Sunday, January 25, 2015

Starting out on Etsy

My Etsy store within the first few months of opening
It has now been almost two years since I started my Etsy shop in Feb 2013.  There have been quite a few changes since that time. And a lot of lessons learned (some easier than others).  Recently I've spent some time reviewing all the things I have learned in the past two years, and have decided to share some of them here for any prospective Etsy shop owners.

Etsy makes it pretty easy to start up a shop, but it can be a tricky path from listing your first 8 items to becoming a successful shop owner.  The best place to find helpful advice is in the various listings of the Seller's Handbook.  The start up of your shop can be a lot of trial ad error so remember that it is all a learning process. No one expects you to get it all right the first time around. I have included a few basic tips on getting your listings up and running.

Photography is key. With online shoppers the first thing that will catch their eyes will be your photos.  You don't have to start out as an expert photographer but there are some good rules to keep in mind.  Use up all 5 of the photo slots available.  It may be difficult at first but this gives you the opportunity to show off your product to potential customers.   Try to keep a similar theme between your 5 photos, and even between the photos of other products you have listed.  Play around with your photography and try including things to show the size, or potential use for your items.  You can even include photos of the item being made or finished packaging.  This helps potential customers get a peak into your creative process and imagine the item that they will be receiving.

Another very important aspect is writing.  What you put down for product titles, descriptions and tags have a huge impact on drawing in your potential customers.  I have found this is a constantly evolving process and may take some tinkering to get the combination just right.  
The descriptors you use in your titles and tags will go a long way with helping to get your items noticed.  Product titles should describe what you are selling in a few, detailed phrases.  The title should be clear about what you are selling.  It is helpful to lead with the most important keywords of your product in the title.  When reviewing your item try to think like a buyer.  What terms would you be searching for to ultimately find your product?

Item descriptions can be a little harder.  Take some time to review your product and think of any questions a customer will have.  Always lead with the most important information first.  Remember, this is the opportunity to answer any questions your customer may have so be sure to include important information such as sizing, materials used, and what the item is intended for.  The most important thing is to be yourself and write in your own voice.  This is a chance to interact with your customers and a little personality in your listings will go a long way.  Lastly be sure to review your description before publishing.  You want to make sure that your sentences are concise and there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

An update screenshot of my Etsy shop, Jan 2015
Coming up with 13 tags can seem like a daunting task at first.  A helpful way to start is by asking yourself a few key questions about your product.  What is it?  Who or what is your product made for?  What materials or colours does it come in?  I find it very helpful to make a mind map and write down any descriptors of my items that I can think of.  Remember that you can use phrases in your tags as well.  Take some time every couple of months to review your tags.  It is important to pay attention to you shop stats for not only the tags that are regularly used, but also to what is not being searched for.  I have found it very helpful to look at other items on Etsy that are similar to what I have listed, and what tags have been used.

I'm always happy to talk shop about my knitting or about Etsy so if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.  Or maybe I've inspired you to start up an Etsy store of your own.  If so, click this link to open up a store with 40 free listings.  Thanks for reading!

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