immediately - some methods take much longer than others
Like everything else you do, the obvious attention you pay to the customer through the virtual storefront either promotes or harms the selling process - act like the customer is standing in front of you and you are trying to make a very good impression!

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