Have you started on Etsy and wonder why your Etsy shop gets no sales? This week I’m keeping to a theme of mistakes made starting and running different home businesses. Today I’m going share my experiences on why Etsy shops fail and tips on how to fix it.
I started my Etsy shop in 2011 and have had my share of highs and lows. It’s given me extra income for my family. And it’s allowed me to enjoy being creative while making money, too. But I’ve made mistakes that cost me potential sales and profits. As I began learning and applying the tips I’ll share today I saw improvement. I am no expert; I’m not one of those Etsians that made 100k per year. What I am is a work at home mom who enjoys managing a craft business (I had my first business as teen almost 40 years ago!). And I love to learn how to make my business better and apply those lessons. Lastly, I enjoy helping others succeed – that’s whole reason for my blog!
Reasons Why Your Etsy Shop Gets No Sale
Here’s an example: a stay at home mom, we’ll call Ella, recently started a new hobby she enjoys. Ella sees others selling similar items on Etsy. She thinks, “If they can sell these on Etsy, I should, too!” She opens a shop without much thought to the name or branding of her new business. Ella makes 12 different items of craft she’s been doing: some jewelry, some home decor, some hairbows. She doesn’t try to use keywords or tag words in her description. Nor does she calculate costs carefully to price the products. Last she buys some graphics for her shop because they looked cute and she liked the colors. Then Ella waits for orders and none come. 30 days later she gets discouraged and closes her shop.
#1 Jump in too Quickly
When you jump in quickly, your business lacks planning. Take time to plan it out. Research the products you want to make. Keep practicing on your product ideas and get feedback from friends. The more you create the better you get at making them. (You wouldn’t want to buy something that looks half done or sloppy, nor do other people.)
Another consideration is don’t overdo the types of products you sell. Stick to one kind. Buyers will more easily recognize your shop’s brand and style. Plus, it cuts down on supplies you have to buy to make the products. And don’t forget to consider costs vs. retail (and wholesale) pricing. I once bought supplies to start a line of jewelry. Soon it was obvious to me there were all these obstacles: supply costs, competition, copyright hassles. In the end I sold the supplies in a Facebook destash group at a loss. It would have saved me time, money, and stress if I had not jumped in too fast.
10 similar products using cost effective supplies + 5 most popular colors = You have 50 products you can list in your shop! Each season add 10 new styles (keeping the 2 best sellers long term) to slowly increase you base products and always have new products to promote.
Finally, put it on paper: make a plan. Pick a name that has meaning (and not already taken or trademarked). Choose branding that fits the mood of your store: colors, fonts, a mascot or logo. Then decide your goals: what do you want out this shop? Is it a hobby business or do you want it to be your full time income someday?
Decide what your goal net income is and what your prices and sales need to be to get to that goal. Example: I was selling my products for a super low price. Sure I got sales but after all the costs were subtracted, the income was pitiful. Instead of getting $15 or more an hour (my goal), I was making $5 if I was lucky. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
If you run into obstacles, figure out rather they are fixable or not. Brainstorm in a notebook, make goals, create a plan with steps you will take to launch your business.
#2 Your Shop Lacks Any Attraction
Remember how Ella did her shop? Her photos were not stellar, she skipped including any keywords and didn’t add any tag words. All these are key elements of a good Etsy listing.
Your photo is the first time others will see your product. Ask yourself, would you buy that if you saw that photo for the first time? Learn to take great product photos: clear, well lit photos.
Use keywords in your product name, description, and tag words. You can find ideas for top keywords using Etsy search, Google search, and Google’s Keyword Tool. Use strong tag words. Here’s a great article about keyword usage: The “Secret Art” of 4-Word-Long Keyword Phrases for Etsy Sellers.
These take time to learn, be open to continually learning and refining your shop’s appearance and listings.
Etsy-preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby into a Thriving BusinessEtsy: Launch Your Handmade Empire!- Blueprint to Opening a Storefront On Etsy and Growing Your BusinessThe Everything Guide to Selling Arts & Crafts Online: How to sell on Etsy, eBay, your storefront, and everywhere else onlineThe Handmade Entrepreneur—How to Sell on Etsy, or Anywhere Else: Easy Steps for Building a Real Business Around Your CraftsThe Handmade Marketplace, 2nd Edition: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and OnlineCraft Inc. Business PlannerThe Craft Business Handbook: The Essential Guide To Making Money from Your Crafts and Handmade ProductsGrow Your Handmade Business: How to Envision, Develop, and Sustain a Successful Creative Business
#3 Make it and They will Come Syndrome
If only it were that simple, but it’s not. A business takes work. Even if your listings look fabulous and you used the best keywords in the world, you still need a marketing plan. I’ve seen this done by others, just like our example, Ella. I’ve done it myself sometimes, too. You put a lot of effort into setting up, but your Etsy shop gets no sales. Seems like a waste of all that hard work you put into it so far. Instead, come up with a plan on how you will market your business.
Here’s a list of key methods you can put together into a marketing plan:
- Website with blog (it can be a shop, too. Etsy doesn’t have to be your only place to sell.)
- A mailing list where visitors sign up and get news on your latest products or sales.
- Social media (choose 1 or 2 and grow from there. Use scheduling apps to save time.)
- Local Events – shows where people can see your products in person. Take business cards to give out. Offer a coupon code to buyers to shop again from your Etsy shop.
- Network with other handmade business owners through Facebook Groups, Etsy Teams, etc.
Note: Be careful how much time you spend on marketing tasks that you don’t end up spending on your entire day chatting in groups! 🙂
Just like any business big or small they need marketing of some kind on a regular basis. If you are serious about getting sales, then treat it like a real business and market it. Find what kind works for you. If it isn’t, evaluate why, and either improve on it or move to another method.
#4 Giving Up too Soon
After a month Ella had stopped. She’s an example, sure, but I base her on real people I’ve seen do. I think to start your own business and make it work requires a level of perseverance and endurance. This is not sprint; it’s a marathon. Even though it’s open, doesn’t mean people are going to just show up. You have to put work into it continually. It needs improving and updating. One tweet on Twitter, or a share on Facebook isn’t enough either. The internet is a busy, busy place. Posts, Pins, and Tweets get pushed out of sight of followers quickly.
Keep a checklist of steps you need to take when you launch your Etsy shop or add new products.
- Quality Product
- Great Photos (one of the product, a detail closeup, one of it being used, etc)
- Keywords in Title and Description
- Good use of tag words
- Competitive pricing that reflects your products value
- Consistent marketing: blog posts, shared on social media in a schedule (don’t just share one time, create different posts about the same product/s to pin/tweet/or share on Facebook)
You can do this!
Take my business, I had burned myself out trying to get sales, but with low prices and minimal marketing. I had some here and there, but nothing considerable. Plus I was selling so cheaply I had to work twice as hard to make enough money. I was ready to give it up; however, I looked at what I did compared to what I could be doing and realized how the business could be made great. By making my products better I could raise prices. And better use of photos, keywords, and description I could further increase my products worth. Then more consistent marketing could draw fresh new customers to my shop.
Don’t give up before you’ve really tried. New businesses take time to grow. If you need to make money quickly, you could have an trunk show at your home or sign up for some local shows. Whenever you feel something isn’t working, evaluate the problem and look for solutions.