By Tess McCabe For almost every creative with products to sell, having an online commerce option is essential. Even if your sales are mostly through your bricks and mortar store, or your market stall, or wholesale orders, no-one can deny that these days, customers expect that you also sell your wares via your own website or a third-party online marketplace.
The argument for having an online retail presence is at the heart of Taking Back Retail, written and released by Portable founders Andrew Apostola and Simon Goodrich last year. But this easy to digest, information-heavy handbook has lots to offer those looking to succeed in any aspect of the online space - whether it be devising a new website design; figuring out the easiest and more effective social media platform to work for your business; conceiving of new ways to promote your product range; or simply analysing how you're current modes of online selling and marketing are working for you.
Overall, the book hammers home where best to spend your 'business development' budget (which they acknowledge is often limited) to get the best return. This is advice that, as creatives, we often don't get to hear. The team at Portable have made their mistakes along the way in the growth of their own business and side projects, and they are happy to share what they have learned so that we can all benefit.
Taking Back Retail is primarily aimed at those in the fashion industry (to whom Portable's own online shop software is targeted), and many of the case studies within its pages relate to this field. However, in my opinion, retailers, makers and designers of any creative sort will likely benefit from the advice in its pages. Personally, I was surprised I found much of its advice relevant to my own business - the tips on creating interesting blog content, organising and managing an online shop, and making the most of a enewsletter and mailing list database were particularly helpful and prompted me to think about CWC's online presence in a fresh way.
It's an easy read that could potentially have a big impact for you and the future of your creative work.
Lucky for us, the generous folk at Portable have offered 10 paperback copies of Taking Back Retail to CWC members this month. Join CWC before February 28, 2014 to be in the running for a copy, or current CWC members can log in and enter the giveaway here. Winners will be drawn on 1 March and notified shortly after.
Or, if you just want to get your hands on a copy of the book, you can do so in digital or paperback format at the Portable website.