As some of you may know, I originally had a shop associated with this site. It never really did anything useful, apart from keeping me occupied playing around with it. I didn’t sell anything. In about 20 months of operation, I didn’t sell a single product.
There are, I think two possible reasons for that:
- Maybe my photography isn’t actually that good, after all. That would be disappointing, because I have had several people tell me I take great photos and I would hate to think that they would say that just to keep me happy. I appreciate I haven’t cracked the techniques for taking true Art photography, yet, which makes my photography more prosaic and ordinary. But I wasn’t pricing my products at art photography prices – I was asking $18 (Australian) for a standard mug, not $35.
- The other reason is that an internet shop, even more so than a real world shop, is not going to succeed by just existing. You need to be somewhere you can be seen, either real or virtual world, and on the internet there really isn’t a “prime location” where you can just set up and be noticed. On the internet, you need to advertise. And you need to keep advertising. The merchandise and souvenirs market isn’t really something that people will come back time and again, so you have to continually be out there bringing yourself to people’s attention.
My trouble is that I am not a good advertiser. I really don’t believe in pushing myself. I don’t even believe in pushing other things that I find useful. The fact that I like something or find something useful, it seems to me, is completely irrelevant to anyone else. If someone asks me a direct question about a product (either mine, or something else I have used), I’ll happily answer it. But I won’t volunteer that information unasked and I definitely wouldn’t be saying it was wonderful because I have no valid basis for knowing if it was going to be wonderful for the person who was reading.
For the time being, I have removed the shop. The longer term plan was (and, I guess, still is) to reinstate the shop on the watersprite.au domain, as a stand-alone thing separate from my photography. The JC Artsy Craft product range and the Water Sprite product ranges would both be there, and ideally I’d like to get some other people to use the service too (that helps defray the costs of running it). But for now, it’s a shelved project. I know what needs to be done to bring it back, and I even have a pretty good idea how it want it to operate if other people are going to be invited to use it.
I guess the point of this post is: If you liked the shop, and would like it reinstated, please let me know. Even better, if you’d like to discuss the possibilities that might exist for you (or someone you know) to have a range of merchandise available through my service, please do get in touch. I don’t need much incentive to re-set it up, but I do need some.
Best yet, if you happen to be a marketing wizz who’d be prepared to help with marketing for the joy of seeing someone succeed (we hope!), I would dearly love to hear from you. No, I’m not expecting any serious offers for this. I’ll get inundated with even more “search engine experts” and “page ranking specialists” guaranteeing me top spots in searches for “really good rates” – but my delete key seems to be faulty and those messages seem to end up getting deleted as soon as I have read the first line or two. Don’t know how that keeps happening… If people don’t even know to search for me, what good are top search results anyway?
That’s all for this week. A quick and not terribly exciting post. I’ll get back to more photos in the coming weeks. I have photos from Floriade, and several days down the South Coast, to share. Once I finish processing them!