Consumers have many choices and in this economy (gah I hate saying that!) they are choosing where to spend their dollars more wisely. You need to show your customer why they need to choose you and not your competition. Or maybe you need to show why they need your widget at all. You need to set yourself apart from the competition in some way and show that you deserve their sale because you're the best.
Quick customer service and quick shipping helps because we live in a world where we want it and we want it now. No you don't have to be at your computer every minute of every day, but try to answer questions as quickly as possible. If your customer has emailed you and your competition about your widgets a quick reply just might get that sale. Quick shipping just might turn that one time buyer into a repeat buyer or give you good word of mouth advertising.
Be easy to do business with. This means great descriptions and even better photos if you sell online. This helps your buyer know exactly what they are getting and doesn't leave them with questions. Unfortunately, on Etsy I've had to resort to "convo me for more" because selling $2-3 die cuts doesn't allow much wiggle room for unecessary 20 cent insertion fees for multiples. I've probably lost sales but my fees are high and I just can't afford to spend $2 for a quantity of 10 when only 1 might sell in those 4 months. On Artfire I am able to list higher quantities with no extra fees.
Not only do we want it now, but we also want it exactly how we want it. Offer customization. I offer custom colors of my die cuts and can change the size. I can also make unique items with initials, monograms, custom die cuts, or whatever. My customers have the best ideas sometimes! This is one of my bigger selling points and why my customers should choose me over my competition.
Cheaper prices doesn't give you an automatic edge over your competition. Though we are spending our dollars wisely, people are still spending and are still willing to pay for quality. We've become tired of spending hard earned money for junk that won't last. We want quality and a widget that will get years of use before needing replaced. Tell your customers and show them with photos that this is high quality, well made, and will last.
Sometimes you don't need to tell your customers why to chose you over the competition, sometimes you need to tell them why to buy it at all. Will it make them prettier? Will it make their skin glow? Will it balance their checkbook, fold the laundry, and give them great abs at the same time? Then tell them! What function does this do and why does your buyer need this item in their life?
Be a real person. People shop on Etsy and Artfire because they like supporting handmade and real people. Show you are real. Fill out your profile with as much as you are comfortable sharing. If you Tweet, share little things about your day. Be someone they want to like. Maybe the buyer will make a connection because you both have kids that like to sleep in laundry hampers.
Ok shameless cute kid pic mixed in. Hey, I'm a mom, I'm real! ;)
I'm not a marketing guru. I'm just sharing things I'm reading up on to help myself and hopefully help others at the same time. I <3 comments and if you have anything else to add please do.