I’ve been selling on Etsy now for over 6 years – and I have to say – that time FLEW by!
But – after now just reaching the 1200 sale mark on the handmade marketplace, what are the lessons I’ve learned and what can you apply to your own store to grow your business and increase sales on Etsy?
The first lesson? It’s not easy. Gone are the days where you could just list your handmde items and expect them to sell. There are estimated to be around 2 million sellers on Etsy and some categories are extremely crowded, e.g jewelry. Having a successful store on Etsy takes work, and that work is an ongoing thing – Etsy constantly changes its systems and you will need to keep up with those changes. So, if you’re not prepared to work, learn and consistently make an effort, Etsy is not your thing.
But, assuming you’re not afraid to try and figure it out – let’s get into some specific tips to help you either establish or grow your Etsy business.
There is an order to how things are best done, and this should be your priority list when trying to increase sales on Etsy.
Firstly, people need to FIND your item, then they need to CLICK on it, then they need to PURCHASE – what goes into each of these aspects? If your items aren’t appearing when a customer searches, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is, no-one is ever going to see it, so let’s start there – Etsy Search.
Etsy Search Tips – How To Get Your Handmade Products To Show Up in Search Results on Etsy
There are quite a few factors Etsy considers in its algorithm when deciding what to show when customers search for items. If you’re listing a brand new item, you should be concentrating on what’s known as “Titles” and “Tags“. Your Etsy “Title” is the 140 characters that you can use to describe your item and this comprises a combination of “keywords” – which are short 2-5 word phrases to describe your item. The “Tags” component are at the bottom of your listing and are again, keyword combinations, but are limited to 20 characters, so you will have to split your longer 5 word keyword phrases into smaller chunks of 1-2-3 word combinations.
E.g. ” vintage brown leather purse for women” could be split into “vintage”, “brown leather”, “purse for women” in tags to ensure the algorithm sees your item. It will still depend on how many other “vintage brown leather purse for women” items are listed on the platform of course.
Etsy also considers attributes (colour, occasion, holiday, category etc) and it will also look at the sales history of your item. Items Etsy deems ‘popular’ (because lots of people have bought them) will show higher in search rankings, so it will always help you out if you are able to make items that are reproducible.
Etsy is also really helpful – and provides a guide for sellers to optimize their listings for Etsy Search.
Photos, Photos, Photos!!
So – your items are now showing up in Etsy search, what next? What determines whether someone will click on your item? After all, if you’re trying to increase sales on Etsy, you need people to visit your listings, not just scroll past.
Pictures – in an online store, your customer doesn’t have the ability to handle your item, so you need to give them the next best thing – great pictures showing your creation from all angles.
Your photos need to be clear, uncluttered, bright and most importantly – in focus! Nothing says ‘hobby seller’ like poorly composed, dark, blurry photos.
The image above is one of my photos. Over the years, I’ve discovered that the best way to show my products is to highlight their main feature – the colour! By keeping the background neutral, it allows the colour of the pendant to be front and centre, without distractions. The stick helps prop the pendant up so that I can get photos from multiple angles, as well as adding a little interest to the picture.
To start out you don’t even need to worry too much about styling your pictures, just use an clean background – you can even buy fake ‘wood’ printed backdrops that look great.
You have 10 picture spots available on Etsy, use as many of them as you can. It can be hard sometimes to think of what to fill them all with – take pictures from different angles, show a close up, show a picture of your process, show the packaging the item comes with, as well as any accessories and finally – make sure you take one picture that shows the scale or size of your product so that someone doesn’t come back with a review that they had no idea that your item would be so small or large.
You don’t need a fancy camera – these days, the camera on your smartphone is often good enough. I personally use a Canon DSLR, but, that’s only because I’ve had it for years and like to get some use from it.
Tell The Story of Your Product and Increase Sales!
So – now someone has both found your product through Etsy Search and your picture enticed them to click on it. What now? How do you close the sale on Etsy? You have a limited amount of space and in my experience, and from comments I’ve heard from other sellers over the years, many people don’t read long descriptions, or ‘copy’ as it’s properly known. You should still ensure that you convey to your customer the important details of your item and why they should purchase it.
Try to break up the visual effect of your copy by using some bullet points for the main information, such as dimensions (in inches and millimetres). I also describe my item, how it was made (crib notes version), and why it is perfect for that person! It can also be a good idea to include a couple of links for within Etsy, e.g. since I sell jewelry, matching pendants for the pair of earrings the customer is viewing, other similar colour pendants, and maybe an easy navigation back to the main store.
Remember – your product is handmade and unique, not a mass-produced item from a factory in a far-off land. You are selling an experience as much as a product. You should also include those keywords you chose in your titles and tags scattered throughout your copy. Etsy search does not take into account keywords in copy, but Google does – so, try and ensure that your main keywords are included – it’s extra traffic if Google sends some clicks your way too!
There are so many more details to optimizing your Etsy store and increasing your sales, but, these are the main 3 – put in simple terms – Search, Click, Convert.
What else have I learned? It takes patience! Rome wasn’t built in a day and your Etsy store will not make you an overnight millionaire, but there really are so many amazing resources out there to help you understand how to build your store and your business. Read as much as you can – create a Pinterest Board for all of the great blog posts out there. You can see my Pinterest Board for all the blog posts I’ve found to help grow a small business here!
Etsy is an amazing opportunity – they have a great storefront experience for customers, but also many tools, developed over many years, to help handmade business owners set up a professional store that is easy to manage, including shipping. Compared with other marketplaces on which to sell your handmade creations, there is no better option in my honest opinion. The fees are relatively low (comparable with Amazon Handmade and Ebay) and there are more shoppers looking for unique, handcrafted goods on Etsy than anywhere else.
What else? Promote your store! Use those amazing free social media applications that exist out there and use them to create interest in your products and your handmade business. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are great places to find customers and collaborators!
Good luck! And to get you started – if you use this link, you’ll get 40 free listings to get your handmade store opened on Etsy, and so will I!
This post may contain affiliate links - that is, links that lead to an opportunity for which I may receive a commission, although, it will not cost you anything! Thank you for supporting another small business!