{thoughts on shops} eyeing the 5seed shop

 

Hi nicies! I’m so excited to be here, sharing the April {Thoughts on Shops}. As we all know, there are so many important elements to crafting a fabulous business. Each week we’ll look at a few ideas that help to make our indie business shops as great as they can be!

Today we’re visiting the beautiful store: 5seed. It’s a fabulous organic natural beauty shop created by the wonderfully eco-friendly  Yancy. Hope you’ll enjoy our little tour!

{a great NAME}

Right off the bat, I love the thoughtful name 5seed. It’s fresh and functional: just what I think 5seed represents! Immediately it tells me oh so very much about this great company. That’s something I love to see in a business name: a unique moniker that is relateable & recognizable & catchy to customers. Here’s a fast & easy litmus test if you’re brainstorming new business names: ask a few friends to write down the first 5 things that come to mind when they hear your name suggestion. Gather the responses. If the qualities the name evokes match your vision for your business: you’re all set. If not, back to the drawing board! For me, the very NAME 5seed evokes simple wholesome ingredients, {check!}, natural products {check!} with a fresh, modern composition {check!} I’m already sold! {now that’s a good name!}

A great name is also, in my opinion, the cornerstone to building a great brand (more on that later!) So bravo, 5seed!

Furthermore, I see by looking through her profile that Yancy has wisely incorporated her company name throughout ALL of her web presence: her blog, and her other social media networks all share the same, easy to remember name. A key element in getting your name recognized is to repeat your  great name everywhere. This constant consistency goes a long long way to helping build brand recognition. However, hindsight is 20/20, right? If you’ve already opened your shop, blog, social media under a variety of names, find creative ways to tie them together and consolidate. Add your other names to bylines and taglines so they’ll come up in SEO searches. Or try to phase out certain ones to avoid customer confusion. There can  great opportunity in this: relaunch your social media accounts and let the world know where to find you and under what name. Make a celebration or party out of it! It’ll be good PR in the long run!

Next…

Let’s take a peek at the beautiful 5seed Etsy shop itself! There are so many great things we can learn!

{a beautiful start}

The moment you walk into 5seed I just love light, bright, welcoming banner at the top of the shop. It showcases the beautiful natural products 5seed uses in her creations. Well done! It’s beautifully photographed and transports me to somewhere relaxing and inspiring: something I know is part of the 5seed branding.  { Here’s a great Etsy article on branding}

We want to visually convey to our visitors/customers the feel and idea of our shop in our banner. Not sure of your vision for your own shop/ brand? Take a few minutes to jot down some key words that you want to use to describe your work. Then using those words, work toward making a great banner {and avatar} that match that ideal. Make one yourself or enlist the help of others! You’ll be so glad you did!

Now I’m a bit of a purist fontist, so I might recommend removing the 2nd overlay font that reads “five” on the 5seed banner. I find it a little bit hard to decipher and we certainly want to make sure customers can read our fonts. The rest of the fonts 5seed uses in her shop  is an exact wonderful match to the product packaging we can see on her site too. Great continuity! I also love the profile picture/avatar. Avatars need to be easily understood even though they’re small: 5seed’s is fresh and clean – a perfect match to the shop!

One other little tweak: I think the 5seed shop announcement is a bit abrupt, and doesn’t seem to mesh with the warm and engaging tone set throughout the rest of the shop. I’d suggest changing the first line to something a little more welcoming, as it’s the first impression folks will have of our shops, word-wise.

{ great packaging}

I love seeing 5seeds excellent packaging. It’s fresh  and forwards her clean & natural branding. It shows me how very professional this shop is: something I look for online when I’m buying since I can’t see the product in person. I think great packaging enhances the brand and the buying experience. Excellent work 5seed!

One suggestion: I think moving SOME of the packaging photos AWAY FROM the main/1st image, to say the 2nd or 3rd images for each listing would help with the overall shop appearance. I think including SOME photos of the product packaged is a great idea, perhaps one in each listing.   This would allow for some listings to feature the lovely product first instead. Afterall, that’s what I’m really looking to buy as a purchaser: the product  itself. Another reason : many of us, as treasury makers on Etsy, Team members who write articles, bloggers and more rely heavily on IMAGES: your images of your products. Often times, I shy away from a product just because the main image (first image) has text/word branding on it. Often times this type of photo doesn’t mesh well if I’m curating a collection of items to feature. As a blogger I can use an image from the rest of the set, but articles and front pages on Etsy CAN ONLY use 1st image. So give folks who want to feature you a choice and include at least some listings showcasing the product instead of just the packaging. This allows for many more folks to feature you and your lovely work, and I think appeals to a broader range of folks who will feature you and folks who will be drawn to your shop through searches etc.

