Your Etsy Shop
Tips for Selling Crafts Online at Etsy
Opening your own Etsy shop can be a simple, cost effective option for selling crafts online. These 11 tips will get you started selling crafts online in your Etsy shop.
If you haven't discovered it already, Etsy is a site for buying and selling all kinds of handmade products. The site, which was launched in 2005, is relatively new, but it's growing by leaps and bounds and has developed a positive image in the crafting community.
At 20 cents U.S. per listing and 3.5% commission for each sold item, Etsy's selling fees are extremely reasonable. They compare very favorably with other popular third party sales sites.
With the exception of the vintage and craft supplies categories, everything for sale in Etsy shops is handmade. That focus provides sellers with a targeted group of customers who appreciate the value of handmade work. On Etsy, you won't be competing with people selling mass produced items priced to sell high volumes at slim profit margins.
11 Tips for Selling Crafts in Your Etsy Shop
- Look Professional
Ensure your Etsy shop looks professional. The more items you can post in your store, the more you will appear to be established and professional, and that helps to build customers' trust in you. Include an attractive banner that reflects the image of your products and an attention grabbing shop announcement.
- Use Great Photos
Great photos of your products are an absolute must for a successful Etsy shop. The disadvantage of online sales and shopping is that customers can't hold and touch items online. The best way to communicate the quality, function, look and feel of a product online is with several clear and attractive photos.
Etsy gives you 5 photos at no extra charge for each listing in your shop. Use them all. Even if your item is simple, show the front and back, different angles, or close ups that show a beautiful detail or the quality of your work.
Etsy also allows you to feature 3 items in your shop. Use that function to put photos of your most impressive, attention grabbing pieces at the top of your store to create a dramatic, positive first impression for customers.
- Price Strategically
Statistics based on random samples of daily sales on Etsy show that the average price of individual items sold in Etsy shops is $10.00 to $15.00. I'm no fan of competing on price when selling handmade items, but it will be important to check out the price points of your competitors so you know how your prices compare. Don't under-price your items, but do be strategic about pricing. If your items fall into a higher price range, market the exclusivity, luxury, high quality materials and craftsmanship of your pieces, don't short-sell yourself.
- Be Smart About Your Shipping Fees
Ensure your shipping fees, including international shipping are not higher than the shipping fees that your competitors are charging. Shipping fees can be a huge make or break issue for customers when it comes to online sales, so it's essential to be strategic about the fees you charge for shipping.
Shipping fees should be clearly stated in your Etsy shop. If a potential customer can't find your shipping fees, they likely won't ask, and you'll lose the sale.
- Add a Profile
Be sure to add some information about yourself and your work to your profile page. Successfully selling crafts online requires building trust with your customers. When you tell your customers a little bit about yourself and the process you use to make your items, you are building that trust relationship.
- Write Thorough Descriptions
Take the time to write very thorough descriptions of each of your pieces. Think like a customer. What do they need to know before they commit to buying your item? What are your store policies? Try to anticipate and answer every question a customer might have.
- Post Items Frequently
Items on Etsy are listed with the most recently posted items first. You'll get better exposure for your Etsy shop if you list items on a regular basis rather than posting all of your items at once. Unfortunately this strategy can be time consuming. It would be a lot easier to post several of your items at once. However, it is valid strategy for getting better exposure, and it's a reality of selling crafts on third party sites.
- Make it Easy for Customers to Find You
Explore Etsy's categories to determine the one that is the best fit for your crafts. When you post items, you will assign tags, which are like keywords, to describe your items. These tags are the words that help customers find your items. Use all of your tags and use them well.
Try to think like a customer to determine what words they might use when they're looking for your items. For example, if you are selling a small blue and orange crocheted purse with fringe and flowers, you might use tags such as crocheted, purse, bag, handbag, tote, blue, orange, casual, fringe, small, medium, flower, wool. Don't limit yourself to the first two of three words that come to mind. These tags help you get customers to your shop.
- Define Your Own Unique Look
Don't worry about appealing to everyone's tastes by designing a little bit of everything. It's important to define your own unique look and then market to that specific customer. In general, Etsy tends towards less traditional craft and has a more youthful style. Whether your style is retro, punk, traditional, or whimsical, decide who you are creatively and make every marketing decision based on that image.
- Promote Your Etsy Shop
It's not enough to create your Etsy shop and then wait for customers to come along. Use good self promotion strategies like networking and distributing business cards to promote your Etsy shop offline.
Online, you can include your Etsy URL in your signature when you post in forums (Remember to add valid content to a forum discussion. People sense blatant self promotion pretty quickly, and they don't respond well to it). You may also exchange links with quality sites that are related, but not direct competitors. Include your URL in your email signature to put the link in front of potential customers. Or try sending out a regular newsletter to past customers to remind them of your shop and let them know about new products.
- Understand Your Customers' Experience
When you first set up your Etsy shop, it's wise to buy something from yourself so you can experience the purchasing process from the customers' point of view. This exercise will help you to find and work out any issues that may not be noticeable from the seller's point of view and assist customers if they have any questions about the purchasing process.
Like everything else in life that's worthwhile, building a successful Etsy shop requires an investment of your time. Apply these strategies to selling crafts in your Etsy shop and you'll be well on your way to establishing an online presence for your craft business.
Jewelry artist and career counselor, Lisa McGrimmon publishes Inspiri Art and Craft, an online guide to building a successful home craft business. For more home craft business success tips check out inspiri-art-and-craft.com.
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