Need everyones help:What are you looking for in a yarn shop?

Well, as a few of you ladies already know, I am in the process of starting an on-line yarn shop (hopefully a store front will follow:pray:) and Im looking for input. I want it to service my customers as best as I can and give you guys what you want. So to better help make the site easier for you and everyone else, tell me what your looking for, please.

*What are you guys looking for in a yarn shop?

*What do you like, what dont you like about online stores?

*What kinds of yarn are you looking for (brand, type, wieght,etc)?

*What other kinds of things (patterns, needles, etc.) would you like?

*Any shipping idea’s?

*Do you have any other suggestions?

Im open for any suggestion or comments. My goal is to make you happy. And of course there will be a discount for KH members;-)
Thanks you your help guys!

Good prices, more than anything, are the reason I buy from one shop over another. (Though loyalty to the seller will make me reconsider. :teehee:)

I hate when there’s no tracking. I like the option of faster shipping, though I don’t usually use it. I love how Knitpicks gives free shipping over a certain amount

Re: yarn itself, I use sport and DK weight the most, with worsted second and fingering third. I never have much use for bulky. No point, if you ask me, in carrying stuff I can find in any craft store. I can get Cascade 200 anywhere…give me the good stuff! I can’t ever find much Malabrigo or Debbie Bliss.

For patterns, it has to be downloadable. I won’t purchase a paper pattern online–I’d rather go find it in a shop where I can take it home.

For the site itself, consistent design and good editing mean the most to me. Sites with all arial font or whatever that look like somebody just slapped it up with no thought make me nuts, and they don’t feel trustworthy to me.

That’s all I got for now! :thumbsup:

I am pretty much the same, although I use all weights of yarn. Here are things that are very important to me:

  1. Searchable. I don’t want to have to look through lists and lists of what you have. I want to be able to do a search for the yarns I need.

  2. Design. I like to be able to clearly find the interesting things: New yarns, Sale yarns, etc. Less is more when it comes to site design, I think.

  3. Communication. I like to get an email the moment I finish ordering saying the order is placed, and an email when the items ship. I am too grumpy to play “post man roulette”.

  4. Patterns. You should definitely have some patterns that go with the yarn you are selling. I often buy yarn that I really like with no idea what to do with it. Some suggestions for patterns that go with certain yarns would be good!

I totally agree with number 4. I like to have a pattern that goes with the yarn. If I have one without the other, I’m less likely to buy it. I also like downloadable patterns.

FRIENDLY SERVICE~ I DETEST snotty yarn snob service~ I mean I HATE IT>>~!:nails::fingerwag::fingerwag::fingerwag::!!!::!!!::!!!::!!!::!!!::!!!:
I also like a good price~ and I found a LYS that I LIKE… and they have a big clearance yarn… grab bag section in the back of the store~! NOW YOUR’E TALKING~!!:drooling::drooling:

Bottom line for me: I want a good service, good price and a good selection~! :thumbsup:

Don’t charge me until you ship my yarn. Don’t have yarn up on your site that you don’t have in stock. I know there are occasional problems but it really is irritating when a site says something is in stock and it isn’t.
Don’t set yourself up for problems shippingwise. Ship everything priority mail (you can get boxes, labels, etc for free) and with tracking numbers so no “Hey I didn’t get my yarn” when someone is just trying to get a freebie. Charge as close to actual shipping as you can. Nothing chaps my hide more than to pay $7 shipping on a $5 item. I just won’t do it.
Offer frequent buyer clubs, freebies (they don’t have to be big) or something special to keep your customers returning. Even if costs you just a few pennines it’s worth it.
Wrap the yarns attractively, don’t just throw them into a box. In fact, my preference is tissue paper, and THEN some sort of plastic.
And I can’t third, fourth, or whatever number it is, customer service. I hate it when I can’t contact a place I ordered from.

This is great, Im taking notes:teehee: Keep it coming!!

And no, Im not a snob (well maybe a [I]coffee[/I] snob). I detest the snobby yarn shop people as well, which is why I drive an hour to go to my LYS. And I love talking to people, so getting ahold of me wouldnt be a problem, unless I was in class, but I’d walk out of class to gladly take an order, or to help fix a problem.

As a web entrepreneur, I can’t tell you how important it is to automate as much as possible. You want a shopping cart program for your site that pretty much does everything for you but ship the product. It will make your life much easier!

You’re going to be an online-only endeavor, which means your web-design needs to be clean and clear and easy to navigate, and all copy (i.e., everything written on the site) needs to be accurate, spelled correctly, and using proper grammar (with some leeway here for things like ending sentences with prepositions.)

Offer as wide a range as possible for colors, offer discounts, and don’t forget to advertise!

Pictures, pictures, pictures. Not just a thumbnail or a couple of strands of yarn, but a big detailed picture and a FO or swatch if possible.

