If you've been thinking about selling some of your handmade goods, the online marketplace "Etsy" is a great place to start. You can set up a shop within minutes and the start-up costs are minimal- just 20 cents per listing! Recently, my friend opened an Etsy shop and asked for some advice. Here's what I told her:
1. Choose a store name that makes sense, is memorable, and easy to search. Once you pick a shop name (which is also your username), you can't change it. And before you set your name in stone, make sure to look it up in Etsy's search engine. You might come across another shop that essentially has the same name.
2. Excellent product shots are key. Product shots should be well-composed, clear, and bright. For tips on how to take better product pictures, see my post here.
Pigeon Toe Ceramics and Minx Shop
3. Keep your shop full. At the least, you should have 16 products to start with. This allows people to see your passion on display. Moreover, people love options.
4. Etsy's Search organizes products by most recent listings, so upload new products at least once a week. Some Etsy sellers upload products every day!
5. Use descriptive tags so that sellers can find your products. Etsy allows a total of 14 tags per item; include as many keywords as possible when listing your product.
5gardenias and Essimar
6. Establish clear and concise shop policies to gain the confidence of the customer.
7. Account for all expenses and fees when determining an item's price. In addition to materials and time, marketing and payment fees should also be calculated into the price of a product. Etsy takes 3.5% of the total sale of an item, and Paypal takes a small percentage plus a fixed fee.
8. Encourage customers to shop again by personalizing orders. Add a handwritten note and throw in a small treat for good measure.
Nea and Lisa's Retro Style
9. Share the Etsy love by "hearting" your favorite finds. Hearts are one way that Etsy sellers are connected. The first time I got a heart from a secret admirer, I thought for a moment I was being stalked (when really they are fans that don't make their Favorites public). To keep track of new hearts in your shop, go to craftcult.com.
10. Try to get your product on the front page. It's free marketing! For this to happen, you'll need to be in a treasury that someone else created. If you're following tips 1 - 9, then you'll be in a treasury in no time. Another way to reach out to Etsy sellers is creating your own treasury. Be sure to "convo" each Etsy seller to let them know about your treasury!
Although it can be a thrill to run your own online shop, know that it takes time to network and build a customer base. In the first few months, you may only get a handful of sales. Don't lose heart. Be diligent and continue to fine tune your shop and your products.