Saturday, March 14, 2009

Know Your Selling Venues: iCraft.ca

Continuing an ongoing series of "Know Your Venues," I wanted to present the online Canadian handmade selling venue iCraft.ca. Over a year old, iCraft is beginning to make a name for itself in the online handmade community. Still new in "online business" years, it has made great strides to service both sellers and buyers in its short time.

From personal experience, I truly love this site for many reasons, one of which is that iCraft accepts only handmade items direct from the artist. No reseller items, reseller supplies, or vintage...just handmade. If you made it with your own two hands, you can sell it on iCraft. This makes for a very focused ambiance as you enter the site and targets a specific audience.

The front page of iCraft is classy. Recently, the very top banner that highlights handmade items was added and has enhanced the professionalism of the sellers. It is a flash presentation of close-up photos of featured items that changes and is designed into their own iCraft identity look.

Recently-listed items become a part of the "flash" parade in the next section. The items stay on the flash presentation for a couple of days as the flash parade pages march on to include every listed item.

Below the flash parade is another flash presentation of iCraft-selected items to be featured. The flash featured presentation changes every few seconds so a lot of great handmade items are included and they are changed out frequently to include as many sellers as possible.

Some of the features I like as a seller on iCraft include:
  • One page listing form - this is a great time saver

  • Select all photos before upload - another time saver

  • Choice of selling in $USD or $CAD

  • Clone feature - copy a listing, change a little, and is useful for listing similar items

  • Each listing's status has a choice of "Live," "Reserve," or "On Hold"

  • The reserve feature is genius. You can place an item on reserve and send a link to your customer - no one else sees it so there is no stressing about someone else purchasing it

  • No restrictions on tagging - tag away for those key words that would best suit your item - any number of them

  • For vacation mode, you just put all items on hold

  • Ability to bump up your item in the searches by editing the listing - this is free

  • Ability to "relist" your item so it shows up in the "just listed" flash parade - this is free

  • No other fees other than your monthly fee - iCraft has several very reasonable price plans available - if you are a US seller, be sure to convert the CAD to USD - right now it is a little less in $USD but the exchange rate does change from day to day

  • If you are not able to purchase a paid plan, you can have full access to the site, a shop, and are able to have 5 live listings for free - you may set up as many as you want in your back office and rotate a selected group of 5 live listing if you wish

  • iCraft referral promotion - this is Win/Win for both! Once you pay your registration fee through a referral, YOU receive 6 free months - to benefit, you must use a referral code. GalleriaLinda's referral code is 1c28439c38

Things iCraft is working on that I miss and can't wait to be rolled out include a shop widget and expanded shop stats. Included now are views of shop visits and views of individual item. These features are in the works.

iCraft has impressed me with their methodical planning and roll out. Features rolled out work the first time and this goes a long way with me.

As a marketing professional, I understand that it is easier to get to your target audience if you know who it is and where to find them. To market to only those who love handmade makes marketing much easier! I see ways they promote the site. Using Twitter, each listing is automatically tweeted. How great is that? They are also on IndiePublic, Facebook, Kaboodle, TeamSugar, and Flickr. You can read some of iCraft's featured articles online here.

iCraft is recommended from my positive experience as a seller on the site. It is worth a look if you are interested in a selling venue for handmade.

8 comments:

  1. Your blog is terrific! I definitely don't have any kind of mind related to business or numbers, so thanks for all the research and good advice. I'm soooooooo tempted to start the on-line selling thing. I think you'll push me over the edge! (in a good way)

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  2. Erin...push push. You can take baby steps. I did!

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  3. Thank you for this Post! I have looked into selling on icraft a while ago. Being Canadian I thought it would be a great place, however at that time my budget was...well....not that big, as I am new to this online selling world. But now that you mention the referral sign up...I am going to jump at the chance. For me and for you! Maybe I can refer someone sometime....

    Thanx again!

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  4. Crystal, I think you will enjoy iCraft. And, thank you for thinking of me!

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  5. Hey Erin and Crystal! Jump in! I'm new to online selling too but have managed to rack up 17 sales on icraft.ca already. Admin is so supportive and so are all the other sellers. Bootcamp is just awesome too. Hey Linda we need to put our heads together and start planning the next Bootcamp. Or how about Bootcamp ADVANCED or an ALUMNI!

    Good luck ladies! I sure would look forward to seeing you on the isles of icraft. Feel free to ask for help on anything!

    Christine

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  6. What a great article!!

    I've had a shop on iCraft.ca for a year and love the visual appeal.

    It's great to have a Canadian online venue.

    Thanks for telling the world!

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  7. iCraft.ca is indeed a great site for opening shop but so is Craftsvilla that has only been recently launched. You can open shop there within 24 hours of being approved and there is no listing fees included which is a very good feature.

    Often organizations charge you a one time fee or monthly fees but here there is nothing like this. A perfect place if you are a budding crafter without investments

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