3 Tips to Selling More Fabric Online

Posted by administrator on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Wouldn’t it be nice to sell more fabric online without having to resort to putting your whole inventory on heavy discounts? There are ways to greatly increase your sales without having to place a single thing on a deep discount. Although you need to be reasonable on price and offer excellent customer service, there are strategies and technologies that I have seen others successfully employ in selling more fabric while making a fair profit at the same time.  Here are three tech tips to make your fabric and other quilting materials more enticing and easier for your customers to make a purchase.

First: Making color and coordinating print selection easier.

One of the reasons why quilters still prefer to shop in brick and mortar stores is because they actually get to see and touch a piece of fabric—to pull two bolts off the shelf to see if they go together. Although you can’t feel the fabric online, there are ways to make it possible to compare what two fabrics look like together.

  • Have a color matching function. A color matching function analyzes and indexes the colors in a fabric photo.  When a user comes to your website and chooses a color, or shade of that color they are looking for, any product with that color will show. The user can then delve further and choose if they want that specific color to be the dominant color in a product or a minor color. This helps quilters find fabric with matching colors without having to go through hundreds of pages of fabric on a website looking for the perfect combination.
  • Install a design wall or a block designer function. The design wall allows you to click and drag a fabric image on your screen and place it side by side another piece of fabric so that you can see how those two fabrics compare to each other.

    The block designer allows you to take the fabric you have in your online cart and put them directly into a quilt block. The shopper is then able to see how their fabric would look if they were to decide to quilt that specific block with the fabrics they selected (similar to how Electric Quilt software lets you design patterns). It makes it easier for them to decide what fabric they want because they are able to get a feel of what it will look like before they even start quilting.

Second: Making products available through specialty search engines.

An online quilt store owner recently told me that her online business has more than doubled in the last year because she simply made her products available on specialty search engines. Can you imagine doubling your sales by simply making your online catalog searchable from other sites? Our very own findmyfabric.com is such a specialty search engine that we often refer clients to. There are a few other ones out there too.  

The reason why these specialty search engines work is because quilters know specifically what they’re looking for. This allows them to shop around and find what they’re looking for in one place. Once they find what you have, these sites direct them to your online store to buy.  What a convenience!

Third: Improved post-purchase processes.

Are you consistent with your newsletter or your blog? Do you have a method to market and remarket to customers who have bought from you? We all wish we served no one but loyal customers; and, although having all happy returning customers might be an almost impossible task, you can get pretty close by keeping your customers in the loop after they purchase from you.

For example, let’s say you sell Amy Butler fabric, and a new Amy Butler collection becomes available on your website. You could easily send an exclusive email to your customers who have bought Amy Butler fabric from you in the past. Keep your customers updated. They’ll appreciate it!

In conclusion, if you make choosing fabrics on your site easy for your customers, make products available through specialty search engines, and keep in contact with your customers (especially after their initial buy), you could greatly increase your sales without having to become a deep discounter to attract and keep business.

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