NickPol

Feedback on our Leathergoods website

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I want to solicit feedback for our Leather goods company website. We launched just over a year ago. Quick background, my wife and I started a business off of a passion project to make high quality everyday items. I know our price points are not cheap as we are going after a high end market. We source local vegetable tanned leather from Pennsylvania and each item is designed and made by us in our Philadelphia studio. We have been capturing some sales from our website and run facebook/instagram ads as well for brand recognition. We've built up a few blog posts and an instagram account. Aside from that we have done local markets to get our products in front of people. We want to know how we can improve our website, products, marketing, etc.. and welcome constructive feedback. Thanks for your help!

https://hemlockandhyde.com/

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The site looks nice and executes well. The photography also looks great. And I don't think you are asking astronomical prices.

However, if you are asking those prices you may want to work in some burnished edges. Also, the feed dog marks on the outside of the bag are pretty unsightly.

Maybe look into getting a more leather friendly machine or work on your feed dogs.

I'm not much in the world of machine sewing knowledge but I'm pretty sure you want the stitching to all look the same. The back side of the stitches combined with the feed dog marks across the front flap ( everything else is showing the top stitch ) just doesn't look professionally made.

Hope this helps and good luck.

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Photos of the inside of the bags. I don't buy a car with out looking inside 

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I love the reason behind your site and would probably buy something from you if I couldn't replicate it myself. I imagine others who aren't up to snuff on their leather skills would buy stuff from you. The site looks great.

I think @bikermutt07 hit on a few things regarding your products though. I know putting more time into each product lowers the value to you but I would think that just a few small finishing touches would square you away. I don't know if those will push a bunch of traffic or business your way but it would sure complete the package.

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33 minutes ago, battlemunky said:

I don't know if those will push a bunch of traffic or business your way but it would sure complete the package.

I agree with munky. A slightly better finish might not give you more traffic, but I think it will probably increase your visitor-to-buyer conversion rate.

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I like the style of the site and I also agree that the photography is well done.  The wording is something like what I would put on there.  "Follow us - Not in a creepy way"  Ha!  I like it.

Your prices are what I would price similar items at and I also agree with keeping an eye on the finishing touches.  Edge burnishing would seem to come with the pricing as set.  I would proof read your site for spelling.  I didn't read every word but saw a typo in the cross body bag.  Not everyone can pull of the cross body.  Small detail but they matter IMO. 

This was a very disconnected and fragmented reply but I wanted to  post before I retire for the night.  Thanks for sharing and all the best.

Scott

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As a person who owned a e-commerce site for 15 years until retiring last September, here are my observations

  1. You have a contact page but i did not see any obvious place where you cave your companies address and contact numbers, The main thing with e-commerce is to try and convince the public that you are honest and if there is any problems they can contact you or look you up
  2. Your little name with no frills does not stand out it needs to be bolder that it is the name of the company perhaps with a shadow effect or colour
  3. You are going after Ladies with money, Women always seems a rather less flattering term at least in the UK so Ladies and Gentlemen might be a more upmarket term
  4. Your descriptions are not on the main page, I look down a list of nice pictures and see Belts and if i hover over it a price comes up, you could have a brief description like Top Quality 100% Bridal leather belts, or 100% Leather belts tanned by 100 year old tannery something to justify the price
  5. When you then get into the actual description tell the history to help justify the price and why they should buy it  "this belt was hand made by fred bloggs using the Vegetable Tanned leather from our oldest tannery in xxx which has been producing the highest quality leather for the last xxx years. Each strap id personally check for any imperfections before it is made and the fastenings are hand sewn using the traditional threads to give many years service. Each item we sell carries out makers name to guarantee it has passed out pre and post quality control specifications " may seem over the top BUT you are selling both a BRAND and a Belt
  6. Weekend bag under men's shows me nothing to justify any price a pair of handles and a zip, whoopy would you click through on that picture, you are trying to get there attention to look further so the images must make a impact on them straight away, They may have started looking for a Belt but find the new weekend bag image hits them in the right spot
  7. Reduce the images across the page from four to three and this makes room for two line descriptions under each image to improve your descriptions as in 4 above

