How much can you make selling your ceramics online?
Well, in the real world…
If you have a stall at an art fair, and 1000 people walk past your work and see it, you can expect to sell around 3% of the people. So that means, you would make around 30 sales that day.
It doesn’t matter what you sell.
It doesn’t matter which price point you choose.
Generally 2% – 3% is a good number to target.
Well, the same is true for selling online as well.
One of the great things about selling online, is that you can reach thousands of people at the same time, and send all of your followers to your online shop at the same time, and make your own art fair stall, without the hassle of transport, booth-fees, and all the rest of it.
Another great thing about selling online, is that you get to keep your shop stocked when you want… Either keep it stocked all the time, or just specific dates.
If you are selling Made-to-Order ware, then we recommend keeping your online shop stocked, ready to take orders. But, if you are selling unique pieces of ceramics, then we recommend running shop updates.
What is a Shop Update?
You keep your stock stored until you have enough to promote one batch going online into the shop at the same time.
So, for example, you would save up 20 mugs. Or 50 mugs.
You would then say the items in your shop will be available to purchase over a set weekend.
This means you can spend time promoting it, and making sure all your followers know about it.
The good thing about doing “Shop Updates” is that you send all of your followers to your shop at the same time. And this creates urgency with your followers, as you are most likely selling one of a kind items, that will sell out.
If you have 100 people in your online shop at the same time, then there are people with the same item in their shopping carts, racing to be the first one to checkout!
There are loads of psychological reasons why these work so well… Scarcity, Urgency, Social Proof, to name a few… But trust us, they work.
So how much could you realistically make by basing your business model on running shop updates?
The Magic Formula.
Don’t worry… We all hate math.
This is a simple equation, and we will walk through it together.
Part one is:
Follower Count x Conversion Rate = Potential Customers
Part 2 is:
Potential Customers x Average Order Value = Potential Revenue
Here’s how it looks:
(FC x CR) x AOV = PR
FC = Follower Count (Engaged Followers: How many people see your shop update?)
CR = Conversion Rate (This is normally around 3%)
AOV = Average Order Value (How much do you take on a typical sale?)
PR = Potential Revenue.
So let’s do a quick example…
Let’s say you have 1000 engaged followers who see your shop update.
These could be people following your Instagram page, your Facebook page, or even your Email List, all combined.
And let’s say your average order value is $50.
(Sometimes you sell things for $20, sometimes you sell things for $80… on average though, it’s $50)
And let’s stick with the typical 3% conversion rate.
Well we would then put these numbers in the formula…
1000 Followers x 3% = 30 potential customers.
30 potential customers x $50 AOV = $1500 potential revenue
But as you can see…
There are several parts to this equation that we can change and improve.
1) FC = The number of engaged followers you have that see your promotion.
2) CR = The conversion rate of your online shop
3) AOV = Your Average Order Value
So if we increased our Follower Count, and had 2,000 people see our shop update…
2000 x 3% = 60 potential customers
60 potential customers x $50 AOV = $3000
Then the potential revenue is then $3000
So we’ve just doubled our potential takings by doubling our engaged followers.
The same is true if we upped our Average Order Value to $100
1000 x 3% = 30 x $100 = $3000
Then we also get to $3000
And if we also managed to increase the conversion rate of our online shop, we would also increase the potential revenue.
1000 x 5% = 50 x $50 = $2500
So with this one single shop update, you could potentially make $2500.
And that’s only based on having 1,000 engaged followers…
What if you had 10,000 followers?
And depending on how desired your work is, you could run a shop update every 6 months, every 3 months, every month, or even every week.
So is this a realistic formula?
But there are some things to think about:
This all depends on where your followers are, and how engaged they are… how many people actually see your promotional material leading up to your shop update.
We all hear about the way social media platforms change their algorithms, so not all of your followers will get a chance to see your promotional material. In fact, the bigger you grow, the less your followers will see your posts – but this works itself out because you then have more people to promote to.
Your engagement rate is going to be different across different mediums, for example, email lists have a high engagement rate (usually 30-50%), whereas Instagram has a lower engagement rate (usually 3-5%).
This is why it’s important to have several places to promote too, and why we always recommend setting up an email list, as they have the best engagement rates and conversion rates.
You can only produce so much work at a time, right?
So even if you had 100,000 followers on Social Media, you would still only be able to add so many items to your shop. You’re not suddenly going to have 1000 mugs for sale each month. (But having a limited quantity for sale, and having a ton of followers that want your work, will make your work more desirable, and push your prices up)
There are lots of differences in engagement rates, and prices, and this is just a rough guide for you…
But there are loads of potters and ceramic artists making a living online by doing shop updates. If you follow any successful potter online, on Instagram or Facebook, or if you’re subscribed to their email list, you will undoubtedly seen them do a shop update.
And if they can do it, so can you.
How can you start?
You only need a couple of things to start living off your ceramics.
You need an Offer.
To start selling your ceramics online, you need… well… ceramics to sell online!
You need stuff to sell. And you need it set at the right price to make it desirable to your target audience or potential customers.
There’s a whole range of people who will spend differently.
You’ve got people who will think $20 is too much for a handmade mug, people who will spend hundreds of dollars on a plate, and then people who will spend thousands on a vase.
The point is, you don’t want to cater for everyone.
If you price your work too low, you cater to the $20 bargain hunters but miss out on the higher spenders.
Price too high, you miss out on the low spenders.
You need to have work that is good enough to sell, and different enough to make you stand out.
You need an Online Shop.
A way to take payment in exchange for your work.
In real life, this is just you with a cash box sat behind a table at an art fair. Online, it’s all automated… so you can take orders and get paid without having to sit in the cold.
There are many types of shops you can choose from, Shopify, Weebly, Squarespace to name a few… you could even use a marketplace like Etsy (although we are against that because having your own branded online shop gives you more chance to improve upon your conversion rate)
We would recommend Weebly for setting up your website and online shop.
You need a Following.
This is usually the people walking down the high street and going into shops and galleries.
But guess what, people don’t just do that anymore.
They also meet online.
Instead of walking down the highstreet doing window shopping, and chatting to their friends, we’re browsing Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, reading emails.
You need to build up a following of people who love your work, and you can do that easily by using social media.
And the good news is that it’s relatively easy nowadays to build up a large following of thousands of fans, or even hundreds of thousands… especially on social media platforms like Instagram, or Pinterest.
Here’s a link to our Free 10 Day Instagram Email Course.
So that’s the formula you can use to work out how profitable you could be by selling your ceramics online.
And those are the three things you need to be successful.
I hope you can appreciate that you only need a couple of things to make it work.
Want to learn how you can start to make a living off your ceramics by selling them online?
Check out our 3 month intensive workshop – The Ceramics MBA.
We take you by the hand and work with you for 12 weeks to go through everything… personal branding, websites, online shops, social media, sales funnels, marketing funnels, email marketing, and paid advertising.