How to Sell (& Excel) on Etsy
Etsy is a great place to sell handmade, vintage, and crafty products. It is a community of creative small-business owners and shoppers, who all share a love and passion for unique goods. If you don’t have much experience in ecommerce, it might seem complicated or scary to set up shop. Don’t fear — CustomCat is here to help make your business soar with our list of essential Etsy best practices.
Building Your Brand
1) Choose a Creative Store Name and Visuals
Your store name needs to be something that will catch your customer’s eye while also being memorable enough to bring them back again & again. Your Etsy store name can only be changed once, so make sure you select something that you and your customers can easily remember. Along with your store name, be sure to create eye-catching visuals on your store’s home page. Visuals captivate the customer and give depth to your brand image. When people see your banner, you want them to think, “oh, I know that shop. I love their items!”
2) Use Flawless Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words — maybe even a few more if it means it’ll help your products sell. Be sure you’re using clear photos that will make a strong impression with customers and correctly represent your brand’s style. Using bright, natural lighting and varying your angles will help show the details of your products. Avoiding harsh shadows when shooting outside in order to keep the lighting & color tones consistent. Contrary to popular belief, a cloudy day can actually be perfect for photography.
3) Use Quality Backgrounds
When photographing your products, use simple, uncluttered backgrounds to keep the shoppers’ attention focused on the item. Make sure the background is smooth and clean — a background should complement the product without stealing the spotlight. Keeping the backgrounds consistent can help maintain your brand image. An easy & cost-effective option is to purchase a roll of paper or a large piece of fabric to create a backdrop for consistency between all of your listings. Outdoor settings can also be useful if you want to convey an adventurous lifestyle vibe.
4) Write an Excellent Product Description
Product descriptions are a great way to communicate with your customers — this is where you draw them in. Try to develop your own voice. Your listing should feel like a conversation with the buyer. It should be unique, genuine, and include your own personality to give them an idea of who they’re shopping with. Also remember that because customers are buying from you online there is no way they can hold or try your product beforehand. The description should paint a clear picture for the customer and be easy to understand. Keep it short and simple so it doesn’t take up too much time to read. Try using bullet points or condensed paragraphs so the information is easily digestible. And always: before publishing your listing be sure to proofread so you make an impression as a competent & professional seller.
5) Use Correct Titles, Tags, and Categories
Creating a listing is all about using the right titles, tags, and categories to get your business noticed & ranking high. Every listing you publish has a title that appears above the listing image in the customer’s search results and within your store. Use this title to let shoppers know all about your item in just a few words. Another way customers can come across your products is through the tags you use. Etsy matches tags with shoppers’ searches so using accurate and relevant words will improve where and how often your items appear. Finally, when creating a listing, you choose how you would like to categorize your products. Categories are organized by what an item is, instead of what it’s for or what it’s made of. Categories mostly affect how users narrow their search so keep in mind that the category you choose is only part of how customers will find your item.
6) Keep Shipping Price in Mind
Etsy gives your products a priority when you offer free shipping within the US, so these items are more likely to show up towards the top of search results. We’ve all experienced the squashed feeling of excitement when changing your mind about a purchase because the shipping cost is the same as the cost of the item. Customers are more likely to complete an order when the shipping price is cheap or free.
Capitalizing on SEO
7) Target Top Keywords
Keywords are a major part of how potential customers discover your company. When determining what keywords to use, think about what a customer might search if they were looking for your products. Items that are a direct match will appear higher in their search results. Don’t shy away from using long tail keywords. These contain three or more words that closely match your product. Because they are so specific, they are less likely to bring up competition and will help you make more sales. When creating a keyword list, also consider shoppers that might search for a specific occasion such as “anniversary gift”.
8) Use All 13 Tags Wisely
Etsy allows you to add up to 13 tags and you should be utilizing all of them. When creating your product listing, you are required to fill out certain fields such as listing title, description, category, and type. You have the option to add tags, and although it isn’t necessary, it is important to add a wide variety to optimize your listing. When creating tags, think of different ways a customer might describe your product if they were trying to find it. Make sure listings are tagged with accurate and relevant words. Your tags should also be free of plurals and misspelled words.
