Build an Online Shop Using Shopify and Your Facebook Professional Page
If you'd like to learn how to build your own online shop like the one described in this article, I've created an online course that features a section on how to do that. Artists! 10 Ways to Increase Your Holiday Sales is available now!
For several years, Brenda Leedy has been making and selling beautiful handmade Christmas tree ornaments, Ornate Ornaments by B.C. Leedy. In the past her ornaments have been sold primarily in art galleries and specialty retailers. This year she decided to offer her ornaments online and promote them through photo and video sharing on social media. The combination of Shopify and her Ornate Ornaments Facebook page has streamlined many aspects of the online shop creation.
Shopify(affiliate link) is a point of sale platform that offers an array of services that support your sales both real world and online. Their basic plan which costs $9.00 a month allows you to integrate your Shopify shop with your Facebook professional pages, and it also allows you to create "buy now" buttons for websites, email, and other online places. Shopify can also be set up to keep inventory records, and they will handle all of the card transactions that are related to your sale. All you have to do is set up the shop and handle the shipping of your items.
Shopify is easy to integrate with your Facebook professional pages. When you set up your Shopify account, you'll be led through a series of a few steps to connect it to your page. Once that's done, it's easy to post your items to the Facebook page. You can also group your products in collections, which makes it easy to both categorize them, and differentiate them.
For Brenda's shop, she took high quality photos of each of the ornaments she is going to sell online, and she gave each one a unique item number. Since she only makes one of each, she set up her shop to remove the buy now button from the ornaments that have been sold, so that she doesn't have to keep track of that herself. She added each product to her Shopify account, and created a few different collections that corresponded to her own collections. Once she'd entered all of the information about each ornament, she easily published it to her Facebook page.
On the top of her Facebook page there is a blue "Shop Now" button right under the cover photo that will take you to her shop when clicked. On her shop page you can see each of her collections and a few featured ornaments from each. Individual ornaments have the "Buy Now" button underneath their pictures so that if you want to buy it, it's a one click process.
Brenda also made short, one minute videos to showcase each collection that she's posted on the video tab of her Facebook page. The videos create a sense of the continuity in each collection, and they inspire people to see the possibility of buying more than one in a collection. The holiday music that accompanies the slideshow also creates a nice context for the ornaments. Brenda used music from the YouTube royalty free music library that you can access in the Creator Studio page on your own YouTube channel. She constructed the videos using Windows Movie Maker software, which is free and relatively simple to learn.
Now that she's set up the shop, her marketing strategy is a relatively easy one. She now has the ability to share her shop and the individual ornaments and collections anywhere she wants to online. Since the Facebook page is relatively new, she's still building her initial audience there, so to expand her reach she needs to do a few things. The first is to share her professional page on her personal page, and invite those friends to like her Ornate Ornaments page. The second part of expanding her reach can be done by incorporating hashtags in the posts she shares about her ornaments. Hashtags are the labels you see on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that look like this #holidayornaments #christmas2017 and any other keyword you'd use to identify what you're sharing. Hashtags make your post show up in searches for the keywords you've included. A correct hashtag includes the pound sign followed by your keywords with all lower case, and no spaces. You also can't include any symbols other than the pound sign, letters, and numbers.
The last thing that Brenda could do to expand the reach of her page is to pay to boost her page, or individual posts. Facebook has made it relatively inexpensive to reach more people with your page posts, and their targeting categories are excellent. You can be very specific about who sees your post. For Brenda, I think the best strategy for paid posts would be to boost the entire page. Boosting individual ornaments could be problematic as far as cost, and because of the limited inventory of one of each.
The time period that Brenda needs to be promoting her ornaments is from November 1 until after Christmas. Her primary strategy needs to be sharing photos and videos daily, several times a day, and including links to her page, and hashtags so that the posts reach more people, and more people will like her page. The nice thing about sharing from her shop is that the "Buy Now" button shows up on each post, so if someone wants to purchase right then and there, they can do it with ease.
This combination is a very powerful tool for generating sales of your creative work. If you'd like to learn how to do this for yourself, I've created a course that includes a section on using Shopify and Facebook, as well as creating promotional slideshow videos using Windows Movie Maker. The course is called Artists! 10 Ways to Increase Your Holiday Sales, and its available now. It's time to be planning for your holiday sales events, and I hope this will help you do that efficiently and effectively so that you can really enjoy the upcoming season.
Please, take the opportunity to visit Ornate Ornaments by B.C. Leedy on Facebook, have a look around, and buy one of her unique pieces of art for your tree!