Etsy has become a strong force in the e-commerce world, with many thousands of small businesses opening accounts to sell their handmade products there.
Like any platform, it can take time to achieve great results as an Etsy seller, but it is absolutely possible if you understand good Etsy strategy. Before we dive in to 11 Essentials You Need For A Thriving Etsy Store, if you need deeper help learning how to sell more products in your small business, you can check out these blog posts:
Etsy can be a great place to sell your vintage items, craft supplies, handmade items and digital products, if you’re willing to invest time learning how to set up your own Etsy store well, and be consistent with your Etsy strategy.
How much money you make on the platform will directly correlate to the hard work you put in to your Etsy store, and if you want your own Etsy business to take off, there are some key essentials you need to have in place with your Etsy strategy to increase your chances of being one of the small business owners on the platform who becomes one of the top sellers.
Let’s take a look at Eleven Essentials You Need For A Thriving Etsy Store.
1. Your Own Etsy Shop Branding
When you decide that selling on Etsy is going to be a good idea for your brand, and you decide to create your own Etsy shop, first thing to consider is your branding, to make sure you’re visible on the platform in a unique, memorable and professional manner.
This means choosing the right shop name for your Etsy store, and, if at all possible, ensuring that name is congruent with names you use across your brand (on social media for example).
You’re limited to just 20 characters for your shop name, and you cannot use spaces or punctuation.
I found this out to my cost when setting up my first Etsy store. My business name – Female Entrepreneur School is the name I use right across my brand, but it’s too long for use on Etsy.
I had no choice but to opt for the name UnstoppableBusiness for my Etsy store – a different name to my business name everywhere else online. Frustrating!
Fortunately, a major part of my branding is use of the words unstoppable business, and so I think I’ve just about got away with that. However, I was annoyed that I could only use a name 20 characters long which stopped me using my real business name.
Take this into consideration when bringing your online business to Etsy.
You should also make sure your brand is cohesive with your visuals, the way you speak in your content in your Etsy store (for example on your about you page), that your photography sits well with the photography you use across the rest of your brand.
Your goal is to make sure you look professional, and if people go from any space they find you outside of Etsy (through your social media accounts for example), through to your Etsy store, they see the connection, and are not confused by a completely different look and feel when they arrive at your Etsy shop.
2. High-Quality Product Photography
Etsy has a lot of visual appeal. It’s the first thing potential customers will see when they are searching Etsy, and when they go to any Etsy shop owner’s store.
Your photography has to be on point. You should use every space available to you inside Etsy for photography (that means always filling the 1 video space and 10 photography spaces you have available for each listing).
Your photographs should very clearly demonstrate to your Etsy customers what your product is, how it helps, and what it does, in as much detail as possible.
I use Canva to create all of the photographs and videos for Etsy. You can create some great images inside Canva to help promote your unique items in your Etsy listings.
You should also make sure you fill out the alt text for each of your images in Etsy (you cannot do this for videos), to help with your Etsy seo, and to make sure your images can be described to those who are visually impaired.
You do not need a professional photographer to create images for your Etsy store, however you must make sure your photography is of sufficient quality, that it will be visually appealing to Etsy shoppers, who are likely to spend more time looking at your photographs than the product descriptions in your listings.
3. Detailed Product Descriptions
Moving on to your product descriptions in your listings, it’s a great idea to provide full and factual information about each of your product listings.
This should include making use of the most suitable categories Etsy provides, using all 13 tags you have available for each listing, being clear about colours and sizes when you pull your listing together, and having a full, clear description about your product, it’s benefits, what it helps with, what type of product it is (digital download or shipped to door), and terms and conditions you need to make clear to the potential buyers, before they check out.
The clearer you make your listings, the less likely you are going to run into issues or complaints from Etsy customers who purchase from you, and then end up with something that does not meet their expectations.
Inside your listings you should have deep focus on using keywords for better discoverability.
Etsy is a keyword driven platform. Do your research, and consider keywords you can use in product titles and product descriptions to help with Etsy SEO.
This should be a major part of your Etsy strategy for every product you sell on the platform.
Take time to research best keywords inside Etsy, and through an Etsy support app such as erank (which is the research platform I use).
When using keywords, remember not to use only those with a high search volume – they can work, but are more competitive.
Try to find more niche keywords with lower competition, to help with your Etsy search engine optimisation. Erank can help you with this.
