Pros and Cons of Different Selling Methods

Sometimes customers ask me why I sell spindles the way I do versus another method, so below are my thoughts on the pros and cons of different methods.  I actually use several methods because as you will see below, no method is perfect.  Every craft artist has to choose which method works best for them and their customers, and hopefully this will help explain why it's not as simple as it may at first seem.


Unannounced Updates

In theory, unannounced updates take the advantage away from people who are able to check out faster, because no one knows when they are going to happen.  Compared to scheduled updates, cart jacking (losing a product from your cart because another customer checked out faster) is less of an issue as there are fewer customers with which to compete.  However, website trackers exist which can detect when changes are made to websites and email the user to let them know the site has been updated (i.e. products have been added), and these apps obviously give a huge advantage to customers who use them. Some might say the trackers are fair because anyone can download and use them, but not everyone is tech savvy enough to know where to find them and how to use them. Anyone not using a tracker has to stalk the website and hope to catch the update before the product(s) they want are sold out, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Scheduled Updates

Scheduled updates have several advantages over unannounced updates. Previews can be posted so customers can see what is going to be available in the update and can decide prior to the update which product(s) they would like to try to purchase. Also, customers don't have to continually check the website to hope to catch an update. However, they can become a "feeding frenzy" when products are in high demand. Those who check out faster, whether due to better internet connections or faster fingers, have an advantage and cart jacking can be very frustrating. Also, not everyone can or wants to log on at the time of the update. Furthermore, buying bots (aka sneaker bots) can be an issue if precautions aren't taken to deter their use (bots can also be an issue with unannounced updates).


At first glance, lotteries seem to be the fairest option. Customers sign up and names are drawn at random. However, they can become a popularity contest when people have their friends sign up for them, or dishonest customers sign up multiple times with different emails and different names, which is unfortunately very difficult or impossible to track. Customers also have to set aside funds in case they win, which can be more of a problem when multiple products are in a lottery at the same time. They are also a lot of administrative work for the maker, which takes away time from making products, and can get complicated very quickly when multiple products are in a lottery at the same time. For example, what happens when someone signs up for more than they want and then decides they only want one? Do the unwanted products get redrawn or go to the next lottery? What happens if someone signs up and then changes their mind after they won, or doesn't respond or doesn't purchase the product? Should customers be limited in how many lotteries they can enter or should the lotteries be limited to new customers only and if so, how can that be tracked and enforced when people can use multiple emails or aliases or have friends sign up for them?  Ultimately, lotteries rely on an honor system and although the vast majority of customers are honest, there is no good way to track those who are not.


Preorders have a lot of positives. They don't give an advantage to customers who can check out faster and customers don't need to compete with other customers. However, preorders don't really work for high-demand products because the maker can't keep up with the demand, especially if the products take a long time to make. The maker then needs to either put a limit on the number of products available in the preorder, in which case the product will sell out just as it does in a scheduled update for a one-of-a-kind item except not as quickly, or it can lead to very long wait times, which deters a lot of customers. Another disadvantage is the customer can't see exactly what they're getting and may be disappointed with what they receive. The maker has to be very careful when posting example photos to make sure they represent the product the customer will receive as closely as possible while also making the product look enticing enough to make customers want to purchase it in the first place. Preorders also aren't as fun for the maker; part of the fun of being an artist is to be creative and make what you want to make. In addition, preorders can be frustrating for the maker because it can be more difficult or time-consuming to make something specific; the maker can't just give up if things aren't working out.


Craft shows are popular because customers get to actually see the products in person and try them out, something they obviously can't do with online shopping. In some cases, at a show customers have more options available to purchase and less competition from other customers than they do online. However, obviously not everyone wants to or can travel to a craft show. They are also a huge cost to the maker. There are show fees, state taxes, travel expenses (gas, hotels, etc.) and time off work (being a self-employed craft artist unfortunately doesn't offer paid time off). It's not uncommon for the maker to lose money or just break even, so shows are often more about reaching new customers and letting customers see and try products in person than generating revenue.