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

In stores like WalMart and Target you can shop around using a single cart and check out once – but you don’t get that wonderful feeling of entering specialized stores – like the fragrant air in Body Shop, or the relaxing scent in Starbucks, or that comfortable silence in Barnes and Noble, or that richness at Pier1 imports. On  the other hand, in shopping malls with your favorite branded shops like Bath&Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, any shopper can find things they are looking for according to their taste. However, the downside is that you have to go through entire checkout process individually at each store which can get a little repetitive. Plus you have to do the whole collecting receipts, finding change, signing credit card receipts process over and over again. What would be ideal, is a combination of both – the allure of specialized stores with the comfort of a single checkout.

Online shopping stores haven’t fully been able to create that experience of comfort yet.

You should be able to shop with ease in multiple stores according to your heart’s desire and then pay for all your new items just once? Silkfair offers this level of comfort to it’s online shoppers. One shopping cart in multiple stores! Even though each item will probably have a different seller, different origin, different timeline to delivery, different story – but you don’t have to worry about those details.

Silkfair is an online e-commerce portal that combines ease with fun and remove all the usual hassles attached with roaming around the shopping mall for hours looking for the items you want. At Silkfair, shop online with effortlessness as we make sure to make your shopping experience convenient and enjoyable. And for this purpose, Silkfair has introduced an innovative idea of super connected online mall.

Since Silkfair offers variety of choices in your chosen category that is only just a click away, you can leisurely look around for the items you want at different online stores of Silkfair.com and add the items in single shopping cart of yours without paying for it separately to different sellers. Just pay for it once and for all when you’re done with browsing at different online stores. Like we said one shopping cart for all different stores of Silkfair! It’s as simple and convenient as that. At Silkfair, we believe in making our customers happy with us.

Online portals have made shopping comparatively easy with all the spectacular search features. Particularly, at Silkfair, various search features have been integrated so that the glut of items in the database are properly made use of.

For example, if you’re looking for personalized items then you can find them easily by using the personalized items feature on Silkfair. Similarly if you are looking for something in bulk and inexpensive, you can check out the wholesale section where the goods are at discounted prices. Likewise, if you are looking to offer someone something in a particular shade, you can pick up a color and search items fitting in that color.

feeling-red
There are many events in our day to day lives, where small acts go a long way in showing how we feel – weddings, engagements , mother’s day, Easter, Christmas – and this list goes on. These search filtering features will enable you a great deal in finding the perfect gifts for the each occasion.

If you are looking for an exquisite gift for Mother’s day, you can limit down your search not only to buying a gift in the material of your choice, but if you are running low on cash, the price range can help you find an economical present as well. This exquisite shawl made from pure silk is not only a personalized gift but also suits the pocket.

Oh and if you want to get your mom’s gift delivered on time – now is the time to order!

In short, finding the perfect item is only a few clicks away. With these amazing filtering techniques, you can go on a spectacular theme based shopping spree, with promising results.

One of the advantage of online shopping is having a large variety of stores and products to choose between. Platforms such as Silkfair, provide its customers with a large base to choose from. Having access to this information at all times is useful, especially if you’re looking for very specific and unique items. However, this bulk of information can end up being very disturbing, because as users we do not want our inbox to be flooded with daily mail from all the different sellers.

To keep a tap on certain niche products or stores, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for your favorite stores on Silkfair. This way, you’ll get to receive updates in your aggregator only from the stores you prefer, allowing you to keep abreast with all the latest happenings at that store. For example, if I want to be updated on the latest handmade jewelry by Kandiodesigns I will simply “subscribe to this page”, as shown below:

rss

By subscribing to these RSS feeds, you would not have to log in to the page every day to view the latest products listed. You will have access to all the stories related to your favorite stores with a link to each, so you can choose which story to view and which one to discard.

Another advantage of subscribing to the RSS feed of various stores on Silkfair is that you would be able to keep abreast of the latest offers that are on. For example, if your chosen store is offering discount offers, or some spectacular exclusive new item, you would be immediately notified through the RSS. This way you’ll be able to keep a tap on items of interest.

Also, as the RSS feature is available on blogs and forums, you can follow up on the stories of your stores. Also, you can be aware of what others are saying in forums and blogs. Again you will only receive feeds of those stories that you have subscribed to, saving you time and bandwidth. This way you’ll be more aware and in tune with latest offers and stories, and as a customer it is important for you to stay informed.

