Handicraft is a labor intensive industry, which is widely spread in rural as well as urban area, selling handicrafts can be challenging business. Especially, with the look a like cheap Chinese products, homemade handicrafts products are taken for granted. Still, there is a cluster of the customers who are still inclined towards authentic handmade products. Therefore, connecting to the right audience is key to success. Since, your physical store doesn’t have the bandwidth to reach a large number of audience, creating an ecommerce website (online store) and selling handicrafts online can be great option.
The handicraft business has been increasingly in demand because of many people who love to personalize their stuffs and tourists who love cultural items for souvenirs. Initially start by gathering information. Do a market research and gather as much info as possible. Collect information on consumer needs, profits margin and availability of products. An entrepreneur should find out what products are in demand and whats its supply ratio. The market research should include information about competitors and major suppliers and number of buyers. Handicraft products are fragile and less durable. If you are a craftsman yourself and have a team of artists, design products that are traditionally innovative as well as useful. If you are purchasing the products from distributors or other suppliers, keep a stock of products according to demand.
Keep an extensive catalog
A business survives on the variety and services it provides to its customers. You can keep loads of decorative products, utility products etc. There is a huge variety of handicraft products. Map the products shrewdly. Categorize them in such a manner that a customer browses through the whole catalog.
The descriptions must be concise, yet cover all the relevant details regarding the products. The prices should be competitive as well. The customers must not feel that they are being asked a price on the higher side. An entrepreneur should consider selling only high-quality products.
The look and feel of your ecommerce website should synonymous to the products you are selling. If you are selling handicraft products, the website front should have traditional touch. The website should work on every device, platform, operating system without any glitches.
The smoother it will run, the better business it will generate. The website must respond quickly even on slowest of internet speeds. The site should adapt itself as per screen size without affecting its navigation, fluidity and content.
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Payment and Acquisition
The website should accept payments via all the popular methods like cash on delivery, all types of debit and credit cards, online wallets, net banking, etc. There should not be any hidden charges. The shipping must be done promptly.
The packing should be such that goods reach the buyers in the same condition as they were dispatched in. The packing material used must be of excellent quality. The better your services will be, the more traffic you’ll generate. Understand customers and provide them flexible services.
Even if there are competitors, you can still strive and make a place of your own. All you need to do is, do what your competitors haven’t done or thought of doing.
Demands of Handicraft Items
The industry of handicraft are showing signs of significant growth in the future because there are a lot of people love the idea of having personalized things with original handicraft items that are mostly functional, attractive, and more affordable than paintings.
Furthermore, there are lots of handicraft courses that grant appreciations for the tome, skills, and money necessary to produce such high quality of craft products. In addition to that, tourists are now buying unique and functional cultural stuffs rather than souvenirs for friends and family. This is why starting a handicraft business is an excellent idea today.
Starting a Handicraft Business
You have three options in starting a handicraft business. You can produce your own handicraft items or you will just sell other’s products or you can do both – producing and selling. Nevertheless, before you engage in this kind of business, you should know whether or not people will be attracted and buy your products, understand the business itself as well as the basic bookkeeping, managing, advertising, and purchasing.
Keep in mind that whatever business you will start, you should be able to have enough knowledge about the business so that your business can grow successfully and if you encounter problems, you will definitely find solutions to them.
Location of the Business
The facility where you will establish your handicraft business must be suitable to the terms of services, size, safety, and security you require. You can consider renting or buying a home studio and then register your business. Obtain the necessary papers and documents needed to operate your business. If you will be leasing a place, consult with a lawyer before you sign any agreement. Establish your studio in an area with minimal traffic and has a convenient parking space. Make sure that your business will not disturb and affect the neighborhood so that you will prevent any problems later on.
Selling your Finished Products
Of course, you can absolutely sell your finished products from the studio. However, specialty crafts must be sold in department stores or retail stores especially if they are of limited quantities. Just be careful if you will be on consignment terms.
Another place where you can sell your products is trough galleries and agents. The prices of your handicrafts should be based on cost approach and comparative approach. Then, you just choose the price within the range of prices from these two approaches.
Determine Product Source
Before you step into the business of selling Indian handicrafts, it is necessary that you need to filter the product categories in which you will deal. If you run a physical business of making and manufacturing Indian handicrafts, then there is no further discussion needed.
However, if you are starting from scratch, then you need to decide the product categories. Whether you want to create an online store that sells “almost” every handicraft product or just want to deal with exclusive categories. You can do a market research on it.
