6 Lessons Learned From Selling on Etsy in the Last 4 Years
I’m going to be honest.
I might even come off at times as a little harsh or blunt, but you know what… you need to hear this. So, if you’re the type of person who gets offended pretty easily I strongly suggest that you move along. This post will not be for you. More DIY, home decorating, and yummy recipes will be coming very soon. ;)
With that being said, Etsy has been an AMAZING starting point for me and The Summery Umbrella. Considering that it’s been four years since we’ve opened our doors online Mike and I have been through a lot of their changes as well as our own.
Sometimes they are due to mistakes on our part, and other times they come along because we have to change with the times. For example, we used to only make our products out of reclaimed wood. However, after our first two years our “sources” started to dwindle, and we noticed that it was hard to be consistent (sometimes the wood would be more grey and then other times it was more brown).
Needless to say we’ve learned a lot, and I wanted to share a few tips that I believe are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned to date!
So, without ado…
1.) Every shop is different so stop comparing yours to theirs!
This is hard. It really is. With social media readily available at your fingertips it is so easy to compare your shop/blog/family/ whatever to someone else.
However, I want to encourage you to be you, and truly make an effort to stand out and stick to your gut.
It’s ok to change with some trends, but ultimately always stay true to your unique style. You’ll thank yourself in future years when you start becoming the trendsetter rather than the trend watcher ;)
2.) Less is not always more.
Etsy is a business so technically yes they will always encourage you to have more listings to ensure that their pockets stay full. HOWEVER, Etsy’s marketplace is now extremely saturated. Aka. There are a lot of shops out there, and that means that there are a lot places for customer’s to choose from.
This means that in order to get seen by your potential customer’s you will need more listings.
I do a lot of research on this topic, and I’ve seen multiple discussions on how so-and-so does amazing with only 10 listings, or you-know-who does even better with only what is in-stock.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who can make it work in a variety of ways, BUT from my personal experience… my shop always does better when it packed full with plenty of pretty pictures of the products I can make.
Which brings me to…
3.) You need GREAT photography.
I know you’ve heard this a hundred and one times if you’ve ever researched Etsy tips and tricks, but it is hands down the most essential thing regarding your Etsy shop.
People are impatient. Heck, I know I am!
You have to grab them by the boo-boo… FAST, or you’re going to miss out. Clean, clear, and gorgeous photography will help you.
I know you don’t want to hire anyone and spend money out of pocket, but if your photography skills are non-existence… you need help.
Don’t be a cheap-o. Hire a professional.
4.) Descriptions aren’t as important as everyone tells you they are.
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me a question that can easily be answered in my listing description I’d be a millionaire. I am very upfront with all of my customers and give them everything from dimensions, featured colors, pretty start-up paragraphs as well as creation and shipping times.
But you know what?
I still get questions ALL. THE. TIME. about any of these options.
Does it make me mad? No. I’ve gotten used it to.
However, it has made me realize that it is essential to remind your potential and current customers every time you can.
I’m also NOT saying you shouldn’t write a good description. I’m merely pointing out that like anyone (including myself!) reminders and…
5.) Communication is key.
Unfortunately I do not have the time to answer every email in 10 minutes or less. Most of the time it takes me a full 24 hours to respond.
However, I always answer, and I always provide the BEST customer service possible no matter how nasty someone is being.
Have I wanted to throw negative and mean insults back at someone who has done this to me?
Of course. I’m human.
Nonetheless, being heartless and sinking down to their level will never, ever help either of you.
Always keep these two quotes in mind:
“Honey catches more flies than vinegar” AND “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind”.
6.) You can’t please them all.
Ugh. I hate this one.
I want to fix every negative comment, and I want everyone to like my products.
However, once again, I try to remind myself that I’m exactly the same way. I don’t like every product I’ve ever seen, purchased, and/or used.
It happens, and it’s essential to keep this in mind as a small business owner. It doesn’t make you a horrible person or artist (or whatever your profession is). It’s just part of life, and it just means you need to find customers that DO love your products, and WILL keep coming back for more.
Happy Tuesday, and remember… Stay Positive. You got this;)