4. Competitive Pricing Strategy
At the time of writing this post, Etsy has just introduced an ‘optimise prices’ tool inside the platform, encouraging Etsy sellers to use the tool to compare prices against similar products on the platform.
Using that tool would provide an overview of where you sit with your prices, but it comes with a warning. There are plenty of sellers on Etsy who underprice their products and services in order to make a sale, leaving them with a business that does not make profit.
There’s simply no point investing time and energy into your Etsy store if, at the end of the day, you don’t make sufficient revenue (and more importantly have a good profit margin for each of your products), from your store.
Setting the right prices for your products is important. This means taking into account the price points your competitors do sell at, but also being fully knowledgeable about the price point you need to sell each unit for, to make it worth your while selling in the first place.
Many small business owners believe that Etsy is a low priced platform, full of cheaply priced products and services that it’s hard to compete with. That is not the case.
The deep research I’ve done on the platform shows that there are Etsy sellers selling handmade products and digital downloadables in a range of prices from low to high.
I will always suggest that instead of lowering your prices to meet competitor’s prices, you instead add value to your products and services to make them more irresistible to buyers.
If you’re selling passive income streams on Etsy (and you should be – they are a great way to make more money!) it’s easier to compete on price because you can make once and sell on repeat.
However if you sell handmade products in single units, shipped to the door, you must take into account the time and materials invested in making that product, to be sure that you are selling with profit.
You can always add more value to your handmade items by way of add-on bonuses such as ‘how to use’ instructions, ‘how to take care of’ instructions, or ‘three things to know about this product’ etc…
Add more value through the products you sell, rather than the price you end up giving your product away for if you sell purely based on competitive price.
5. Etsy SEO And Keywords
Etsy is a keyword optimised platform. Keywords are how people find products inside Etsy through the search bar.
The more you can go deep with Etsy SEO and keywords, the greater the chance you have of your products showing up in search results, and more importantly, showing up on the first page of Etsy.
Whether you sell handmade products or digital products on the platform, you should ALWAYS invest time in keyword research, to include suitable keywords in your listing titles, listing descriptions, alt text on images, and text overlays on any images you list.
Have no doubt about this. Your target market is inside Etsy searching by keywords for the products they are looking to purchase.
You need to get your keywords right so that active buyers can find you through search.
Keyword optimisation is one of the most important things you can do inside the platform.
Take time to look at keywords Etsy sellers are using in similar listings.
Use platforms like erank or marmalead to do deep keyword research.
Find keywords for your listings that are less competitive keywords, to give your products and services chance of being found. An example of this is the keyword ‘crochet’ will have much greater competition than the keyword ‘crochet scarf for women’.
Whilst it’s ok to use more competitive keywords in your listings, you should also always try to find less competitive longer tail keywords to improve your chances of being found.
This makes sense from a buyer perspective, because it’s unlikely a buyer would search purely for the term ‘crochet’. They are much more likely to search for ‘red crochet scarf for women’.
I keep a list of keywords I find through my deep research on a Google spreadsheet.
This means I can always go and reference that spreadsheet when I’m uploading listings that are similar to other listings previously sent live.
Your search engine optimisation inside Etsy is paramount to you building a successful Etsy shop. Do not ignore time spent on this. It will serve you well.
6. Stellar Customer Service
The importance of excellent customer service inside your Etsy store cannot and should not be overlooked.
There’s good reason to make sure you provide first class customer service. First of all – you want happy customers who come back to your Etsy business to keep checking in with your product line time and time again. Happy customers will do that.
Second, happy customers are more likely to leave good customer reviews, and a lot of people – more than 80% of Etsy purchasers in fact – check reviews before making a purchase, so the more reviews you have, the higher the chance you’ll have a successful Etsy shop.
Third on this point. In recent years I’ve seen more than one Etsy marketplace store closed down – without notice – by Etsy, because an unhappy customer went straight to Etsy to make a complaint about the Etsy seller.
Because there’s a customer satisfaction rating on your Etsy store, if you fall below a certain percentage (85% at the time of writing this post), with your customer satisfaction rating, you risk Etsy shutting your marketplace platform down, without notice.
Keeping customers happy is one of the easiest ways to excel on Etsy. Make sure you keep your customers up to date with their purchase all the way through their journey.
When someone makes a purchase from your Esty store, send them a direct message and thank them. Let them know you are available by return message if they need to reach out to you.
Make sure all of your product listings are exceptionally clear regarding what the Etsy shoppers are purchasing, how they receive their items, what shipping costs are involved, whether returns are available.