Partner with craftsmen or Indian handicraft store that can provide your products. You can also go to Indian handicraft fair or places like Dilli Haat. Sign a merchant agreement with them after deciding the product price and delivery date & time.
Do a Market Research
It is a must do part of running any online business. Before you start your online business, always do a market research about the product, which you are going to sell. This will help you plan your business strategy, in terms of website design, product demand, available product and category, marketing strategy and much more. Checks out what product are being sold by your competitors and at what price.Figure out the hits and miss of their store and plan your
Figure out the hits and miss of their store and plan your eCommerce website keeping them in mind. Also, know your audience to which you will be selling these products, their product demand, feasible prices, and areas where they are mostly located.
Getting Your Product Catalog Ready
The preparing product catalog is both fun and challenging. It’s fun because the products are amazingly beautiful, and challenging because there is a lot of work to be done and taken care of. Let’s look t the important aspects of product cataloging.
- Category Mapping: If you are selling multiple category products, then you need to make sure that you decide the parent category and sub-category accordingly. This will not only help you to track your product easily, but your audience will be able to check out what they really want by going into the relevant category. List down all the products and decide its category accordingly.
- Choose Product Price: Product Pricing is extremely important for selling any product online. Include the product’s base price, taxes, shipping charges or any other charges. However, you cannot forget your audience and competitors. Make sure that your product prices are not too high that your audience does not want to buy products and you get kicked out of the industry without any efforts.
- Get Product Images Clicked: Get your Indian handicrafts come alive with the amazing image. Clicking Indian handicrafts is a tough task. You will need a professional photographer to carry out this work. Get creative with your products by getting images from every angle. Also, you can create an exciting backdrop, in case you are selling home decor or furnishing items.
- Writing Product Descriptions: The next work in preparing your product catalog is writing product descriptions. After images, a product description is a next thing which your customer will look to judge your products. Write enticing product descriptions which explain your products, quality, material, uses dimensions, etc. Don’t lie or exaggerate about your products just to make them sell. Come clear to your buyers.
Preparing Your Ecommerce Website
Setting up your ecommerce website from the scratch might be a tough task for somebody who is not IT sound. You might need to hire web designers and developers who will create your online store. However, this is a time-consuming process. Therefore, you can go for pre-built design templates which will save a lot of time as well as money. Make sure that you use design templates which are mobile responsive so that it can be accessed from any gadget.
Choose Payment Method
Decide whether you want to integrate payment gateway to accept online payments or COD to accept offline payment or both. While payment gateway will take some time to integrate, you can start accepting COD payment from the second you develop your ecommerce website. If you are willing to sell handicrafts online to the international audience, make sure that you do have a secured payment gateway like PayPal to accept international payment easily.
Shipping Your Handicraft Products Safely
There is nothing worse than a shipment delivered at the wrong address or with the wrong/damaged product/s. This surely takes a toll on your brand and your customer might not trust you again. This will affect your sales and potential customers. Therefore, it is necessary that you ship your products properly. Choose packaging material according to the product type. If the product is delicate and breakable, then you need to take extra packaging care. But, make sure that you don’t make your package too big as it will increase your shipping cost.
Marketing Indian Handicrafts Online
Unlike a physical store, the reach of your online store is more. However, you need to do your homework to drive the audience to your store. For this, you need to carry out various marketing tactics so that you can increase your sales and sell products.
- Search Engine Optimization: Choose relevant keywords with maximum searches and minimum competition, include these keywords in your site content and product description. Also, use these keywords to carry out SEO marketing so that your audience can search your store on the search engine. It is free but time taking.
- Email Marketing: Got email IDs of your potential customer? Great! Showcase your products and offers attractive discounts and wait for buyers to flood into your store. Get your handicrafts directly to your customer’s inbox directly.
- Paid Advertisements: To reach more audience easily, spend some money and start your paid advertisement using Facebook or Google. You can choose your target area and audience and run advertisements within your budget. Don’t forget to attach an attractive image alongside to attract more audience.
- Selling On Third Party Sites: Choose between affiliate marketing or selling on marketplaces to drive more traffic to your online store. While affiliate websites will increase sales on your website and your brand name will be highlighted, selling on marketplaces will increase your sales without spending too much money on marketing. However, it will not help in brand visibility.
- Sell Indian Handicrafts Internationally: If you want to sell handicrafts online not only in India but also abroad, then you need to make certain changes in your website as well as your marketing strategy.
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