Kerri Hallihan and her Etsy shop khallihanphoto.etsy.com, are known for their superior customer service and a memorable shopping experience. With so much competition out there, the businesses that thrive are those that go above and beyond the expectations of their consumers. Read on to learn how Kerri has managed to connect with her customer base during a pandemic and other tips and tricks she has to share.
Tell us about your business.
I’ve been taking landscape photos for almost 20 years and at some point began making handmade photo cards for friends and relatives. After several years, I fostered a relationship with a local florist and several gift shops, and now my cards are available in shops across the area. I also opened an Etsy storefront a few years ago to offer cards and prints to a wider audience.
What do you do to make a special experience for your customers?
To me, the online shopping experience should be an enjoyable one from start to finish. I wholeheartedly want my customers to love the item they’re buying and also feel the gratitude that I have for the purchase. As a small business, I know that each individual purchase helps to keep me afloat. I make an effort to always include a personal note, usually a printed card with a few handwritten sentences. Most of the time, customers order photos from me to be reminded of their fond memories at the beach. Sometimes, they will write to me just after placing the order in order to express their excitement at having a souvenir of one of their favorite spots. This is one of the reasons I truly like to connect to the customer with the personal note.
What changes have you had to make due to the pandemic?
While local card sales have been down during the pandemic, my Etsy sales have notably increased. My fulfillment process has also changed significantly due to the circumstances. I normally pick up the prints from a local printing company and ship them along with the note and a discount code for a future purchase. As a result of the restrictions, I have been having the printing labs ship the orders directly to the customer. This leaves my branding out of the picture entirely. Considering how devoid of human connection the whole pandemic shopping process is, I wanted to find another way to connect with my customers and thank them. After the holiday rush, I took some time to fill out custom business postcards that I'd ordered and sent them to customers who had ordered from me for the holiday season. I waited until just after the start of the new year in case the orders were gifts for someone in the same household, not wanting to spoil any potential surprises. My customers appreciate the personal touch, and a few have written to me after receiving their prints and notes. In some cases, they return to purchase another print with the discount code.
Do you have any advice for sellers just starting out or looking to improve?
For anyone looking for tips on building their Etsy page, one of the most helpful things I did in getting my Etsy shop up and running was to find a few shops that I really liked and analyzed them. I looked for what made the listing convey a sense of high quality. I learned about using photoshop to create mockups of photos to better showcase their features in a more dynamic setting. Also, I love utilizing the social media tools from within Etsy, as any exposure on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook can help to drive traffic to your shop. I also recently paid for a critique of my account, and it was a tremendously helpful experience. The person I hired (from an Etsy listing) analyzed my entire site, including branding, wording of the listings, tags, and pricing. She offered incredibly helpful feedback on what would help to grow my sales and audience. If you have an established shop but would like to see some new growth, I highly recommend an account audit.
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