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11 Tips for Selling on Etsy

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11 Tips for Selling on Etsy

If you're always getting compliments on your handmade earrings, you make wonderful quilts or knit scarves for all your friends or you're an expert at re-purposing items into funky decor, you've probably daydreamed about making a living selling your handicrafts. Though it might not replace your regular employment right away, and it takes time and hard work, opening a shop on Etsy is your first step toward making that dream a reality.

Launched in 2005, Etsy is the ultimate online craft fair. With tens of thousands of shops selling everything from handmade crafts of all types, vintage items (Etsy requires an item sold as vintage to be at least 20 years old) and art supplies, it's no longer necessary to set up a folding card table at your local street fair to sell your handmade wares. With the following 11 tips, learn how to sell on Etsy and own a growing and successful business. 

1. Choose Products You Love

It takes time to build up a successful Etsy shop, so choose something you love to make, not just an item you think will sell well. Selling your handiworks should be fun, not drudgery. Come up with creative variations on your product line, but keep some commonality between items. You don’t want a shop filled with unrelated products.

2. Price Competitively

Browse through shops selling items similar to yours, and note the selling prices. Your handicrafts should be competitive. Don’t underprice your work, thinking that will increase sales. Keep in mind that Etsy charges .20 cents to list each of your products, and will take a 3.5 percent commission once the item sells.

3. Pick Your Etsy Shop Name Wisely 

You want a shop name that is easy for buyers to remember and spell. Your name can be descriptive or clever, but don’t limit yourself. If you name your shop “Anastasia’s Earrings,” but also offer bracelets and necklaces, you might be overlooked. Search through existing shops to be certain your name isn’t already taken.

4. Have a Selection

Before opening your shop, have at least 15 items to offer. A shop with only a handful of products doesn’t invite customers to linger and browse. The more products you have listed, the more opportunity there is for buyers to discover your shop while browsing through Etsy listings.

5. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Your buyers can’t physically touch your wares, so take multiple photos that show the product from various angles. If your work has small details, zoom in so buyers can admire them. Photograph your products in good lighting, and against a plain background that doesn’t distract viewers. If you don’t have picture-editing software, Picmonkey.com is a free site that lets you edit your photos to perfection.

6. Provide Detailed Descriptions

Your written descriptions should give the buyer all the information they need. State the dimensions of your product, the materials used to create it, directions for use and any other information that will help the viewer decide to buy. Use descriptive, exciting terms to sell your wares, but don’t exaggerate or write anything untrue. Make sure your headline clearly states what the item is within the first couple of words. “Gold Beaded Earrings” is a better headline than “Beautifully Crafted Earrings Made of Gold.”

7. Help Buyers Find You on Etsy

If your product doesn’t come up in search results, buyers can’t find it. For optimum results, you need to add descriptive, accurate tags to your listings. Your product tags should include not just what the item is, but also:

  • Color
  • Material
  • Style
  • Size
  • Genre
  • Shape
  • Use

Search for similar items on Etsy, and note the keywords that come up. These are terms that Etsy shoppers have used to find products just like yours, so make use of them in your listing.

8. Package It Right

Your product needs to travel safely through the mail, so you must package it securely. Have attractive boxes, wrapping materials and a small card advertising your shop to add to each shipment. Including a small gift with purchases is a sure way to build customer goodwill, which often leads to repeat business.

9. Get the Word Out

Make use of social media to promote your shop. Post pictures of your merchandise on Facebook, and ask friends to share on their own walls. Use Twitter to advertise your shop. Start a blog, and use it to promote your shop with announcements, photos, contests and giveaways. Design a business card for your shop, and hand it out to everyone you meet.

10. Add Merchandise

Keep your shop active by adding merchandise frequently. The more items you offer, the higher your sales are likely to climb. Etsy lists the number of products for sale in your shop on product display pages, so you want a number that looks impressive to visitors. Imagine walking into a shop with only three or four products for sale. Now imagine walking into a shop filled with dozens of items to choose from. Which would you rather visit? It’s the same on Etsy.

11. Join an Etsy Team

Etsy Teams are groups of sellers that encourage, promote and help each other. There are teams formed around types of products, lifestyles, geographical areas and various interests. You can browse through team listings to find those that suit you, then follow the team’s instructions for joining.

Etsy can turn your dream of selling crafts into reality. It won’t happen overnight, but with persistence, you can make money doing what you love.

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