You’ve spent many months or years selling your handmade crafts through marketplaces such as Etsy or your own website. You’re one of the 62.5 million people who do crafts, reported by the Craft and Hobby Association. Craft shows and festivals appear all over the country, providing you with an opportunity to directly reach your target demographic, giving them a way to see your work in person. For some products, it’s easier to convince your customers of its quality when they aren’t looking at a flat image online. One reason some crafters may not want to make the leap into in-person sales is due to payment processing. Mobile Payments Today reports that mobile payment providers continue to rise, with more than 90 providers in 2013.
Photo of Butterdome Craft Sale by Flickr user mastermaq
The customers who come to craft shows may have never stumbled across your website or Etsy store. You get to directly engage with your customers, allowing them to see how enthusiastic you are about the products. They can also ask questions that you may not have thought to answer in your online store. In addition to engaging a new customer demographic, you also get to avoid paying out commissions to consignment stores and online marketplaces.
Photo of Renegade Craft Fair by Flickr user adiything
Benefits of Mobile Credit Card Processing
Intuit reports up to $100 billion in sales are left on the table by small business owners who do not accept credit cards for their customers. It’s far more common for someone to carry around a wallet filled with plastic, instead of cash. While some craft shows and festivals have easy ATM access, that extra step in purchasing may spell the difference between a sale and a pass for many customers. The only real drawback with the per-transaction fee is that you may have customers who would have paid with cash, now paying with plastic. If you feel that you’re getting hit with more transaction fees than you are comfortable with, consider giving an incentive for your cash payers.
When you don’t have a retail store, investing money into a point of sale system seems like a sunken cost that eats into already thin margins for many small business owners. However, mobile credit card processors such as GoPayment, an Intuit merchant payment service, takes out a per transaction fee instead of charging large monthly fees. The equipment is also provided free by mobile card reader companies, plugging into your smartphone or tablet’s headphone jack to interface with the device.
Attract Customers with Custom Orders
If you have the type of craft allowing you to take custom orders and work at them right at the show, you turn your sales pitch into a demo to catch everyone’s attention. While you post technique videos on your website, it’s not quite the same as showing the customer right before their eyes. You also get to encourage customers to place their own customer orders.
Harriet Cohen: Harriet is from New York and teaches a creative writing workshop for seniors.