Notes from our thrilling journey down the silk route


For those of you who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, we’ve compiled a small list of some of the benefits you will get from setting up your own personalized shop:

  1. Retain your brand by offering products on your own site without directing your fans to other sites
  2. No headache of managing the payment processing systems
  3. Easy setup – No headache of learning HTML or getting web developers to build a store for their site
  4. Quick customization with pre-built templates
  5. Incoming traffic to the store directly increases your site’s rankings
  6. No need to spend time to promote your products
  7. Quick setup – Starting is as easy as blogger.com
  8. Personalization – You can keep your own URL and domain
  9. Brand consistency – You can give better customer service to your clients by keeping the whole experience of buying consistent with your brand
  10. You can choose your own design for your shop and dress it up exactly how you want to
  11. You can have your own complete shop in 60 seconds
  12. People will be able to search through your products easily
  13. Hassle free – You can focus on just the products instead of worrying about verified payment methods, guarantees, and security.

Silkfair Custom Shop launches today – get yourself a nice little store!

We’re happy to finally announce the launch of the much-anticipated Custom Shop. The Custom Shop concept was conceived when we saw a huge gap and divide in the market. People had great blogs and websites, but not enough bandwidth to host their own shops. Because of this, most of them have stores on third party sites where they sell their items. While it is a great idea to have stores on third party sites, it still is something that hinders the experience that they are creating for their buyers. We’re referring to bloggers who already have followers, communities and brands.

The store on your site can look like just another page on your website – with the same background, graphics and look. There will be no logos or other branding elements of Silkfair anywhere. For all intends and purposes it will be your own personal store. In the background, however, it will be managed and supported by Silkfair’s strong ecommerce functionality – thus giving you security and comfort. You will be able to access the dashboard and listings by logging into Silkfair.

Setting up the shop is a simple process that only takes a few minutes. You can either choose from existing template designs or create your own. Template customization is also simple and intuitive — just about anyone can build their own stores from scratch without headaches.

To setup a store, you will need a user account to the main marketplace with verified credit card information. Once you have that up, you can list as many products as you wish. They’ll all appear on your site product page. Signing up for the marketplace is free. The fees associated with the Custom Shop are $24.99/month. I’m sure you would agree that it’s a bargain compared to what most of you are already paying for listing on some third party sites.

Other than all this, Silkfair’s support team is active constantly to assist you with your help requests. We also promote and market your site for you on our blog, forums, and newsletters. That’s free publicity.

Try it out – this just might be the practical next step for your business.

You need to be able to convert the event of online shopping into an entire experience for your buyers. The experience of buying should be smooth and comfortable even before they receive the purchased items. Remember when Seth Godin talked about ordering the x-ray glasses as a kid?

It wasn’t the glasses that were fun, but the 4 week anticipation and day-dreaming that came before it. That anticipation alone was worth the dollars those kids spent on the glasses.

Quite in the same way, every time someone places an order on your site, that person goes through a similar period of anticipation and excitement – regardless of whether they are buying for themselves or gifts. The anticipation remains. Now, if you break their excitement by making the process of ordering painful, then you’ll in effect be breaking their experience. A broken experience is always remembered and will come back to bite you. We want to talk about the importance of creating seamless experiences for your online shops.

The experience starts from the moment an interested buyer enters your website, to the moment he/she receives the purchased items in mail. The better the experience, the more they will like you. The more they like you, the more they will buy from you. The more they buy from you, the more they will refer you to their trusted friends. The more references you get, the more products you’ll sell. Although it is theoretically a simplistic model, a lot of good bloggers don’t pay it enough heed.

Think about it from the buyer’s perspective. If ordering a new necklace is an event in your life, then your experience will begin as soon as you enter the website to place the order, to how the shipment packaging looks like when it gets to you. Does it arrive on time? Is it exactly like it claimed to be? Does it come with a thoughtful note? The smoother the flow, from the start to the end, the more memorable the experience will be.

So the idea is to turn this into an experience that everyone would want to remember and feel special about. Now, alternatively, if I visit a great website or blog frequented by a lot of people… but to buy something I have to click on a Silkfair/Etsy/Artfire widget that leads to another site altogether – you’ve lost me as a customer. Because my experience is broken the moment I’m redirected somewhere else. The moment I get to the other site, I forget what I was looking for and often get distracted by other options and stores.

Your store should be right there when someone is looking around for products that you offer. Because that’s when they have their credit card in front of their keyboards and are mentally prepared to make a purchase. How would you feel if you go to Barnes & Noble and when you’re ready to buy a book, the person behind the counter says “oh, for that you’ll have to go to another store 5 blocks away”? Not so peachy, I’ll bet.

