My first year on Etsy and my Etsy Resolutions for 2016!

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog post. Or pretty much anything other than work work work!! Christmas was CRAZY.  C R A Z Y. There is a Christmas blog post in the works.. watch this space!

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2015 was my first year selling with Etsy. My business started in October 2013 on eBay and I can’t even talk about what happened on that platform without getting frustrated! Regardless, I wasn’t a total newbie when I came to Etsy, I had a catalog of 20 or so products I wanted to start out with. It took me a couple of weeks to slowly add them and write my descriptions.

I had been reluctant to join Etsy but this was ignorance on my part. My feelings were that it wouldn’t be as popular as eBay, that I wouldn’t get as much traffic..that people wouldn’t trust Etsy to buy things through. Boy I was wrong!

Two days after I listed my first lot I made a sale! Still to this day I’m not sure how it happened as at the time I hadn’t even looked into SEO, I don’t think I had any policies and there wasn’t so much a banner in the shop! But that was it, I had the Etsy bug.

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Literally my excited face…

I put my all into my shop. I became obsessed. I researched almost every move I made. I think I read about 10 blog posts on policies alone (and there’s still room for improvement!!) I’d like to share the things that I think are absolutely mandatory for a successful shop!

  1. SEO. Search Engine Optimisation. Pug Life (7)This is the MOST vital thing to your shop and any listing you have. Creating listings that are search engine optimised means that they will be seen. If you’ve been putting off working on your SEO because it seems difficult, trust me, take the leap. You are putting all your hard work into nothing if your items are not being seen. I learned about SEO relatively early so I wouldn’t have stats I could compare to show you, but I know people who have seen their views go up by 10 times as much with good SEO put in place. I have written two blog posts to try and help people understand how to implement SEO (and a lot of great feedback on them!). You can find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.
  2. Photos can be utilised for upselling. Pug Life (8)
    I’m sure you all know by now that photos are your next step to success. Once the buyer can SEE your item, with SEO in place, you want to make your product “clickworthy.” As a buyer I get really put off by poor photos. I think the main two offenders are something distracting in the background or the product being out of focus.  No matter what you search for on Etsy, the first few pages will have nicely photographed products.
    You can buy yourself a cheap photo tent like I use HERE. You can either take photos of your product outside inside the tent or by a window providing a lot of light.  Natural filtered light (through the walls of the tent) is the best you can get for your products. There is no need for lamps or anything fancier to begin with if you can make use of one of these.  Never use the flash on the camera, it will create harsh shadows.
    To photograph your products I would try and afford a digital camera with a macro setting (you can get these under £100) or most recent smartphones will do the job!
    I like to make the most out of the 5 image slots when I can. I have now started upselling with one of the slots! Etsy only allow 2 variation options per listing and only one can have pricing added to it. This means that I can’t charge extra for sterling silver and extra again for personalisation or gift wrap in the same listing. Instead, I now use my 5th slot for this image I created:
    You can add Gift Wrap, InitialCharms and Birthstones to add to your purchase in the-Gift Wrap and Add Ons- section of the shop..jpgI have this written in the listing itself as well, but buyers are much more likely to view photos than read the listing itself.
  3. The Small Print. Pug Life (9)
    It would take me a really long time to do a write up on all of these aspects (and I do plan on doing them someday!) but for now, I will leave some links to where I found out how to write up the small print! I have written a post about what to include in a listing description HERE. I learned how to write policies (through experience too!) HERE and shop announcements and titles HERE.
  4. Price Ranges And Creating A Real Shop!Pug Life (10).jpg
    Picture walking into a gift shop. You want to buy your friend a really nice and expensive gift. Something well made and special. You can’t afford to buy one for yourself as well but…oh look! There are all these other little affordable things at the till! You might just treat yourself! Impulse buys are even more common in the internet marketplace.
    Depending on what you sell on Etsy, you will have a price in mind for your products. A lot of shops with higher priced items don’t generate as many sales as the shops selling smaller cheaper things. This can be due to size and shipping costs or just that the shops with more expensive gifts take longer to make and are more unique. Why not create a range of prices and products and capture both sides of the market?
    Part of the Etsy search algorithm is based on a shop’s sales and popularity. If you work at getting a decent sales base behind you you will see your larger items being viewed (and hopefully sold!) more frequently!
    If you can make small, light items with your skillset to keep shipping costs low you will get even more attention from overseas.
    Another point to consider is just “fleshing out” your shop. More products definitely equals more views!
    I had the opposite problem in my store to begin with, my items were too cheap and I’d often get asked for real silver etc. I have now included a higher price option for a higher quality product and it does very well!
  5. Customer Service And Being A BuyerPug Life (11).jpgTry and create a memorable customer service experience. Always be friendly and kind even to difficult buyers and you will generate a repeat customer base. Although it’s true you can’t please everyone.. you can definitely rest easy knowing that you did all you could and they are entitled to their opinion. It can be really hard to do when it feels personal -after all our products are handmade! If a buyer leaves you a negative review and you need to respond then be sure to keep it friendly and apologetic. Be honest with your buyers if you have made a mistake and you can offer compensation by way of apology.
    I recently sent out a discount code to all buyers who didn’t receive their free gift bags with their products (due to my shipment of them arriving late) and out of 98 buyers I have had no complaints and over 10 kind messages thanking me and being okay with it.
    Etsy Karma: Be the buyer you hope to get! If you buy things from another Etsy seller be sure to leave a review to make them smile and spread the word of their awesome products!

 

Okay! Whew! They’re my top 5 most important tips!

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Now for my Etsy 2016 Resolutions and Goals!!

I’ll be writing up little blog posts on how these are progressing throughout the year!

  1. List new products every week. 5 would be nice, 10 would be great!
  2. Try and be ahead of the seasonal items Valentine’s, Holidays etc. I didn’t have any time to list my Christmas products this year!
  3. Focus on Christmas stock. My sales quadrupled in November/December and I don’t want to be so swamped this year. The plan is to make 2 of something every time I get an order and put one into the inventory!
  4. Have a larger presence on Social Media, post to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at least once daily.
  5. Write many more blog posts about progress and helping others to success!
  6. Hire help. From September onwards I’d like to have two members of staff helping me with the Christmas rush! One for the admin of communicating with customers and providing a list of orders for that day and another for the packing and post office job.
  7. Website! I am going to be creating a shop on this blog as well as my Etsy shop.

These are the resolutions I have…so far! What are your resolutions?

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be doing my Christmas experience write up, it’s been a rollercoaster ride! It’ll include advice and learnings from other sellers too!

I wish you all a fantastically successful 2016 and thank you for reading! I’m counting 1500 words!!

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Jennifer xx

 

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