Common Etsy Forum Topics Answered
For this week’s post I browsed the Etsy forums and answered several questions that popped up again and again.
Why don’t I have any sales?
As a crafter and small business owner, you need to hustle to make sales. Etsy is a tool for you to use to sell your work, but ultimately you alone are responsible for getting out there and making sales. This includes great photography, item descriptions, use of social media and sometimes paid advertising. There are a lot of great articles here on Handmadeology to help you with all of the above.
Why are my views so low?
If you are not already using social media to promote your work, check out sites like Facebook and Twitter. Use social media as a way of introducing yourself to your customers and letting them in on your creative process. Spamming by just posting links to your items is not a great way to cultivate buyers. It may increase views, but views do not always mean sales. Think about your target audience – where do they shop? how old are they? what are their interests? You want views from those people. Paid advertising is a great way to target a specific group who won’t just look at your products, but will buy them!
Is this a slow time for you? Why are views/sales suddenly dropping?
Over the past few years I have experienced many slow downs in sales and drops in views. Sometimes I have sales with little or no views. Sometimes I have lots of views and no sales. Worrying too much about views will drive you nuts. Dramatically changing your shop every time there’s a slow down is not a great way to do business. Keep your vision for your shop consistent. Retail is a roller coaster ride, so when things are going well don’t forget to squirrel away money for the long run. Over time you may notice patterns that develop for when people buy your products, and you can use this information to maximize profit during those times. Hang in there and believe in your vision for your products.
Are my prices too high?
This one is tricky and there are several good articles here about it.
How much is your experience worth?
Pricing Tips for Etsy Sellers
Pricing Your Handmade Jewelry
My tips for pricing are to first of all make a profit. This means that after you include overhead, the cost of materials, and your hourly pay you should have a little bit left over. Keep your prices respectful of your time and others in your field. Slashing prices for the validation of sales can be tempting, but it’s not sustainable over time. If your business makes a profit, it allows you to invest in a long term business plan with paid advertising, upgraded equipment, and maybe even hiring your first employee! If it doesn’t seem reasonable to mark up your prices any higher, do as much as you can to reduce the cost of materials and overhead. Please pay yourself at least minimum wage – you deserve so much more!
How often do you relist? What time of day do you relist?
Relisting is not an exact science. I list 2-4 items a day, and I relist many items right after they sell. I have found that how often you need to relist depends on the size of the category you’re in and what you’re doing off Etsy to promote your items. Some people swear by relisting 10 or 20 times a day. If they are selling enough to pay for the increase in overhead, then that works for them, but it’s not absolutely necessary to relist more than a few items per day. The purpose of relisting is to keep your items high in search results within Etsy. With the dramatic increase in the number of shops on Etsy over the past two years, I’ve focused more on social media to direct traffic to my shop than relisting. As for time of day, if you’ve found you have more sales at a certain time (people on their lunch break, late at night, etc.), this may be a good time to relist.
Compare your image thumbnails to others in your category. The more clickable your main image is, the greater the impact of relisting that item. I relist some items more than others because they attract more attention and draw viewers into my shop. Think of each listing as a tiny door into your store, and make that door stand out as much as possible.
Most importantly, we need to remind ourselves that there is no magic bullet to success. Many of the posts I see in Etsy forums are looking for a quick and easy fix to their lack of sales or views. Sometimes the only reason we don’t sell products is because there aren’t that many people who want to buy them. This is the harsh reality of selling our artwork retail, and it doesn’t mean we need to change our vision to cater to what’s selling. Selling handmade isn’t a great get rich quick scheme, but it is a rewarding way to support our creative habit. There is value in each and every thing we make even if it doesn’t sell.