 

{creating visual consistency in our shops}

On that note, while we want to create visual interest in the shop, I’m a grand believer that our online shops succeed  best when we work toward creating visual consistency: an overall feeling and continuity throughout ALL of our images. For example, 5seed has already set the gold standard with her images. I LOVE LOVE LOVE light and bright photos. Plain and simple backgrounds allow the items to be showcased,  and ample white space in each photo adds to the beautiful aesthetic. That’s what we want. The colour palette here at 5seed is beautiful springtime fresh and gorgeous. Yancy has obviously experimented with different photo angles (great idea) – now I think she can choose her favourites and further define her photo style. Photo style is, in my opinion, a vital part of visual branding. I might recommend a mix of photos in her shop portfolio all at the same exposure, with only a couple of different shot styles. This would really solidify her branding and I think boost exposure (no pun intended!) even more! (cause hey – the blogosphere loves to feature beautiful, captivating photographs! Why not feature YOURS?) We can use free photo editing tools like flickr’s picnik or other user-friendly photo editing software to gently boost both the exposure (if your photos are too dark) and contrast (to increase the difference between the bright and dark parts of an image) . Picnik offers easy to use sliding scales so you can see your image change gradually in front of you! Let’s make our lovely photos POP!

Another way to create photo consistency is to photograph like items in the same way/ at the same angle. Practice and practice until you find the BEST way to showcase EACH KIND of product. So perhaps 5seed could use head on shots/straight on photographs of her packaging in say all of her salve listings and then all inside the canister shots with the natural product front and centre of her solid perfumes. This offers brand recognition throughout each KIND of item. So everytime we see a 5seed lip balm we can immediately recognize it because of the consistent ANGLE of the photograph.

 

Keeping all these things in mind, I think these few simple photo tweaks would really further enhance the chance to be featured:  a vital component of building our businesses at every stage!  So this brings us to our next topic:

{hearts and the front page of Etsy}

As one of the many ways to gain exposure on the web for our products, being  an active part of Etsy and being part of a Treasury that goes to the front page is vital. In a way, it’s free exposure (you’ve paid the listing fee – now it’s up to the rest of the world to feature you). In my experience, being on the front page of Etsy brings in exponentially more hearts then almost anything else!

While hearts certainly aren’t the most important part of our shops, I think Etsy hearts (folks who have “favorited” your shop or items) can be beneficial in a variety of ways: namely folks that have already found you can find you quickly again to a) feature you b) buy from you c) spread the word about you. So the more folks hearting your shops, the more chances to have the above happen to you, hopefully resulting in more sales. I took at look at 5seeds shop hearts.

I think this is an area 5seed can grow in. I see she’s had wonderful sales (440 to date) but not even as many hearts. Let’s see if we can increase that number and in turn increase sales. In my opinion, to be featured on the front page  you have to have great photos so that  more and more folks choose to include you in their treasuries. By doing a quick search on craftcult.com, I can see that 5seed hasn’t been on the front page of Etsy yet. Of course there are many non-scientific factors behind this, but I can say by tweaking her images as noted above, adjusting the exposure and rearranging the order of images in each listing, I think her lovely products may be featured even more in treasuries, and more beautiful treasuries is a great step towards that coveted front page exposure! You can do it, nicey!

{ great listings}

So let’s take a look at individual shop listings.

I love how 5seed tells us a story.

I’m taken in as she weaves the story in her profile of how her name came to be (brilliant and heartwarming – I not only want to buy from you, I want to be your friend!) and continues this tale-telling right into her product listings.

In each listing, she gives me the RIGHT AMOUNT of information I need so that I don’t have to pause and ask her questions (this slows down the buying process!) with a professional yet personal writing style (finding that balance is so important and can be tricky!) I love how she incorporates the significance of each products’ name and the sentiment behind it. Each name has something important to do with the ideals behind her business. This shows me integrity and ethics: elements that I would guess are a big part of her target demographic: folks who appreciate eco friendly natural products and want to buy from a genuine, relateable person! WELL DONE! I also think 5seed shares the right amount of product detailing. One thing to add might be a line at the end of each listing saying something like: (for a solid perfume listing) “Interested in a different perfume aroma? Please see my other solid perfume listings here ____.” and link to your solid perfume section of your shop. This takes the guess work out of looking for other options for our potential customers and shows the variety of options you have available.

