As a part of the Women and Handmade Business Series, I wanted to take a moment to talk about successful selling on Etsy. I really can’t speak as an expert on other sites, since Etsy is what I use, but I can share a few things that I’ve learned along the way since opening up shop a couple of years ago. The fundamentals are easy – when you’re interested in setting things up, they walk you right through just by clicking the “sell” link on Etsy. Just be sure that you’ve gone through the process I’ve outlined in this post first. They also include tons of great info in their seller handbook blog – read it, and use it.
The problem comes when you get through all of those steps. Your shop is set up. You sit and look at the screen, and uh… no views? Didn’t I do everything right? Moments tick into hours, and hours tick off into days without your first sale. I know. I was there.
Assuming you’re already working with a great product and great quality, here are a few things you can do to give potential buyers confidence in you as a seller.
1.) Be real. This is an overall statement that encompasses SO much when it comes to running your business. Your seller profile and story are important on Etsy. People that shop there are looking to support honest, genuine makers that have skills they’re using to create income for themselves and their families. Share your story. How you started, your studio space and process, what you’ve learned to get where you are. Be honest. (I’m about to update this myself with my new studio photos!)
2.) Be professional. Stay away from using slang, hashtags or shortened “texting” style words when you’re writing your profile and descriptions. Have a friend you trust read over everything when you’re finished and give you feedback on their impression of your writing. This is super helpful – it can make you see when you may have assumed that your reader knows something, or point out when maybe you’re being flippant or careless.
3.) Take great photos of your items. Great photos catch a customer’s eye. They say not only did you take the time to carefully put something together, but you’ve also taken pains to showcases your item in a way that makes it look as good as you possibly can. I’ll be sharing more on taking GREAT photos for your shop next week. Everything from styling, building backdrops, lighting, etc.
4.) When something sells, renew the listing, DON’T relist it as a new item. Why? Etsy has a great system for bookmarking favorites. If you relist your item as a new one, all of the people that bookmarked your item as a favorite, just see a “sold out” note when they go back through to search for it. Seriously. I have people tell me that they bookmark and add my items to their etsy cart for months to save up for their purchase! If I just “renew” the item when it sells out, they can still see that it’s available, instead of seeing that it’s sold out. It also ensures that when an item is included in a treasury, it stays there, even if you sell one or two. This is super important if you get a front page feature!
5.) Get involved in teams on Etsy. Find one, or two, or a few that are like-minded and like-style to yourself and your shop. Teams are put together to help promote each other’s shops and items, usually through treasury making. The administration at Etsy wants you to form these bonds with others to promote each other in the community. It’s also a great place to ask questions on the boards once you get comfortable – most sellers will give you honest feedback on whether something you’re considering might work – whether it’s a new method of shipping, or a shop sale you’re thinking about promoting.
6.) List at least a page worth of items. For me that’s about 24 items. When you have more options available to customers, it shows you’re serious about selling – another sign you’ll be professional to work with, and trustworthy for a purchase. Having a page of product items listed can also sometimes be a requirement for elite, or very choosy team participation. Those teams require a certain level of professionalism from participants, and because of that, they are very good for promoting your shop. I’ve found that I’m better to commit to a few very strict teams over a bunch of teams with a more relaxed feel. It might seem nice not to have strict requirements, but they tend to not get on their members about participation as much, and all of a sudden, you’re promoting others that aren’t promoting you, when it’s supposed to be an exchange of effort.
7.) Use the “featured listings” function to highlight items in your shop that are trendy, great for the season, or appropriate for an upcoming holiday. For the longest time, I thought that I had to pay to choose these featured items – not so! Choosing to feature listings means that when someone finds your shop, these are are the first four listings underneath your shop banner and welcome message that they’ll see, no matter what the latest listings in your shop are. This is especially important once you are listing more than one page of items, too! I can choose to feature one item of each style that I carry in my shop at all times.
To set featured listings in your shop, after logging in, click on your listings manager (found under the dropdown at the top right under “your shop: name”. The listings manager will automatically pull up all of the active listings that you currently have for sale.
On the far right of each listing, you can choose to click a star – that sets that item as a featured listing. Etsy is set to feature four items, so be sure you highlight at least that many. If you select more, it will give you the option to order them the way you’d like them featured, as one or more sells out.
Once you’ve selected the items in the “currently for sale tab”, you can follow the instructions for putting them in the order you’d like under the “featured” tab. Now when someone clicks through a link to see my shop, or lands there by searching etsy, they immediately see the items that I want to draw their attention to!
Have a great Friday! And feel free to post questions in the comments section of this blog post! I’d love to help you make selling on Etsy a success. And don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series if you’ve found this information helpful at all! Happy selling!