Thursday, April 22, 2010

Etsy Sales- Insight to Success

Spring Owl - Polymer Clay Pendant
Spring Owl - Polymer Clay Pendant
The Etsy forums are packed full of amazing information.  Etsy Forum Rewind brings these buried posts back to life so more people from the community can benefit from the information.  Here is the Original Etsy thread.
Analiese says:
I am happy to say that I have been with Etsy for 4 years and have been able to grow and expand along with them. Even though I was not there from the very start, Etsy was still a much smaller company than it is today. This is probably going to be very long, so get a cup of coffee or a drink, sit back and enjoy…..
I remember when the Treasury first came about and there were only 100 lists available. It was always a fight to see who would get a spot. I also remember being featured in at least 3-4 treasuries a week. Now I am lucky to find a spot in 1-2 a month. That is how much Etsy has grown.
New sellers really need to take this into consideration when opening a shop. It takes much more work, much more creativity and much more muscle than it ever did. I have to work harder than ever to come up with new and exciting products, keep my items up to date and market myself every chance I get.
I also spend a lot of time reading other posts about successful shops. There are so many knowledgeable sellers out there and so many helpful threads for newbies.
First and foremost, search the threads for newbie help. It will take some time and a lot of reading, but every little bit helps.
I started a thread back in 2007 that is still being read today. Click here to see my original thread
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5035509
I did cut and paste some of it below so I can add to my original thoughts and ideas with some new and updated ones.
I still don’t consider myself an expert, as I know I still have a lot to learn, but I do feel I can offer some very helpful advice:
1. BUSINESS CARDS – Promote yourself as much as possible – friends, family, co-workers, whoever. Keep plenty of cards with you and every time the opportunity arises, pass it on.
Great place for low cost business cards and other promotional items:
www.vistaprint.com (I think they are great for just starting out, but I have since gone elsewhere to order my cards) There are also a ton of sellers on Etsy that make beautiful business cards. If it is a cost issue, start out small and then as you can afford it, go with a higher quality business card.
2. LISTING and RENEWING – Add a new item every day or every other day. If you can do more than one a day, that is even better. The way the listings come up to a buyer is new listings first, unless they choose to browse a different way. So, in order to make your shop visible – you should try to add something every day. You can experiment with different times of the day. But, I have found that late afternoon works best for me. Also, I seem to make more sales during the week than on the weekends. It may be different for other sellers, but that seems to be my trend. As for renewing old listing or expired listings, I don’t do it too often. It really all depends on the item and the time of year. I probably renew items about 3-4 times a month. I try not to spend more than a few dollars a month (remember it costs $0.20 every time you renew an item). Now keep in mind that re-listing is different and I will mention that later J If you are good with reading Google Analytics – it is a great tool to see where your traffic is coming from, and when. Again, search the threads for more info.
3. PHOTOGRAPHS and ITEM DESCTIPTIONS – I am sure you have seen this over and over again, but photos can make or break you. It is imperative to have good photos – clear and crisp. Try to invest in a digital camera – if you can. Take several shots and pick the best – take advantage of the 5 slots in your listings. Take close ups and try to use natural light if you can. I am STILL working on my photo taking, and always trying to make them better. Use photo-editing software to help your photos by brightening them and cropping them as close as possible to your product. I use a free software called Photofiltre, but there are several websites and other software out there. Picnik is a great free website for editing photos. You can also search the forums for some great photo taking tips and check out Etsy’s blog for even more tips. I just purchased a daylight lamp, which has helped somewhat with my photos. Also, experiment with backgrounds. I discovered that using different backgrounds actually changed the color of my item, so be careful. I found a neutral gray piece of scrapbook paper that has a subtle pattern. It seems to give my products the truest color. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have great photos!!! Just look at the front page, you always see great photos there J As for item descriptions, be as specific as possible. Try to list dimensions in ft/inches as well as metric measurements for all of our overseas friends. Be clear about the color/size and what it is made of. Also be clear about what it comes with, if anything. Use all of your tags and do not misuse the tags. Do not put “necklace” in a tag if you are selling a bracelet – that is tag abuse and is frowned upon greatly among Etsy folk. It is helpful to put the colors in the tags, a lot of people like to search by color.
