I first started selling on Etsy in 2012 – back when the “if you build it they will come” mentality actually worked… for a little while! I started out selling only printable digital downloads. Since that summer six years ago, Etsy has changed dramatically, along with my customers’ preferences, and my shop offerings.
If you have a shop on Etsy, I’m going to share some of the most common problems that could be seriously limiting your sales! So let’s jump right in.
You don’t have enough products.
Imagine something with me for a moment. You’re walking through a mall and you see a store with a cute sign, bright lights, a smiling salesperson. But, as you look closer you notice they have exactly two purses and one set of earrings for sale inside. How likely do you think you are to walk into that store? Would you rather shop in a store with fully stocked shelves? Of course you would!
The same is true for your Etsy shop. If you have 3, 4, 5 or even 14 items listed your shop will look like that empty boutique. Customers will be wary of shopping with you if you don’t have much to offer, as shopping with a brand new Etsy seller can be seen as a bit of a risk. My standard is to recommend people have at least 25 items in their shop (a full page worth). For many years, the gold standard has been 100 items, but this can be built up over time. To beef up your item count, separate items instead of lumping them all into one listing. Do you have a great mug that you offer in three different sizes? Make three listings (with different photos, tags, and titles). That’s three different ways customers can find your shop, and shows the variety you have to offer right from your shop homepage.
Your photographs don’t pop.
First thing first – flash photography is a no-no for product photos! I’m not a photographer by any means, but my tips for taking great photos are to use natural light coming from an indirect source (such as a bright window with the sun not coming directly through). You can definitely use your phone for photos, and then use a photo editing app to increase brightness and balance your colors. l love the app Snapseed.
I like to reevaluate my photos every once in awhile to make sure they are standing up to the competition. Try searching on Etsy for your items. Notice if they catch your eye when you are scrolling by. If they don’t, notice what types of photos do catch your eye. How you emulate what characteristics you find appealing in those photos?
You don’t have enough reviews.
Social proof is a real thing, my friends. People want to know that other people enjoy you, your shop, and your items. This can be a hard one to overcome if you are just starting out on Etsy – but is true for all of us! Etsy calculates your average review based on the average of your last year’s worth of ratings. So, getting regular positive reviews is important for all of us.
Etsy does send out reminder emails to leave reviews, but make sure that if a customer emails you or sends an Etsy message telling you how much they love their item, you have a ready made response to kindly ask them to leave a review. I like linking to this Etsy Help Article to make it as easy as possible for them. It may seem awkward to ask for reviews at first, but I’ve found that happy customers are more than willing to help you out by leaving a positive review!
People don’t know why they need your products.
This. So much of this. All too often, people will start a shop on Etsy and list their items with brief 1-2 sentence descriptions which are all fact based. How likely are you going to be to buy a painting with the description: “8×10 watercolor painting of landscape, printed on canvas, hanging hardware installed.” Does that inspire you? Do you know anything about why you need this painting hanging on your wall?
Etsy is a unique marketplace. People want to know the story behind your products – so tell them! Tell them what problems the item will solve for them, or how it will enhance their lives. Tell them your inspiration or how you use the item in your everyday life.
For example, with my No-Fuss-Calligraphy Kit, I start my description by telling buyers about my frustrations with learning calligraphy. I let them in on my struggles and how I developed this kit so that they don’t have to wade through that mess. Do the same for your products!
A great way to write an engaging listing description is to think of these questions: Who is buying this? What are they going to use it for? Why do they need it, and what problem does it solve for them? When will they use it and in what setting? How will it change their life?
No one can find you on Etsy!
Etsy SEO is constantly changing, so here are some of my tried and true tips that have kept me getting consistent Etsy traffic for years.
Include your most important key words in the first 5 words of your title. That doesn’t mean the cute name you gave your item, such as “Winter Wonderland Necklace.” It means that you write something that your customers would be searching for such as “blue winter statement necklace.” Use all of the available characters in your title, including as many key words that customers would search for as possible.
Then, in your tags, repeat these same phrases. For the above example, you would definitely want to include “statement necklace” and “blue necklace.” Make sure you use all of your tags – if you don’t you’re just leaving search traffic on the table!
Your branding is non-existent or confusing.
One of the first things I recommend Etsy shop owners invest in is a logo for their business. This doesn’t have to be fancy, and you can even make it yourself. However, you need some form of branding that customers can recognize. Then, search “branding boards” on Pinterest. Find one that matches the feel of your shop (or what you want it to be) and stick with this theme in all imagery you use – such as your shop banner, product photos, and social media posts.
You’re relying on Etsy for traffic.
Etsy search is still my #1 source of traffic to my Etsy shop, but it is not the sole source! Make sure that you are posting on social media, building your email list, and marketing to these audiences.
I do recommend using Etsy Promoted Listings (or ads) as well as the Etsy sponsored Google Ads, as these bring a significant amount of traffic to my shop. Make sure that you are reading about all of the intricacies regarding these resources, as Etsy Promoted Listings can get pretty pricey if you are auto-bidding (more about this in this article on Etsy).
I’d love to know how your Etsy shop is doing – and feel free to share a link below so we can all check it out! What struggles have you faced in getting sales, and have you found any tips along the way?
Until next time,