Tuesday, 19 June 2012

How to sell your product.

Hello all,

Disclaimer:  First let me say that I am no way a professional, life coach, trainer, teacher, experienced, qualified or generally anything official regarding the following information.  I simply did a lot of research due to wanting to start up my own business which is something I decided I need to work on my art skills to create the product first before jumping in to sales with no product to sell.

Tonight I have been trying to help a friend of mine Amanda Kimberley with selling some of her items she has made (hand made crafts), or more to the point how to market her items for selling!!  After much thought I decided it would be best to include this in a more readable version here in my blog.


Before creating any product research your market (market research) beforehand such as Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and failing that try a Google search for the items to get an idea of not only what other people are selling, if they’re selling, prices and more... 

Keep in mind that your product will cost materials and your time.  Especially when you think that your product isn’t just the 'making of' but also when you consider the work that goes into research, electric, time, travel, preparation, development, creation, selling and shipping.

You should always have in mind just who is ‘your target audience’.  A target audience is who you wish to attract by your product buy your product

Continuing with research you should always check out copyright laws as the last thing you want is to pay a hefty fine or even jail just for trying to make a bit of pocket money!

Also you need to find out your rights on what classes as taxable income, this will depend on how much money you're making and if you wish to set yourself up as a business. 

Generally just try and find what isn't already for sale and work on that or what is for sale and work on improving to make your product unique and people want to buy.

Furthermore you may want to check out shipping fees and possibly even packaging fees and compare them to other sellers such as shops, companies, independent sellers and such forth.  I know Royal Mail offer a package to business's who ship with them often to give them cheaper postal rates over all and other discounts and perks.

Product development

Perhaps you could customise with personal designs, initials, embellishments or other unique add-ons, this could also be a little price booster to the final cost of the item...  Again make sure you're not breaking any copyright or other laws and generally try and create for your target audience.   Remember you’re trying to create a unique product, improved product or generally aim for less income from a product already freely available. 

How to sell a product

Please note this is just a randomly chosen layout.
Which gives you an example of four pictures in one image.
Yes this is a tutorial process image but as I said...
...it's multifunctional advertising also!!
Selling your item(s) through an image is an important factor, for me I would never buy anything without at least seeing a picture first.  So for starts the best lighting possible (perhaps an inexpensive homemade light box) and a decent camera (doesn’t have to be expensive just not an old camera phone from the early range!)  In addition you might want to use a picture layout for example four pictures in one image to create a simple window image. It gives more information and shows diversity. For example. 4 pictures in 1 image = Picture 1: The above picture of two coasters (or more). Picture 2: A size guide for the item. Picture 3: A demonstration of one being used. Picture 4. Either another of one of the previous OR swap the picture for a small description, price guide, contact details, logo, or other applicable text.  In addition; you don't have to have expensive software such as Photoshop to collage pictures together or even edit!  You can simply use Paint (or Mac equivalent).

Additionally a lot of people think that pictures speak volumes and that no or little description is required this is generally due to people assuming their audience knows what the product is and can work the rest out for themselves or ask at a later date.  However, sometimes description is definitely needed and more is less!!  The more information you give the less chance people will walk away!  Capture the attention with stunning pictures of product along captivating descriptive captions!!  Additionally making yourself more flexible such as give details regarding bulk purchases, customised orders, shipping details and any other information you feel a buyer might benefit from.  One of the best ways is to put yourself in their shoes, or even better as a friend.  Also don't be afraid to get personal!!

One thing people always get stumped upon is measurement and to a degree some people do try to give a size comparison. A professional way would be a horizontal and vertical ruler stuck down to your desk (or craft mat) to show size.   Size generally is universal or easier to work out than what a UK £1 coin size is if you have another currency or indeed what size bic pens are!  So a good size guide would be rulers or equivalent.  Additionally write down sizes such as for example "Apx 7.62cm (3") by 15cm (6")" ... Apx is approximately and covers you encase your slightly over / under with any measurements on products. It's also good to write down the cm's (centimetres) and " (inches) as it helps as not everyone will know what 3" is... for example.

Perhaps also advertise more of a variety of the product such as different colours and sizes or orders...  Such as saving money by buying more, commission/customised orders, additional parts for a little more money and generally anything to boost that income.

Financial record

It is essential you keep records of some kind of books, I say this from experience when you buy to sell and end up losing out on both money and item it can be really devastating.  So try and record everything you do.

Tricky, but it depends how much time you wish to spend or more to the point how valuable your time is.

I fully recommend using a spread sheet such as ‘Microsoft Excel’.  Keeping a running record of how much money you spent on materials this also includes bus fair or fuel used to get to the shops.  In addition how much of your time you spend creating your product and how valuable you price your time to be.  Furthermore you want to log down electric used and such for market research and selling along with paper and ink for recipes of payment, packaging, postage, again transport cost plus all other fees such as taxable amounts, insurance etc etc…  Plus it’s always a good idea to record money coming in for both the item and the P&P (Packaging and Postage) to compare against what you spent to see if it was really worth your time.  

Basic Guide
Example 1
Example 2

Online Research Time / Electric Used
You decide you don’t charge for this.
Bus Fair Cost (Return)
You decided you’d make it the same day as your weekly shop so you were there anyways.
Material Cost
Time Spent Shopping
You decided you don’t charge for the time you spent shopping
Time Spent making Product
You decided you don’t charge for the time you enjoyed making the product.
Time Spent photographing, advertising and general edition of photographs ready for online sale
You decided not to charge for this either as it’s all part of the service
Online listing fee
Item Sold For
Item P&P Sold For
Item Sellers Fee
Bus Fair Cost (Return)
Actual Packaging Cost
Actual Shipping Cost

Actual Profit


Explaining the table for example 1: Let’s say you spent an hour online which has cost you let’s say 5p in Electric and £2 for an hour of your time. Let’s say bus fair to town return is £2.75.  Materials cost (really you should work out unit cost for each item you bought for example if you bought 100 sheets of paper for £1 but only used two sheets of paper then that would be 2p)  so realistically let’s say £3 of material.  You spent another hour of your time shopping so that’s another £2. Then you sat down and spent two hours making your product, that’s another £4 …you should also calculate any wastage.  Following your finished product it’s photographing so is that electric for a light box, is it batteries for the camera, uploading photographs to computer, is it time spent on editing photographs, not to mention your time again so let’s say that all added up to around about £10.  Then to list your item online let’s say it’s 30p now you’re item only sold for £15 and £5 for the postage and packaging.  Then there are the seller’s fees from the website and of course if you use a company like PayPal they will take their cut too. Packaging is £1. You’ve got to get back to town to post the item.  The item postage is £6.32 (more than you thought!)  This leaves you at -£17.37 that’s over £15 out of pocket from trying to make a little cash.

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