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    17 Replies Latest reply on Jan 4, 2008 11:04 AM by moogrdotcom

    How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?

    dazzler Wayfarer

      Hello.....Happy Holidays, Forum readers!

       


      I have an on-line business. On 12/24, it will be 3 years old.

       


      Q. I was wondering how everyone did overall with their business this Christmas season and what is your product/service?

      I am in the handcrafted, 1-of-a-kind jewelry (necklace) business. My business is very personable and I am proud to present "affordable" luxury as a designer. I only use Swarovski crystals, gem stones, fancy glass and quality materials. My packaging is attractive and I am very proud of my work and business. I can't compete with the Wal-Marts and K-Marts and mega outlet malls, however...but my business is classy and respectable and I am very proud of it. In 3 years, I think I have accomplished a lot for an independent designer.

      For me, this Christmas season was very disappointing. I know Christmas is not supposed to be about money and profit and it is truly the season of "giving"....but believe me I am extremely overly generous and always reward those that are good to me. But, the harsh reality is that I did not have one single sale the entire month of December, so far. In the 3 years of being in business, this last year was tough and produced the least amount of revenue. I was hoping each year sales would stay the same or get even better. I had a mid-November order and then 2 orders Thanksgiving week and then that was it. ZIP, ZERO, NADA. It was like everyone deserted me for the grand finale event of the year!!! Ha Ha. I am a bit speechless and a little hurt. I try so hard not to be. I have a couple hundred people on my Mailing List, a great clientele, many stars own my work (see my Celebrity page) and customers and VIP's. I've been featured in magazines, my pieces were worn on TV (see my BUZZ). I do banner ads and tried Google Ad words. I really do an outstanding job of networking and communicating. I also send out monthly emails to those on my Mailing List. Everyone says they love my newsy updates but the bottom line is nobody is BUYING. The majority of people are not putting their money where there mouth is for one reason or another. Ouch, that hurts. I just feel like if I can't sell for the busiest shopping season of the year, when will I?

      My website is: www.kennethfron.com

      I'm hoping to hear from other business owners. Hopefully, there will be some comfort in sharing with others that may be feeling the same. I know it's important to stay positive and focused and keep moving forward.

      I keep telling myself....well, this may not be the year for "jewelry".....but I hear and read on the Blog's that people are buying 3 handbags from this designer, and getting items from this high-end store...and it feels like to me, there is just the wealthy and poor - - -no more middle class?
        • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
          LUCKIEST Guide
          I personally do not have a "Christmas" season. I am a Quickbooks consultant and am as busy,
          as busy could be. I could add another 6 hours to my day, just for work, for play and to be online HERE.
          I do stay positive and focused and keep moving forward.
          Happy Holidays, LUCKIEST
          • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
            NatOnline Tracker

            Our online business at www.natural-elements-online.com did well for Christmas, We will see if our job was good enough to get repeat customers.

             


            My advise is: Keep working on your linking, offer unique products, great articles on your site, offer intensive discount for a short period of time, and the most important, check what your competitors are doing.

             


            Don't be discouraged, patience sooner or later people will buy a lot from your site.
            • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
              Lighthouse24 Ranger

              Happy birthday! I'm sorry you had a slow season.

              I really can't believe I'm about to type this (neither will the web-devs in this community, because I am a business owner who doesn't always concur with their assessments), but I think at least some of the problem may be the site design itself. I visited the site and found 15 pages of necklaces with no control over how I viewed them, and no ability to search or "shop." The "Buzz" section has exceptional content, yet there is so much there in a seemingly endless scrolling page (so a lot of distinguishing benefit is never communicated). It appears that each product is an upscale, exclusive, and one-of-a-kind piece -- yet the "feel" of the site is not congruent with that (forgive me, but the color palette seems bland, the site style is ordinary, and the product descriptions are almost sterile -- nothing to make a buyer just HAVE TO HAVE IT).

              IF you're going to rely on the website for sales (as opposed to sales driven by gallery appearances or shows), I think it might be worth it to work just a little with a developer to create a more upscale look and feel overall, and to do some simple things like change how products are presented and described.

