In depth review: What the silversmith isn’t telling you

March 28, 2013

Our next site review is www.somethingxtraspecial.com, a site where Sue sells silver jewellery and in particular some rather gorgeous little silver peas in a pod for twins, mothers, sisters, you name it. Let’s go.

First impressions

I look at a lot of craft sites (I make jewellery in my spare time) and my first impression of Sue’s site is that it’s really very good. You would not believe the number of people with jewellery businesses who have online shops with blurry photos and no prices or measurements. Not here. Sue apologises quite a lot (Postage! silver costs! OMG terms and conditions!) and she really doesn’t need to. The peapods, birds and leaves are gorgeous.

xtra1

Images and information

The main product photos, shot against a reflective bone china background are very clear and show a lot of detail. Descriptions are great. There is a zoom feature and a range of alternate views; all very important if the customer is get a good idea of what this physical product will look like. Photos are very subtly watermarked, too.

A few of your images could work better, I think: you occasionally show pendants etc on what looks like a plastic store mannequin. These certainly show scale but they are very cold-looking and I think they cheapen things a bit. If you can have a real person model – even if you just show the neck! – for these core offerings, that would be very nice.

Product Image

The About page and the hidden maker

If there is ever a page that acts as a kind of flag as to how you’re feeling, it’s the About page.

I was very intrigued by the jewellery, so I clicked on this page in some excitement. What I expected: some sort of story about the pea pods or you as a silversmith. What I got: a photo (of the back of your head) to click on. See below. It is very nice to see a real studio set up but it’s also nice to see the maker’s lovely face!

About page

Click through and I get.. a story about how you sell online because it’s the future, providing excellent customer service yadda yadda yadda. Cannot argue, but it’s not that interesting. But wait…

What Sue isn’t telling you

I did a little digging, because I’m basically a stalker, and it turns out that Sue has a very nice Facebook page, a rather lovely Etsy shop and a Blogspot blog!  Her Etsy shop bio says:

When I was six, my father made me a crystal ring with a beautiful deep red ruby in it. Of course it wasn’t really crystal – it was Perspex which he had carved, and the stone wasn’t really a ruby but red glass, but to me it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen – and it was mine! I still have it. And that is where my love of jewellery making came from.

That is lovely. That is LOVELY. Put it on your own site too. It would go beautifully on your About page. It gives the reader a sense of your vision and values. And I still want to know: why pea pods? There has to be a story there too. You say you get lots of stories back from your customers, so can you use some of them?

The newsletter in the corner

Last thing:  If I sign up to your monthly newsletter I can get tips on silver. Not sure what kind of tips. Not sure how well this will be working for you.

(OK. I need to digress here. I often see online business folk suggesting that jewellery makers give some tips on cleaning jewellery as an incentive for signing up for newsletters. I will not rant. I will simply invite all you jewellers to pretend you are buying some shoes online and think about what you would do if Louboutin or Fitflop or Clarks or whoever suggested you could sign up for their newsletter and get tips on how to clean your shoes. How excited would you be?)

But Sue here has a very nice Facebook page with lots of fans and so maybe her newsletter is absolutely lovely? Maybe you have a Peapod club or you are a witty writer? (I think you are) Feature it. Add a photo or an extract or something that proves I will enjoy opening it amongst the tidal wave of updates from everyone I’ve ever bought from. Because that is the truth of our inboxes these days.

Overall thoughts for Sue:

This is beautiful work and you are doing a very good job.  I suspect you are very modest about your skills so please take all my comments in that spirit.

I do think the site could do with a little bit more personality. You are most definitely there on Facebook and Etsy – but you’re not quite here on your main site. No need to go overboard, but more about you, your inspirations and your background will help the buyer to feel that they are connecting to a bigger story. And there is a bigger story, I think.

If you can turn around and smile at the camera, that’s even better. (I totally get the urge to hide, that is why I am in sepia over there on the sidebar, but it’s pointless really).

You are already writing lots and lots for your various online presences, so I think it’s just a matter of focusing these and deciding where you are going to put your energy, what you are going to leave in or edit out. Take a look at Through The Round Window for a nice example of a designer who manages to be personal while actually staying quite private.

Through the Round Window

 

I hesitate to even say the word, but Pinterest might be relevant… and OF COURSE YOU ARE THERE ALREADY.

GO GET EM, SUE.

Such a beautiful product.

If you’ve enjoyed this, do share it. You can also sign up for updates delivered right to your email. If you’d love your own strategic site review, away from the public gaze, with more detail, then you can book a session with me. I’ll be adding a Shop page shortly with the full details and prices but in the meantime you can email me.

Next up: The creative coach.

Previous post in this series: The case of the online stylist.

 

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue H March 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Well bless you Alison. How is it that others voice what you suspect is right anyway lol. I originally had a lot of the things that you suggest, and tried to ‘professionalise (Is that a real word?) what I had. The cold model will probably have to stay, I can only do stuff at certain times and can;t find an unscrawny neck for love nor money at that time – oh well ;-) .
The ring my dad made info was originally in the about page and then got moved out the way to make way for a piece of advice I got given (that I didn;t really resonate with anyway) and I love that silly bit of plastic – so that will go straight back up – just as soon as my site is back online (would you believe it conked out tonight ;-) .
Thank you for the lovely compliments and thank you so much for taking the time and the effort to do this – hugely hugely appreciated. I will go and implement your suggestions as soon as I can get to it. xxxx

Reply

Alison March 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I’m very glad it resonates. :) It is tricky because we do have to get out of our comfort zones when we put ourselves online, but what works in one setting may not transfer to another. I like the scale of your About photo even if your face is hidden – it makes for a nice, confident page. It’s about creating a kind warm professionalism, I think, where things are edited but your personality shines through.

I thought that your Etsy site looked great actually, the photo backdrops all subtly brand you and they work well with the Etsy page style. And I mean it about the photography – that is the number one mistake I see on product sites. The model is minor nitpicking really, and it only figures in a few shots. Maybe play with the background and the light balance to see what you can come up with.

Saw your dad’s ring on another of your pages, absolutely loved it. *sniff*

Best of luck!

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