By: William T Lasley
Many craftspeople have been approached by someone selling space in an online craft mall. While some crafters have had success at selling crafts in online malls, many have been disappointed with the experience. A lot depends on the craft mall in which you display your work. So how do you choose which online craft mall is right for you? There are several factors to take into account when deciding upon an online mall.
Fees and commissions
Most online malls require a “rent” payment to place your products online. Some may accept commissions on sales in lieu of, or in addition to, rental fees. Watch for hidden costs and be aware of any lengthy contracts that may be involved.
Does the mall perform transactions for you or merely provide online exposure? How many products can you feature? Are professional design services included? How are sales reported? Services offered in online craft malls vary greatly. Be sure to compare the different options included.
One of the most important things to take into account is traffic. How many people will be seeing your products? The bottom line is: more traffic, more sales. But the ways that traffic can be measured may be confusing. The most prevalent ways of reporting traffic to a site are hits, page views and unique visitors.
Hits are often unreliable in judging traffic for a site, since a hit is simply how many times the server (computer where a Web site is located) sends information to a visitor. Information sent to visitors can be text, images, or any other file, so if a person looks at a Web page with 10 pictures on it, the hit-measurement could be 11 hits (10 images the page itself = 11 hits) from one page. You can see how hit-measurements can be very misleading in judging how many people visit a site.
Page views are a much more reliable rate of measurement for traffic. A page view means if one page is sent from a Web site to a visitor the measurement would be one page view. If someone looks at five pages on a site the measurement would be five page views.
Unique visitors is another valuable way to tell how well an online craft mall (or any other Web site for that matter) is doing in terms of visitors. Measurement in terms of unique visitors means what it sounds like. It is how many people visited a site in a given time period. It doesn’t matter if someone looks at one, or one hundred pages, the count would be one unique visitor for that person’s visit.
Success of others
How much luck have other crafters had in the craft mall you are considering? A good way to check is to simply ask them! Go to the crafter’s page/section of the craft mall to find their contact information. Many people are happy to share their experience with other craftspeople.
After taking these factors into account, your decision should be easier. As long as fees are reasonable, you may even decide to try more than one online showcase for your work. Just remember that before spending any money to sell your crafts online, always find out as much as possible on the venture ahead of time. An informed decision is always the safest path to take! ***