This is a guest post by Jess VanDen.
I’ve been helping artisans get their work online – specifically, on Etsy – for a few years now. And you know what? I keep seeing them all making the same mistakes.
Today, I’m going to share 5 mistakes that I see people make with their Etsy shop – and how you can fix them.
Not enough listings
This is one of the most common mistakes people make when starting out.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked me to look at their shop and tell them ‘why they’re not selling anything‘… and when I do, I see they only have 5 or 10 items in their shop.
A lot of people speculate that 100 products are the magic number. Once you hit this, you have a good few pages of items, lots of opportunities to be found in search engines, and people see that you have a full shop, so take you more seriously.
When people land on a shop that has less than a full page of items, they immediately assume ‘hobby’ – NOT business.
Don’t panic if the idea of 100 items seems overwhelming right now… just get as many items in your shop as you can, and make it a priority to fill it up regularly.
Photos that use flash, are cluttered, or that are blurry
Good photos are THE most important thing in your shop. No matter how awesome your products are, how fantastic your branding, or how amazingly you describe them and weave a wonderful story… no-one will ever click through to see any of this if your photos aren’t excellent.
I dare you to go to my ‘‘ page in my Etsy shop here, click on the very last page… and see just how terrible MY photos were when I started Epheriell as a hobby back in 2008!
I used flash… I had terrible backgrounds… I had cluttered shots that didn’t go well together… you name it, I did it wrong.
It took me a long time and a lot of trial and error to get my photos to where they are now – and I could probably do even better!
Before you spend immense amounts of time and effort marketing your shop, spend the time and effort to get your photos as gorgeous as you possibly can.
No About Page
When Etsy brought out their new About Page feature last year, I was so happy! Finally! A great way to tell our customers about us – show them our studios and process with a rotating banner of images – show them a good photo of us and tell them what we do – share our story in detail.
Are you taking advantage of this excellent tool in your Etsy shop?
I am ALWAYS disappointed when I visit an Etsy shop and they don’t have the About Page active – or, they have a perfunctory page with no images and little story.
I – and many other people – love to buy handmade because we’re buying from a real person… and the only way we can get to know you is if you take the time to tell us all about yourself.
So, make sure to fill in your About Page – with photos and a great story about why you do what you do, and how you do it.
When you start out selling online, you often don’t know the importance of having good policies – especially if you’ve never worked in retail before.
Detailed policies are important for your customers, but they are even MORE important to you.
Having detailed, concrete policies that cover any eventuality you can think of makes dealing with customer issues a breeze.
Instead of having to stress and third-guess yourself when you’re confronted with an issue, you can simply refer yourself and your customer to your policies to solve the issue.
It means you treat everyone equally and feel confident that you’re being fair to your customer while also sticking to your guns with what you are and are not happy to accommodate.
You’ll also find that good policies will nip many potential problems in the bud before they even happen.
So – save yourself a lot of headaches down the line and take the time to write a set of clear, concise, but detailed policies.
Descriptions that don’t give details
When your customer stumbles across your Etsy shop listing, there are really only two things that you can use to convince them that your product is the one to choose.
First – your photos.
Second – your description.
This is your only shot to convince your customer to buy.
Don’t waste this space! Make sure you’ve told them everything they need to know about the particulars of the item – size, colors, measurements, options… basically, describe it as if they can’t see it.
Also – tell them the benefits they will gain by purchasing the item. Remember – people are buying a feeling, not just a physical item! Weave a story, tell them what difference this item will make to their lives or the lives of those they love.
These are just a few of the key mistakes I see people making with their Etsy shops. However – getting just these 5 things right will go a HUGE distance towards turning your shop into something that you are not only proud of… but that will start bringing in the sales that your beautiful work deserves!
What is One Thing Jess Can Help You With? Pictures? SEO? Listings? About Page? or Policies?
Jess Van Den has been making a full-time living from selling handmade jewellery online under the Epheriell label since 2010.
She also edits Create & Thrive – where you can learn how to turn your handmade hobby into a full-time business from those who’ve actually done it!
This July, she’s again running her popular e-course – Set Up Shop – 30 days of lessons to help you take your online handmade shop from Go to WHOA (which covers the issues above, and many, many more).
Chat to her on twitter – @JessVanDen.