Curating With an Industry Standard Definition of Terms
“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”
Socrates (470 – 399 B.C.)
Paying attention to site visitors’ remarks and concerns is a powerful way to spot areas needing growth. Another way is to research successful competitors, to better understand their strengths & weaknesses, implementing some of those strengths, as you can. And sometimes, massive growth can come from surprisingly small changes. Like coming to a common understanding of terms, and implementing those across a site. It raises the water, and floats all the boats.
ECommerce is not just a new technology. It is a new frontier, with business practices that are developing unique to the developing arena. The impact on traditional business practices is every bit as revolutionary as was advent of the automobiles and email. To thrive in eCommerce, to actually compete, with all those vying for the same customers, we must employ winning standards. In this industry, that means being really accurate, clear, detailed-but concise, replacing a ‘hands-on’ with a ‘dealer-guided’ examination & description of goods. Any site that falls back on that old warning “Buyer Beware,” making it the Shoppers’ responsibility to suss out every flaw by examination, before purchase, cannot expect to survive, let alone thrive.
If dealers from one site reserve the term “antique” for items 100 years and over (as US Customs law declares), and title, category and description for an item all match, and are clear…. and if even a few dealers, from another site, call anything from 50 yrs on an “antique”… and if a few other dealers, use the term for anything that looks “old-fashioned” (even if the actual age is stated somewhere)……. Which site will have more credibility?
“Even the most honest sellers with the best of intentions can make a mistake on occasion in describing their wares as antiques when they’re not that old. But when sellers use terminology incorrectly, especially when they do it repeatedly, those blunders can very easily undermine their integrity. For that reason alone, it’s a good idea to try to get the facts straight. Identifying an item that is obviously a collectible – something far less than 100 years old – as an antique makes savvy buyers feel like you’re just trying to get one over on them.”
The January 2018 Newsletter highlighted a recent, pivotal buying trend, the preference for Quality over Quantity, regardless of the item’s intrinsic value or genre. The words used to sell an item must be like that as well. When dealers use the best, the truest definitions in the industry to describe inventory, they raise not only the credibility and reputation of their own shop, but the whole site.
“What we mean when we say “curating” on the internet is more like being a really top-notch editor. That is, someone who is good at picking things out of the endless internet ether and organizing them into something else...”
Many of our competitors use various methods to “curate” their sites. Some rewrite all their dealers’ descriptions, some edit all the photos, some have point or demerit systems. But almost ALL of them agree on the importance of agreed upon, ferociously accurate wording for item descriptions.
GoAntiques is determined to be competitive, and determined to help grow sales and the site. But we are also committed to dealers having the leading hand in their own storefronts. So we are offering you more information, more tools, to support you and help you become ever more successful.
Here then, is one of the most important tools we can offer you: a list of Best Practices Industry Standard Terms & Definitions. I used credible, respected sources. I shortened some, and culled others specifically for the Antique, Vintage and Collectibles eCommerce Industry. While people often speak in generalities (especially in the A&V industry) in an eCommerce setting, the more accurate you are, the more credible you are. The more credible you are, the more likely it is that shoppers will turn to you when they purchase.
Please take the time to read this glossary thoroughly, in spite of the knowledge you have accumulated from years in the antique business as this is especially important online.We encourage you to apply it to your descriptions, as needed, to be competitive, to capture customer confidence, and to ‘raise the water’ ever higher on GoAntiques.