{ maximizing the potential of each listing photo}

We have 5 image listing spots to help ENHANCE the potential buying experience for visitors to our shops! Any one listing could be a potential customers first link into your fabulous work. So, use the 5 different images to showcase what you’ve got! Here’s a guideline I’ve found successful – a mix of the following :

  • a beautiful image of your product up close/ with detail {offers a glimpse at texture, details or in the case of the 5seed shop, a look at the scrumptious products lip balm, salves, etc)
  • a beautiful shot of the whole product.
  • a lovely shot of the product packaged.
  • a photo of  the product with complementary products (the only thing better then making a new sale? making more then one sale at once! “Ooh I love her lip balm in vanilla woods– wait – she also makes it in chocolate mint? I’ll try both!”)
  • depending on the product, a photo of the product in use to show scale.
  • a photo mosaic / collage (more on how to make these next time!) of your various products at the end OR a photo montage of the different flavors/colors/options you have available “OOh! She not only makes lip balms but salves and perfumes, too? I’ll try those too!”

In the example listing I grabbed from the 5seed shop, you can see here that all 5 of the current photos are similar in style (i.e. product in great packaging). I think mixing it up a bit would offer more info to the customers, especially visually-enticed customers like me!

 

{include International Shipping options}

Well done, nicey! So glad to see that you ship everywhere (I think it’s such a big mistake when folks narrow their potential customer base by not including shipping rates right away to Canada (I’m biased!:) and everywhere else! )It may take a wee bit of work when you’re next at the post office, but as a seller whose base is mostly international I can swear to it, it’s WORTH IT! Case in point: many many times I’ve had an item in my *cart* on Etsy and then saw the shop doesn’t offer shipping my way. It’s a pet peeve of mine as a buyer. Very rarely would I contact the seller to ask them to include my destination in the shipping. Instead it’s easier to just find another item in a different shop with someone who already includes my country! Be sure not to lose potential customers when they’re all ready to buy from you nicies! AND  5seed,your shipping prices are so reasonable, nicey! Love that! It would certainly make me BUY more from you cause I feel the shipping is not a huge extra cost.

 

{offering products at various price points}

5seed does a good job of offering products at different price points (from $3.95 to $35.00) and I’m glad to see she has bundled together products to create appealing easy to buy sets. I think offering even MORE of these bundles would be recommended. It takes the guess work out of shopping if you’re looking for a higher end purchase. And I think a few more higher-end options in the shop allows a different style of shopper (one looking for say the luxury of an abundant array of at home spa-like goodies) to visit, too! Bringing in different kinds of shoppers (and expanding your target market) is a great way to increase sales! Many folks search on Etsy by keywords and price. Be sure to maximize a variety of price points!

{great feedback}

I can tell by the 5seed shop feedback that a) folks love her great products and b) she’s had some great repeat business. Both of these elements are really important parts of building our businesses. Folks mention the quality products (well done!), the fast shipping (folks love to get their goodies as soon as they can of course!) and how they’ll be back. I can also see that folks thank her for the free samples in some cases. This suggests that in her packages she offers a wee little something as a thanks. I’m an advocate of this. I know I love getting a LITTLE bonus with my gift that will entice me to buy again from her, try something new or, if you offer a little gift made by a cross-promotion with another seller, just feel gosh-darn special! That’s an important thing in any business!  {Finding complementary goodies to include in your orders from a complementary seller is another way to do this. Swap business cards and samples with a few others and let the increased exposure begin!}

 

{spreading the word}

I love seeing that 5seed is active in the handmaking community as part of great Etsy teams, making great treasuries, connecting through her blog, twitter & facebook, too! This is vital on so many levels because

  • it connects you to like-minded folks
  • helps get your business out there
  • helps us learn as cyber-sellers and part of the cyber world of handmakers
  • builds community

The 5seed blog is GREAT! Yancy writes passionate articles that relate to her & her businesses’ interests. And your blog is therefore a fabulous tool to enhance your business! Great approachable writing, great ideas and more! We need to help you spread your word to a larger audience, nicey!

I’d suggest  writing guest posts for other blogs, Etsy’s Blog, your team blogs, etc. Try cross promotions with other handmakers, give incentives for folks to follow your blog, visit or comment. I think you’re doing everything right. Just the perfect kind of complementary blog to your beautiful business. Let’s get your blog in the hands of even more folks! It can be a scary step, but you can do it!

Also I see that while 5seed updates her facebook and blog often, she could be using her twitter account on a more regular basis. I try to get into a routine of tweeting for my business at various little *break* times throughout the day (it’s fun & friendly and effective marketing all in one!)  This keeps me on task and spreading the word throughout the work day, too!