Hope this helps, Remember the customers cannot use their normal senses to judge the quality of your product, so you need to tell them the story

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Quote
  1. You have a contact page but i did not see any obvious place where you cave your companies address and contact numbers, The main thing with e-commerce is to try and convince the public that you are honest and if there is any problems they can contact you or look you up

I too, feel this is important but I've noticed that having an actual physical address and real phone number on a contact page is not the exception, not the rule.  I've looked at lots of sites lately and it's very rare to find anything but an email address or a contact form. 

 

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1 hour ago, nstarleather said:

I too, feel this is important but I've noticed that having an actual physical address and real phone number on a contact page is not the exception, not the rule.  I've looked at lots of sites lately and it's very rare to find anything but an email address or a contact form. 

Yep. I for one have changed to this. We were fielding so many phone calls that were not turning into orders that we decided to see what happened if we did not supply a phone number until it was either requested via email or after the customer purchased from us via invoice. That was in February of last year. Our website is about 5 years old and has seem an average of about 5% growth each year in sales. Removing the address and phone number made no difference for us.

 I think what it comes down to is times are changing and people are more comfortable with online purchases. Removing my phone number from our website probably freed up 2-3 hours a day that are better served for production. Don't get me wrong, I love talking to my customers but when I'm running a 4 month back log on custom orders I'd rather be pounding leather than talking to Bob about his favorite motorcycle ride for a half hour.

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Sorry folks but a web site is all about building confidence and that means being open with your potential customers

Mark it's not the people who ring up that's the problem its the ones who visit your site and then look for where you are based and cannot find you, and go to the next site on google that has a address and buys from them. I bet if you looks deeply at your state you may have noticed a slight did, just the physical address and a email address will do it does not have to have the phone number if that's a problem to you, but many people do like to talk things through and if you don't want to do it fine, someone else will be happy to help them

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3 hours ago, chrisash said:

As a person who owned a e-commerce site for 15 years until retiring last September, here are my observations

  1. You have a contact page but i did not see any obvious place where you cave your companies address and contact numbers, The main thing with e-commerce is to try and convince the public that you are honest and if there is any problems they can contact you or look you up
  2. Your little name with no frills does not stand out it needs to be bolder that it is the name of the company perhaps with a shadow effect or colour
  3. You are going after Ladies with money, Women always seems a rather less flattering term at least in the UK so Ladies and Gentlemen might be a more upmarket term
  4. Your descriptions are not on the main page, I look down a list of nice pictures and see Belts and if i hover over it a price comes up, you could have a brief description like Top Quality 100% Bridal leather belts, or 100% Leather belts tanned by 100 year old tannery something to justify the price
  5. When you then get into the actual description tell the history to help justify the price and why they should buy it  "this belt was hand made by fred bloggs using the Vegetable Tanned leather from our oldest tannery in xxx which has been producing the highest quality leather for the last xxx years. Each strap id personally check for any imperfections before it is made and the fastenings are hand sewn using the traditional threads to give many years service. Each item we sell carries out makers name to guarantee it has passed out pre and post quality control specifications " may seem over the top BUT you are selling both a BRAND and a Belt
  6. Weekend bag under men's shows me nothing to justify any price a pair of handles and a zip, whoopy would you click through on that picture, you are trying to get there attention to look further so the images must make a impact on them straight away, They may have started looking for a Belt but find the new weekend bag image hits them in the right spot
  7. Reduce the images across the page from four to three and this makes room for two line descriptions under each image to improve your descriptions as in 4 above

Hope this helps, Remember the customers cannot use their normal senses to judge the quality of your product, so you need to tell them the story

Thank you for the details, very helpful. It's been interesting to see different perspectives from all of you.

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By far the biggest thing you MUST do is take pics of models wearing your purses/bags.  Savvy customers can tell a lot about the product if it's displayed on a actual person (color shift, size, flexibility, etc).   (Note: I used to make private label handbags for high-end designers.  They ALL did photo shoots with models.) 

