Hi, friends! In today’s post, I’m sharing my 4 top Etsy seller tips for starting an Etsy shop (or improving your new Etsy store). My previous Etsy videos are some of my most-loved, so I hope this one can be helpful for you, also! Feel free to watch this video (it is my longest one yet) and read through the summary here, or watch & use this post as a refresher!
#1 Etsy Seller Tip: Do Your Research
For a few different purposes. Spending time searching on Etsy for items similar to the ones you are/will be selling can help you get a better idea of the way other sellers price, photograph, and list their goods. Don’t do this to copy anyone else, but to gain better insight into what you’d expect as a customer (in terms of type/amount of product photos, details in description, expectation of quality, shipping, and processing time, etc.).
From looking at similar goods, check through the product listings.
What other photos would you like to see? Is the shipping and processing time obvious and included? What is the price point like? Do you know how and who makes the items?
These questions are a good starting place to improve your own Etsy listings. Adding more information and better photos will help answer your customer’s questions while browsing and hopefully encourage sales. To make sales, your potential customers must gain trust in you and your shop through your listings!
Doing research into the market for your products will also provide valuable information about SEO.
Check out my video & post here for more on SEO for Etsy and why it is so important, especially for new shops! Searching for your own products, or future products, helps you have a better idea of what customers are already searching for, and how you can help fill that market for them.
The keywords in your title, description, and tags of your product listings are vital if you want to be found through Etsy search!
#2 Etsy Seller Tip: Set a Budget & Spend Smarter (click to watch)
Setting a budget applies to starting a new store, while smart investment in your business applies to the whole life of your store. In my research for launching Lemon + Lily this year, the quote that’s rang most true is when I heard someone say that getting a new business from 0 to profit/breaking even will take twice as long and twice as much money as you’d expect. Yep. It has! And it probably will for you, too.
“Starting a business will take twice as long and twice as much money as you’d expect.”
Starting a new business always carries risk. But no great reward comes without risk! It’s smart to set a total budget amount you’re willing to invest into launching your business, but you should only spend as much initially as you would be okay to lose, should the business fail. We aren’t setting up for failure here, we’re just being smart with our money!
I know it’s hard to spend money before you’re making money. So for that, my other favorite quote is “you have to spend money to make money”. This initial budget will vary greatly depending on the size of your store and the type of products you will sell.
Personally, I set aside enough to cover the cost of initial stock, branding materials, and the website, and used this amount to get a rough calculation of how many products I’d need to sell to break even.
Spend smarter & invest in yourself.
Investing in your new business can be scary, but it can be done in a smart way. For higher priced items, I’d recommend watching sales online, as coupons/sales run pretty frequently on most large retailers. I’m currently looking to invest in a printer, and I’m watching a few sites to see if any good sales come up. This could save you some money just by waiting, compared to always spending on the spot.
Buying in bulk can be a challenge for starting an Etsy shop, but even buying a pack of small multiples is usually more cost effective than buying one.
For Lemon + Lily’s most recent item, Inspirational Bible Verse Jars, I was able to save about 60% on the cost of each individual jar by purchasing a multi-pack, instead of buying the jars individually. This might increase your start-up cost, but it will lower the cost of each individual product sold to the customer, which will help you get closer to profit as you continue to make sales over time!
When starting, remember to include shipping and packing materials in your budget/product cost. Figure out what products you want/need to actually send your products to the customers, and then repeat steps 1-2 for finding the smartest way to purchase those items, like tissue paper, thank you cards, boxes/bubble envelopes, etc.
#3 Etsy Seller Tip: List More Products (click to watch)
On my first video about how to sell on Etsy, I receive comments from many new Etsy shop owners (with 1-4 products available in their shop) wondering why they hadn’t made their first sale or how to improve traffic conversion to sales. To this, I really advise to add more products to your store.
Again back to doing your research for similar products/shops or even your personal purchases online, how many products do you look for on the store’s website before actually making the purchase?
If you’re like me, probably 5+. And, you’d probably trust a store more who has 10 products and 10 sales than a store with 1 product and 1 sale.
I know going from 0 sales is difficult initially (trust me, I’ve been there), but adding more products to a new store can really add credibility to your shop and help build trust with potential customers.
Try adding variations to your products and list them as new listings, or group the products you have and list them as a bundle. New listings will help drive more traffic to your listings and shop, which means more potential for sales conversions! And more sales closer to profit 🙂
As I mentioned in the video, I’d advise investing in a wider variety of products at the beginning, even if that means you start with a lower inventory of each item. There’s another really important element to adding more products to your new store:
You never know what new product will be you next bestseller.
I’ve adopted this as a mantra for a few reasons, and I’ve heard similar experiences from fellow small-shop owners. Your customer base on different platforms (for example, my Etsy store, my store’s Instagram, and lemonlilyco.com) could all have different ‘favorite’ products. I’ve had sticker designs on Redbubble for over a year, and one sticker in particular has sold almost 200 times there, but has sold maybe twice on Etsy. And some products get high engagement on Instagram, but low sales conversion. So you really never know!
Adding variety to your store also increases the chances of appealing to more customer preferences and the chance of sales for multiple items.
Your favorite product on your store may also differ from your customer’s favorites!
#4 Etsy Seller Tip: Utilize Social Media (click to watch)
This was one of my biggest regrets looking back at the start of my first Etsy shop in 2017. I waited months to make a dedicated Instagram account for the store, and I’m sure that cost me quite a few sales. You can definitely focus solely on Etsy without social media, but then you’re relying almost totally on Etsy search & SEO to bring traffic and sales.
There is way more pros than cons to utilizing social media for your new Etsy shop. And since growing the Lemon + Lily Co. Instagram from before I even opened up shop, I’d definitely recommend this way over going sans-social.
There are endless benefits to using social media for your new business, including:
- Building an audience
- Telling your story
- Providing more info about your products
- Gaining feedback from followers/potential customers
- Showcasing your products in lifestyle settings
- Connecting with customers & other shop owners
- Posting store updates, sales, & new product launches
- Improving your branding
I was honestly surprised from the amount of sales I made directly from Instagram, especially in the first month my store was open. Without these sales and support, it would’ve taken me much longer to making enough sales to start making a profit.
Through social media, you can build a loyal fanbase of customers who feel like they know you and your story, more than what they can learn from your shop page or website. You can also connect with customers and other shop owners, share/re-share customer photos of your products, and share customer reviews!
I’ve also loved using the poll features on Instagram to ask my followers questions about what product lines I should expand, what style photos they prefer, or even design suggestions! And in these ways, people can engage with and support your business for free!
Every follower on social media won’t convert to sales, (but like tip #3, you never know which will) and any follower can provide helpful feedback, support, and engagement! These things, especially at the start, are priceless for improving and growing your new store.
Well, y’all, after 24 minutes of my talking and 1500 written words, I’ve shared all I can muster for now on my best Etsy seller tips for starting or improving your Etsy shop. I hope you’ve found this helpful in some way!
Be sure to comment any questions on this topic here or on Instagram, I’m here to help! Thank you so much for your support, I’m glad you are here! And best of luck on your new store!