Every time you sell something – it’s like a small event that takes place — each event needs to reinforce your brand and identity. It’s sad to see how people keep on offering broken experiences without giving thought to their brand story. Today, let’s talk about ways of building brand stories for your store. Whether you are selling products or services… the essence is always the same – does the brand make people WANT to associate themselves with you?

You need to have a story that ties everything together. People remember stories. When they are buying or selling items, they’re selling stories. The story should be genuine, but it needs to be articulated properly for people to remember it.

Your key differentiation:
Before anything else – understand your market. Who is your ideal customer? What are their needs, thoughts and requirements? How is your product filling those needs? Once you know what sets you apart from all other offerings in the market, you’ll automatically highlight those aspects of your brand on your site.

Your story:
When you know what sets you apart, it’s simple to build a story around it. For example, your story could be: “we were buying jewelry for our daughter’s wedding and couldn’t find good economical and elegant designs. Either we came across fancy expensive designer wear, or ill-finished handmade ones. At first we kept looking around… but then we decided to take things in our own hands and custom design them. They turned out so great and everyone at the wedding complimented her. Fast forward 5 years, and we now have a small jewelry design business and are catering to unique custom orders in an affordable way.”

When you are ready to share your story with your community, just tell them the exact story and let them absorb it. Never push anyone to buy from you, let them get lured themselves. Not only will people remember your story, they will talk about it with their friends when they wear your jewelry items.

Reinforce your brand:
Make it easy for people to share your story with their friends. A great way to do this is to have it on a small printed card that you can send with all shipments (with your logo on one side and the story on the other). Refer to your story on your blog to keep it fresh in their memories – e.g. “you know how we all started out… with the wedding a few weeks away and no good jewelry options…”.

Don’t break the experience:
Don’t ignore your customer’s messages, queries and emails. Don’t add unnecessary steps just for them to get the information they are looking for. Don’t delay the shopping cart processing. Don’t add extra annoyances at checkout. Don’t under-deliver the value that they expect from a product. Don’t send prospects off to third party sites, unless you have absolutely no choice.

Keeping these factors into consideration, we have built ways in which anyone can setup an online shop in minutes – without requiring any programming background. The shop looks exactly like your site, thus making the experience of your site visitors smooth and comfortable. This is an exciting time for us, because the feedback we’re getting so far is incredibly positive. Everyone is excited about owning their own stores, where they can display their own brand. Their visitors don’t even know how the store is running in the background. All they know is that when they want to buy something, they can do it immediately without a hiccup. If you’re interested in opening a shop on your site, get in touch with us today.

Meanwhile, here is an example of a creative user who has put together her own shop at her own site for her own audiences. B Johnson Jewelry. Enjoy!

customshop-sample2

Gemstone Jewelry has a lot more to it than that charming exquisite elegant look. They have been known, throughout history to impart healing powers for balancing the mind and soul. Gemstones are rare and expensive, which is why a gemstone jewel is the perfect gift to show someone how important they are. The Amani store at Silkfair has an exquisite variety of gemstone jewelry that reflect all there is to it: charm, elegance, grace, beauty and rarity.

The base of each jewel is of gold which helps to magnify the impact of the bold stones within. The designs are one of a kind. Take a look at this 14kt. Diamond, Mystic Topaz, Amethyst and Parasolite Pendant. The amalgamation of the four stones in this pendent helps to create a heavenly effect, by instilling a high degree of peace and trust.

Diamonds inspire concord and love of self and others. They are known to remove all traces of negativity and pessimism by inducing a spiritual awareness. The hues of a diamond are enough to get others in a trance. Diamonds are an emblem of beauty. These exquisite diamond earrings will serve as an ideal gift to the woman in your life.

Gemstones have been deemed as expensive. And why shouldn’t they? The impact gemstones have is greater and better than any medicine; closer to nature and timeless. These pieces are only for the most important person in your life. As they say in Amani language, passionate jewelry, reasonable prices.

Unemployment and loss are the two epidemics plaguing not just a country or two, but the entire globe. But of course not all avenues of money making have been barred: the internet stands forth in the current scenario of recession, as the only ray of hope. More and more people are switching to generating online revenue. In the cyber world, expenses are greatly cut down: no bills to pay, no rents to disburse and not to forget, less salaries to dole out, and making online revenue generating streams all the more appealing — Especially, at a time of such economic blockage.

