I am not a top seller on Etsy; however, I’ve been on Etsy since 2007 and I’ve been a featured seller. I know I have work left to do to improve my own shop, but I understand that you get back what you put into a shop.
Do you want to know why you’re not getting as many Etsy sales as you would like? I believe the answer to your question could be one of the following:
1. Your photos are not good.
I’m starting off with the most obvious reason, and it’s one you’ve probably heard before. It’s the truth. If people can’t understand what they’re seeing in an image; if an image is dark or out of focus; if your carpet is the backdrop for your product, you will probably not do well on Etsy. Your photos likely won’t get Pinned or shared on social media. Etsy won’t pick your products for front page or for their newsletters. People in general will question the product, or likely won’t even click on it.
There are so many ways you can improve your photos. I won’t give you a full course on the subject right now, but for starters, use a clean or neutral background, and use natural lighting! There are very inexpensive courses you can take on product photography – even if you only have a phone to take pictures with! Checkout this Masters Photography class on Skillshare – it’s free for a month if you use my link to sign up HERE.
2. Nobody wants what you’re making
This one is a hard truth. Every now and then, there is a product that absolutely nobody wants. Ask yourself this: would you even want to buy it? If so, then likely there are others like you who would want it, too. Make a profile for this customer. What would they search for to find it? How much would they spend? Where are they hanging out online, and how can you make sure they see your product? In all likelihood, there is someone out there who wants what you make; you just have to get it in front of their eyes, and tell them why they want to buy it from you.
3. Potential buyers don’t know you exist.
This is related to #2 above. Let’s say you have an amazing product, and you know people would want it because perhaps it sells well locally, or your friends and family love it. The problem? People online can’t find it. If you have some money to spare, try a bit of advertising. It can be done cheaply with sites like Passionfruit Ads, which allow you to advertise with bloggers at all price points; Facebook ads let you start at just $5. The key is to target the correct blog or Facebook audience.
Free marketing can be done with social media. Join Instagram, and share your process, progress, or inspiration. Network on Twitter. Join Facebook groups your target market is likely to be a part of. Just PLEASE, do not spam.
Finally work on your SEO. Search engines – Google and Etsy alike – cannot bring customers to you if you don’t describe your product well. Use your entire character alotment for titles, rich with keywords and phrases customers would use to find your product. Think like your customer. What would they search for? If they don’t even know they want your product yet, what would they search for that would lead them to you? Use these keywords in your product description and tags as well.
4. You’re drowning in a saturated market.
If you do not have a defined niche market, chances are you’re in a sea of other shops just like yours. Paper goods, bath and body, and jewelry in particular have a lot of competition. You need to stand out! If you don’t make an item that is 100% unique, find a way to separate yours from the rest. You need to have a style that is all your own; or find a way to share your personal story along with your work and photos – a story that only you can tell. Be consistent with your look and your message.
5. Your items are priced incorrectly.
This one is extremely tricky. You need to find a sweet spot for your pricing. Price it too high, and no one will buy. Price it too low, and you’re underselling yourself and not making a profit. Most handmade sellers fall on the spectrum of pricing too low, and not paying themselves for their time. Try raising your prices, to a price that is fair to both you and the customer.
I recently made a new item that took a lot of work to make; however it was very small and not particularly expensive for me to make. I priced it at $12, which meant I was paying myself less than minimum wage in the time it took me to make it. They were not selling. After a month of not selling, I doubled the price to $24, or what it should be priced at to pay myself a decent wage. Within a couple of days, I sold 2 of them.
Sometimes when an item is priced cheaply, it is perceived as cheap. Raising the price of an object raises its perceived value, to what it should be valued at. If you raise prices and items still do not sell, consider that you might have gone too high and lower it a little. If your items still do not sell, refer to one of the other above points.
6. You don’t communicate.
This one comes as a shock to some sellers, but it’s so important in the handmade marketplace. If you don’t communicate with customers, they won’t be able to build a relationship with you, and they will probably move on from your store. How should you be communicating before the sale?
Fill out your shop announcement. At least say welcome and introduce yourself. While you’re at it, fill out your About page and your profile, so people know there is a real, live, relatable human behind the shop. Fill out product descriptions. Add the details that people can’t figure out from just a picture. Use descriptive adjectives and complete sentences.
Finally, if a potential customer messages you… answer it! Be polite. Even if they ask a question that is already stated in your policies or product description, just answer it without being rude. Again, use full sentences with punctuation, or else you may be perceived as curt or annoyed. It always helps to start a conversation with, “Hello” or “Thank you for your question.”
After you make a sale, continue communicating. Add a thank you note to each order. Let them know when an item is shipping. Respond to any concerns they have after receiving an item. If you receive bad feedback for customer service, it could further inhibit future sales.
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So after 8 yeard on Etsy, these are the top reasons I have seen for poor sales. If you have any questions about your own shop, I would be happy to help below in the comments.
Best of luck to you,