It can feel really overwhelming to think about all the competition on Etsy. You might believe the myth that the platform is saturated and that you missed the boat on starting an Etsy shop. Hold up, sister! (or brother!)
Sure, the number of sellers and shops continue to grow, but so does the number of buyers! In 2017, the number of buyers on Etsy grew to 33 million. That was an increase from 2016’s 28 million. That’s great news for you! As Etsy continues to grow in popularity, the audience of shoppers will as well. It’s actually the perfect time to begin selling and growing your online business. You’ve just got to be intentional in finding a way to stand out.
The key to Etsy success is to first – get found. This means having great SEO and a well developed shop. The second step is to stand out. Buyers will be looking at hundreds, thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of listings and it’s important to make sure your listing is the one they click on.
There is no shortage of competition in some of the most popular categories, so it is super important to devise strategies to stand out. Think like a buyer browsing when deciding how to differentiate your shop, branding, photos, and descriptions.
So, how the heck do you stand out on Etsy?
Your product photos are EVERYTHING. They’re going to draw in the buyer to visit your listing in a sea of search results. We shop with our eyes first.
Clear, quality photography is the key to changing browsers into visitors and eventually buyers. Make sure your product is the focus of the photo. Use natural light for best quality or get familiar using editing software to create the same effect.
Select the best photo to be the first image as this will be what is shown is searches. You can edit the “thumbnail” by zooming in and out on the edit listing screen. Make sure to choose a crop that best complements your item.
You can read more about Etsy shop photography tips for beginners in this post and resources for taking product photos here.
Add Personality to Listing Descriptions
Using keywords in your listing descriptions is important to getting found. Adding personality is important to standing out.
Once a buyer has visited your listing and looked at the photos, they’ll begin reading the description. Naturally, you will want to provide them with the physical information about what they’re buying – the size, color, materials used, etc. Answer any questions a buyer might have including the turnaround time, how to care for the item, and suggested uses.
Along with the information, give the buyers a little something more – explain to them what inspired you to create and what your process looks like. Tell your story! You’re not just selling a product, you’re selling yourself.
Create a Brand
No, your brand is not your logo. Your brand is the overall feeling of your shop and should tell a story about your products. What is the common thread between the items you’re selling?
The items in your Etsy shop should display some sort of cohesion, whether that means creating products in the same category, for the same “ideal client”, or using similar photos to show what you’re selling.
Another way to continue your branding is through packaging. Use shipping materials and branded items to evoke the feeling once your product is delivered. Have an outdoor, Earth-friendly brand selling beanies and scarves? Consider shipping in repurposed boxes and handwriting a thank you note on recycled paper. Sell high end custom jewelry with a sleek feel? Think about packaging your items in a polished, modern box with an info card listing your social media handles.
Your brand (logo, color palette, mission statement, and feeling) should be evident not only within your Etsy shop, but across everything you do. From social media platforms to emails, a buyer should come in contact with your brand at each piece of your business.
My number one secret in getting raving reviews? Providing amazing customer service by under promising and over delivering.
It goes something like this: set your shipping/turnaround times to a little longer than you intend to deliver. Your buyer will notice that you’ve gone above and beyond when they get their item “early”. This also allows for extra buffer time, just in case you have any issues processing or producing an order.
You can also give great service by being attentive, professional, and friendly. Try to answer all messages quickly and use proper grammar and spelling. Address the potential buyer as you would a friend and invite them to ask any further questions. Make them feel comfortable and excited and you’re on your way to making a sale!
So, have you noticed anything as a buyer that made a shop stand out to you on Etsy? Let me know in the comments below!
Your tips are great and should definitely be followed. But once Etsy went public, and decided to allow non-handmade stuff for sale, their focus has been on shareholders, not necessarily the handmade artisans that built the site.
I follow various social media and what I am hearing from many artisans is anger at Etsy for basically strong-arming them to offer free shipping on EVERYTHING (or you don’t show up in search results), and shutting down their shop when they don’t have 100% great customer ratings. One bad rating of 200+ or more reviews can lead to their shop being shut down. And while I am sure there are more buyers, I’m not convinced that that is the same as more buyers for the handmade stuff. I think the bloom is off the Etsy rose.
Hi Chris! I so appreciate your thoughts – I totally agree with you on so much of this! Etsy has definitely changed and as a public company do have to cater to their shareholders. They also have to balance in keeping their sellers and buyers happy – because the more we’re selling, ultimately the more money going into their pockets.
Etsy has made it very clear their reasons for wanting shops to offer free shipping. They’ve made it super easy to build that cost into the pricing of the product so you aren’t losing out on money – ’cause there’s no “free” shipping, of course! The mention of shops being shut down for one bad review is misinformation that a lot of sellers have spread unfortunately. Etsy is shutting down shops, after giving a warning, for sellers that show a pattern of customer dissatisfaction. The pattern meaning multiple bad reviews, open cases, etc. You can read more about the policy below, the goal is to keep the “Etsy” brand standard quality – which only helps shops that ARE doing a good job : )