Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hello! Happy Monday everyone!!

I recently received the following article from a friend who had been lucky enough to acquire it from a fellow Mile High Etsy - Colorado team member.

Jesi, www.HipViolet.Etsy.com, was previously in online marketing for a retail store. Jesi was lucky enough to get paid to go to online sales conventions and take classes in how to sell online. She has now put together this wonderful article on tips and tricks for your Etsy store.

SHOP SETUP

1. Banner: Make a banner (or have one made) that has your shop name in it, preferably a picture or two of your products too.

2. Announcement: Make your announcement short and sweet. If you click on your shop and have to SCROLL to see products, your announcement is too long. A quick hello, here is what I have, and any VERY important info should be in your announcement. The rest can go in store policies and/or your profile.

3. Fill in your profile and tell a little about yourself and your crafting. Lots of people want to read about who they are buying from - that’s the fun of Etsy!

4. Store Policies: Etsy has a great tutorial/article about setting your store policies. I also like to check out some of my favorite shops and get ideas from their policies. Make sure to include things like returns and damaged items.

5. Set 3 Featured Items for your site and change them every few days. This is a great way to showcase new items you have in your shop, seasonal items or best sellers.

ITEM LISTINGS

1. Titles should be catchy but not too long, and should include what the product actually is (i.e. “necklace”, “bib”, “pocket diaper”). Many people will find your items by doing a search, and they could potentially have HUNDREDS of items to scroll through. If you are vague in what you have they won’t even click through.

2. Descriptions: Describe your products as if there are no pictures - in my opinion you can’t have TOO MUCH of a description. The big difference between shopping online and at b&m stores is that the customer isn’t able to touch, feel or try on your products over the internet. BUT you can help them get that experience through your descriptions! Make sure you’re adding in the colors, how it feels, who might like it, what you might use it for, and size/measurements.

3. Tags: Tags are probably THE most important feature of Etsy as far as marketing goes. This is THE way customers find you through a search on Etsy, and a way that fellow Etsians find your products to potentially use in a treasury, so use up all 14 slots! I’m not sure of Etsy’s stats, but something like 70% of people who shop on the internet go STRAIGHT to the search. Because of that, you want to make sure your tags are up to par. Use descriptive colors (brick red instead of just red), sizes, and even other words to describe the same thing (i.e. “shirt” “top” “blouse” as an example). Don’t forget to add common misspellings, and if you run out of ideas, your name, your shop name and your location are good fillers.

4. Photos: Photos can and will make or break a sale. Do NOT skimp on your photos! With a little planning and knowing how to use your camera correctly you can take GREAT professional looking photos with ANY kind of camera!

The best product photos are taken in natural light with the flash turned off. A flash lights up a subject but also adds unwanted glare and harsh shadows. Direct sunlight can create the same harsh shadows, so a nice bright room near a window or outside in the shade are two good alternatives.

Always use a non-distracting background - a yard of white or black flannel creates a soft background that doesn’t wrinkle easily and doesn’t reflect light either. Or, make a cheap light box and take pictures anytime - sunlight or not!

If your products are small and/or you need to take close-up pictures of details, use the macro setting on your camera. It is usually the little flower icon.

Again, remember that customers can’t pick up and look inside and around your product from the internet. So help them “see” your product by taking good INFORMATIVE pictures. Fill up all 5 slots with pictures of the entire front, back and close-ups of the workmanship. If applicable also take the inside, open, closed, in-use and “ideas for use” photos too. Artistic photos are great as long as they still show what a customer needs to see.

5. Shipping: Most shipping costs are lower than you think. The best way to figure out shipping is to package up one of your products exactly as you would if it was an order and bring it to the post office. They can usually tell you what the “usual” first-class and priority rates would be. Then add $.50-$1.00 to account for packaging material and time. It also maybe a good idea to look at your competitors and see what they are charging. Depending on how heavy your items are, usually adding one or two more to the order is cheaper yet - check this out again and charge accordingly. Cheap shipping on additional items can equal more sales!

Keep in mind that high shipping can really turn customers off. I have seen many shops that had too high of shipping and had a hard time selling. However, if they reduced their shipping but UPPED their product prices accordingly (i.e. they were still making the same amount of money per sale) they SOLD more! People would rather pay more for a product and less for shipping than the other way around.

