Much of my soap is sold online at Natural Soap By Zakia However the spring and summer brings vending and crafting events. Time to take this show on the road (literally and figuratively, I am a Live Soaper after all) …LOL
Online Sales and In-person Events are Different Yet Similar
The similarities are in the product, packaging, descriptions and quality. We’ve got to have a quality bar of soap or some other bath and body product that is packaged with a clear description that highlights the benefits to the customer.
When I’m selling online, my website and live streams are my primary methods for conveying this value to potential customers. The funny thing is I don’t think of them as customers at all. I think of the people who purchase from me online as extended friends and family. This makes it a lot easier to convey the benefits. I also know why I selected every ingredient in the cold process soap and hot process soap, so this also helps to convey the benefits. This removes the need to sell because quite frankly I HATE SELLING. Buttt I do understand that it is selling none the less.
When you are selling handmade natural soap locally you are going to where the people are. When you sell online the people are finding you where you are. In either case your handmade creations are a bonus.
Selling Soap Online Requires a few things
- Web Hosting and Domain Name – if you are going to completely build on your own platform. Definitely not something to the faint of heart but truly rewarding if you can stick with it. This isn’t meant to be a technical article so I’ll stop there.
- Ecommerce Platform – these typically have all of the bells and whistles without all of the required technical know-how. Many are so simple you can probably get up and running in a day or so. This is the ecommerce platform I use because it allows me to sell on all the social media channels and I didn’t have to worry about payment processor security. My online store also sends me an instant notification when someone purchases and I can update products right from my phone.
- Social Media Presence – Think of it this way. If you are selling online your customers are online. Where do people spend a lot of their time online? Social Media! Find out which social media platforms your customers are on and create or improve your presence there. No shocker here but YES you need a Facebook page, Instagram Page, Twitter Page and maybe even Pinterest depending on your ideal customer. Find out where they are and make sure you are there as well.
While there is much more to selling online these are just the basics to get you thinking.
Selling Soap Locally Requires a few things
- Location, Location, Location – Many people are not setting up brick and mortar store fronts and this is where craft shows and vending events become appealing. Your job is to figure out where those events are happening and if it makes sense, become a vendor.
- Payment Processor – If you want to accept credit cards or debit cards your going to need a payment processor. Look in your wallet, how much cash do you have? Exactly! I use this one and got the fancy hardware to go along with it. This allows me to accept credit cards, debit cards, apple pay and google pay. No cash…No problemo! In a future blog I discuss in more detail.
- Marketing Materials – Think Flyers, banners, business cards, post cards. These will all help to convey your business to all the people you will be meeting locally. Buy in bulk if you can at vista print, if your in a pinch for time head to an office supply store but it will probably cost you more.
This list isn’t meant to be all inclusive just to get you to start thinking about what it may take to sell natural soap locally versus online. Especially when you are just beginning in your soaping business. The good news is that more and more people are conscious of what they are putting on their skin. Your handcrafted soap is perfect for local events and online.
If you are interested in taking an in-depth course to make your own soap check out the Academy in Live Soap School.