Etsy Shop: Year One LessonsSaturday, May 04, 2013
It’s been a little over a year since I started selling greeting cards in my Etsy shop. Occasionally I receive messages on Etsy from individuals asking for tips on how to improve their shops/approach/products, so I thought I would make note of all my tips here!
In January 2012 I had just quit my full time job to move with my husband to Alabama where he would begin flight school. At the time, I was reading different blogs & somehow I stumbled upon a blog whose writer had an Etsy shop where she sold greeting cards. I thought it looked fun, so I wanted to give it a try. We had about three weeks between when I quit my job and when we arrived in Alabama. Within those three weeks there was a lot of time where we were driving. Thanks to modern technology and my husband’s INCREDIBLE smarts, I was able to use his iPad to access the internet and read the “Quit Your Day Job” series on Etsy while we were on the road. I also went on the forums and read all the advice posted for new shop owners. Once we were in Alabama, I opened up shop and started making cards and adding them all to my shop until I had about 70 listings. Within a month of I made my first sale! Since then, I’ve continued to work on my shop and my sales have steadily increased.
Here are my biggest tips to anyone who is wanting to open an Etsy shop or improve theirs:
1.) Do your research.
Read the “Quit Your Day Job” series (http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/tags/quit-your-day-job/). You will read stories about people who ACTUALLY quit their day job to devote themselves to their Etsy shop. If anyone knows how to run an Etsy shop, it would be these people.
Also, read the “Seller Handbook” (http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2012/the-seller-handbook/). This has all of the information that you will want to know before opening your shop. It will mention some of the things I’m talking about.
2.) Make your pictures appealing.
View your pictures as if you were a prospective buyer - is the lighting good? Are there enough viewpoints? Is the color accurate? It depends on the product, but one thing we can agree on is that people like clean (no background distractions) bright pictures with vibrant colors.
3.) Use all of your tags, choose keywords wisely and use them in your title/description.
4.) Utilize your profile, Profile page and Policies.
People like to know who they’re buying from and if you have any policies. They want to feel safe and know what will happen should they receive a damaged item, or if they have to cancel their order. There is also the option to make an "About" page. I just recently made my "About" page (not pictured).
5.) Consider offering Custom orders
If you sell vintage, this isn’t for you. However, if you sell handmade, I suggest that you offer custom orders. For whatever reason, people love the option to expand upon an order and request that something special be added to their order. You have the option to add a "Request custom item" link under the shop info section, which will enable customers to message you.
6.) Use the forums and ask for advice.
Many people are always asking how to improve their shop, how to get more sales, how to stand out from the crowd. Although your shop may not sell the same things as the person who asked the question, the advice is typically the same for everyone, so read all of it!
7.) ENJOY your Etsy shop.
For those who have an Etsy shop, you know about Stats and the ability to see how many people are looking at your shop, what keywords people are using to find your shop, what they're looking at and what items they favorite. Quite frankly, you can drive yourself CRAZY looking at the stats repeatedly and trying to see what works for your shop. WHO CARES how many views my shop gets compared to everyone else's. As long as I'm getting sales, I'm happy.
Once you get enough items into your shop to make regular sales, your shop virtually runs itself. Have fun, be creative and don't get discouraged if your shop doesn't take off the day you open up. It's all part of the process. Just be happy that something like Etsy exists and we have the opportunity to run our own business this way. :)