In the vast and ever-expanding world of online shopping,
consumers are presented with a multitude of options. On one side, we have the giants like Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress, offering convenience, vast product selections and of course, speed.
On the other side, we have the charming world of small businesses – often run by a single person, crafting their creations in a cozy and lovely chaotic corner of their homes.
While it’s impossible to outrun the giants, it is essential for buyers to recognize the distinctive qualities and the genuine passion that fuels small businesses – often overlooked by the expectations set by the huge marketplaces.
The Impersonal vs. The Personal
In the hustle and bustle of large marketplaces, shopping can often feel like a race against time and deals that will be gone if you don’t act fast. Banners and pop-up messages with great discounts, coupons, countdowns, don’t miss this offer, buy now, job done. The focus is on speed and efficiency, and the personal touch gets lost somewhere in these heartless transactions – along with the pure joy of investing your hard-earned money into something special and meaningful.
The heartwarming realm of small businesses takes a different approach. Each product is infused with love and care, crafted by skilled hands of passionate artisans who pour their hearts into their creations. Shopping is way more than just a transaction; it is a meaningful connection with the human soul behind the artistry.
The Power of Specific Requirements
In the vastness of large marketplaces, the path to personalization is winding and uncertain. What you see is what you get (usually) and that’s it. But small businesses hold the key to unlocking a world of possibilities: With a flexible and accommodating spirit, small business owners warmly embrace specific customer requirements. From tailored designs to custom orders, they weave dreams into reality, ensuring that every purchase feels like a uniquely crafted masterpiece.
I cannot tell you how many times I have altered my designs according to my customers needs and desires – and every single time the results were awesome. Even when I was trying to picture their idea in my mind, and what I was seeing made me frown uncertain for the outcome, I was proved wrong.
Every – single – time.
“Hi, Kate! I love the Wolf bracelet, but I’m not sure if I like these matte black beads, is it possible to replace them?“
“Hi, Kate! I want to buy the Forest Fox Cuff for my sis, but she loves black, is there a chance to make it black instead of brown?“
“Hi, Kate! I like the Lion Cuff and I was wondering if you can put the Bear pendant on it.“
“Hi, Kate! I love the Cactus Cuff, could you please add my name on it?“
My answers are always a big YES.
The results are always amazing.
My customers are always happy.
This makes me happy, too.
Since I make everything from scratch, alternating and customizing has become my middle name. It doesn’t make any difference for me to begin working on a black sheet of leather instead of brown, or stitch with a blue thread instead of red, or attach this pendant instead of that – and so on.
Yes, it is true that with some of my best-selling designs I can work on auto-pilot (I have made them so many times) and alternating stuff makes me work more time to bring them into life. And yes, I understand that many people will say “my time is not free”. However, I always enjoy the new possibilities that every customer’s idea gives me – I see things from a different angle, my mind is filled with new ideas, I make new designs, I enrich my little store. All from a short message “Hi, Kate! Could you…”
Oh, yes I can.
Mistakes and the Human Touch
Even in the realm of digital wonders mistakes are inevitable. Yet, small business owners approach these moments with grace and empathy. Most small business owners will wear their humanity with pride, promptly addressing any issues that may arise. With a warm and sincere touch, they take responsibility, offering heartfelt apologies and creative solutions. Many times mistakes are made by buyers – and still, sellers will go above and beyond to fix them.
This human connection transforms missteps into opportunities to build trust and foster lasting relationships. Afterall, small businesses make their most profit from returning customers than new ones.
Did I ever make a mistake? Yes. Have my buyers made a mistake? Yes.
I once made a bracelet and punched a hole bigger than it should be for the closure. I never noticed it. I shipped the order and couple of weeks later the customer messaged me about it, sending me a picture. The hole was too big to keep the stud button in place, so the bracelet kept falling off their wrist.
It was my mistake and I never denied it. I apologized and sent a replacement.
Did I lose money from this mistake? Well, yeah! But that’s okay. This mistake made me be more careful. It nailed in my mind the warning “don’t work only with your hands, your brain must be here, too.“
Sometimes, customers might get annoyed when things go wrong with their order. And I totally understand that. I am an online shopper too and I know that online shopping can include hiccups – late delivery, lost package, damaged product, wrong size, faulty craftmanship.