When Etsy customers make a purchase from you, send them a discount voucher off their next purchase as a thank you, to encourage them to make further purchases.
The more stellar you make your customer service on Etsy, the more you protect your store, and the happier your Etsy customers will be.
7. Prompt Responses And Communication
This feeds in to number 6. above. It’s important that you commit to handling customer enquiries and issues professionally.
No doubt about it, you will encounter awkward customers at some stage.
There are people who will find a way to complain about anything.
Your goal is to make sure you have strategy to communicate professionally and promptly with your Etsy customers all the time.
Etsy is a competitive marketplace. Etsy shop owners need to make sure that they stand out from competitors, and one of the best ways to do this is to treat all of your Etsy customers with respect, responding to all communications promptly.
8. Consistency In The Platform
Like most platforms in the online space, Etsy likes Etsy sellers to be visible and consistent inside the platform.
It will be noted if you only go to your Etsy store once in a blue moon. Your listings could be penalised as a result.
Be in the platform regularly each week.
Make sure your products are organised effectively, your listings are all up to date, revise listing details with up to date keywords to improve their ranking, make sure you use all images and the video available for your listing.
Add alt text to all images, use clear categories, make use of all the tags you have available to you.
Update your shop announcement and about you areas regularly to keep them live and fresh.
Etsy will reward you for the work you do inside the platform to keep your Etsy store fresh and up to date.
9. Making The Most Of All Etsy Areas
This moves on a little more from 8. above.
Make use of all the areas/features you have available to you in your Etsy store. Don’t be lazy.
If you have 10 images and a video available for each listing – use them all!
Make sure you have a decent banner on your shop, complete your bio (and use keywords in it), to optimise that space.
Complete your about section, your shop announcement, make use of Etsy messages, and all of the other tools Etsy makes available to help your store be found.
Etsy customers are savvy. They will see lazy listings, lazy shops, and are likely to scroll on by.
10. Marketing And Promotion Strategies
Marketing and promotion strategies for Etsy sellers goes deeper than just the marketing and promotional tools inside Etsy.
The good news is that Etsy has got some great marketing and promotion strategies including the ability to run discounts/sales, retargeting Etsy shoppers who have your items in their carts but have not checked out, messages you can send to Etsy shoppers after they have made a purchase, organic ads for google that you can turn on, and more.
Take time to learn about all the marketing and promotional strategies Etsy has in their online marketplace, and have a clear plan to work with and use those tools.
You should also make the most of all opportunities to market and promote your Etsy store away from the platform.
This includes leveraging your social media platforms to promote your products and services, which is probably the easiest way to raise the profile of your Etsy store organically.
Think about having links to your Etsy store on your website, in your social media bios, in your Pinterest bio, have a board on Pinterest that you can pin all your Etsy products and services to.
Send emails to your list promoting your Etsy products, and consider testing Etsy ads further down the line when you are able to afford to do so.
Your goal is to drive traffic to your Etsy store to show Etsy that people are interested in your products and services there, and to give those people opportunity to purchase your products and services inside the platform.
11. Continuous Learning And Adaption
Etsy, like other platforms in the online space will never stay static. So make a commitment to stay up to date with Etsy policies and trends through Etsy’s knowledge base, through Facebook groups and forums you can join, through training courses offered by Etsy experts.
You do not want to get left behind.
Learn from the customer feedback you receive, and analytics inside your Etsy dashboard (and through Google analytics if you have connected it to your Etsy store), to research which products and services are selling well, where your traffic is coming from (so that you can be even more focused promoting your Etsy store in those places).
Keep evolving your Etsy business strategy, updating your Etsy store to keep it fresh, adding new products and services to meet customer demand, and keeping in touch with your Etsy customers to build community, so that your Etsy store stays current, and is a great platform to sell your handmade goods and digital products.
The potential for growth and success on Etsy with the right approach is huge.
There are Etsy sellers making hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on the platform. Those sellers are in all sorts of niches, selling both handmade products and/or digital products.
The reason they are so successful is because of the commitment they make to be present in the platform, to learn great Etsy strategy, to sell products and services their customers want, and to stay current with Etsy protocols and platform changes.
There is nothing to stop you from becoming a star seller on Etsy over time, if you are willing to make a commitment to the platform, and follow the 11 tips outlined above.
If you’re ready to go deeper learning how to grow a successful online small business find my range of free small business guides below.