Opening an Etsy shop is easy. Now, if you want to make sales, you must set your Etsy shop up for success from the start!
According to Etsy itself, over 61 million new and reactivated shoppers joined Etsy in 2020. And looking at statista.com, you’ll see that there were over 4.3 million active sellers in 2020 alone, which is approximately 2.7 million active sellers more than in the previous year.
Especially during these unusual times, it makes perfect sense to see the demand for online sales increase worldwide. While “staying at home”, shoppers in many countries around the globe have no other option than to turn to technology. And since the internet has no borders, this demand has opened up new opportunities for sellers globally.
Simultaneously, staying at home has also provided us with the time we never had to develop new (and return to old) hobbies. Sadly, many of us have also lost our jobs during a time when it is ever more challenging to find another. In this case, selling products online might be an opportunity to make some additional income, while staying occupied.
Whatever “new seller” category you might fall under, my goal today is to help you set up your Etsy shop. And as intuitive as opening a shop on Etsy might be, I want to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes most new sellers make!
Set your Etsy Shop up for success and avoid the most common mistakes new sellers are making!
1. First things first: take advantage of another seller’s referral and save money on your first 40 listings.
While opening and setting up your shop is free, you’ll have to make a small investment for each new product listed even before making any sales. So why not just opening your shop through a referral link and get 40 listings for free to get you started?
2. Pick a good shop name.
It can be both difficult and stressful to think of the perfect name for a new shop or brand. That name must represent your brand, be unique and… be available!
Yes, shop name availability on Etsy is a tricky topic! Etsy doesn’t allow two shops to ever have the same name. This includes shops that have been closed and are out of service for years. If a name has ever been registered with Etsy, it is impossible for another person to use it again. Even when the original shop no longer exists or has already changed names.
Now, I was also saying that your shop’s name should represent your business. If you have an existing brand, website, or blog, it could be beneficial (for marketing purposes) that your Etsy shop has the same name or it is somehow related. This will help you drive traffic from other channels already in place and ensure that your customers will recognize your brand.
Finally, research the competition. Check existing Etsy shops to avoid having a name that is too similar to another established brand on Etsy. Especially if that other shop is already selling well and works on a similar niche, it can make it harder for customers to find your shop instead.
3. Work on your branding.
For some, this might seem like a silly detail but please, really, work on your branding!! Again, let your shop visitors know and remember you. Create a brand around your shop; be memorable!
Even if you’re not a graphic designer or consider investing in one, grab some tools online to create your logo and a shop banner. Just like you don’t leave your profile picture blank on Social Media platforms, neither should you let your brand go incognito on Etsy!
Look at it from a buyer’s perspective. Would you really trust a business that doesn’t have a brand image? What about coming back again or remembering its name… Would you?
4. Grab a notebook and prepare your “about” materials.
It is good practice for any business to get their “about us” text ready even before launching. And the same works for your Etsy venture! Having each section of your shop filled with information will offer potential buyers a completely different impression of your brand.
Your shop’s home page will look more established and trustworthy from day one!
Start drafting all the content you’ll need for your shop title, about section, announcement, owner’s profile, F.A.Q., and policies so that it is all ready once you go live. While doing so, keep SEO in mind! Yes, of course, I’ll also go a bit deeper into that later on.
5. Define your niche.
A common mistake among newbies is to open up a shop and list all types of different products. Especially if you’re a person with several hobbies or an artist with plenty of talents, it can be tempting to sell your drawings along with your knitted jumpers for example.
But I’d recommend picking one craft and developing it.
Be specific on what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to.
This will not only help you stay cohesive but also make a lot more sense to potential buyers. They’ll visit your shop, immediately understand what it is about, and know what to expect. This kind of connection creates trust and increases your chances of having repeat business.
6. Create cohesive listings with good photography.
I can’t stress enough the importance of good quality product photography. Your item’s picture (at least the first one), is the reason why anybody will click on your product rather than the one at the shop next door. Especially in the online world, good and varied pictures are key to turn viewers into buyers.
