Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC
Etsy is an e e-commerce marketplace for handmade artists, crafters and collectors to sell their creations, vintage goods and crafting supplies. When my shop Designs By CnC opened in 2011, I did not fully realize just how many different aspects are involved selling on Etsy.
Having worked in the retail brick and mortar stores all my life, I figured that selling on-line would be about the same. Wrong. Basically, I knew nothing about search engine optimization (SEO), my titles and descriptions were not great and I lacked quality photos.
You have heard of the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. When a customer is shopping online, they are not able to hold the product in their hand. The biggest challenge for my shop was improving all of my photos. So I invested in some lights and a photo box. I also took the time to read the instruction manual that came with my camera and experimented with different settings. My greatest discovery the past year was using a photo editing program called FotoFuze. Now my photos are brighter and show more detail.
Opening an Etsy shop has been one of the biggest learning experiences of my life. An important part of the Etsy experience is that of the Etsy community. I am fortunate to be a member of the Christmas In July Team. I asked my fellow teammates the following questions: What was the biggest challenge your Etsy shop had in the past year? How did you overcome it?
Having one or two shops?
As you have mentioned, Catherine, there are many challenges involved in running an online store. I go back and forth focusing on different problems and SEO, photos and promoting are frequently up on the list. Another challenge that keeps on coming up for me is whether or not to open a second shop.
SLS has a lot of items, and I constantly wonder if I should open a 2nd shop so that my PRINTS and Photographs are in one shop and PRINTABLE art in another. With the recent changes to our shop layout and view, I am coming back to this topic.
Is it worth me opening up a second shop when most shoppers find items by search anyway?
For me, as long as I can keep my items well-organized so I can keep track of them and they are up-to-date, I feel that it is easier to just have one shop. I am worried, though, that shoppers get confused about printed and printable items. I have printed and instant download versions of the same art, and I have found that both sell. I think I have avoided some confusion. For my Instant Download art, I try to make the fact that it is a Printable very clear: I have it placed early on in the title, it is in more than one tags, in the description and in one of the 5 photos.
With the new layout, scrolling through all my listings is not fun, and rearranging is even less fun now. How many shoppers look past the second page though, or what is now the 1st 48 or so items?
We can now have up to 15 shop sections. This has really helped me organize my items and helps shoppers find more of what interests them once they are in my shop. And keeping shoppers in my shop is a big goal. The longer they stay, the more likely that are to buy.
Using related links to other listings is also a way to keep shoppers in my shop and directing them to things that might be of interest to them.
What would help me even more is if I could rearrange the listings in all my shop sections because I feel that is where shoppers are going, and I want that to be organized.
My biggest challenge is finding where to focus my social media energies. It doesn’t seem to be enough just to post something of Facebook or Instagram, etc. if they don’t reach people who are looking for what you have. To go along with that, it’s also keeping new and fresh offerings to appeal to current and future customers.
I have been struggling for months, after my shop seemingly fell off the map. Not long after my biggest months for sales, my shop started to decline. I am not sure what to attribute that to. My lack of energy to keep promoting, Etsy SEO changes, not enough Social Media. ( I do Twitter, FB, IG, Pinterest) but after pushing it for months have slacked off and that is my own fault.
I know not listing new items hurts in all those brackets, but I can’t keep any more stock items if they aren’t selling.
So now my challenge is to stay or go…