When you’re a handmade item seller, thinking about the business side of your business doesn’t always come naturally. In fact, exploring a new marketplace or thinking about setting up your own store on a platform like Shopify may sound like more work than it’s worth, especially if you’ve already found success on a platform like Etsy.
But if you’re not using a platform like Shopify to expand your business, you’re missing out. There are thousands of other craft business owners that have found success when they expanded to Shopify (you can read about a handful of them here).
That said, Shopify isn’t right for every craft business, so let’s take a look at which businesses it suits and how you can maximize your success on Shopify if it is right for you.
Can you sell handmade items on Shopify?
Yes, the simple answer is: you can sell handmade items on Shopify. There are many examples of successful businesses that have used Shopify to market and sell handmade items. Additionally, Shopify has a wide range of features designed specifically for handmade business owners, such as the ability to customize product options, display handmade products in a gallery format, and print custom labels and packing slips.
Is Shopify right for my handmade business?
Yes… probably. Shopify is a powerful tool, but only if you take advantage of its features. The key thing to ask yourself when you’re considering expanding your store to Shopify is, “Am I willing to put in the time to market to my audience?”
For this reason, the makers that get the most out of Shopify are those that:
- Already have a customer base to market to
- Know their ideal customer inside-out and so will be able to reach other customers like them
- Have already seen some success on Etsy or a similar marketplace
- Are ready to reach new customers and do things their way
- Are sick of paying transaction fees and other fees on platforms they have no say over (*cough* Etsy offsite ads *cough*)
You can start on Shopify when you first start your craft business, but you should have some marketing knowledge and a marketing strategy ready to help you start reaching potential customers, or you’ll experience high business start-up costs and little in return.
3 Ways to Start Successfully Selling Handmade Items on Shopify
1. Take advantage of all the customizable details
If there’s one thing Shopify does well, it’s customization. You can completely brand your Shopify store so it feels unique, attracts your customers, and “feels” like you. Shopify offers free shop themes (website templates) to get you started, but you can also buy premium themes or pay a professional web designer to design your website from the ground up.
That means you can make your website more individual to you, with features tailored to your brand and your customers, as you grow.
You can customize your theme with different sidebars, images, change up the layout with blocks and sections, brand it with your own colors, designs, and typography, add your own fields to your product pages, and more.
Besides your theme, you can also add an announcement bar so you can give visitors discount codes or let them know when a restock is happening, add order notes so your customers can ask for customizations you offer, add a recommended products section, and more. That’s not to mention the thousands of plugins you can use or buy to add more features to your store - the possibilities are endless!
Try not to get overwhelmed here - just because you can doesn’t mean you have to, but all these options give you a way to offer a unique customer experience and improve it over time. Focus on creating a unique brand and customer experience that helps you stand out from your competitors.
2. Capture your audience
Shopify goes beyond simply allowing you to set up a store, they also have integrated tools so you can manage your email marketing and better your SEO (search engine optimization) so you’re more likely to show up on the first page of search results for your customer’s search term.
Shopify’s Shopify Email is a free-to-install app that can help you manage your email marketing within Shopify. If your Shopify store is the only place you’re going to be capturing leads, that means you don’t have to fiddle about trying to get your email client to play nice with Shopify.
Shopify Email allows you to create beautiful emails without code, capture emails on your website, and create and send campaigns automatically. It’s also affordable, at just $1 per 1,000 emails you send.
Shopify also makes it easy for you to manage your SEO. You can easily edit page titles, meta descriptions, and more, so your keywords are optimized. You can also easily add a blog to your website, which can help you improve your search engine rankings over time and reach new customers. Shopify has also optimized its backend to be search-engine friendly.
With Shopify’s built-in analytics, you can analyze how well your products are doing, analyze your customers’ behavior, and more to make better business decisions.
Use all these features to better understand your customers and connect with them on a level you can’t on other platforms - they’ll come back to buy from you again and again.
3. Experiment with a new pricing model
You’re interested in trying Shopify for one key reason, right? To make more profit from your products! With Shopify, you’ve got complete freedom over your pricing. Besides the transaction fees card processors charge, the only other fees you need to pay is the monthly (or annual) fee you pay for your store and domain. Any advertising you choose to do is up to you and optimizable - no more being forced into a costly ad program.
With Shopify, you’ll feel free to experiment with different price points. When you’re just advertising through another marketplace, you’ve always got to account for their fees, and higher price points means they get more from your listing, due to the percentages they charge. It also means that it can be difficult to run sales because the fees make it impossible to be profitable. With Shopify, you can fine-tune your pricing to find the sweet spot.
How do you think your customers would feel getting your product for less than you list it for on another marketplace? Pretty pleased with themselves! You’ll be pleased too, since your profit margin will feel a lot more generous.
Fine-tuning your pricing can be time-consuming if you don’t have the right tools in place (and no, paper, pen, and a calculator don’t count!). Craftybase removes the need for countless calculations or hours laboring over a spreadsheet; instead, you can see at a glance exactly what your products cost to make and produce, and how much you’ll see in profit when all is said and done. If you want more profit, simply tweak your margins and see what a small change could do for your bottom line. To find out more about Craftybase’s pricing features click here, or sign up for your card-free 14-day free trial here.
Shopify’s benefits don’t end there - you can also use Shopify Handshake to expand your market further by selling your products wholesale. To learn more about how you can take advantage of Shopify Handshake, see our guide here.
If you have an established business selling craft goods, and you’re ready to take your business up a level and have more control, a Shopify store of your own is the best place to start.