Selling on Swanky Maison – Review

This review is of my own experience in attempting to set up and sell on Swanky Maison.

I was invited to sell on Swanky Maison a little over a year ago, but wasn’t ready to look at selling there at the time. In May, I signed up and paid the membership fee. Swanky Maison also take 30% commission on the item price and pay out monthly. The site owners optimise your listings for SEO, then market and promote them in exchange for the listing commission and membership fee. The order comes through the website, so basically they are drop-shipping, in a similar way to Amazon, but without a lot of the functionality on the larger websites that makes it easy for sellers.

Dropbox is used to send photos and ‘media-ready’ shots (white background), as well as a copy of your contract. I also had to email them a logo and avatar as they wouldn’t load on my account page and wait for them to go up. They decided on the password for my account and I was not able to change it along with several other aspects of my account, such as my biography.

I added my camera buddies to the site and waited for the listings to go live. It’s supposed to take up to 10 days but it was more like 2 weeks+. It’s quite labour-intensive to list on the site, not very intuitive, and you have to go back into the listing to add photos, which they prefer be square. The listing page is clunky and you can’t edit your title once you’ve saved the listing, for example. You have to email the new one to the owners. They say they take 10 days for the listings to go live as they “optimise them for SEO” but mine were never changed at all except that they shortened the title to 1 search term from the 4-5 I had listed and then managed to get 3 listing titles wrong… ‘trick and treating’, anyone?

I had to email to find out when they were going live for each batch of listings after waiting for longer than 10 days, and with 2 listings, it was 3 weeks. The photos hadn’t loaded and instead of letting me know, they left the listings with a ‘no image’ note on the titles and I didn’t see it until a few days later when I went into the seller area to add more. The listings went live almost immediately once I emailed, so I’m not sure how much ‘optimising for SEO’ there could have been on them….

When I was thinking about joining, their communication was very good but once I had sent off the membership fee (by BACS) and sent in the contract, I didn’t even get an acknowledgement. I had to email to check to see that they had got the seller’s biography I had emailed in too.

I found that they don’t/won’t show you any data from the site such as views/stats on your items, and if they aren’t selling you have no way of knowing why. You also don’t know if they are promoting your items, unless you see one on the promotional emails that they send out.

I got frustrated that my listings weren’t going up within the 10 days as per the contract, that if there was something wrong I wasn’t informed and told them that 10 days was more than long enough to wait for listings to go live. They asked whether or not I was happy with them and I said ‘No’ and why. The owners (who do all the work, apparently) weren’t prepared to consider that not all their sellers were “happy, happy, happy” with them, and preferred to not deal with me and sort things out.

If my communication with my customers was as bad as Swanky Maison’s owners’ was to me, I wouldn’t be in business anymore. They didn’t answer any of my questions about how they optimised for SEO if none of the text had been changed and why use only 1 search term instead of several? I just got an email that said they had decided to part ways with me and refund me the membership fee. I’m blunt and forthright, but don’t ask me if I’m happy about something if you aren’t prepared for a negative answer!

I think I will do more work on my photos and items and try elsewhere. It’s a shame; the site could be so much better, easier to use & seller friendly etc. if the owners were willing to upgrade the site and allow sellers more usability and improve communication with the makers/designer/sellers who actually are their customers.

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