It is pretty typical for an ecommerce company to go through an initial period of handling the majority of business functions in-house. From setting up a website to organizing order fulfilment and sourcing inventory, most of the very smallest of ecommerce ventures simply don’t have the resources to either outsource or expand these functions.
This is, of course, pretty understandable and it’s usually something that is expected and accepted by customers purchasing from what they know are small ecommerce companies. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you can see these initial months as something of a grace period.
However, there is a danger of hanging around here too long. It’s widely known that it is stagnation which often leads to small ecommerce ventures collapsing before they’ve even got off the ground. Soon will come the point where it is clear that you need to take the step up and make some investments in order to expand the scale of your business. This could be outsourcing accounting, hiring lead generation services, or even hiring new staff.
Perhaps even more vital than those three business functions though is to move quickly to outsourced fulfilment. There is a very simple reason for this: ecommerce has led to a revolution in how products are delivered. A generation of customers raised with Amazon and eBay simply expect things like next day delivery and a host of delivery options at the check-out.
The Special Case of Handmade Items
Nevertheless, there is actually one type of ecommerce company that can extend this grace period of in-house fulfilment a little longer – those dealing in handmade or homemade items. These are the type of items which have a strong personal touch and an appeal which derives from the fact that they are not mass-produced.
Included in this appeal is that such products usually come from small companies that do everything in-house. If you are selling handmade items, doing everything in-house is actually expected. Therefore, customers (usually) are not expecting super rapid fulfilment.
The same is true of inventory sourcing. Customers buying homemade items know that it’s impossible to produce many of them, and they are therefore not overly turned off by the occasional “out of stock” error message.
Of course, many other things are expected and will require investment in time. Even a small handmade ecommerce company needs to have a well-designed website. Web designer company Azola Creative advise that proper SEO to attract new visitors is still particularly important.
Further Tips for Handmade Ecommerce
Just because you can handle fulfilment and inventory in-house as a handmade item ecommerce company does not mean you cannot grow – or shouldn’t grow. Here follows some further tips to help you do just that:
Invest in Marketing
Handmade items are typically pretty niche. Furthermore, because niches are, by definition, comprised of a limited number of customers, you want to reach as many as possible. That means effective marketing. This is an investment you should not shirk.
Be Personally Contactable
To really emphasize the homemade aspect of your business, you should be directly contactable by customers, and you should take pains to respond to them in e-mails or on the website.
In order to see acceptable profits, you should price your items properly, which means more than the equivalent mass-produced products. Being homemade is certainly worth something, and you should anyway be properly rewarded for your effort.
Homemade items are closely associated with small companies. That is often where the appeal comes from. Nonetheless, that does not mean you cannot grow your business and that you can’t be very successful in this line of business.