Think about offering International Shipping. Many people from different countries (Canada especially) shop on Etsy and are perfectly happy to pay the additional shipping. Again, you may be surprised at how inexpensive it is to ship internationally. Canada is not that much more than US shipments and overseas is only a few dollars more. Of course this is for smaller, lighter items so if you sell heavier or large items it may not be totally worth your while.

6. Item Pricing: This is always tricky! The best thing to do is shop your competition and see how you compare. You don’t want to be too much higher OR lower than your competition, but there is usually a good baseline for what people are charging for similar products. Obviously you want to make enough to cover materials and TIME. Don’t feel bad about charging what you do! We will assume that everyone on here, although they love crafting, are also trying to make some money. It’s hard to get past that sometimes, but make sure you’re also making some money for yourself! Some people like to figure out how many of an item they can make in an hour and figure out an hourly rate for themselves to figure out price.

Sometimes it’s tempting to under price your items to get sales. Although this does work, in the long run you’re short-changing yourself and other Etsians. If everyone charged a fair price it actually makes everyone sell more!

Also, don’t forget to add in “hidden fees” when choosing a price. Etsy charges $.20 to list an item as well as $.20 to renew. Assume you’ll be renewing an item at least once if not more before it sells. Etsy also charges a fee when the product sells, and if you use PayPal to get paid, they also take out your fee. I assume that $1-$2 per product is going towards fees.

Overall you will always have some people who think you charge too much and others who would gladly pay more. Pick the happy medium!

OTHER

Feedback: If you are brand-new to Etsy and have little or no feedback, consider making a few small purchases from other Etsy sellers to get some positive feedback. Many buyers are wary of buying from brand-new sellers especially if they do not have feedback.

Always leave feedback for your buyers. Some sellers like to leave it right away after the buyer has paid and others wait until the product has arrived to make sure the entire transaction goes smoothly.

The nice thing about Etsy is that it is a pretty “open” marketplace. This means that you can rather easily keep tabs on what your competition is up to. You can see recent sales, recent listings, shipping, etc. all on their site. Don’t be afraid to check out what your competitors are up to! I learned some great tricks by trying to figure out why certain sellers were SELLING so much!

PROMOTION

Etsy does not work on the “If you build it, they will come” philosophy. If you take the time to put together a nice Etsy site with all of the above factors, you STILL won’t get many sales unless you PROMOTE!

The easiest way to promote is to renew your items. Renewing them brings them back up to the top of the search and gets it in front of potential customers and/or Treasury curators. There are many philosophies on renewing. Some people with tons of products renew multiple times a day. Others (like myself) like to renew one item once a day - usually an item that has been listed for the longest time.
Another way to promote is to spend some time on the Etsy forums. Not only can you learn a lot from the forums about how Etsy works, fix problems, and get critiques on your products and your store, you and also get SALES! Create an avatar that has a great product picture on it and post away! Do keep in mind that BUYERS as well as sellers post and read the forums so keep it nice!

Creating a blog is another great way to promote your site. Write about what you have been creating lately, other sellers you admire, shows you are planning to sell at, etc. Most blogs can also be tagged and it’s a great way to get traffic to your blog and your site. Create an “Etsy Mini” for your blog that shows your latest items on the sidebar of your blog and allows people to go directly to your shop.

And TRACK your orders, views and hearts! One of the easiest sites to track hearts and views is www.craftcult. com. When you add a new item, renew an item, change pictures, or just want to see how many views you get, it’s the best. Also sign up for Google Analytics. It will give you a TON of information about who is visiting your Etsy site, how they are finding it, what items they are looking at, etc. For marketing purposes it’s essential!
http://www.etsy. com/storque/ etsy-news/ tech-update- etsy-web- analytics- now-available- 3141/
http://www.etsy. com/storque/ etsy-news/ tech-update- etsy-web- analytics- enhancements- 3350/

And last, use every resource you have to get the word out about your shop. Get business cards made (VistaPrint.com is quick and cheap!) and leave them EVERYWHERE! Give them to friends and family. Think about donating some of your items to local charity auctions to get your name out. The possibilities are endless!

HELPFUL LINKS
http://letsets.com/
http://www.etsywiki .com/index. php?title= Main_Page
http://www.etsyhacks.com

I hope you find this helpful!

Have a wonderful day - Nicole!

1 comment:

Deirdre said...

Brilliant Post !!! Thank You for sharing it!