I see a lot of Etsy Vintage shops lately, while perusing their offerings for items to add to my personal wardrobe.
There are also a lot of Etsy Vintage shops with Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and Blogs; and I follow quite a few. Some of them are friends, some are online acquaintances, and some are shops that consistently offer quality merchandise at reasonable prices and I don't want to miss a thing.
In past life, I logged an absurd amount of time as an online/marketing/PR/sales-type professional. I am also considered quite knowledgeable about Vintage Fashion. This is meant to be helpful, drawing on my experiences of what works and what does not work, and what I find appealing as an online consumer.
1. SEPARATE YOURSELF: If you have a Twitter account for your shop, have a separate personal account. Establish yourself as a Professional, as a Business Owner who takes it seriously. Here is why: if you use Twitter to complain about slow or no sales, about how many sales you need to pay your rent or to wonder aloud WTF is wrong with people that they are not buying what you are selling--you will lose current and potential customers. A cardinal rule for sales people is to "fake it til you make it." This means, you must look prosperous and successful especially when you are not. The message you are sending is that your stuff is not attracting buyers, for whatever reason. So, instead of the complaints, post up your latest listings with tag lines like, "Limited time offerings!" "This won't last" "I'm keeping this if you don't buy it today!"
Your postings should be positive and engaging. Make us want to see what you found that is not to be missed!
2. LIMIT YOURSELF: Save up posts about your listings for once or twice a week, or at the most, once per day. Really. My Twitter feed looks like the classifieds some days, and I just skip them all. It's too much and I just refuse to sort thru it all. I've asked around, and I am not the only one. Make the updates an occasion, not just so much flotsam in the feed.
3. USE ACCURATE DESCRIPTIONS: This is huge for Retrophiles looking for vintage clothing. HUGE. We want authenticity. We want measurements. We want a true indication of condition and wear-ability. If it needs altering or repairing, or cleaning, tell us the truth. Avoid things like "Mad Men" especially if you have no idea what that means as a descriptive. I don't want a dress from the 80s that "looks" 50s that is "described" as Mad Men-style, which is 60s. See what I mean? Know your product. Do the research.
4. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Where do you shop online for vintage? Which stores/shops are selling out, despite the lousy state of the economy? People are still shopping, you just need to figure out where and why. What are these sellers doing differently? I'm not talking about stealing someone's design aesthetic, I'm talking about basics: ads, photos, descriptions, policies, etc...These are the things that bring customers. What can you do better?
Nothing makes me happier than shopping online and supporting friends and fellow Retrophiles. I loathe chain stores and haven't set foot in the Maul in nearly a year. When I need things, or want things, I go to eBay and Etsy and the online stores.
If you're an Author on this blog, use it to highlight sales or especially choice items--it's free and it's like shooting fish in a barrel for your target market! If you want access, just email me and I'll set you up to post.
We want to keep these sellers in business! It's good for the environment to buy vintage! It's good for Fashion to buy vintage! It's good for your soul!!!
Please take my suggestions in the spirit they were offered: I just want to share what has been successful with all my friends who are struggling with their businesses right now. Holiday shopping season is upon us and there is no reason you shouldn't benefit from it!!