Have you ever thought about why you buy online? I was asking the forum members today, and of course there was a myriad of responses. But here is a good one.
This is a consideration for any international purchase as I need to be able to justify spending that amount on shipping alone.
2. Availability locally:
I can’t get bamboo or wool fabrics locally, so as much as I would love to order piles and piles of fabric, I need to prioritize to only purchase what I absolutely can’t get here. (I asked at a huge national fabric store if they had bamboo and the ladies looked at me as if I was crazy! Like, “You can get bamboo at the nursery”! And the only wool fabric I can get is suiting, which is not suitable for CD’ing, and I would pay the same price or more per meter as for interlock). I can’t find bamboo diapers here of the same quality as the dipes.
3. My time available:
Is it really better to make stuff myself? I know this sounds silly, but I have big plans and not much time. I would love to make all my kids’ diapers and training pants, but I have learned that the price I pay in my time is just not worth it at this stage. Anything that makes me feel stressed and on the edge causes me to be a grumpy Mommy, and that is the last thing I want. So, it’s better for me to purchase ready-made dipes than for me to make them myself, because of the sheer volume of work that goes into making diapers, let alone finding the right pattern for each child, the best fabric, etc. Now, soakers I can cope with as I don’t need to make as many per child, and the wool interlock feltable blend performs really well: a single layer soaker with a Covered Caboose bamboo diaper lasts both my 4 month old and 2 and a half y.o heavy wetter through the night (a good 10-12 hours). I’ve made diapers out of cotton knit, and it wasn’t worth my time or the expense – I think they probably cost about two thirds of the price of a CC dipe, plus all that time and effort…and then they didn’t even perform that great! So, even though South Africa definitely has more of a consumer mindset than “I can make it myself”, it really has to be worth it in time and money for me to make stuff myself.
4. Design appeal:
Every country has its own particular taste in design (colours, shapes, patterns). It would be interesting if you could analyze your international browsers’ movements on your site to see what fabrics get the most looks and purchases. I would *think* that the bamboo, hemp and wool fabrics would get the most hits from international buyers, and I’d also think that the patterned fabrics would be more appealing to those in the USA and Canada. But I might be wrong!
5. Customs fees/import duties:
I must admit, I’m always a bit..ok, a lot… scared that” they’re gonna get me!” because I don’t know the customs rules. Would it be possible to have some basic info on the NF site about customs? It’s a very complicated area but it would be quite reassuring…make sense? I don’t know if this would be possible, but it would be nice
I suppose that really perceived value is the bottom line. If it costs less overall (financially, in time, petrol/gas, etc) to buy online, then online purchases are more attractive. However, people are also willing to pay for something they need that might cost a bit more, if it is seen to be better quality or exclusive in some way. That has a lot to do with marketing, which you do well, Jeanne, by describing each fabric and giving its credentials, and also by good customer service, which makes your company more attractive in the rather murky world of online purchasing. I think your NF yahoo group is also good as it makes people feel a personal connection.
She hit a lot of things right on, and in the weeks to come I hope to expand on these points and clarify where I can.