For a retailer selling through one or more stores, going online is the best way to reach people who otherwise do not visit their stores. This includes people from around the globe who like your products, or those who prefer ordering online for the sake of convenience.
According to an LSA Insider article, customers who buy through all of your sales channels are displaying 30% more loyalty towards your brand than those who don’t. This means that you would gain so much more by nurturing these existing leads in a world of intense competition.
And therefore, you the retailer of niche products, decide to sell on Etsy.
But it doesn’t work.
In this article, we begin by addressing issues such as product listings and move on to talk about logistics and backend issues, as well as customer retention and duplicate products. Use this article as a checklist to see where you may be falling short, and how you can increase Etsy sales.
6 common mistakes to avoid to increase Etsy sales:
People Don’t Come To My Etsy Store
Gaining Visibility On Etsy
At its very basic level, Etsy is a search engine. And for search engines, keywords matter a lot.
The right keywords help a search engine show the most relevant results to the user. Here’s how you can gain some visibility on Etsy using the right keywords for your product.
- Study the competition. See what keywords they have used. Look for both short keywords and longer ones and make a list.
- Use your own keyword research tools (and a host of them can be found with a simple Google search) to determine which keywords are trending or have maximum traction.
- Use these keywords in your product title, description and even in the images. Don’t stuff the copy with keywords though. Let it look as natural as possible.
Promoting Your Etsy Store
Sometimes, organic visibility is not enough. Or perhaps, it arrives too late. In such cases, you would want to promote some of your products first through paid campaigns. For promoted listings, these are the basic guidelines to follow:
- Use a title and tags that are most relevant to your product. Think about what your customer may search for. For example, “handmade pottery” may be a more common search term than “handmade ceramic pottery”.
- However, the more common your search term is, the more competition you have. In Etsy, ads work on an auction system where the highest bidder gets first priority.
- Therefore, your promoted listings should be highly relevant to the user, descriptions must be high in quality and you must evaluate whether generic, common terms are better for you, or specific, slightly niche terms.
You can set up promoted listings under the Shop Manager tab in your Etsy account. Do remember to set a reasonable limit for your daily spend.
Too high, and you’ll spend more than you earn. Too low, and you’ll probably end up lower in the search results than you’d like to. Start with a modest budget and keep experimenting.
You can read more about paid listings to increase Etsy sales here.
Sometimes, there’s also a problem with the very beginning- your store is not designed for sales. While researching for this article, we found this Unsettle link which, we think, covers that aspect in detail. If you’re having problems with the beginning before the beginning, take a look.
People Come To My Etsy Store But Leave Immediately
Market Size For Your Products
As a brick-and-mortar retailer, you probably have a good grasp of who your customers usually are. When you expand online, it may be worthwhile to do a buyer-persona exercise for your product category.
Remember, online buyers are buying through that specific channel for a variety of reasons, and interest in the product itself is just one of them. Factors such as what friends are buying, offline vs. online price expectations, geographical location all come into play.
Therefore, try this approach to understanding your customers, this time in a different context:
- Consider who your ideal target audience is. Preferably, they should buy from you repeatedly.
- Understand where they are (online) and figure out how you can target them.
- Never advertise for the world at large. Instead, customize your listings and descriptions for those people who are likely to buy from you.
- Most importantly, ask people and understand if there is scope for sustained, growing interest in your products over a period of time. Read our guide to doing your market research right, here.
Good Product Pictures
In an earlier article about starting off on Etsy and the challenges faced, we’ve discussed why good product pictures matter.
And by good, we mean very, very good.
Your product pictures are the only chance you’ll get to make an impression on your customers. Even descriptions are likely to be read only when the photo itself is attractive. If you haven’t already, invest in professional services and give your products some much needed visual TLC.
Good Product Descriptions- What They Actually Mean
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! You’re well on your way to solving two of the six most common problems with selling on Etsy.
Also, if you’ve read this far, you know we’ve harped on about good product descriptions. But what indeed does a good product description mean?
Here’s presenting (drumroll)- the anatomy of a good product description:
- An outer layer of flawless English and grammar. It is about the looks, in this case.
- A thin, smooth layer of sales. Tell the audience why they should buy your product (and not someone else’s, or what problem it solves).
- A solid use of adjectives to support the product’s pictures.
- The heart in the right place- a sense of genuineness about the process.
- A good call-to-action to finish making the sale. (Available at a discount for a short period, Buy now and add to your collection, etc.)
I Want More People To Visit My Etsy Store
Get More Good Reviews
Reviews are the ranking lifeblood of marketplaces. A seller with better ratings is almost always shown on top of sellers with poorer ratings, for the same set of keywords.
Sometimes, your product may be niche enough, and amazing enough for people to leave reviews automatically. However, in most cases, some amount of proactivity is necessary.
Some retailers swear by leaving a ‘Thank You’ note in the package. Others say that throwing in a surprise gift does the trick. A few others say that messaging the buyer a few days after they receive the product often gives them the incentive to leave a review.
A word of caution- do not incentivize reviews in any way. You cannot offer monetary compensation or say that a review will earn customers a discount coupon. This approach is strictly prohibited on marketplaces.
Invest In Store Design
On Esty, you can customize the look and feel of your store to an extent. This is an option that many retailers leverage to their advantage. Do note that it isn’t always about using orange backdrops in place of pink.
