E-Commerce · Customer service

How do you handle high-turnover one of a kind products (Customer Satisfaction)?

Steve Dolan Digital Strategy Specialist

July 8th, 2016

I'm managing a website that has 3 in-person stores and also posts items online. Items are handmade and therefore one of a kind, so turnaround can be high.

I want to be able to showcase how amazing these items are, and that there may be more like them without having the users feel disappointed it's not available for purchase.

Ever been down this road? Does anyone have any recommendations or ideas?

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

July 9th, 2016

You can utilize a "customers also viewed" feature similar to Amazon. But this has to be the same kind of situation for many jewelry stores that aren't chain stores, for artists, for many people. If they're not replicating a design, it's one-of-a-kind. Your must keep the inventory very accurate online versus in-store, have a good system of updating the online inventory, and a good way to locate the in-store piece if it's ordered online to prevent a local customer from taking away the item that's been purchased. This level of inventory control usually discourages most stores from listing unique items online. However I hear all the time at jewelry shows, can I find this (or more like this) on your web site, and the shopkeeper says "no, we don't sell online."

In your circumstance, you're in the minority willing to put originals online, which dramatically increases your market size. My recommendation is to groom a subscriber list where you send announcements of new listings, otherwise they won't know to come look. But if you're willing to put in the systemic and flawless procedures to keep the inventory synchronized online, do so. It really isn't hard, but it just doesn't allow for mistakes.

Now if you're simply trying to put some pieces up to drive local foot traffic to see the rest, well then you're no different than most, and will cause perpetual frustration.

Jennifer Fortney CEO Cascade PR Story Agency: PR, content, branding; for SMB, SME & startups globally since 2001

July 13th, 2016

I agree with Paul and would add, that you might try diversifying product offerings to add more common, regularly available products (therefore steady revenue) and then put focus on your OOAK products with pop ups, to newsletter subscribers. 

This will accomplish one major thing - increased visits/engagement
1. Increase repeat customer visits and purchases
2. Give you a platform to highlight OOAK items and create excitement (when they're gone, they're gone) - customers love this and it will increase their engagement on the site, always waiting for the next unique item to be released.
3. Provide valuable content and ads content for social media around the highlighted products.

Hope this is helpful.

Lester de Souza Building community for entrepreneurs

July 8th, 2016

Would seem a bit contradictory to say they are one of a kind and then that there may be more like them. If it is the former, then unavailable is the selling point.  Or am I missing something?

Michael Schaiberger Medicaid Managed Care & Health Benefit Professional

July 8th, 2016

STEV,E based  on historical" order fill" Data AND maximum product delivery schedule wi zero defects. create an algorithm or formula to produce a minimum zero defect product supply,adjust accordingly according to fluctuations in orders and inventory on hand without sacrificing quality reputation, inventorylossand or order opportunity loss. thanks MIKE SCHAIBERGER

Rajiv Menon Founder at Informulate

July 12th, 2016

I think there is a market out there for this. Hope you are charging enough on that. :)  here is a possible analog: http://www.oberondesign.com (not one of a kind but handmade). There are several aspects to consider such as branding, UX (really selling the experience), deep understanding of the user's buying journey, knowing your target demographic well enough to minimize your marketing cost, finding the right partnerships, cultivating a repeat customer community etc. Several experiments you can try to learn about all those aspects. I'm a startup advisor/mentor so message me if you want to talk more. 

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

July 13th, 2016

BTW that's OOAK (One-Of-A-Kind) in case you muddle on the acronym.