I've recently been wrapping my head around lots of new features and other changes happening on the websites where I have my little shops... so I thought I'd write about that today and a few other business-related things (no craftiness today, sorry!).
Folksy changes almost every day or so, with great little tweaks and improvements happening to make it more user-friendly and preparing the site for launch. The Folksy guys were kind enough to waive our listing fees for July as a thankyou for all our "beta tester" feedback (ie all the nagging) and they have a fantastic status page where they let us know what's been changed and what's coming soon, and give us more updates in their forums. It's taking me a while to get the hang of the site & to get my stock listed (though the listing process is very speedy now they've added a "list similar" function) but I'm definitely pleased with it so far and I'm so, so happy to have somewhere that's in my own currency!
Etsy is having a few growing pains at the moment (staff changes and a few problems with the search function), but they've been rolling out lots of useful new features over the past few months - a "vacation mode" for shops, a way of leaving batch feedback and an auto-reply to stop people replying to Etsy conversations via email by accident - and they feel like a promising beginning. I love Etsy already but anything that makes my life easier and my selling process simpler is a bonus: I am keeping my fingers crossed for more.
DaWanda meanwhile has been having a total overhaul of their categories and search systems, which has meant a bit of extra work in the short term as I've had to reassign categories and pick what they call "characteristics" for all my items (style, main material, etc and then colours which I've blogged about before) ... but it makes searching for things so much easier! The main search reminds me of Ebay, as you get a category breakdown for your search results. For example, if you type in "squirrel" you now get this:
... all the results pictured and then on the left a breakdown of the numbers of items labelled squirrel in all the available categories (click on the image to view it larger). Seriously useful, even if you're not specifically interested in squirrels!
I've also made a few changes myself. I dipped my toes in lots of online-selling ponds this year as part of my new year's resolution to expand my business and try out different markets, including setting up properly on DaWanda and (more recently) trying out Folksy. Those two are making me happy thus far, but a few others haven't worked out.
I tried Mintd but found it just too buggy and hard to list things and it didn't seem worth investing in one of their seller packages just to sit cussing when things didn't load properly! Then I was really pleased earlier in the year at the arrival of PinkDoodle, which promised to be an English Etsy... but it was so dead quiet that the moment Folksy showed up I jumped ship and headed over there instead.
I'd also been working on a shop at iCraft, a Canadian site which I really do like the look of... but I've been so busy recently that I've neglected it badly, and now just don't have the time this year to set it up properly. So, to avoid stretching myself too thin I've closed up shop there for the moment but hope to lavish some attention upon it in the spring. I felt terribly guilty about this decision for a while, but I think I'd much rather concentrate on doing some things (Etsy, Dawanda, Folksy) well than run myself into the ground just for the sake of "having another outlet".
That's enough waffle for today, I think!