Our last post talked about setting up your online shop so it can be found by your potential customers, and they are encouraged to buy once they get there. This post looks at the practical aspects of setting up products.
The theory of setting up products
Each product should be set up so it can be found with:
- Product name – very important!
- Description – you can include other likely phrases here
- Images – make sure you give the image file a good name and also set up the “Alt” text properly
- Tags and categories – within the platform (be it Amazon, Etsy or your website) people will use tags and categories to narrow their search. If these aren’t set up then your product isn’t as easy to find.
When you multiply this by the number of products you are going to sell, this can amount to a significant workload.
Finding product information
How much work you have to do to create all the product information depends on how you are selling your items.
If you are selling existing product on a platform such as Amazon and eBay then you can use their catalogue. You use the barcode number of your product to find it in the catalogue and this will supply most of the details. All you have to do is enter specifics for your item (such as condition) and you are ready to go. (This explains why listings for second hand items can seem strangely comprehensive).
When you are setting up your own shop and using existing products, you have to pull together all the information. You can still use marketplaces to see the descriptions other vendors are using. There will also be information from your supplier that you can use. You do have the advantage of not being constrained by what they say and can improve on what is supplied. This could be useful if the original has been translated from Japanese!
If you are making the products yourself, then the onus is completely on you. You have to create all the information yourself. Here, you may be able to call upon the story of making the product as well as the physical description. In this case, good product images are essential.
Whatever you do, please make sure you abide by the Trade Descriptions laws when you are describing this wonderful item.
The best method of setting up your products
There is still the issue of populating your shop. Unless you are gradually building up your stock, there will be times when you need to add a lot of products quickly. At this point, you need to work efficiently and act smart.
Not all of your products are equal. You need to identify which products are most valuable to you. These could be:
- High price items
- Items you sell in large quantities
- Items not stocked elsewhere
- Seasonal items
You can also identify those items which are not the primary purchase but you stock as cross sells: examples include a fabric shop selling pins and thread. You want to put these in front of customers when they put fabric into the basket, but they will not entice buyers through the front door.
Your strategy is then:
- Put most effort into getting the information on your most valuable products right and ensure the SEO is set.
- Do a reasonable job on most products. They need to look good and have some SEO set.
- Do a basic job on your small items and don’t worry about SEO.
You can choose to set up everything quickly and then go and improve some listings. This can work, but note that things such as naming and tagging images as you load them is easier that doing it retrospectively.
Check and monitor
Once you have your products up and hopefully selling, it is worth keeping an eye on the statistics. Are the products you identified as the key ones doing their job? Are there any surprises?
Keep an eye on what is happening in the world. If one of your products is seen on a popular TV programme, you should try to cash in!