Again, put yourself in the client’s shoes. If you’re buying online, you have to trust the brand and the product. Because who wants to go through the hassle of returning or exchanging an item that has been shipped from afar? Deal with waiting times, customs, and who knows what else…
If I buy anything online, I want to be sure that the purchase is final! And to feel that certainty, I need to see the best quality pictures, various product angles, and different ways of placing or wearing those products.
As a seller, your job is to answer as many questions as possible even before a buyer needs to be bothered with asking them. Besides good pictures taken from different angles, show examples of use and answer any potential doubts about your items.
Etsy gives you 10 opportunities to do just that. And I mean 10 picture slots!
And as much as I understand how challenging it can be to fill all of those, try to add as many photos as possible. One good tip is to add images that quickly describe your item, the way to use it or how to get it. Because let’s be honest!… 50% of your visitors will want to see all the photos but not bother reading the product’s description.
7. Market your shop.
Although Etsy is a marketplace that already brings plenty of customers organically, you’ll need to market your shop as well if you want to see the flow going. Once opened, make sure your existing audience knows and favourites it by adding your link to all the platforms you already use.
If you want to go the next level, promote it even more, on Etsy itself, Google, or social media. It is no secret that Pinterest is the best place to help you convert sales. So if you don’t have an account yet, get it started already, and pin your products as often as you can!
8. Add new items regularly.
No one likes to get into an empty store. How do you feel when a shop is silent, has no one else inside, and is only displaying a couple of items for sale? Weird, right? Even if you get in… will you stay? I know I won’t! And the same principle applies online!
You want your shop to look alive, you want to get people intrigued, sticking around to see more, and ultimately buying from you rather than any other seller.
Having one or two products available won’t do the trick. And although the more the marrier, taking off with 10+ products would already feel like a good start.
Besides, the more products you have, the more chances of getting found on Etsy! So make sure you increase your selling potential by adding more items as often as you can.
It is also true that only about 20% of your products will become bestsellers but it will always be worth having more. Think of the rest as leverage to increase your online authority.
9. Study the Etsy Seller Handbook!
A golden tool that many of us don’t bother spending time reading, is the Etsy Seller Handbook. In fact, I am guilty of that too. But after a few months on Etsy, and some serious research around the web, I can’t recommend it enough for new joiners!
They have revealed all the secrets for us and one only needs to want to have a successful Etsy shop. Work hard and it will eventually happen!
10. Play the SEO game.
S.E.O. stands for Search Engine Optimization. And having at least a little understanding of how it works, is essential for anyone trying to build an online presence, regardless of the platform.
Etsy, specifically, is not just any online platform. It is a search engine, just like Google.
People type something on the search bar and Etsy will come up with a bunch of items to match their search query.
For your shop to rank, you need to do your research and optimize it where you can. This means searching for the best short and longtail keywords and using them on your listing titles, descriptions, tags, and product categories.
While I was writing above that many buyers will not bother reading your product’s description, I’d still strongly recommend you to write long descriptions and include as much information as you can possibly think of. Not only this will serve as leverage in case of complaints, but it will help your product (and shop) be found!
If you’re still here, I’d like to wish you luck and success in your new business! Don’t forget to use my referral link to get 40 listings for free and, if you have any questions, drop them in a comment below and I’ll get back to you soon, to the best of my knowledge.
While I understand that everything that has been described might feel like a lot of work and be quite overwhelming to start with, I hope you won’t give up! It does get easier as you get into the rhythm and it will be extremely rewarding once you start to see your Etsy shop making regular sales.
I do admit I also got overwhelmed at some point during my early months of pregnancy and stopped working on my Etsy business for a while. But now that I’ve returned to activity and am allocating the time it deserves, I start to see the flow going.
This being said, my best piece of advice to any Esty newbie, would be to look at your shop as a successful business from the early days and make it a part of your routine.
Don’t just work on it when you have nothing better to do!
Instead, make a deliberate decision as to when you’ll be working on your Etsy shop each day or each week. Once you’ve allocated a certain time slot, treat it as you would your 9h-5h! Let your family know about the times when you’ll be working so that you can have some peace, and do nothing else during that period you’ve allocated.
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