Also, this may be a generational thing, but if you don't have at least a phone, and the only way to contact you is via email, then I assume that customer service is atrocious, and that you want customers to stay away.    

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This site shows what i mean about a description, maybe one of your competitors (PS I dont like harry's site either but descriptions are great)

 https://bucklehurstleather.co.uk/collections/belts-1/products/copy-of-no53-34-trouser-size-1-1-4-wide-light-stain-oak-bark-tanned-bridle-leather-belt

Alexander is spot on about a subject he knows well

Edited by chrisash

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3 hours ago, chrisash said:

Sorry folks but a web site is all about building confidence and that means being open with your potential customers

Mark it's not the people who ring up that's the problem its the ones who visit your site and then look for where you are based and cannot find you, and go to the next site on google that has a address and buys from them. I bet if you looks deeply at your state you may have noticed a slight did, just the physical address and a email address will do it does not have to have the phone number if that's a problem to you, but many people do like to talk things through and if you don't want to do it fine, someone else will be happy to help them

It think people are way too concerned with people taking up their time or possibly too accustomed to the animonity of the net; maybe Mark had this experience since he's doing "custom pieces" which require a lot of time to work out details either way.  

but We are a fairly big business with our phone number "out there for anyone to see" and we really don't get that many calls from potential new customers per day.  Even with that, why not put out your address?  It's not like people are going to randomly show up if you don't have a retail space. It's easy enough to say: " we're not set up for walk-in customers but if you really need to come in person, let us know and we'll see what can be arranged."

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Not trying to be critical however BikerMutt made a couple of good observations. Looking at some of the edges it appears as though the issue might be the "presser foot" pressure that is creating the unsightly marks next to your stitching. Also the finished edges are very important, they give the product a more finished look. One other Item that I noticed looking through your site was that your men's belts are not lined same hold try for the dog collars. 

When someone is paying a premium price for an item they expect some durability. With the men's belts being unlined and no stitching I wouldn't expect them to last long. The edges are going to start to roll especially at the belts loops.

I may be wrong on the aesthetic issues being that I am older and possibly that makes a difference but to me quality and product finish are important.

The site itself looks great.

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4 hours ago, nstarleather said:

It's not like people are going to randomly show up if you don't have a retail space.

Wanna bet! I still have people that randomly show up because a customer that purchased from us got our address and phone number. My neighbors love coming home to see a bunch of Harleys parked out front. I constantly have the HOA up my butt about it. I guess it depends on your market and your word of mouth sales and your goals. I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to slow down and not really looking for more business, at least not in the summer. From Feb to October its pretty much an insane asylum here with  12-14 hour days 5 days a week with the occasional Saturday thrown in. People tell me I should hire more but I'm a picky bastard and I've only found one person in the past 25 years that I consider a good craftsman and worker. The business will be his when I retire.

 

 I will say this...the OP's website looks a hell of a lot better than mine. Much more professional. That being said my website does me very well and I'm just using a home built Wix

Edited by Mark842

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4 hours ago, Mark842 said:

Wanna bet! I still have people that randomly show up because a customer that purchased from us got our address and phone number. My neighbors love coming home to see a bunch of Harleys parked out front. I constantly have the HOA up my butt about it. I guess it depends on your market and your word of mouth sales and your goals. I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to slow down and not really looking for more business, at least not in the summer. From Feb to October its pretty much an insane asylum here with  12-14 hour days 5 days a week with the occasional Saturday thrown in. People tell me I should hire more but I'm a picky bastard and I've only found one person in the past 25 years that I consider a good craftsman and worker. The business will be his when I retire.

 

 I will say this...the OP's website looks a hell of a lot better than mine. Much more professional. That being said my website does me very well and I'm just using a home built Wix

I guess I'm in the boonies and don't do custom work so it's apples to oranges.  I do get some walk in traffic and I toy with the idea of closing the retail section because most of the time it's more trouble than it's worth (especially filing the sales tax)...

