By aggregating many small, independent businesses onto one site, Etsy has become a multibillion-dollar marketplace: more than $3 billion in sales took place on Etsy’s platform in 2017.
If done right, an Etsy store allows a small business owner to reach potentially millions of buyers—but not every item or seller is created equal. Sellers should keep in mind some do’s and don’ts that will help them stand out in this increasingly crowded marketplace.
Start with the basics and:
Set specific and attainable goals.
An online enterprise needs a business plan as much as a physical store does. Etsy provides its own guidance for shop owners just getting started. Also consider the time commitment involved in creating and running the store: Is it taking away from manufacturing the goods themselves, and if so, how are you going to restructure your time? Factor in the time and expense involved in shipping, and plan to revisit your sales goals frequently for review.
Beef up your keywords.
Shoppers search Etsy by using specific keywords. For example, if your items are simply labeled “handbags,” you’ll miss out on shoppers searching for the term “purses.” Etsy’s Shop Stats tool offers insights on how your customers reach your site as well as what else they’re searching for; use this tool to help you refine your keywords to reach your ideal customer more effectively.
Think like the customer.
Make sure your online store is well-designed. Just like with a brick-and-mortar store, customers need to be lured in, so pay attention to overall concept, color choices and other design elements.
Ready to open? Be sure to:
Name your shop wisely.
When you create an Etsy shop, you’re basically building an online store. Naming it would seem obvious, but many don’t consider this and just use their own name. A shop name with descriptive words that highlights what you sell can help you stand out. Find more tips for choosing a unique and memorable shop name.
Use photos to put your best foot forward.
Images are everything in the online space, so load up on photos—several for each item you sell, if possible. That said, quantity doesn’t equate to quality, so hone your skills in this area. Don’t be afraid to check out and learn from the competition. Read more guidance on creating high-quality photos.
Make your listings complete, accurate and compelling.
When you put something up for sale, be sure to have an eye-catching listing title as well as a thorough item description. Think of what you’d want to know if you were the shopper. Basics include what it is, how it’s made, what’s unique about it, its dimensions, the price and the cost of shipping. Check out Etsy for Dummies’ suggestions on creating effective listings.
And be sure to avoid these pitfalls:
No one is expecting designer-catalog-level photographs, but practice your skills so items are showcased in a flattering way.
You’re selling, so swing for the fences in terms of highlighting unique features and benefits—and be sure to link similar items so the would-be buyer spends more time in your store.
No social media
If you blog, or are a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram dynamo, connect all the dots and create a trail to your store.
Remember that you don’t have to go at it alone. Etsy has a vibrant and vocal community of sellers, and through networking you can make connections with more seasoned sellers. Take advantage of their expertise and ask questions. Etsy also offers a lot of how-to tips for writing good product descriptions and taking strong photos.