4. CUSTOMER SERVICE is KEY – keep in touch with your customers once they make a purchase – let them know you rec’d their order and/or let them know when it has shipped and leave feedback as soon as possible. I try to leave feedback as soon as I have shipped the item. I don’t wait for the customer to leave feedback, because most of the time they won’t. If a customer sends you a convo, asks a question, whatever it may be – get back to them as soon as possible. Packaging is also important – make it look professional. I use a printed invoice and some nice Thank you stickers – or you can slip in a business card with a little note – make it look nice. Some sellers include freebies with each order. I personally do not include freebies unless it is a larger order or a repeat customer. I don’t really have any items that are inexpensive enough to give away with each order. I would like to personally work on my packaging, as I have rec’d some beautiful packages and I am always impressed. Just make sure it is cost effective. Also, have a good return policy, and think about your policy for missing packages, remember the customer is always right J Treat them how you would like to be treated. Make sure to fill out the Policies section in your shop, using clear and precise wording. Also make sure to be specific about your location (city and state and/or country). I cannot tell you how much it frustrates me, and other buyers, to see that blank.
5. SOCIAL NETWORKING – This is new since my last “tips” post. I have a blog, a Facebook Fan page and I am on Twitter. That is basically all I can keep up with at the moment and I don’t even update my blog that often. It is a lot of work, but if you have the time, keep up with it. I know that I have received sales from my Facebook page, it has really helped a lot. Don’t inundate your friends with product updates, I try to keep my friends and fans separate, although some do overlap. I try not to post more than once a day or every other day. Most of the items I post on Facebook are not listed in my shop yet, I market it as a preview. I also have a Newsletter that I try to send out quarterly. There are several websites that offer free Newsletter services – I am currently using Mailchimp.
6. DO YOUR RESEARCH – see what is hot right now – I listed a previous post on Spring Color forecasts – You can go to Pantone.com and see what colors are hot for the spring or fall. See what is in style – see what sells – what the stars are wearing or buying. Look at pricing – there is so much on the Internet – I can spend hours sometimes just doing research. Also research pricing, make sure you are not underpricing or overpricing your items. Do not overcharge for shipping, but make sure you are not losing money as well. It would not hurt to invest in a little scale for your packages. I also purchase all my mailing supplies on-line at wholesale costs – it is a big savings!! Again, several threads available about mailing supplies and the resources on how to find them.
7. WHOLESALE and other inquiries – If you can afford to sell your items wholesale, I suggest doing so. I have had several wholesale orders that worked out great. One of my biggest was for a catalog called “What on Earth”. I had a pendant in there for Halloween – 2 years ago. It was a thrill. This will also require some research on your end. Once again, look into the forums for wholesale help. Don’t lose money by offering wholesale. You need to make sure your pricing on Etsy can withstand a discount if you are going to offer wholesale pricing. Set up the policies ahead of time so you are ready to answer questions. I offer 30% – 35% off my prices for wholesale. I have also had items featured in a couple of magazines, I never say no to a legitimate inquiry for exposure. I even have a pendant featured in Bird Talk magazine right now.
8. MOST IMPORTANTLY – Stay calm, focused and upbeat – Don’t sweat it – you will get sales on ETSY – it is huge right now and growing. Remember the state of the economy – sales are down all around, but it does usually start to pick up this time of year. Just when I think things are slow, I get a few sales. There are always people looking. Keep on track – stick to your guns and don’t give up!!!
Sidewinder - Tear Drop Shaped Polymer Clay Pendant

4 comments:

Snugglebug Blessings said...

Hi Sue,

Thanks so much for this informative info. It is always helpful and keeps my perspective on things. God bless, Cathy

RabbitHollowPrims said...

Your welcome :)

Sarah said...

Wow hon that is wonderful..would you mind posting this in the group threads? Thank you for the wonderful information!!! Hugs, Sarah

RabbitHollowPrims said...

Sure Sarah :)

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