9) Include Your Location
Making sales on a global level proves there are customers everywhere who are interested in your products. Just make sure you don’t forget about your local shoppers who might give you the opportunity to take your business from just online, to in-person as well. Add your location to your page so customers can find you when they search for local products. Attending events within your own community is also a great way to spread the word about your brand to other sellers and buyers.
10) Link Your Social Media Accounts
Social media pages are a great way to promote your brand for free so be sure to link your social media accounts to your Etsy page and vice versa. A monumental segment of advertising is now done on social media. Whether it’s paid advertising, users sharing a giveaway post, or a good-hearted share to spread the word about a business someone wants to support, social media is an important tool individuals use find new products. Social media will help you develop a relationship with your customers by letting them get to know your brand’s personality. These platforms are also a great place for influencers with a large following to discover your page and fall in love with your brand. Create an incentive for customers to share their purchases on their own social media pages to help get the word out about your business.
11) Link Other Products You Sell
Adding links to your product descriptions is a great way to encourage customers to explore your store further. The longer someone stays on your page, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Links help a customer discover products they might not normally search for. These links also give the customer a chance to understand your products and brand better. For example, if someone stumbles across a sweatshirt you sell, you should include a link in the product description to an embroidered hat that would match perfectly.
Making Yourself Memorable
12) Make Sure Your Profile is Complete
The “About” section is a great chance for customers to get to know more about you and your brand. Upload videos and photos of yourself. Show off what makes you unique. Tell the story of how you came to be. Customers are more likely to buy products from someone they like & relate to.
13) Build a Mailing List
A mailing list contains the emails of customers that have purchased your products. You can use this list to assist customers quickly or receive feedback about your business. It is also a great way for customers to hear about new products or potential promotions.
14) Prioritize Great Customer Service
Etsy wants to ensure their customers have the best possible shopping experience, so their algorithm considers whether you have a positive customer service record in ranking search results. When customers have questions about products or pending orders, it is imperative that you answer quickly. Staying on top of your incoming messages helps the customer feel that they’re valued and makes them more likely to buy your products again. Poor customer service gives your brand a poor image.
15) Do Your Research
Make sure you’re aware of your competition and the prices of products similar to yours. Be aware of how to properly use Etsy’s SEO to capitalize on customer traffic. Perfect your product and take great photos. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about how they would search for products and what would make them select yours.
16) Pay Attention to What Works and What Doesn’t
Don’t just steal what other sellers are doing, but keeping an eye on what works and what doesn’t is a great way to avoid mistakes. If you notice a certain keyword or tag brings in more customers, maybe it’s a good idea to add that to other items you sell. Do research on some of Etsy’s best sellers and reach out to them for advice. Take the time to read different forums on Etsy’s website where other sellers have shared their own problems and how they overcame them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, people love to help.
17) Keep an Eye on the Competition and Stay Relevant
Take the time to browse the competition as if you were a customer. In order to stand out in a massive market like Etsy, you need to make your brand unique. Take advantage of the spaces Etsy gives you to share your story & continue to update it as your story evolves. Keep your page updated with new, fresh pictures. Check in on the competition to make sure you aren’t charging too much. Every couple months or so, do some research on what your competitors are doing and adjust accordingly.
18) Join the Etsy Community
Within the Etsy community, you can network with other sellers and shoppers. Etsy also offers a forum where you can seek advice, share your experiences, or read about the latest updates. It is a great way to help kickstart your business and learn more about how to be successful on Etsy. If you can’t seem to find a group on Etsy that fits your style, try searching for a helpful seller community on Facebook. Joining a team gives you a sense of community and a shoulder to lean on if you run into a situation you’ve never experienced.
19) Start a Blog that Promotes Your Business
Write about what makes your company unique. Share the hardships that got you to where you are today. Explain the process of how each product came to be and how it’s made. Make it personal. Customers love being involved in a story and are more likely to purchase your products if you continue to share that journey.
20) Stay Focused
In the end, our top tip to be successful on Etsy is to work hard and be patient. As much as you want to immediately start making sales, it is going to take some time to get the hang of things. Mistakes are inevitable and help confirm that you are learning and growing. Don’t worry about being the best right away. Great things take time and so does becoming a successful business owner. Don’t let slow times get you down. Stay focused on the end goal and set small milestones along the way. If you are working on creating more products and bettering your business, the sales will come as a result of your consistent hard work and dedication.