{overall impression}

Well Yancy, it’s been a pleasure visiting the 5seed shop. Thanks for showing us examples of so many wonderful elements of a great business! There’s so much more I could say about the fabulous things you’re doing! Bravo!

What a fabulous team we have!

Excellent work, lovelies! See you next week.

This post was written by

rikrak – who has written posts on Eco Etsy.

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Comments

  1. What a fantastic critique and so helpful! I love how you highlight the importance of “story” and relate-ability. Off to go tell my story better and shoot more new photos!

  2. This article helped me so much! I especially like the tips on creating consistency with photos–that is something that I have been seeing as an issue in my shop. Will try your tips!
    Thanks again, and congrats to five seed on your gorgeous shop!
    Jennifer

  3. This article is SO helpful! Thank you for your thoughtful insights. Wonderful shop, 5seed.

  4. oh how I enjoyed your great advice and constructive feedback on this beautiful shop. I have to admit that I was a shop that did not list shipping for worldwide shoppers…so after reading your opinion about it I changed that in my shop!!

  5. Excellent, helpful for us all… just amazing how informative and inspiring these Thoughts on Shops have become. Thank you for so much input. Beautiful shop and product fiveseed.

  6. oh yay!
    i’m so glad folks are finding the *thoughts* helpful!

    liane – you can volunteer your shop in the Etsy team forums. but i’m afraid i’m full now for the april series. yay, there will be more in may, too!

    great to know, 5seed! we really appreciate you being my volunteer! it was a pleasure!

    thanks so much for your kind words, kim & strawberry!

  7. Dang! This is so intensive and thorough. Great job and a great shop that you chose for this discussion. Such a great way to find 5Seed too.

    Well dine!

  8. rikrak…you rock! You did an excellent job and thanks for introducing such a lovely shop!

    ~Kim

  9. Thank you so much for all these amazing suggestions! I can’t wait to start implementing them!

    I am so glad that my shop name worked for you – every now and then, people say, “Huh? Why Five Seed?” I also had the unfortunate problem of starting out intending to call it 5 Seed – with the number. And so I named my Etsy shop and Twitter page 5 Seed. Six months later, I came up with my new logo and realized I wanted the name to be Five Seed (the word not the number). By then, a financial group called Five Seed had just opened and they took that name on Twitter, and of course, I can’t change my name on Etsy, darnit! So I feel that that might be a bit confusing for customers – 5 Seed or Five Seed? But….oh well. I think it might be more damaging to open a new Etsy store and lose the feedback I built up there.

    I’ll be working on the image tweaking next week – I LOVE your suggestion about adding complementary items into montage photos for a product. I never thought of that!!

    I’m also starting to wonder if my computer screen contrast is a bit off. I use Picnik, too – LOVE IT! – and spend hours editing all my pictures to get just the right richness of color, but plenty of brightness, too. When I looked at the suggestions for brighter pictures you posted, they all looked white and so washed out, I could barely read the labels. I’m going to check on my friend’s computer tonight to see what they look like on his screen, because if my own screen is off, then no matter how much editing I do, it won’t look right unless I fix that! LOL. So I’m glad to have seen that – something may be off with my screen.

    As for the rest – blog, hearts, etc. – I’ll be working on all that, as well. Haven’t had much time for blogging lately, but I have some posts in the work. And getting a spot on the front page….ahhh….. Honestly, I have given up thinking about that, after 15 months on Etsy. I figured it either happens or it doesn’t, and believe me, I’ve tried all the suggestions they give to shopowners. But maybe there is hope for me yet! :) Thanks to the help from my awesome teammates! Yay!

    Thank you a million times – seriously! I’m so grateful for this!

    Yancy

  10. What a great critique RIKRAK!
    (how do I request a critique from you?!)

    Excellent suggestions on the banner modification and first photo choices. Also your insight on naming our stores is wonderful. I like my store name but I wonder if the name actually creates the imagery that represents what I sell.

    Thanks for the food for thought!
    Liane
    Prairie Garden

  11. Love how you tweaked her graphics and photos. Oh, how I wish I had your skills. 5seeds already has a great shop and the newly suggested graphics tweak made it all the more scrumptious!

    Great review and thank you!!

  12. thanks so much for your comments, nicies!
    isn’t the 5seed shop just gorgeous?! i agree.

    yay team!

  13. Great post! I know I’m constantly working on my pictures, too. The lemon pics have made me hungry….or, maybe, thirsty! ;) That’s and awesome engagement of the senses!

  14. another great thoughts on shops post. so much valuable information!

  15. wow, kristal, you have covered everything! thank you {& eco etsy} for sharing this. i am bookmarking the post so i can refer to it and improve my shops! :)