Same for patterns, both a close-up and whole thing picture is so helpful!

Kelly

That is an excellent point. Showing a swatch is a great idea!!!

I like places that have the types of yarn and knitting gadgets that I never knew existed but, once I learn about them, I desperately need :inlove:.

Good luck with everything!
Rebecca

I know it’s mentioned before, but shipping charges really ruffle my feathers! That is first thing I look for when shopping for yarn (or anything really). I think using USPS packaging is great (it’s free).

Well, first, good luck on your endeavor! :hug: Here’s my $.02:
Organize the site REALLY WELL.
Make it searchable–Not just by word, but also by yarn weight, fiber content, yarn type, etc.
PRICE MATTERS! I’m on a VERY tight budget, so I can’t afford to spend $10/skein for sock yarn that requires two skeins for one pair of socks.
Descriptions matter-and make sure they’re honest and accurate. Don’t say a yarn feels good next to the skin if it makes your neck itch.
Email marketing is by far the cheapest, (but I gotta say, I look at KnitPicks catalog a LOT!) Automate the sign up for it, but make it easy for people to remove themselves from the list. AND DON’T SELL YOUR LIST!
A really well-done pod-cast may also help with marketing.
Of course, positive customer service is crucial.
Ditto the others on shipping charges.
Free patterns with yarn purchase would be a good idea, too.
If I think of anything else, I’ll chime in again!

The problem I have with a lot of online shopping is that almost all of them are hung up on wool of all kinds. It’s very difficult to find non-wool yarn in dk or sport that is reasonably priced.

I agree here too. I can’t use wool much because I am allergic, so blends without wool would be awesome.

  1. I think something no one thinks about but is really important is SECURITY.

Using online shopping people expect a secure server, and often don’t check to be sure it’s secure. When you purchase your domain name and web host, you can ask them how to get an SSL certificate (this will cost money) and they will help you with that information.

Most web hosts offer great shopping cart services, which will take care of everything, minus shipping the actual product. You can even put in the exact number of a product you have, and when the last one is gone, it will be removed from the page, until you update the quantity. (I was testing some out :rofl:)

To get back to things I like in a yarn store:

  1. I like having alternate methods of payment. Most yarn stores don’t take PayPal, and for some people paypal is preferred, (since you can use debit accounts as well as credit cards.)

as far as design goes… clutter I agree with everyone else. :woohoo:

Yarns - I tend to stick to acrylics from walmart, but right now we are paying for wedding things so visa and extra cash are tied up with that. When that’s done tho, I would love to try out other yarns, luxurious ones.

I am in the process of opening a business (it will be web based and I have a shop as well) and I know that everyone is looking for cheap. Cheap yarn, cheap furniture, cheap clothing, just plain cheap. And I can appreciate that we are all looking to save money. But the [B]real[/B] problem is that money (especially the American Dollar) is worth [B]nothing[/B] these days. The dollar is something like .63 cents for every Euro – it’s almost toilet paper.

That doesn’t cheapen the value of someone’s merchandise, however. It’s tough to be on the other end of this coin these days. I’m not saying I know what the answer is but really to expect everything to be measured in Walmart prices is unfair. I am only hoping to get a decent value for my money and decent service, to me, counts a lot.

I am willing to pay for service and quality.

I don’t shop at Walmart, I frequent my local merchants as much as possible and I avoid chains when possible. I even pay a little more at my LYS instead of ordering online just to help support the community around me. So what I look for in a web based business is the same that I would look for in any business IRL. Service and quality and a reason to come back for more.

Just my not so humble .02

Best,
Susan

:teehee: I’m not lookin’ for Wal-mart cheap, but if your skein of yarn’s $7.75 instead of $8, I’ll buy from ya. :shrug:

Another thing I just thought of… IF you buy yarn online OFFER to wind the yarn for them (for a fee). I JUST NOW got my ball winder and swift~:inlove::inlove::inlove::passedout: … but for the longest time all the yarn I bought online comes in hanks~ I tried SEVERAL times to wind by hand~:wall::wall::wall: and I ended up buying expensive string that I just can’t USE~!
I can’t tell you how many times I WISHED… someone would send my hank yarn magically transformed into a yarn cake~!:clink:In the LYS you can request this but online~ FORGET IT~:shrug:

AND like someone else said… there is a difference between cheap and value~ I WILL pay a little more IF I feel I am getting SOMETHING for my money. in addition I TOO want to support the LYS community b/c it’s a very specialized market and if we don’t buy from them we don’t have a choice…but I like the convenience, choice and selection of online~
I do alot of shopping online (even from LYS) b/c I want to have choices… KWIM?
but again~ GRAB BAGS~ :inlove::inlove::inlove::inlove::inlove:
love EM~:waving: