I highly recommend that those who want to start a business selling handmade goods try selling on Etsy. If you aren’t familiar with Etsy, it is an incredible marketplace for artisans selling handmade and vintage products, with millions of active buyers searching for handmade products all day, every day! We currently sell our designs exclusively on our own website, but we spent quite a bit of time selling on Etsy, and learned some great tips for successfully growing a business using the platform. In our first 6 months on Etsy our shop made over 800 sales, and I want to share with you some of my top tips for starting and successfully growing an Etsy shop.
- Treat your Etsy shop like a Business, NOT a hobby: One of the main reasons people shop on Etsy is because they want to buy from a “real” person – handmade seller like you – and not a big box store. They want to see the face behind the product that they are purchasing, but they also want to feel like you are professional and they can trust you with their hard earned money. It is important to be personable in your shop listings and shop announcements, but it is also imperative that you present your business in a professional manner. Someone once told me “If you treat your business like a hobby, you will get paid like a hobby, but if you treat your business like a business, you will get paid like a business”. This quote has stuck with me over the years. Be professional, but also friendly and down to earth, and you will have customers flocking to you.
- Your first sale will be the hardest sale to get, don’t get discouraged: The first sale is always the hardest to make on Etsy, because Etsy shoppers rely greatly on reviews. If your shop doesn’t have any reviews, then it makes it much harder to get potential buyers to trust you. One trick that I used to make over 800 sales on Etsy in my first 6 months is to price my first few listings LOWER than competitors, and offer a free add-on. For example, if your competitors average price for a similar product is $100 then list yours for $90 plus a free upgrade of some sort, (I offered a free wreath hanger with wreath purchase). This is a great incentive to get people to take a leap of faith and purchase your item, and then once you have a few great reviews you can increase your prices or nix the add-on if you would like to.
- Write keyword rich titles and descriptions: Having well thought out keywords in your listing titles and descriptions is what will get your shop found in the search engine. This is what will bring traffic to your shop, and let’s face it, traffic is important. If you don’t have people visiting your shop, you certainly won’t sell anything. Keywords are search terms and phrases that people will put in the search box when they are looking for an item. For example; if you sell wreaths you want to have rich keywords and keyword phrases such as: Front Door Wreath – Wreath for Door – Fall Wreath – Rustic Wreath – Front Door Wreath for Spring, etc… You also want to be sure that you sprinkle these keywords throughout your product description.
- Take great photos: I cannot stress enough how important good photos are for your success on Etsy. When people shop online, it isn’t like shopping in a boutique where they can pick up the item, feel it, and inspect it closely. The only thing your potential buyer has to go by when browsing your Etsy shop, is your product description and your photos. You need to have photos that clearly represent your product and you should be sure to use all of the slots that Etsy allows for photos. Take different angles of your product, and show it in different settings so that shoppers can get an idea of how they could use the product in their own home or setting.
- Have very descriptive product descriptions: Equally as important as great photos, is a great product description. You want to make sure that your description accurately describes your product. Be sure to include measurements, color options, and any type of variations and be friendly and informative in your description. Also, like I mentioned before, add keywords throughout your description in places where it is appropriate.
- Organize your Etsy Shop: Having a visually appealing shop is a great way to get more sales. Have a nice, clean cover photo and profile picture, and be sure to have your “about” section, and shop policies all completely filled out. I also recommend creating categories in your shop so that shoppers can easily locate what they are looking for.
- Make customer service your #1 priority: Great customer service is imperative to your success on Etsy. As I mentioned earlier, shoppers rely heavily on the reviews of other shoppers when considering a purchase, so you want to always strive to go above and beyond to give your customers the best buying experience possible. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to answer an Etsy message at 2:00 am, but do your best to give great customer service and your buyers will in many cases show their appreciation by leaving a stellar review and becoming a repeat customer.
- Don’t worry yourself sick if you get a “bad” review: I know I said earlier that customer service should be your #1 priority, and it should be, but unfortunately you won’t be able to please everyone, so if you have done absolutely everything within your power to give your customer a satisfactory experience and they STILL leave you a negative review, let it go and try not to stress too much over it. I recommend politely responding to the less than stellar review, and let the customer know that you are truly sorry that they are not 100% happy with their purchase and that you would love to make things right for them. This will show other potential buyers that you stand by your product and are willing to make their experience the best it can be.
- List new products often: List new products as often as possible so that your followers and shoppers can have new inventory to choose from. Consistency creates momentum and by listing regularly you are more likely to stay in the forefront of peoples’ minds.
- Write a personal “Thank You” note: I think a personal and hand written “thank you” note is a great way to encourage customers to not only be more inclined to leave a positive review of their purchase, but also to become a repeat customer. I always include a 15% off coupon code for a future purchase.
There you have it, some of the tips and tricks that I personally used to grow our Etsy shop. I hope you find these tips helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions about how I sold over 800 wreaths on Etsy in my first six months!