Well I have had a problem with my internet router and have limited connection so I apologize in the delay of a new post.
I thought I would discuss my shop on Etsy and some of the features I am offering. I hope this can give some insight into option available for your own shop or website.
I have set up different sections to make it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for. One thing I have found when shopping on Etsy is that I don't want to have to search through 5 or 6 pages to find one or two specific things I was interested in. Making the shopping experience as convienent as possible is important.
I have also included a section called "new". There are quite a few Etsy shops that I follow. One thing I have difficulty with is figuring out if there are new products in that shop or not. When following so many I can't possibly remember the inventory of each of those shops. I hope that by providing a new section I can have customers return to find new items of interest. The items in the New category stay in the new category for at least 2 weeks.
I am still expanding and experimenting to see what works best and what customers are attracted to but another feature I have started is a layaway plan. During these tough economic times many of us do not have a lot of disposable income, yet birthdays and holidays come no matter what. This option I hope will give everyone the opportunity to give special, one of a kind gifts this year no matter what is going on with the economy.
When I shop online one thing that can deter me from making an impulse purchase is the shipping and handling charges. Have you ever gone to the trouble of placing items in the cart and shopping for several items only to get to the checkout and find out the shipping is more than the cost of the products? I have my shipping costs stated in several spots in my shop. Most obvious is the main page, announcements. I have found when shopping on an impulse we don't always take our time to look around at policies (at least I don't) so I try to make this important information as visible as possible. My standard shipping cost is 4.80 for USPS Priority Mail. For this price my customers get their items in 2-3 business days, with delivery confirmation. This way if something is lost or taking too long we can track it :) And personally when I want something I want it NOW, so I like the idea of a purchase arriving quickly. This 4.80 is a flat rate for as many items as you want to purchase, and I do offer other forms of shipping if someone asks. I can provide insurance, 1st class shipping and more.
Another nice feature for my shop is I try to give a very personal touch to every transaction. As soon as I receive the notification of a sale I contact the buyer to verify all information and thank them for their purchase. It is extremely important to make sure the address that was given is correct so shipping errors do not occur. I also like to verify the specific details of a transaction. For instance, if a ring is bought I want to make sure I am clear on the size the customer needs. All of this communication ensures no mistakes happen and that my customers are 100% satisfied. No one should be left wondering if their order has been received. I also send a notification via USPS to the buyers e-mail address with a tracking number so that he or she can see where their purchase is and when it will arrive.
I think all of these features will help shops standout from many others. I hope that some of this information will be helpful in the setup of your shops and/or websites. At the very least I hope that you will find my shop a pleasant experience.
I will be back to post more in a couple of days (once I have more internet access) but please feel free to comment and ask questions.
I even have a survey that you can fill out if you would like to give input.
For a quick survey: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB228EG4HK8DU
Thanks for reading.