Producing income online is as diverse as the internet itself. There is a wide array of possibilities out there. Advertising has been the source of profits. Having a decent amount of traffic directed to your web page will attract more people, meaning a wider audience to view the message of the company, thus rendering you a position to charge a decent amount. Same goes with cost-per-click and cost-per-thousand-impression. The catch here is that you are required to develop a website with content of a high caliber which is able to generate authentic traffic. And for many beginners, coming up with such a website may be a hassle. Also web advertising has suffered 5% in the US. So what path should youo adopt now?

A lot of people are turning to online selling as a source of side income. There are sites and portals that have a massive amount of regular traffic of people seeking to purchase items – implying more chances of your product being sold. You can work as per demand; not having to buy bulk raw materials allowing you to save the investment costs…  and not to mention, your targeted audience is global. The more accessibility — the wider the market base — the more the potential revenue.

The pertinent input in all the above mentioned cases is valuable meaningful content. Useless content will not get you authentic traffic or even increase your search engine ratings. Even with online stores, you need to sell your self in the most eloquent manner. As long as you are able to lure people in to what you’re selling, revenue will keep flowing. The avenues are open and while the outcome may take time to pick up momentum, online selling has been one of the major sources of revenue for a lot of work from home people this year.

Be active, take the plunge, earn some side bucks.

No matter what part of world you live in to, no matter what race or creed you belong to, parents are held in high esteem in every part of the world. For any child, fathers are icons of strength and are special in the eyes of their children. Since life is so busy in this hectic era, its not everyday you get to tell your dad that how much he means to you. This father’s day, take some time out to think about how much he means to you… how he has helped you become who you are. Let him know how much you value and respect him. Show him appreciation by writing a poem for him or making a card or just simply buying him a gift that shows you care.

Silkfair sellers have a lot of cool gift items that you can get for your father. Browse through the wide-range selection to find what he would like. Add something great in his wardrobe in form of a great tie or cufflink or you can give him a cool gadget.  Gardening tool or home improvement appliances can make very practical gifts as well. A sporty father always loves getting sports accessories, or if you really know his taste then add couple of great movies or music to his collection. Be thoughtful.

# 10: Stil in Berlin

Stil in Berlin is a blog that takes photographs of fashionable people on the streets of Berlin. These photographers take shots of people who stand out and represent the urban, multicultural fashion in their city. “Fashion can describe what a city is,” they state on their blog. Berlin is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city full of people from all walks of life. By documenting their personal style, this blog aims to tell their story.

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Your taste in jewelry can really help you make a statement at all occasions, be it a prom night or a job interview – the way you carry yourself matters! The right embellishments can do wonders, while the wrong ones can make you appear as a complete fashion disaster. The key is to wear things that complement and enhance your personality. While choosing ornaments for yourself, you need to make sure you’re looking in the right places for the right things. Uniquely E Jewelry is a store that can effectively cater to this need… that too at very economical prices.

New and progressive design techniques are used in the creation of each piece in order to inspire individuality and flair. Natural and understated, flirty and feminine or fun and funky creations are all available through Uniquely E Jewelry to suit your own style and panache.

These earrings will undoubtly add the “wow” factor to your attire, and make a blah look take a 360 degree turn to appear immaculately brilliant! The intricate eastern touch fused in which sleek and shiny timeless pearls, makes these dangling earrings a must for party wear.
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1st_blog_award

Bettina Johnson from BJohnson Jewelry made us a great surprise by awarding us the “One Lovely Blog” award. She creates and sells gorgeous silver and copper jewelry pieces that take your breath away. Thank you so much for this award!

You can give this award to some of your favorite Blogs as well and award them, here how it works:

♥ Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his/ her blog link.

♥ Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered! Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen.

Here they are (not newly discovered but so lovely, we couldn’t skip them away):

Nathalie and her eco-friendly lifestyle . She blogs about her life,  shop specials, and new items in the shops Recupefashion and Recupefashionnstuff.

Jolene aka Pixei from a Garden City Singapore. She blogs about crafts, design, and everything nice that inspires her.

And last but not least, the award goes to all Silkfair bloggers, because they are all lovely and unique online stories of great minds and amazing pieces of craftsmanship.

Number 10 – Funky pendents with anecdotes by Bijoujuju

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Product: Uber cool pendants! This seller has personalized each pendant by writing a funny story or anecdote behind each one! Each pendant is funky with a modern twist; designs range from abstract art, graffiti, pictures of animals or cartoons, etc. One of them even features art by the seller’s hubby that was commissioned for the Day of the Dead art exhibition in Louisiana. So if you ever want to invest in a pendant from Bijoujuju’s store, you can have a cool story to tell your friends!

Rank: 10

Seller: Bijoujuju

Store: http://bijoujuju.silkfair.com

Ratings:

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