From Hobby to Business - How to Make your Antiques Passion Pay
At some time or another in their career, many collectors find that they have a surfeit of items, or are downsizing and need to trim down their current collection. If you find this is your situation, you need to look carefully at the options of how best to sell your beloved pieces. It is worth contacting your preferred antiques dealers as of course, they may have other collectors with the same interests, or you can look to see if it would be more profitable to sell the items yourself.
Using the internet can be the perfect method. We are all now aware of the efficacy of the internet in modern retail. Despite some initial doubt about the online market places ability to provide enough detail for prospective buyers, it is a fact that more and more consumers are using the internet to source their latest purchases. The current economic climate has affected the industry as of course one would expect, but the ability to reach customers worldwide via the web means that many business are surviving and indeed thriving in a way that simply wasn’t possible in previous down turns. This is obvious – there is no doubt that consumers search the internet every day to research all manner of purchases and activities, and the antiques and collectables market has been no exception. Indeed, in what can be termed a luxury industry, there is something to be said for those actively searching for specific items or treasures to catch the eye, as they clearly still have that all desirable spending power. If you have a large collection to dispose of, and should you then decide you are enjoying the process more than you thought, then ending up with your own business is not out of the question. At this point you may then require your own website and begin in earnest. This then will give you ability to maintain a ‘store front’ at minimal cost without having to have premises to sell from, so that other collectors can find your items, whatever the distance. Of course ebay cannot be discounted with its easy to use market place, but many sellers would prefer to have more reliability from their buyers and not be reliant on the auction style of selling.
So you may need to have a website, but being practical, how best can you make it work? Well, first off you need to decide on the mechanics of the site, and how much you are happy to invest to get the result you are looking for. Will you sell items online, and do you have the time to maintain a marketplace on your own site? Would you prefer to pay your website developer to keep the site updated (which can be expensive), or are you able to maintain it yourself? If so, you will need to ensure the facility is in place on the initial design of the site. Consider whether this will interfere with the sales you may do offline? For many start up sellers this is not an issue and you should have time to complete every sale, but if you would prefer, you can showcase popular items and invite telephone enquiries, or join a showroom who already have the software.
The next thing to consider is traffic, and directing customers to your site. Of course you can advertise the address in traditional media, which is a great way of getting the address into the public eye, but you also need to consider how to do this online. The internet works in a complex way, but ranking, or the appearance of a site in search engine results, is determined by factors such as the number of links to other relevant sites and keyword density. There are many ways to optimize your site so that search engines pick it up easily, many of which can be expensive and time consuming. What you can and should do is join a directory website, which will have a far higher ranking based simply on size and relevance than you may manage, and allow their traffic to filter through to your site. Ensure the name is very relevant to your product and easy to remember – this will also help. It sounds simple, but if you are called ‘Smiths Antiques’ but sell very specialized items, then ‘smiths.co.uk’ may not actually the best url. Your web developer will be able to help on all these issues and more.
Of course the antiques and collectables business can be a very traditional marketplace but by its very nature collectors can be searching far and wide for the obscure and unusual, so make sure they can find it and you in the easiest possible way…
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