              Okay, harsh criticism aside, I think you can still make up for a slow Christmas. In just over a month, men are faced with the shopping challenge that many of us dread or despise most -- Valentines Day! For me, at least, it's hard to find a gift (especially so soon after Christmas) that's truly personal to the receiver, nice enough to be worth giving, yet affordable -- and totally UNIQUE (nothing like any other wife or girlfriend will receive). It seems like what you have to offer is right in the thick of that, so I hope you'll feel "disappointed" for only a few more days -- and then focus on what you can do over the next few weeks to highlight specific products that men might buy as gifts and present them more effectively. I'd really love to see a future post from you that's all about how FANTASTIC your January and early February sales were. Best wishes!
                • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
                  dazzler Wayfarer
                  Thanks for the input. My necklaces on the Catalog are listed in length order. So I go from a size 15 or 16 all the way though to page 15 with really long lengths, 30, 35 and 40 inches. You can click one button to ENLARGE the necklace and there is another button to see other VIEWS. I am not too sure what more a potential client would want to see? When the necklaces are sold...they move into the Gallery. I am proud to say that I almost have sold 500 necklaces. I am just about 5 or 6 away from the 500 milestone.

                  The BUZZ is meant to be like an on-line resume. It goes from current and a person can scroll all the way back to the beginning of my on-line career. I thought it was very nice and shows progression. It also shows that I am just not about making money, but that I donate to charities and that I've been mantioned in magazines and I clearly show the magazine name and date when this success occured.

                  The website was designed by a graphics designer and I am always told it looks so beautiful and it is well done. I am sorry you don't think it's upscale enough. Remember, I am not Tiffany's. My most expensive necklace is $150.00 or so. The website and business cost me about $25,000.00 to do with all my materials and supplies because when you purchase a necklace you get a satin-lined velvet necklace folder, a box with lid, logo-imprinted ribbon, a Certificate of Authenticity (see my Packaging page).

                  I am always approached by people that tell me they can spruce up my web site, but I feel it is great for having (1) product. I don't need a fancy Martha Stewart type website, that would be overkill for me. But, I appreciate your thoughts as someone coming in fresh and taking a peek at it. Hopefully, you saw the Celebrity page....(again done in historical, story-book date order), the VIP Club and Testimonials, etc.
                    • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
                      Lighthouse24 Ranger

                      I'm so sorry, clearly my feedback was not received the way I intended it. I read that your holiday sales were VERY disappointing ("zip, zero, nada"), and that you wondered when (if not during the holidays) that you could sell your product. I was concerned and thought I could offer a strategy to address that question. I also tried to share the perceptions of two shoppers (me and my assistant -- female, loves necklaces, and browsed the site because she happened to drop by my office while I was looking at it), and hoped that direct input from two very real potential customers might help. In reading your reply, it's apparent that it did not, and that I stepped way over the line by suggesting the site was anything other than beautiful. I do sincerely apologize for offending you, and wish you the best of luck in the future.
                        • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
                          dazzler Wayfarer
                          NP. My website is like my "baby", so when someone says the color palette is bland and the style ordinary, I did take a little offense. The website was professionally done with a team and we all LOVE it. I'm glad I dipped into this Small Business Community because it's making me a better person. I realize nobody is going to please everyone. Everyone will have an opinon. If having a business were so easy, everyone would be doing it. We are all looking for the keys to success. Take care.
                            • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
                              Iwrite Pioneer
                              dazzler,

                              The fact that the team loves it does not mean that potential customers love it. There is a difference. I like the look and feel of the site, I love brown! I live everyday with people telling me how to make my "babies" better. I loath it. People either like your jewelry or not, but in advertising people are always "fixing" things. I understand, I really do, but here you have a potential customer telling you how he/she feels about his/her web experience on your site. Your sales this season were down. Step back and look at EVERYTHING to determine what is the problem.

                              Valentines is coming up! Keep your head up!
                      • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
                        Faerie Wayfarer
                        December is always our busiest month of the year and this year was no exception. We did not experience the level of growth we have with other years but were satisfied with the results. This year really saw good buying from regular customers and an increase in our average order size.
                        • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
                          moogrdotcom Wayfarer
                          2007 was the year of eCommerce so christmas for me was all year long. I did have a HUGE surge the last 2 shipping days before christmas. I must have pumped 10k in shipping to fedex overnight alone to get people there gifts.

                          The surge hasn't stopped either.. its funny to trend out the big glitzy gifts prior to christmas an then afterwards all of the accessories, addons and peripherals thereafter.. see how long this sustains itself before it trends out.
                          • Re: How well did YOUR business do this Christmas?
                            moogrdotcom Wayfarer
                            After reviewing you site here is my 2 cents.

                            1. Home page should feature products. I shouldn't have to click on catalog to shop. Your site IS a catalog ;)
                            2. Where are all of your categories - do you expect customers to click through 15 pages to find what they're looking for?
                            3. Where is a search box?
                            4. Your testimonials should showcase how you treat each item as a treasure - showcase your customers but also take a picture of your packaging/delivery and show how you differentiate yourself.

                            The search box and categories are a MUST. Users must be presented that you are a store from the landing page forward. They must be able to QUICKLY find what they're looking for and the checkout process must be QUICK and EASY.