How to Sell on Etsy: Creating a Professional Etsy Store
During the last three years, the number of sellers on Etsy has exploded. The competition is stiff for just about every craft niche on the site. In order to get ahead, you must create a strong shop that is professional in every aspect. Take the time to learn the process of setting up a professional shop right from the beginning and then build from there.
I have divided this article into the following sections:
- Setting Up Shop. There are a number of initial aspects of shop creation that can make or break the Etsy customer base's first impressions of your shop.
- Take the Next Steps. Now that your shop is up and running, what do you do next? You're off the ground, but there are some more crucial tasks ahead for your shop.
- Keep Your Customers Happy. Once you sales have started, you want your customers to keep the coming back.
Choose your shop name carefully. We have all seen shop names like NYCheerleader14 or LoveThePackers that look like screen names, not professional shops. Your shop name should represent you and your brand. Unless you want to be tied to creating very specific products, consider choosing a name that can accommodate change within your brand. Make the name unique and easy to remember.
If you created an Etsy account before you ever intended to open a shop, you can change your name after you've opened your shop. When you're signed in on Etsy, go to Your Shop > Info & Appearance > Shop Name. Click Change. If your desired name is not taken, you will be able to click Save.
Create an avatar. Like many online sites, you have the option to create an avatar for your Etsy shop. Don't leave this space blank. You should have an avatar. Many people choose to use a picture of themselves and/or one of their items. Either of these options is fine. If you choose to use a photo of yourself, keep it professional. What your friends may find amusing on Facebook or Twitter may not be so amusing to people considering buying one of your items.
List your location. Many people will be wary of ordering from a shop without a listed location. Additionally, people may be turned off by a silly location, such as "Never Never Land" or "Wherever I Want." Let people know where you will be shipping your items. If you don't want to use the name of your specific tiny town or suburb, list the closest large city.
Create a shop banner. Not including a shop banner or using a boring text only banner is as much of a turn off for buyers as not using an avatar. If you are not very savvy with graphic design, consider using the Picasa collage tool or PowerPoint. Take the time to update your shop banner periodically.
How to design a banner for your website
Don't use cute spelling and formatting. I'm not talking about titles that are simply creative. I'm talking about something like putting spaces in between letters (i.e. "E a r r i n g s") in your shop sections because you like the way it looks. Keep your spelling and formatting straightforward for the search engines.
Use original content. Just writing that makes me cringe, but I need to include it here. Please don't ever use photos or any content that is not your own in your Etsy shop unless you have explicit permission. It's better to wait to open up shop until you can create your own avatar than to open it up and use a stolen photo.
Create a consistent shop aesthetic. You can see from my banner above how I've used the same background and similar poses for many of my item listings. Using such techniques will help people instantly recognize your items in Etsy searches, Facebook fan page postings, etc. Make your shop style recognizable.
Spell check and proofread all shop information, item titles, and listing descriptions. There is not much that makes me want to click away from a listing faster than a blatant spelling mistake in an item title. Yes, little mistakes will slip in there once in a while, but do your best to avoid them from the start. Take the time to fix mistakes as you do find them.
Edit all listings photos. I know that I stress this all the time, but photos are so important when it comes to selling products online. If nothing else, please take the time to crop all of your photos and to do any needed light adjustment. You can do these edits in any free photo program, such as Picasa or PicMonkey.
Create a Shop Home link for all of your listings. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to navigate back to the home page on any web site. Make it easy for your customers by creating a Shop Home link right in your listing description. I like to put mine at the very end of the listing.
Create a Shop Policies section and stick to it. If you're not sure where to start, look at the policies of some successful shops for examples. Etsy's categories for the Policies section, such as shipping and returns, will also give you an idea what type of information you should include. Let customers know how your shop works and then follow through with these standards.
Order business cards with an original design. Skip the temptation to order business cards with a pre-designed logo and create something yourself with images of your work. You can design an image with a photo program and upload it. Alternatively, some sites have options for creating your own designs right on the site. Finally, you can consider creating and printing your own business cards.
Graphic Design Techniques : How to Make Your Own Business Cards
Reply to all convos and other customer messages promptly and professionally. Ideally you should reply to all customer messages within 24 hours. If you will not be away from your computer for a longer period of time, put your shop on vacation or put information about your absence in your shop announcement so people know when they can expect to hear from you.
Keeping Customers Happy
Leave prompt, honest feedback for your buyers. Leaving feedback should be a part of every order transaction. There is some stigma on Etsy about leaving negative feedback. If you work with customers who are deserving of such feedback, such as customers who take two weeks to complete payment without any communication or who don't pay it all, you should document this in your feedback. Alternatively, make a point to leave glowing feedback about your great customers.
If you have made to order listings, be specific about your turnaround time and stick to it. Most people strive to keep turnaround times to 2 weeks or shorter. Be honest with your customers about your turnaround time. Figure out how you will handle large order loads, especially for the holidays. Be realistic about your holiday deadlines and communicate them with your customers through your shop announcement.