Once, I got a 1-star review in my Etsy shop by an angry customer. His bracelet “broke apart within two weeks” were his words. It was my first 1-star review and while it felt like a stab in my heart when I read it, I ignored my urge to reply and went to sleep. I dealt with it next morning and it took me a couple of weeks to solve it. I offered solutions and he accepted the replacement. The customer later changed their review to 5 stars and explained their experience. And I was in tears by their response.
I never asked them to change their feedback. I never expected something to change in my then small and growing rows of reviews. I only wanted to make things right. This 1-star review made me a star seller ever since.
Mistakes can happen. Embrace them! Every mistake is a priceless lesson to learn – it shapes sellers and improves them. Mistakes are those little helpers that will offer better customer service, better shopping experience – and in the long run, a solid, growing business.
Even when customers make mistakes, we can learn from them.
For example, I ship orders worldwide. Addresses can be much different from I’m used to see from country to country. Once, a customer forgot to add something in their address. It was incomplete and it was impossible for me to know it – unless, of course, I googled it, which I didn’t. It didn’t even cross my mind that someone would miss writing down their address correctly.
But hey, we are all humans, alright? If I can make a mistake under clear instructions – black leather, black stitching – while I made black leather, brown stitching, why a customer can’t make a mistake, too?
The package returned back to me and I got in touch with them about it. They happily paid the re-shipping fees and provived the correct address.
Since then, I learned to be more careful with my customers addresses. In the re-shipping fees listing, I encourage buyers to double check their info, trying to help them avoid having to pay for it. When something feels off, I google it. And I get in touch with them if needed. It happened at least twice more to have a wrong/incomplete address, and we managed to save the day prior shipping, along with my customers. Time saved, money saved, trouble saved.
Passion Over Profit
In the world of giants, numbers may reign supreme, but in the heart of small businesses, passion is the driving force.
Each creation is a labor of love, nurtured with joy and dedication. The warmth of this enthusiasm radiates in every customer interaction, turning the shopping experience into a delightful journey of shared excitement and genuine connection.
Some times mistakes happen and some times we, small business owners lose profit from them. However, what we learn and earn is priceless: Earning our customers trust is the greatest victory that outruns every profit.
I am an online shopper too. I have saved my favorite shops and sellers and order from them with my eyes closed. I know that everything will go well in the end, even if mistakes are made and hiccups occure.
I have dealt with issues as a customer. I also have seen both sides of the same coin – the good and bad. I have huge understanding of mistakes and issues and I very well know that once a package leaves seller’s hands, it is totally out of their control. Still, sellers have to pay for these issues. They are the ones who have to fix mistakes that are not their own.
My experiences as an online customer, made me a better online seller.
The Power of Gratitude
In a digital age where screens dominate our lives, small businesses remind us of the beauty of genuine appreciation. Gratitude flows from the heart of every small business owner. Handwritten thank-you notes and personalized messages extend a heartfelt embrace, making each customer feel seen, valued, and cherished.
Small businesses know very well that they are swimming in a dark ocean against the flow and they put their heart and soul to keep going – they will show their appreciation in every possible way, often including little surprise gifts in their packages.
And yes, many customers don’t care the least about those – some can be also annoyed. I have seen this before in several forums, where customers say it’s just another waste to throw away.
Somewhere among all these people, some times, there is someone who could use a kind word or two.
“Being a reason someone smiles today” is a great value in life.
And just once if I become this reason for someone, it is more than enough for me.
As we navigate the vast expanse of online shopping, let us not overlook the treasure trove of small businesses. Here, the personal touch transforms transactions into heartwarming connections. The passion and dedication of artisans breathe life into every creation, making shopping an extraordinary experience.
In a world where convenience often comes at the expense of the human touch, let us embrace the heart of small businesses. By supporting these dreamers and creators, we become a part of something extraordinary – a community of artisans who pour their love into every stitch, brushstroke, or design.
For this, my dear friends, let your next online shopping adventure be a journey of heartfelt connections. Celebrate the magic of small businesses, embrace their delightful madness, where passion and gratitude enrich every purchase.
Embrace the heartwarming experiences that await you, and may each transaction be a celebration of art, love, and the joy of supporting dreams.
And when you come accross an issue, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your seller. They will be forever grateful for letting them know what went wrong, so can they can fix it. Moreover, they will be grateful for giving them the chance to make things right.