The basis of letting you design your own store is to create a smooth, seamless user experience, or UX. UX determines whether a customer will make it to checkout in a certain amount of time. UX determines how the customer will find a certain product in your store. It decides whether they end up buying just one product, or many, based on the relevant options they see.
Think like your potential customer when deciding how to position different elements in your Etsy store.
Share On Social Media
Keywords are just one, passive way of gaining visibility. You need to put the word out about your shop. Once or twice a week, post links from your shop across social networks.
Share something interesting from the domain you are in. Let your audience know what you believe in.
A lot of Etsy sellers also find traction on Pinterest, as both platforms work on the visual appeal.
Instagram is another excellent social network for showcasing products with relevant hashtags. Ensure that for each product you promote, you update the link in your Bio.
Comment on other relevant blogs. Don’t just advertise. Talk about other amazing products you have seen on Etsy. Talk about your process.
Create a connection with the new audience by writing guest posts. Visibility always takes conscious, consistent and genuine effort.
People Place An Order And Are Then Dissatisfied
Handling Customer Complaints Well
In the online context, disappointment is more common than you think.
Once consumers lose access to the touch-and-feel aspect 0f a retail outlet, a variety of things can go wrong.
Consumers may feel that your product pictures did not accurately reflect the truth. This is why it is so important not to touch up your images too much, and to clearly state that color and tone may differ from the image. If possible, send pictures of the actual product to your customer before you ship it out.
Then there’s damage. Sometimes, the most extensive use of bubble-wrap cannot prevent them from breaking and crumbling in the consumer’s hands. Be sure to apologize and ship out a replacement immediately.
If you receive a negative review, see it for what it is and identify if there’s anything you can do to correct it in the future.
Out of Stock Issues
If you’ve chosen to sell specifically on Etsy, you already have a category in mind. Perhaps, you are also the manufacturer of the product you intend to sell.
In this case, you don’t have to worry about raising purchase orders and having them fulfilled. However, you still need to think about how to handle inventory.
If you are instead a retailer of a specific category of goods, you also need to think about vendor management.
Why is this important? Because once people place an order, they expect it to be delivered in the shortest time possible. If your supply chain is not in order, if some of your parts are out of stock, or if you are unable to process an order for another reason, you have not only lost a customer, but also everyone else they’ll talk to about you.
By ensuring that your vendors, wherever in the world they may be, receive and process your orders for raw material on time, you can save yourself a world of pain when said items don’t arrive even as the orders mount.
Managing Inventory On Etsy
Etsy offers basic inventory tracking using SKUs for all products for no extra fee. However, we do recommend that you invest in a good inventory management product such as Primaseller as you begin to see some sales happening.
Such a product can help you synchronize inventory across your retail outlets and Etsy, as well as any other marketplaces and channels you may expand to in the future. It can also keep your inventory levels dynamically updated.
Most importantly, it can help you raise purchase orders and keep track of what products/ parts you have available in order to sell/ manufacture the relevant product.
I’m Being Asked For Returns/ Replacements
A few returns and replacement requests are expected in retail. However, if you’re receiving more than 20% returns, then there’s something wrong.
It could be that the product is not as durable or usable as it promises to be. In this case, you need to revamp the product itself to do better.
In some cases, the product may have been ordered for a specific event/ date, fails to reach by then and is thus returned. In cases like these, partnering with a reliable shipper and ensuring that you deliver products well in time can help solve the issue.
As you may have figured, you must be in constant touch with your customers to find out why they have returned a product and see how you can fix the problem in the future.
I’m Selling, But Not Enough
Making The Actual Sale
Sometimes, making a sale is a waiting game. If you seem unable to make that sale simply by following these steps and waiting it out, it may be time to ask for help.
Ask a few trusted people why they think more sales are not happening- it can be as simple as an inaccurate product description or an image of poor quality.
You also have the option of sponsoring your product listings for relevant keywords. Consider investing in some paid marketing until you gain traction and get a few reviews.
Since Etsy is such a huge marketplace, also consider differentiating yourself with a few niche keywords. The question you must answer is, “What would my buyers probably search for?” Include these keywords in the product description apart from the generic ones that you already have.
Finally, don’t forget the power of asking nicely. If you already have a pool of buyers through traditional means/ word-of-mouth, send out an emailer informing them of your presence on Etsy and offering a discount coupon for buying through that channel. You can also ask them to leave a review once they make a purchase.
Building A Sustainable Sales Funnel
The choice to move your sales to Etsy must surely be driven by a desire to scale and build a successful retail business. In this context, here are few things you need to keep in mind:
- Always prepare for tomorrow. You may be receiving enough orders for you to fulfill them as an individual, but once the product gains traction on Etsy, you will need a larger team and maybe even a manufacturing process.
- The Etsy community is a thriving resource for selling on Etsy. Be an active member of the community and reach out to sellers you appreciate. Speak to them about sales strategy. We also like this ready-reckoner of links posted by user Regina for addressing common problems.
- Always be nice to your customers. Since seller interactions are a thing on Etsy, it is perceived as a more personal marketplace. Be kind to everyone who makes an inquiry, even when they come across as demanding.
- Consider becoming a valued voice in your domain. You can send out newsletters to your customers with information on recommended products or how to care for them. This helps you establish your brand voice in the future.
What is the biggest concern you have about selling on Etsy? Share with us in the comments below so we can help out!
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If you’ve made it this far, here’s a reward! We’ve compiled the article into an infographic that you can share with your team, or just print out for ready reference. Enjoy!