How to Create a Cohesive Product Line For Your Online Shop
You can have a hobby or you can have a business, but you can't have both.
If you've been listing random stuff in your online shop without much (or any) thought or planning, your shop might currently fall into the category of a hobby. That's okay - it's a great place to start, but I'm guessing that you don't want to stay there. You want to make some real money right?
A cohesive product line gives the impression that this is a professional business. This ain't no flea market, y'all. This is a serious, money-making, long-term plan type of organization.
Why is that impression important? Because that creates trust. And trusting that you're not going to rip them off or send them a shoddy product is the first step toward getting them to click "add to cart".
Not only is that trust important in gaining customers, but it is also a must if you want to get featured by magazines, blogs, and other media companies (which leads to more customers!).
Creating a Cohesive Product Line From the Start
Before you launch your shop, I would recommend taking a lot of time to plan out your product line, and how the different items in your shop will work together. Maybe there is a certain color palette that you're going to stick to, or maybe you offer one specific product in lots of different color palettes. Maybe your products are all made with the same material, or maybe they all have a common functionality. There are so many ways to make your items work together, but it requires forethought and planning.
But I Already Have a Shop and It's as Random as Can Be!
If that's your current situation, now is a great time to take inventory and see what you can remove / add to make your shop flow together in a better way.
If you've been adding every random piece that you create, and there is no cohesive element throughout your shop whatsoever, I would recommend shutting things down and reopening once you have a handle on exactly what you're selling, and can approach your shop from a position of focus.
Some Examples of Cohesive Product Lines
I always think that it's easier to understand something by seeing it rather than just talking about it, so I have found a few examples of cohesive product lines so that you can see exactly what I'm talking about.
My friend Brit owns Paper & Clay , and I love using her shop as an example because she does such beautiful work. Her shop is the perfect example of a cohesive product line. She offers lots of different types of products, but they all flow together through their Scandinavian-inspired design and muted color palette. Brit releases seasonal product lines, each with subtle differences, but they all make sense together. Need more proof that having a cohesive product line is valuable? Her work has been featured on Design*Sponge and countless other blogs, and she even scored a wholesale deal with Anthropologie (every maker's dream)!
All of the crochet and knit items in the Plexida shop are different in color and look, but flow together seamlessly due to their product photo style. Each product photo has the same color background, and shows the shop owner actually wearing the product from different angles and poses. The shop instantly looks visually cohesive and complete, and you know a Plexida photo quickly among other shop photos.
While they do offer a few different products, Studio Mucci's main focus and what they're known for are their tassel garlands. They are a great example of offering the same product in lots of different color palettes, but presenting them in a cohesive way through product photography and overall brand style / marketing.
Are you working on your own collection? What is inspiring you right now? Let me know in the comments!