First things first: What is an Etsy shop? Etsy is an e-commerce website which focuses on items which are handmade or vintage or factory made but unique. Its website URL is etsy.com.
What exactly can you sell?
Anything that you can make, or think of making, will most probably find a market at Etsy. It can be bags, jewellery, décor, clothing, toys, art or supplies for various crafts. The items listed under vintage must be 20 years old or more. This site maintains the tradition of open craft fairs, where each seller gets a store that helps them in listing their goods for a fee of just USD 0.20 per item.
How big a market is it?
Etsy had 54 million members as of December 31, 2014, and the online market for vintage and handmade goods had over 19.8 million buyers and 1.4 million sellers. Etsy has 685 employees and it recorded total sales of USD 1.93 billion in 2014.
A little more about Etsy:
The company has listed its mission to reimagine commerce in new ways, building a more lasting and fulfilling world. They want to build an authentic, human and community centric marketplace, globally and locally. They want to use the power of business to create a better world.
Your very own Etsy shop:
Motive– If you want a great home for your products, either as a primary store, or as a subsidiary to your own online business, an Etsy store is your answer.
Steps for opening it:
- Getting started: You have to create an account by clicking “Sell on Etsy” and simply following the instructions.
- Setting the preferences: You will have to select a default language, which can be translated later once you open a shop. Then you’ll be asked to set your home country and preferred currency.
- Choosing a name for you shop: This is the first step where you can get creative. An ideal shop name should be intriguing, attractive but easy to remember; and it should reflect a bit on your products. Once that falls within Etsy’s guidelines, you have a name!
- Adding items: Listing a physical item has the following steps:
- Adding photos
- Adjusting the thumbnails
- Completing the details, inventory and pricing
- Setting a price and shipping price
- Publishing the listing
- Choosing the preferences for payment: Pick a preferred option for your payments.
- Setting up billing: Depending upon your country, Etsy might require authentication.
- Opening the shop: Voila! Your shop is now open.
Customizing the shop:
Like a regular real world shop made of brick and mortar, just opening the shop isn’t a job full done. You have to customize it, make it easier to find, beautifully curated, organized and updated. You can fill out a few more sections to make sure your shop has a successful run.
- Adding a bio and a photo: Just like a personal connection helps in the real world, having a bio and a photo of your own, describing yourself as a business owner, as a person, your business ethics and some more nuances may help your customers to gravitate more towards you. You can mention a little bit about your background, story, aim and motive behind making and selling the products you sell.
- Setting up policies and FAQs: This is a space where you should ideally add answers to common questions about your products and their manufacturing, processing, payment and shipping processes. You should include policies for return and exchange as well to avoid any ambiguity and possible future inconveniences.
- Adding sections: Grouping the items you sell into easy to look categories can really speed up the buying process, increasing your customers. Also, an organized shop always has more appeal to it, and is easier for the seller to maintain too.
- Adding your shop’s About: Similar to telling customers about yourself, you can tell them about your shop in this section. Etsy provides you 5000 characters to do so. You don’t have to mention too much marketing terms, just keep it transparent and authentic.
- Using the social media tool by Etsy: For acquiring new clients and keeping the existing pool of customers in the loop, advertising is key, and what better place to do it than social media. Keeping that in mind, Etsy has it very easy- by using its social media tool, all your social channels will quickly get updated with store announcements, store milestones, great reviews, new listings, or any specific promotions you’d like to make.
Tips to increase the chances of success:
To ensure that your Etsy shop starts well and continues to do so, here are some tips:
- Take pictures which look professional: What looks better, sells better. That statement is true, whether you like it or not. We live in a society driven by images and it’s absolutely non-negotiable that the product images you provide are stylish and well-lit, portraying the product from different angles.
- Curate your store with effort: How you present your photos on your website tells a lot about the time, effort and care you put in behind it. A slapdash will repel customers because a person who can’t take good care of their own store is not ideal. You should thoroughly curate your images, sort them in easy to navigate sections, and provide detailed descriptions for maximum impact.
- Making your store searchable with SEO: SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a tactic in marketing which when implemented correctly makes a powerful online presence for your store. This takes your store to top of internet searches, increasing the chances of the browser clicking on your link.
- Pricing your goods well: When your business is starting out, you need to price your goods competitively as you don’t have a brand name powering customers to buy products which are even slightly higher priced than your competitors.
- Keep your other finances separate from Etsy: Even if it is a subsidiary for your larger store, physical or online, keeping all finances separately helps you keep a track of your income and expenditure, showing you exactly how profitable your Etsy store is.
In conclusion, we would like to say that opening an Etsy shop is not difficult as you have already seen. What’s difficult is making it successful and you may adhere to all the “pro-tips” that you get, but in the end, it’s your own efforts that count.