Posted by 2014-03-11 09:45:33
Title: I am in my third year of an online business, Image Evolution by Freedom Wig. I sell prosthetic wigs...
Jennifer, I went on your website to look at the description of the product you are selling, and based on its description, it certainly seems to be quite a step above the rest of the wigs in terms of quality. These being customized, I suspect your price point is higher than the regular, more widely available wigs.
Advertising online and using social media tools will generate some sales leads, but, in my opinion, this vehicle for generating awareness is quite limited for a number of reasons:
Those buying wigs may do so based on recommendations from others as to where to go to purchase, such as specialty salons or beauty supply shops, which limits “hearing” the opinions from those purchasing online due to a lack of an online community (unless you can create one).
Online purchases also limits the demographic you need to reach out to as the older population or those not too comfortable with online purchases will try and source a wig from a physical location.
Those interested in a higher quality product with a customized fit will need to “experience” the product and may require more product knowledge.
Given these reasons, throwing money for more online presence may not be a smart way to spend your money.
Your challenge, both financially and time-wise, would be to expand your reach to include those selling to the customer directly as it is these persons/businesses that will be able to upsell customers to buy your product based on all of the factors you mention on your website - higher quality, customized fit, etc. This may require a visit to these locations unless you can convince a retailer to carry your product over the phone. Start with the local retailer and gauge the response.
Going this route will have some financial implications. You may have to carry minimal inventory/training equipment and brochures to leave with the retailers, sacrifice some profit margin, provide training for the retailer and its employees, and incur some travel costs. Ensure that you have an exclusive air-tight legal contract for the rights to sell the product in Canada (better yet, North America) to prevent the retailer from going directly to your source in New Zealand.
Another option for you is to attend the various hair and beauty trade shows or conferences in Canada, and possibly the US if you have the rights to sell the product there. There will be increased travel costs in addition to booth rental fees and insurance, but you need to trade this off with the exposure you will get from retailers and possible customers, which may turn into sales.
Being based in Winnipeg, a quick Google search turned up a company called “Lola’s Beauty Gallery and Supplies”. In addition, there is a beauty show in Toronto on April 6 and 7, 2014 where you can display your product.
I would not suggest abandoning the online strategy unless you are generating sales from it. This also gives you a good chance to create an online community around your product.
Good luck with your business.