It doesn't matter if you're selling vintage or just second hand, the industry is growing (fast) and thankfully so is the demand for what you do! I know that most of you are selling via Instagram at the moment, but if you're looking for unsolicited advice...you need an online store.
I know what you're thinking: "I can't afford one", but now is a great time to start one because Shopify have extended their free trial period from 14 days to 90 days, so that's plenty of time to get aaaaaall those listings online! Also, the basic plan is only USD29/month (about NZD50) and now includes the gift voucher function - very handy.
I absolutely promise that moving your Instagram store to an ecommerce store will dramatically reduce your admin and I can almost guarantee that taking your business online will increase your sales, here's why;
Website visitors can search by type or size
Instead of aimlessly scrolling your feed (only to see an item that catches their eye that is sold - more on that next) looking for the perfect knit or some block heels in a size 7, your website visitors can use the handy menu to go straight to the section that interests them.
Website visitors can easily see what's still available
Harsh truth: if I am looking through a reseller's feed and see more than two items that catch my eye and they are sold out, I give up - that's how long you have to catch a busy person's attention.
Side note: please put "SOLD" at the start of the photo caption, not at the end, not in the comments - make it clear that an item isn't available straight away.
If you have an online store, the settings will clearly (and automatically) show when an item isn't available - better yet, you can adjust your settings in Shopify so that your site only shows the items that are currently available.
Fun fact: Liv from The Little Op Shop (for secondhand childrens clothing) recently took her business onine and an Instagram poll showed that 97% of respondents would rather NOT see the items they missed out on.
Buying from you is (so so) much easier
Instead of sending a DM and asking if an item is still available, waiting for a reply with payment details and a total (plus postage), and then logging in to internet banking and transferring the money, your potential customers can just add to cart.
This opens up the option for them to add something to their cart and then keep shopping (how good!) and potentially add something else to their cart - especially if you have a free shipping threshold.
Then, your potential customer (who is a few clicks and key strokes away from becoming an actual customer) simply proceeds through the checkout, paying with a debit card, credit card or even a "buy now pay later" option like ZipPay (has the lowest fees FYI).
Just like that you're building a database
You can't send an eDM to your Instagram followers (you can just post and hope for the best), but if people purchase through your store and give you permission to contact them via email, you can add them to your database and let them know about fresh vintage or clearance sales.
Not only are you building a database of emails from those you actually convert (or who sign up to your newsletter), if you install your Facebook pixel, your site is also collecting data on all website visitors. You can use this data to retarget visitors or build a lookalike audience to advertise to.
Before you say: "I don't have the budget for digital marketing"...just wait and see how that new website goes for you my friend...
Wave goodbye to all that admin
Yes, there's still admin involved with running any business - you'll need to upload product listing and images to your website (which you can do from the Shopify app on your phone) but when it comes to processing payment and sending orders;
- No more DMs to buy
- No more sending payment details via DM
- No more checking the bank account to see who has paid
- No more going back through DMs to get address details
- No more writing out addresses on courier bags
- No more going to the post office to send orders
Every time an order comes through you'll know exactly what they've bought (and the item/s will no longer be available), you'll know they've already paid, you'll have their address details on their order, and if you're using an online courier booking system you can print a label and book a courier with a click of a button.
But wait, there's more
You'll be able to tag products on Instagram (and Facebook) so that your current Instagram audience can easily click through from your posts of stories to visit the website and purchase online (for aaaaall the reasons above).
Slowly but surely your SEO will improve and (hopefully) your target market will start to find you online. The more traffic you get and the better their online experience is not only are they likely to return but they will be improving your SEO score too.
Not only that, you're opening your business up to customers who aren't Instagram users or who prefer not to buy via DM on Instagram, it's also a lot easier to share a link to a website with someone than a link to an image on Instagram.
So because I know that your (very valid) reason for not having an online store is that you can't afford to pay someone else to build you one, I have put together a super simple (and very cheap) online course that will step you through how to build your own Shopify site.
This post was inspired by Rachel from Girl Gone Retro, one of my favourite resellers. I regularly buy from her...because her online store makes it so easy for me to do so. If you don't already, you should follow @girlgoneretro on Instagram for some great content inspo.
I asked Rachel to tell me why she made the move to Shopify and this is what she said:
"Moving my store from Instagram to Shopify was a game changer. The back and forth DM process on Instagram was excruciating: waiting for people to reply and losing orders - it's just not an efficient way to run a successful business.Now I share my vintage to Instagram and send newsletters to my email list (that I built using Shopify) and all of that traffic goes to my site. When they purchase I have their details, they sync with my courier account and I print the labels - it's fabulous!"
If you have any questions or would just like some guidance, please feel free to get in touch for a chat. If you just want to share your journey with some like minded people (who are probably also your target market) it's a good idea to join the Running In Heels Bidness Tips & Tricks Facebook group.