The internet made it possible for sellers to reach customers anywhere in the world but it also made human contact a lot colder and detached, since every order is processed automatically and there is no dialogue between the seller and the buyer.
This is why, as I’ve stated in previous articles, improving our relationship with customers can be essential to increase sales.
We have seen how to use a live chat system to make customers feel like we care and we are available for them, and we have seen how we can get a positive feedback from them by reminding customers of their recently viewed items, since it feels like the store is getting accustomed to their personal interest and preferences.
And “custom” is the key word in this article: is it possible to sell custom products to customers? And who might be interested in this kind of service?
Calendars, business cards and flyers
There is plenty of websites out there who deal in custom calendars, business cards and leaflets… why? Because it works.
Custom calendars are a powerful tool, since they have three main functions:
- A marketing tool, as it often happens with small companies giving away their own calendar in order to be remembered by customers and make them feel like they owe your store something, since you gave your customers a present (as in the Principle of Reciprocity by Robert Cialdini).
- A merchandise item, mostly used by big companies to exploit famous brands. Consider that the calendar who sold the most in 2015 was the Frozen themed one (and Disney Pixar isn’t exactly a small company)
- A calendar as a present: you shouldn’t forget about all of those people who use custom calendars as presents (for their family, friends, etc…)
Business cards are still a needed component on job related relationships, if you don’t have one you may lose visibility while a good business card can do miracles when you introduce yourself.
Flyers, despite the online world partly limits their use, are still being used by privates and people who promote shows and events: think of a band who obtains a contract for a concert… they are surely interested to spread the word about it as much as they can.
Artists and their creations
As with every other services, the chance to sell online custom products can be used in other ways than just the conventional ones.
Think about drawers, graphic designers, writers and all that branch of creative people willing to sell their products online.
If they had the chance to customize their products, they could attract many more customers. How?
For instance, a drawer could offer portraits made in their own personal style, stating how long after the order is place the portrait would be ready.
The same could be accomplished by designers and photo/video editing artists who can offer their services to edit pictures and videos for customers.
Allow your customers to send you their files
Whether you are dealing in traditional products such as calendars, business cards and posters or in creative products such as portraits, edited pictures and videos, both activities rely on one basic need: how can you get the customers to send you the required material to customize their product?
You could ask them to manually send them to a given email address, sure. However, that would stretch the purchase time and force customers to perform several actions (open their email box, compile a message, attach a picture, send) which, besides from undermining your professional image, would also risk to make you lose many interested customers.
What else can you do then?
WooCommerce luckily offers a rather quick and easy solution: the WooCommerce Uploads plugin allows customers to upload several kind of files directly from the cart page in your store, before performing the purchase.
And that’s how we can avoid the usual long process that involves asking customers to send us files in emails, with all the issues this system might come with: connection issues, lost files, delays, attachment size limits…
All of this procedure is automated.
In conclusion: selling custom products online is not hard and might be a point of strength for your company: after all we all would rather buy – and give as a present – items that are designed for a specific occasion (a shirt with a funny sentence written on it, a jigsaw made out of a picture of family members, a keyring with initials on…) rather then generic products with no emotional value.