Over the last few years my work has been evolving. No longer do I just make and sell polymer clay trinkets. I also have patchwork scarves, knitted hats, and hi-res photos for sale, among other things. I’ve been trying to force these products to fit in the shop I built for polymer clay, and where that hasn’t worked, I’ve taken them to Etsy, or built a download area on this blog. But really, what I really want is for everything to be in one easy-to-use shop, where the categories make sense, and the products are organized intuitively.
I’m finally ready to tackle that monster.
See, the main problem is that my Polka Dot Cottage shop is currently set up by “color scheme” and by “pattern type.” This was perfect when everything I sold involved a millefiori cane (each cane was made in one of the color schemes and one of the pattern types). And for the last few years, I’ve slapped a clay button on my fabric and yarn creations not only because I like the way they look, but also because that is what allows me to stick those products in my shop and still allow them to be classified by the millefiori color/pattern combination.
I’ve actually avoided making some things that I think would sell nicely, simply because they would be hard to categorize within the confines of my shop.
Talk about technology crippling one’s creativity. I’m a slave to my own system!
So now I’m in the brainstorming stage, thinking hard about how I want to categorize my products in a way that is easy for shoppers, and adaptable for me – you never know when I am going to get into ceramics, embroidery, or watercolors, right? I stopped being a one-medium girl four years ago, and my shop needs to reflect that.
I hope you don’t mind if I think aloud here for a while, and if you want to chime in with your own ideas, that would be very very cool.
I don’t plan to change the layout of the website all that much. I just want to re-do the inner workings of it, improve the menu options, make everything easier to find. Maybe re-photograph everything, too. Maybe. Today, my mind is on the main menu specifically.
The menu at the top of the page needs to be simpler. I’m thinking something like this:
POLYMER FABRIC YARN PAPER PIXELS
JEWELRY ACCESSORIES APPAREL PHOTOGRAPHS TUTORIALS
The first example seems more whimsical and cute, but I lean towards the second example, because I suspect more people shop by type of item than by medium. Do you agree?
I’m excited to play around with ideas here. I want to categorize each item by the type of item it is (i.e. Jewelry), what it’s made out of (i.e. Polymer Clay), what the main colors are in it (i.e. Blue and Green), and what specifically it is (i.e. Earrings). And then those can be the four searches available – get rid of all of the other complicated stuff I currently have going on.
What do you think? Am I missing an important category? If you knew that I made a particular item and you wanted to buy one, what would be your most intuitive way to search for it?
Thanks for helping me brainstorm. I really want to spend some quality programming time this weekend, so the more good ideas I have to work with before then, the better!
P.S. What are some online shops that really grab you? I could use a few examples of easily-navigable, aesthetically-pleasing websites for handcrafted goods.