Thursday, July 26, 2012

Etsy Things I Learned Along the Way

Our Etsy shop has been open just over a year...oh how time flies!  My mom and I were inspired to open our shop after I had my daughter Peyton.  We were constantly making new things for her and wanted to share these special handmade things with the world.  So we got online, opened our shop, and started listing our items.  We thought at first that people would just...come.  I mean we've all seen the movie right?  

"If you build it, they will come"   

Apparently, not so much the case for your Etsy shop.  Your customers don't just magically appear coming out of the corn fields.

Over the past year we have made made mistakes, we have had successes, but most importantly we have learned A LOT!!  So I wanted to share with you some of the things that we have learned throughout our journey.  Maybe you will find something to try and help you be more successful!  

1. Photos, Photos, Photos
We are continuously looking at our photos and trying to make them better.  This has been one of the most challenging things for us since we are not really photographers.  It is so important for your photos to be clear, bright, and sharp.  Since our customers can't touch and feel our products, we have to show them how great they are with our photography.  We have found that a white background displays our products the best.  However, it has taken a lot of work to find the right white background to use.  And we still have lots of work to do.

Here is a photo from when we first started:

As you can see, the picture is not very bright and it has a definite red tone.  Not some of our best work.  We built a light box for ourselves and bought some lights to use for it.  And this is how most of our pictures turned out.  We had to do a lot of touch up afterwards on the computer.

A more recent photo:

This is definitely a much brighter photo.  We are now trying to use more natural light when snapping pictures of our product.  This picture was taken near a window and the skirt is just laying on a .69 cent piece of poster board.  I laid the skirt down on the poster board and then kneeled on a chair to shoot from above.  The poster board background gives of much better white that the light box had for us.  And with the natural light I barely had to do any touch ups on the computer at all.  

2. Consistently Listing New Items
This is so important!  When we first opened our shop, we were working furiously to list items so that our customers had plenty to choose from.  Then we reached 50-60 items in our shop and slowed down a bit.  Our daytime jobs and other things caught up with us and we weren't listing things as consistently.  There was a definite change in how many views we were getting and the amount of sales we were making.  Then summer got here and I had a lot more time on my hands since I am a teacher.  I have been adding new items to the shop each week and the shop has picked back up again.  It just goes to show that you will get what you put in.  This was a big wake up call and we will have to stick to this schedule even as I prepare to head back into the classroom.

3. Offer a Variety of Choices
Its not just about the amount of items in your shop.  Customers want a variety designs to look at.  I see a change in the amount of views and sells we make on items as we offer more choices.  We are starting to add more skirts and dresses in our shop.  There are more views in these shop sections as we add more of these items to the shop.  We have a lot of choices for onesies and tees and customers tend to browse longer in these sections.  

4. Participate with the Etsy Community
It definitely helps to get involved.  Again, I have had a lot more time this summer to do this and I have seen the benefit.  The different teams on Etsy have a lot of great advice to offer.  You can learn a lot from just getting on the forums and reading.  Its also really helpful to have a place to go and ask a question you have and have so many knowledgable people there to respond.  Participating in things like Etsy teams and treasuries, you also drive more people to your shop.  

5. Descriptions, Tags, and Titles...OH MY!
I am no expert on this topic and still probably need to go back and edit many of my listings.  But I have definitely learned some things along the way.  When thinking about what to write, think like the customer.  Use words that you think they would use to search.  I have also found that it helps to use the same words that are in the title in the first line of your description.  Another tip I have picked up along the way is to make sure that you use phrases in your tags.  Instead of using just one word like "baby" and "onesie"  it is better to use it as a phrase like "baby onesie".  Once I started doing this, I saw a definite increase in the amount of views I was getting on my product.  Before when I would list something new it would take quite a while for it to get its first view.  Now, its a matter of hours before they are viewed for first time.  

These are just some of the things that we have picked up along the way.  We still have a lot to learn and hope that we can continue adding to this list as the years go by!


Michelle Mach said...

Such great tips! I am approaching my one-year anniversary as an Etsy seller and I think we learned many of the same things this past year! In addition to everything you listed, I also learned a lot about packaging, shipping, taxes, custom orders, pricing . . . it boggles the mind! Best of luck in the next year.

Sharon said...

Thank you for sharing all those tips! My daughter and I are also a team on Etsy, both work full time jobs outside the home and face many challenges, but it is good experience for us. We made our own light box too, but the colors were very yellow, so I'll try your white poster board in natural lighting trick. Thanks!

Little Bunny SueSue said...

I'm glad I could help! It is definitely a balancing act! And we are still working on it :)

Natasha said...

Great tips! I had my one year a bit earlier in the year and yes all of these points are valid. I too use a piece of poster board right in my big front bay window. Best photos EVER!

Angela said...

Great tips. I loved seeing how your photos have improved, that is so important! I've had the same issue with trying to list consistently. Right now I only have 20 items but I'm trying to crawl back up as fall approaches!

Curator Violet said...

As a blogger who is always looking for Etsy items to feature, your advice is spot on, particularly about photo quality and descriptions. Off to Stalk your shop!

Holly said...

Congrats on a year at etsy! Great advice. I think it's time I built a lightbox. It just seems so intimidating. Your photos look AMAZING!

Lisa said...

some great advice here. i'm constantly trying to take better pictures and working on tags. love seeing the difference in your photos. i'm off to get some poster board!

Paula {Salad in a Jar} said...

Fun to see how much your photography has improved. Dramatic!

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