$1 Billion worth of goods!
That’s how much sellers on Etsy were able sell in 2013, according to Bloomberg.
This is an internet marketplace, a venue for selling handmade goods that have tremendously helped a lot of sellers.
There are innovative businessmen and businesswomen who have given up their full time jobs to go full time to open their own Etsy “store”.
There are quite a number of people who assume that selling on Etsy or similar sites is an easy feat. But they change their minds once they have listed their goods, and start realizing that they aren’t selling anything just yet.
If you are thinking about becoming a seller, or are already one but aren’t having much success, here are some tips on how to successfully start and maintain an Etsy business that makes you money.
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What will I learn?
1. Find Your Niche, Offer a Unique Product
The Brooklyn-based company has almost 1 million active sellers, and that number is growing daily.
Given the large number of goods that buyers can select from, its critical that the good is made well, and most of all, different. Regardless of what a seller wants to market, a seller will need his or her product to be noticed from the whole bunch.
The good should have special qualities or characteristics.
That “special quality” can either be the design ( i.e. unique size or color combination), made from unique or strong materials ( i.e. special fabric for purses), or unusual skill ( i.e. can you perform something extremely well that others can’t).
Take note though, that being unique doesn’t mean that you set the price of your goods cheaper compared to others. A well-priced product will always be a welcomed addition for your buyers, but do not make it your goal to set the price of what you’re selling to be exceptionally low.
2, Your Shop Should Look Really Professional
Personally, I’m amused at how many of these Etsy sellers own shops that do not exactly project the professional look. There are those with listings that have errors in both spelling and information.
Remember, that your shop should look professional, otherwise only a couple of buyers will patronize your goods.
On the other hand, a professional looking shop will attract more customers since you project the image of being a seller who is trustworthy and at the same time knowledgeable in your endeavor. Clients will be more attracted to buy from a shop that projects that kind of image.
3. The Photos Should be in Focus
Comparable to any online site, buyers of Etsy are basically buying goods which they haven’t seen. These clients will give cash for an item which they haven’t event tried on, touched or even smelled. This means that the photos and product descriptions should be accurate.
Ensure that the photos uploaded are nice and spot-on.
Some thousands of Etsy sellers have actually used pictures that have their products out of focus or photos that leave clients guessing on what the item is. Remember that no sane client will buy anything when they can’t see the product well.
Spend some time learning how to take proper pictures. This in itself will let you sell more.
4. Have that Knack for Listing
The way you list your goods should be strategic too such as how these items are listed and the number of merchandise you have at your “shop” at a particular time.
For example, when listing a merchandise, you can link it with 14 search ‘tags’ which makes the good more searchable for potential clients.
Ensure that the tags are relevant to the good you’re selling.
If you attempt to use a big mark-up, then expect to get not-so-good-results. But when you specify carefully and be very descriptive, then you’ll fare better.
Instead of naming your merchandise, like referring to your hand crafted piece of jewelry “Amanda’s Ring”, why not try describing what the good is for a change?
Put yourself in the shoes of the shoppers–how do they search for a particular product? There are actually plenty of fabulous finds in the site but are not found by clients because of how the sellers named these goods.
5. Add at Least One Item Daily
Be sure to add a new item every day. Remember, that listing of goods in the site happens so fast, and if you fail to add new products every day, then you will see that in the next few days the product you have listed would already be in the page 200 of search results.
This means that no buyer would find your store. But if you add or re-list at least an item daily, then you will see that your shop remains close to the top when you do the search.
6. Re-list Items Frequently
In cases when a seller doesn’t have much items to list everyday, then be sure to re-list a merchandise from your shop at a minimum of 2-3 times per week. It may at first seem that you’re shelling out a lot of cash on listing your merchandise, but its really worth it. I
n my case, I’ve seen that I would close a new sale almost every time when I re-listed a product, unlike those months when I barely listed or re-listed an item and barely made any sale.
Re-listing allows your shop to be at the upper part of the ‘Search’ feature and as a result those buyers who are searching for a product will notice your merchandise.
7. Cater to Buyers Outside the US
A lot of Sellers on refuse to sell to clients living outside the US. This is a narrow minded approach of doing business.
Pay attention to the fact that those who sell most are those who are willing to sell to anyone within the globe.
Notice that Etsy often relate that more 40% of the sites sale are coming from clients living outside the US. Thus, when a seller limits selling within the US then that would be like slashing your sales by almost 50%.
Don’t be afraid to ship items outside the US since it isn’t that hard to do so. You can track the package anyway when you ship them via registered mail which cuts the likelihood that your package will be lost.
Personally, I have always sold to anyone who wish to purchase regardless of their location. In fact more than 50% of my buyers are those who are based outside the US.
8. Don’t Waste Money on Upgrades
Etsy gives you a few upgrade options where your listings get preferential placing in exchange for a fee.
Most sellers I have talked to say that this has no effect on their sales. So, I would not waste money on these upgrades.
The question that’s most often asked from sellers who are new to Etsy is:
“ How much should the asking price be?”
This question can be quite complicated to answer because if you price products too low, buyers might doubt the quality of the good, and if you ask for a high price then you might be perceived as a seller who’s plainly dreaming.
In the beginning, I think the best way is to calculate your own cost, then add a few percent on top of that and price your items based on that. As you become successful and more and more buyers start to come in, you can increase your prices slowly.
How to Calculate Your Cost
Pricing handmade jewelery or whatever it is you are selling, can be tricky, which is why you need to take everything into consideration. When you compute for the cost, make sure that you include the following in your computations:
- PayPal or other money-processing fees
- income tax
- sales tax in cases where your buyer comes from your state
- the time it takes for packaging and shipping
- as well as the time spent in gathering the materials for the product.
Personally, I would incorporate the cost of actual shipping container in the shipping fee. But be careful not to exaggerate unnecessarily the shipping fees just include the actual shipping cost plus the price of the container, and nothing else.
A few sellers are doing this to make their items priced low, but you shouldn’t do this practice since your wise buyers might just stop trusting you.
Setting a price for your labor is something that you have to determine personally.
Use these guide questions:
- Do you enjoy creating the items or its more like a task that need to be completed?
- Does it feel like your underestimating yourself?
- What would be your hourly rate for a full time job?
Becoming successful requires that you compensate yourself sufficiently to make you feel that what you’re doing is worthwhile. Or else you might just give up early. Notice how other shops that are offering almost the same products, and study how much their asking prices are and their number of sales.
Etsy has lately taken off the sale price of the products that were already sold. This means you can set prices without being scared that buyers would want the products at the old introductory cost.
I personally think Etsy is where eBay was when it had first gone viral. And that means opportunity!
Opportunity for those who can take this wide open marketplace and carve out a big spot for themselves.
So, get in there while the going is good, because pretty soon, Etsy will be what eBay is today, good for buyers, bad for average sellers.