Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NEW WEBSITE!!

Yesterday, amidst a few inevitable glitches, my new website was finally launched. (Only two years in the making!!) There is not enough blog space to discuss the process of creating a website! Oy vey, the lessons I have learned. Now before you take a peek, know that it is not full of bells and whistles and little airplanes flying across the screen with a sale banner attached. In fact, I purposely hunted and designed this new format to be similar to the old one because I did not want it to be drastically different for my customer, just better.
http://curioussofa.com/

NEW PERKS:
- Most importantly the new website is MOBILE FRIENDLY! Yea! I have learned (just from sitting at any coffee shop) most of you have tossed the lap top aside and are now searching and shopping via a tablet or phone. This is a little painful for me as I wish you could see the website in its full, desktop glory- but I care more about selling something too. So all the pics, graphics and navigation adjust to your device.
- Now you can easily Pin, Tweet, Facebook or G+ any product you see (shameless self promotion).
 

- The check out process is so much easier. No need to "LOG IN" (although its faster in the future).
- Shipping fees are better and yes we ship overseas!
- Paypal checkout is just as easy as ever (Visa, MC, Discover and American Express too!).
- SOFAS! Yes, Curious Sofa still sells sofas! Slipcovered, squashy, TV watching, book reading sofas. Now take a look at the 8 styles offered with fabric swatches shown. And as always, an important purchase so email me with any questions.
http://curioussofa.com/collections/sofas
 - Customer reviews. Now you can read what customers say about products.
- Password retrieval. The old website had major problems with sending password reminders, hopefully this problem is all gone. You will have to re-register now though.
- Cart reminder. Add items to your cart and 24 hours later you will receive a reminder in case you forgot!
- Gift wrap options are available.
- The footer on the website has all the info you may want: FAQ, Terms, Shipping, Press pages and I just added a new STYLE FOR HIRE section that tells you more about what I can do besides sell stuff.
- Security. CuriousSofa.com has always complied to all online and e-commerce rules of security, but I think it looks a little better now and may make you more confident that your info is safe.


Although nothing would thrill me more than to have a large photo studio decorated with lovely vignettes allowing me to show you all my products used in their full glory, I am still happy with the photos of my products. Clean, simple images of the item as-found. A photo studio is the next item on my bucket list.

Many of you have written to me about starting e-commerce. I have shared some advice now and then but everyone has a different mission when it comes to wanting to sell online. Some just want a an online presence, some need to get rid of something and a few want a full-on money making machine. Some quick advice:

What are you selling?
(My answer: I am selling new and old items, small enough to ship easily. Some multiples, many one of a kind).
How much are you selling?
(I have always wanted to offer at least 500 items but I still can barely get to 200).
Can you design, shoot pictures and manage it yourself?
(Four years ago my first e-commerce website cost me $6,000 to build from scratch. A stupid move but I did what I thought was right after much research. Now there are so many online templates that you can do yourself. From GoDaddy to Big Cartel, Word Press, Volusion, and Shopify... I researched them all looking for the right template and online support).
How much time can you give it daily?
(I spend at least 8 hours a day on the computer- yes 8! From emails, to networking, to retouching or rearranging the website, it is a full time job for me).
What do you need from an online store?
(I need to make a living. This is why I am working all day. On the other hand, if I sold all new items, I could easily shoot once and then just replenish and my work might be cut 30%).
Who's shipping this stuff?
Be warned, the shipping is the #1 issue that will close you down before anything else because it is a pain. I don't do it. I hired a company to store, ship and follow up on all my orders. Yes it costs me but it takes 50% of the headache away too.
Design your website to sell what you can handle.
(Many times I think I will rethink my e-commerce and just sell junky jewelry! Same camera set up, small items I can store in my home, and toss every item in a padded envelope and mail myself- done).
Start somewhere.
Etsy and Ebay are the best ways to get your feet wet in e-commerce, and smart! They already have a world-wide customer base and endless tutorials on anything you need to learn everything.
Good luck!



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