If you’re an artist with great artwork to sell or simply a seller looking for buyers of your items, then Silkfair is the right place for you. Since it’s a general e-commerce site, Silkfair is not limited to just few people but people from all around the world.

It is a great opportunity for sellers to start selling anything they want from anywhere in the world. Here are a few steps to help you not only just set up a shop on Silkfair but also assist you in selling your products faster as well.

Step One- Register to Sell

You need to register yourself first on Silkfair to set up a seller account. You need to have a valid credit card to become a seller and set up your own store. It is important that your age should be above 18 or that your registration is done under the supervision of a responsible adult.

Step Two- Set up Your Store

Once you’re a registered member of Silkfair community, you can now set up your store by uploading items you want to sell on your store. You can start your store by uploading one item and then start building your item list and credibility. The best thing about Silkfair is that setting up your very own store doesn’t cost a dime!

Step Three- Customize Your Store

Make your store stand out by customizing your store’s profile. Silkfair provides you with your own custom URL, display store’s featured items, set Tags and Meta Tags, add a cool and appealing store banner and keep on looking for great new features on Silkfair to customize you store according to your taste.

Step Four- Upload Cool Images

“A picture is worth a thousand words”  – pictures speak louder than any text based product description ever can. Upload images of your products… make sure that the pictures are appealing, clear and shows your product in best light. Great images of the items you want to sell always boosts the sales.

Step Five – Upload Videos of Your Product

Silkfair allows sellers to upload videos of their products. All major file formats are supported by Silkfair so upload your videos with ease. Just make sure that quality of your video is high and showcase your product in an appealing way.

Step Six – Keep Your Store Updated

Keep on visiting your account to check out the recent activities and it will definitely boost your selling percentage if you regularly add products to sell. Visit other Silkfair stores to check out what others have to offer. It will put some innovative ideas in your mind on how to showcase your product better.

Step Seven – Do Not Sell Anything that Damages Your Credibility

Do not jeopardize your credibility by selling illegal or prohibited items on Silkfair. Anything that invokes lawsuits or strict action is strictly not allowed. Items such as personal or government documents, arms and weapons, downloadable data or counterfeit currencies, this will not only damage your credibility but also result in termination of your account on Silkfair.

Three things matter most when shopping for anything, anywhere in the world. Convenience, reasonable prices, and great customer services and if you’re shopping online then add safety as the fourth essential. For online shoppers all around the world, Silkfair has all four essentials and more. Silkfair is convenient, offers great prices, up close customer services any time of the day and provides strong security as Silkfair uses Verisign SSL for secure communication.

Silkfair is a premium e-commerce web portal that makes your online shopping experience fun, reliable and interactive. It is a user friendly website because it offers helpful tools and great features. We believe in earning customer loyalty and that’s why we offer unique services and interactive applications. We want our customers to shop with ease at our site and for that, we have compiled a useful and short guideline on best practices for buying on Silkfair:

Register: To shop on Silkfair, register yourself first. To fully avail Silkfair services and browse through wide categories according to your choice, you need to be a member of Silkfair community. So register yourself in three simple steps to start enjoying a great online shopping experience.

Start Browsing: Shopping is convenient at Silkfair because among many useful features, tagging gives buyers more precise ways to search for the items they’re looking for. Silkfair provides detailed description of the product by offering tools like color browser and item browser that gives clear pictures of the product you like. Shoppers can even bookmark the item they love as Favorites. Avail Video applications and use search bars given on the top of every page to make browsing more efficient and easy for you.

Find the items that you like: Shoppers can add as many items as they like to buy in their cart while continuing navigating the site. Once you like the item you want to buy, just click ‘Buy Now’ and it will be automatically be added into your shopping cart. And once you’re done with shopping, simply click ‘Checkout All’ and purchase items in your shopping cart will be shown along with their prices. Submit your billing information, shipping address, and payment method you prefer and there you go, you’re done with shopping.

The great thing about online shopping is that you can shop at your own convenience. You can do your research on the side… take time to explore different options and brands… and shop when you’re comfortable with your choice of products. In physical shopping in malls, people are mostly constrained on time. Access to information related to shipping, handling, warranties and return policies makes the shopping experience even more well-thought.

Additional measures provided by Silkfair, helps protect your (the buyers) security and privacy.

We encourage feedback and suggestions and look forward to new ideas, so please feel free to contact us at support@SILKFAIR.com we like hearing from you.