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Very nice website. Now the challenge is driving traffic to your website! That will require selective and repetitive use of social media to get people talking about your products and your website. Think about your potential markets, target internet forums and other sites that are active and likely to generate interest in your products and your company, and (if possible) try to recruit others to post positive commentary about you and your company.

REPEAT: NOW THE CHALLENGE IS DRIVING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE. Don't overlook that part.

Best wishes from a retired leather worker with a 7-digit investment portfolio.

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On 8/27/2018 at 11:02 AM, nstarleather said:

business with our phone number "out there for anyone to see" and we really don't get that many calls from potential new customers per day

Yeah, I'm with this. I do custom work, and it's generally the OTHER person(s) who don't like to use the phone.  Maybe they see the phone number, maybe not.  I have on occasion pointed out a phone number they can call.  And I've offered to call THEM if they're concerned about the cost of the call - just let me know the number and a good time to call.  Even when they want custom, and have all that information, some STILL prefer to type it.  Guess it's the text generation (the ones on the phone are often the over 30 (or 40) crowd.

Now, I did once have a guy and his grandson come walking up my sidewalk with a pistol in hand (he called and found I don't have a Buckmark to mold with). This is also NOT recommended :rofl:

 

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Another factor of why it's important to use your location and phone number is that it separates you from the "instabrands" that have been popping up.  This day in age it's hard to distinguish somebody who's making something from someone who's plugged pictures into a website template and is dropshipping from somewhere else. 

 

An address or at least a city and state can reassure the customer that you're real and not a reseller. 

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I will have to disagree about publishing a phone number.

I did business via website with a 'contact' page that generated emails directly to my business account. The website regularly received 200-300 hits per day and I received an average of 35 emails per day, each of which required some type of response or action on my part. At any given time I usually had between 100 and 200 pending orders, and many of those folks required repeated contact.

If I had tried doing business by phone those 35 contacts each day (from time zones all over the world, so not always during regular business hours or days) would have required nearly full-time attention. Even ten minutes per phone call would have required 350 minutes per day (5 hours and 50 minutes), 7 days per week (40-plus hours). Quite simply, there would have been little or no time left for production work.

Using email communications I was able to use my slack time in the shop to quickly respond to every email that had been received during the preceding few hours. Every morning started with responding to emails received overnight, then throughout the day I would open up the email account and deal with the most recent messages. No one ever had to wait longer than a few hours to receive a response. This allowed me to use my time more efficiently, cranking out 30 to 50 orders every week for years.

Potential customers who displayed tendencies of rudeness or demanding behavior were invited to shop elsewhere. Customers who required more time with a babysitter than would be required to complete an order were invited to shop elsewhere.

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On 26/08/2018 at 8:48 AM, NickPol said:

We want to know how we can improve our website, products, marketing, etc.. and welcome constructive feedback. Thanks for your help!

The website is good as are the pictures. The products for the price is mostly good sometimes a little high and sometimes quite low. I do suspect that you do not have a good cylinder machine as the wallet and the bag with the brass ring through the front have the bobbin side thread showing on the top. It is obvious and looks terrible. I am curious in your about you section where it says "The more we researched about how everyday products (we) made the more we thought "We have to change this!" Where you say (we) made, did  you mean (are) made or perhaps (other makers made)?

As to the marketing I go with what Alexander from Solar Leather Machines said so well above. Think I will have to try a bit more of that advise myself, trouble is I cant model and be such a great maker as well.:rockon:. Seriously though if you are offering custom work (which I avoid and even moved 20 minutes out of town to escape from) how can you give good service without an address/phone number? Unlike Lobo I can talk way faster than I can type and follow up with an email if I need to. I do have a phone plan that allows me to phone anywhere in Australia for the same cost every month and if I am busy I just call them back when I am not so. That is in no way any disrespect for Lobo I must say either, it just depends on how the differences in the marketing is set up I think. Best of luck and hope you find some good answers. Brian

Edited by RockyAussie
mis spell

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