If you sell handmade or customisable products then Etsy is the obvious marketplace for you. We’ve got some tips and advice from experienced Etsy sellers about how to get started and how to make your Etsy store a success.
What should new sellers focus on first?
Zoe Mayson, TheHomemadeHaven: “Prepare the foundation of your shop to give a good first impression for shoppers. Get your policies written, about me page filled in and a profile picture added. Banner and branding sets can be bought affordably on Etsy and this really gives a professional look to your store. Once the basics are all done you’re ready to start adding your products.”
Chiara Stone, HobbynooWorld: “The most important thing is to make sure you have good clear photos that accurately show your product; a strong main image and then others which can show size or packing, different options etc. Try to get maybe 10 - 20 items in your shop initially and make sure they look really good."
“It's also important to fill out your about section and your policies so buyers can have faith in you, and learn a little bit more about your business and why you do what you do.”
Andrew Leonard, Utter Apparel: “You need to decide whether you’re doing it as a hobby, whether it’s for an additional income stream, or you want to sell on Etsy/online full time for a living. If it’s just a hobby make the items, add them to Etsy and don’t spend time on SEO and high quality images. If it’s to make money then you need to read the Etsy handbook and guides to understand how Etsy works. To be successful on Etsy it’s about 20% making and 80% other duties (listing, photography, customer service, SEO etc)."
“One other thing, sell what people want to buy. What you like making may not always be what people are looking to buy.”
How important is the visual element of product listings?
Zoe Mayson: “Your photos are crucial and they have to convey all the information that a customer would usually get by looking at or picking up your product. It’s best to use natural light- try taking pictures in the middle of the day near a window, and use a white background for crisp results. A lightcase can be a great investment.”
Chiara Stone: “Try to show scale, thickness, detail, think of all the aspects you would consider before purchasing online.”
Andrew Leonard: “The image needs to be able to grab a potential buyer's attention in the search results.”
Melissa, Melissa Ceramics: “Use all 5 photo spots to show the product at all angles, with its packaging and a lifestyle picture if possible. You don't need a super camera, with practice a decent mobile phone camera will do the job!”
How do you manage posting orders to buyers?
Zoe Mayson: “Swot up on Royal Mail weight and size formats so that you don't price yourself out of a profit by charging the wrong amount to a customer. It’s also a good idea to plan what packaging materials you’re going to need for each product you sell so you’re prepared for quick shipping.“
Chiara Stone: “Try to be as streamlined as possible, if you have orders for the same type of thing, do those in batches, for example we pack all the cards first, then the pet tags and so on. We use integrated labels as well because this saves time when packing.”
Andrew Leonard: “When deciding on packaging and presentation you have to remember you’re potentially selling worldwide. What is suitable for one country may not be for another.”
Melissa: “Have a system in place where you can keep on track of what orders need to go out when and what needs making. Also lists are my best friend for keeping myself organised!”
In your opinion what are the three crucial ingredients for Etsy success?
1. Good images
2. Clear descriptions with good use of keywords
3. Great customer service.
1. Make a product people want to buy.
2. Accept that selling on Etsy it is 20% making and 80% non-making – e.g. learning, researching, photography, creating/editing/tweaking listings, customer service.
3. Be organised and respond to customer queries ASAP. Bonus tip – use the Etsy seller app.
1. Think like your customers - what words would they use to search for your items, use these words in your listing title and tags.
2. Great Photos Sell - you know your product is great, show it in its best light to convince people to buy it.
3. Keep at it! Keep adding products, marketing them via social media and being active and the sales will come!
What are the best things about Etsy?
Chiara Stone: “I think the community is a big part of it, plus Etsy does provide an awful lot of advice to sellers on ways they can improve their shop. It also enables you to reach customers all over the world.”
Andrew Leonard: “The worldwide market that is available for you to sell to, backed up by the support Etsy provides for sellers.”
Melissa: “One of the best thing about Etsy is the number of shoppers it attracts, it has the footfall, you just have to pull the customers into your shop and sell sell sell!”
Many thanks to Andrew, Chiara, Melissa and Zoe for taking time out to reply to our questions. Check out their Etsy shops when you get a moment:
Andrew Leonard, UtterApparel
Chiara Stone, Hoobynoo World
Melissa, Melissa Ceramics
Zoe Mayson, The Homemade Haven