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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Opening A Shop On Etsy?

I found all my tips I posted throughout time and decided I would put them all in one place to help those seeking some shop advice. Of course not all will apply to you but maybe you'll be able to take something away from it to help :) Go handmade!

1. One of the most effective ways to get customers is having magazine worthy photos. Instead of paying a ton of money trade items with a photographer. A TON of them love getting items for their clients or to use in their photo-shoots. Nothing has skyrocketed my views like when I changed from dark blurry photos to nice crisp ones I got from my photographers. This is by far the best change you can make for your shop.

 1b. However now I am getting better at taking photos myself. I suggest to keep practicing and if you have spare money buy a light box for small items like my hair accessories. Mine only cost 30.00 on amazon so they can be pretty affordable. Here are some of my own shots.

 1c. I am currently slowly building up a photo studio of my own so I will get some photos up soon of those and if you ever need any photos done feel free to contact me. Here are some full body shots without the use of my studio and the cute backdrops I purchased.

1d. Here are some I took with my new photo equipment :D

2. Treat your customers kindly. Even if something arises like usps lost or broke an item you still need to take responsibility for the low packaging. Which brings me to buying insurance on everything that leaves your shop. I learned after having to replace 2 delivery confirmation boxes in the same week that insurance is something customers are willing to pay for. And that way if it does get lost you will still be able to get your money back even if you have to refund your customer before filing a usps claim. Delivery confirmation is not something I suggest because they will not refund you anything if they loose it.

3. If someone writes you don't wait days to write them back. If you see it then you should reply asap. They will appreciate a fast response and it shows that you care about them. Try to check your store each day.

4. Ship your items in unique wrapping that looks nice. Customers really love nice packaging. It also doesnt hurt to show what it comes in by using one of your 5 photo slots for a packaging photo.

5. Open a facebook group or page and put the link to it in note to buyer letting them know you post occasional coupons on your wall or updates etc. It is really nice too when customers want to share their excitement with you by tagging your facebook group with a photo of their new item they bought. I have had moms post photos of their babies in their shoes and tag me :)

6. Use all of your tags. No one can find you as easily or as often if you don't use them all. Use all 5 photos with different angles of you items etc. And make sure you write a detailed description. Some people don't read them but I know more do than dont.

7. Set a policy page up and tell them to please check your policies if they have any questions in the note to buyer. Not many buyers really notice you have a policy page especially if they are new to etsy. So it's a nice thing to share with them.

8. Write to magazines or large blogs (500 or more) about doing a giveaway or see if they are doing features. For instance through facebook I found an add for military spouse magazines home biz highlight and I wrote to them and they gave my shop an entire page in the march 2011 issue. So go for it and look for ways to contact magazines.

9. Have at least 2 pages of items in your shop. The more items you have the more chances you'll be seen. And a lot of customers like to buy more than one item from the same shop once you have enough inventory. I would say 30% of buyers buy more than one item on average from me. Of course this can vary depending on the items for sale. I personally like a good shipping deal.

10. Don't get discouraged of you are not making sales and are new. It took me a year and a half before word got around and I started having constant sales. Just keep looking for ways to improve your shop while you wait and read all the tips you can. There is a lot of insight to be found in the forums.

11. Don't count on etsy to advertise for you. There are a lot of sellers on here and a chance of being on the fp or in etsy finds is pretty slim. I have only been an alternate to the fp once and I am still successful. So don't let it get you down. Just think of it as the lottery. Although join a few treasury teams for a better chance to be featured. The more you are in the better your chance. But don't fret if it just doesn't happen. Don't count on anything that isn't a sure thing.

12. Ask you friends if they can give some business cards out to people they know. Friends and family are a great way to get the word out.

13. Ship items out within 3 days if you can. Customers LOVE fast shipping. And they will write about it in your feedback. And trust me when I say customers will read your feedback prior to purchasing.

14. For tags put in colors. A lot of searching is from color tags.

15. Start a blog and/or facebook page. Don't promote yourself over and over but try promoting other things along with yourself. Don't be spammy or people will not follow it. I write about things I find here on etsy and also share new things I purchase etc. Blogs are nice because you can write about something you love and those who follow it will share the same taste as you and if you put an etsy mini on it they'll more than likely check it out :)


I see so often a seller not gaining views and sales and then ask the reason why. 99% of the time this is asked I go in and peek at their shop to see one big no no... Bad photos. Photos are really the key for your store. Yes there are many other factors like finding the right price, descriptions etc. But in order to get buyers into your store you need to coax them with crisp and professional photos. The first thing anyone will look at is the photo.

With that said this is what photos say to me when I am shopping.

Dark photos: Dirty is associated with a dark lighting. This is probably not true but that is my automatic response to them.

Blurry: Not a quality product so the blur is to make you not see the imperfections.

Dark or colored background: Sometimes colored backgrounds really work but you need to be careful, most products are going to be awesome on a white backdrop in natural lighting.

Mannequin: They are just kind of put offish I would rather see items on an actual model because it gives a sense of what it might look like on me. However I wouldn't want to buy something like earrings that was worn by someone else. So with my items I write that the actual item in the photo is not the one my customers are buying and that theirs are brand new and never worn. There is also some dispute over mannequin use and it can come down to personal preference but to me items looks more versatile on real people.

Not so great looking models: Items wont look good to a buyer if your models don't look good in them. Don't use a hand model who has flaky skin etc. This is why all models in magazines and such are never drab looking.

Now trust me I used to have HORRIBLE photos and you can actually see them from when I first started selling. I had the whole colored background with bad lighting going on. And once I changed my stores photos my sales went crazy. So I hope this helps my fellow etsians!


MaryN said...

Thank you so much for compiling all these tips into one post! Terrific!

Great meeting you through the Etsy Blog Team. :)
I am following your blog now, too!
Mary C. Nasser

Sarah said...

These are seriously great tips! I wish that I'd found a post like this when I first started as an Etsy seller. You're right, customer service is huge. When I communicate with a seller who is rude to me I remember, and I won't buy from them again. On the other hand, if a shop owner is personable and helpful it is a surefire way to ensure that I'll be back as a repeat customer!

Stephani said...

Thank you very much for posting these tips-very helpful! The tag tip was especially helpful for me.

Reeja Roo said...

These are great tips. I might have to book mark this for reference.

On another note, did you lose any posts or anything in the big blogger debacle today? I lost posts, comments and all but one of my followers. :(