8 Reasons You Might Not Be Seeing Sales

So you’ve got your Shop’s social media accounts all set up, your Shop is lookin’ good, your SEO is awesome, annnd…nothin’. Your Shop’s piggybank and customer cart is gathering pixel dust and virtual cobwebs. Here are 8 reasons you might not be seeing sales, and their solutions!

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From dank memes to pop culture referencesthere’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of trends while they’re hot! Because once their window closes, dammn, Daniel, it’s time to move on. Our Artist Success Manager Luis Romero says that designs related to relevant pop culture or causes tend to sell really well. Perfect example? The current top selling Artist Shop designs are from Stacy Kendra’s and March for Science Chicago’s Artist Shops; they all donate proceeds to the upcoming March for Science.

Above are two more examples of pop culture items and causes in the news that were perfect to create designs for. “Boaty McBoatface Launch(left) from Gintron’s Artist Shop celebrates the recent launch of the Internet-named autosub. And “Stand With Standing Rock” by Kyle Pattison (right), created to raise money for Sacred Rock.

Keep up with the times! Creating designs inspired by trending memes, references, or movements opens you up to a wide audience and comes with benefits like trending hashtags you can jump on. You don’t even have to sacrifice your style to jump on trends (see below!)

BAD HOMBRE” in Jorge R. Gutierrez’s Artist Shop (left) and “Proud Nasty Woman” in Garbage Party’s Artist Shop (right) both comment on the same thing (and were created within days of the broadcast of the speech containing those two phrases), but keep the artists’ very specific and unique styles. When these two phrases first came into modern America’s zeitgeist, we saw a huge surge of designs inspired by them published in Artist Shops.

Lacking consistency

Luis also told me that having a consistent style and sticking to a theme helps sales as well. Think about it this way: if someone likes your design, you want them to be able to come to your online store to find designs that share the style they were attracted to. Artists like Sage Pizza, Tara McPherson, and Signalnoise, for example, all have very consistent styles. If you like one of their designs, you know you can go to their Shop and find more like it.

Above are a few examples of artists who keep their style consistent across all (or most) of the designs in their Artist Shops. Meaning, if you like any of the styles above? You know exactly what kind of art to expect when you check out their Shops. Top row: Tara McPherson and Sage Pizza | Bottom row: Signalnoise and Steven Rhodes.

Try to keep a consistent style or theme across all designs in your Shop. And if you like to play around with different styles, use ‘Collections’ in your Artist Shop to separate your styles out!

Not posting enough content or enough quality content on social media

When it comes to social media, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Are you posting enough on social?
  2. Is what you’re posting on social high quality?

If you only post once every few days, you’re going to get lost in the social feed. But if you only post generic “buy my product” messages, no one’s going to want to check your account.

Keep your social media accounts active and engaging with posts that both humanize you and show your audience things they’ll enjoy. It will warm people up to you, making them more likely to check out those product posts, which should also be fun (ex. if it’s National Cookie Day, what a great time to tweet out your cookie design with a clever 140 characters?)

No new products

If a comedian keeps using the same jokes, there’s no reason to keep watching their specials, right? Similarly, if you don’t ever add new designs to your online store, people will lose interest and stop checking.

Give people a reason to keep checking in with your Shop by keeping it fresh. And create a little intrigue! Personal example: I fell in love with a design on Sage Pizza’s Instagram that wasn’t in her Shop, but she adds new items regularly. So I kept checking and sure enough one day there it was. Try teasing designs on social before adding them to your Shop to keep people checking back. You should also use your customer email list to let past customers know when you add a new design! (Although if they follow you, they get an update automatically!)

The design I loved in Sage Pizza’s Shop – the ‘Magic 8’ ball one, if you were curious, “IDK FAM” – posted on her Instagram weeks before it was available in her Shop.

Design adjustment

It’s scary to ask for design help. But if your designs aren’t selling, maybe it’s time for an extra artistic eye. It can only help you improve and figure out what isn’t working. Threadless artist Nicholas Wolf, for example, submitted dozens of designs that weren’t getting selected. But after going to the forums for help, he had a design selected as a challenge winner!

“I can understand peoples’ hesitation to share something personal, but if there is one thing I cannot stress enough, it’s that you can only soar so high on your own wings. We all have something to learn from each other, whether you’re new at your craft or a seasoned master, and if you never allow yourself to be helped you will never achieve your true potential.” – Nicholas Wolf

Don’t be afraid to ask for some design help (check out the Threadless forums for this!) It will make your designs better and will hopefully also make you some sales!

Narrow audience

Growing your audience isn’t easy, but it can be done quicker and in more ways than you might think. Shop owner Earth to Monica grew from 8,000 followers to over 18,000 in just two months, and now she’s at almost 30,000.

Earth to Monica’s giveaway post when she hit 27,000 Instagram followers (side note: giveaways are a great way to help grow an audience!)

There are lots of ways to grow your audience. Here are just a few tips:

  • Outreach: I know “reach out to bloggers and influencers” sounds like a broken record, so here’s a success story: Finch Co. made over $300 in hours because they reached out to a blogger who wrote about the same subject Finch’s design was about; the blogger did a write-up on Finch’s design the next day and sales came pouring in.
  • Team up with a cause: When you team up with a cause or collaborate with an artist, you tap into their audience as well.
  • Create contests and giveaways: people lovvve free stuff (see Earth to Monica above!)
  • Know your audience: “Entrepreneurs should…identify who their customers are, and market their products accordingly” – Rajiv Sighamony. Identifying who you’re selling to is key in deciding everything from lifestyle photo themes, to hashtags you use, to bloggers you reach out to. Advertising to the wrong audience won’t snag you any sales.
  • Facebook Ads: Microtargeting with Facebook ads can be a huge help. According to Bloomberg, 60% of Teespring’s sales are from social media ads, and 20% of those are from FB. You can specify FB ads to microtarget people who your designs will be most relevant to (ex. advertising your cat design to cat people and your dog design to dog people).

You’re not showing customers what’s in it for them

And no, the answer here is not “the product is for them!” Having an audience is like a relationship – it’s a two-way street. Your customers buy your stuff, but what are you giving back to them?

This is where creative content and fun posts on social media comes in. Having a blog for your Shop and your brand – or even just an About Page – is a great way to help your customers get to know you and offers them something in the form of creative content – fun posts, style guides, Shop updates, etc. Girrlscout is a great example of this, Her products are great, but she has a consistent (and personal) blog on her site where people can get to know more about her and get some good reads and guides, too.

The entrance page to Girrlscout’s shop and blog (and a really fun way of introducing both!)

You gave up because if it doesn’t work now, it won’t EVER work!

It’s easy to get discouraged if your Shop’s piggybank is filling with cobwebs. But not everything is a success right out of the gate! Creating a successful business is full of trial and error; You just need to figure out what works best for you. Look at Pixar – Pixar started as a tech company that wasn’t doing so hot. They rebranded and now, boom – we all feel bad when we get rid of our old toys thanks to Toy Story.

The only way to guarantee your Shop fails is to stop trying. Don’t give up!

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Don’t have an online store just yet? Try Artist Shops for a free online store.

We’re an artist community built on the power of helping each other succeed — if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please do so in the comments! Thank you!

Illustrations done by the amazing Katie Lukes

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