10 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Sales on Etsy

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Sales on Etsy
 
So you’ve listed your first product on Etsy and opened an Etsy shop. You’ve spent countless hours figuring out the shop dashboard and browsing Pinterest for tips for your shop but you can’t seem to get one. Single. Sale.
 
OR your shop has been having lots of sales over a long period of time and then suddenly it seems like you’ve hit a brick wall. Sales are barely trickling in now.
 
I’ve been there. It sucks, especially when Etsy is your full time job and you’ve got 2 little mouths to feed. When hard times hit it’s time to get down to business and work your way back up. 
 
If you find that you’ve been struggling with achieving sales on Etsy then check out these 10 reasons why you may be missing out on sales.
 

Your SEO Is Slacking

SEO (search engine optimization) is something that I preach about … a lot. If you aren’t focusing on using popular keywords in your product titles, description, and tags then a lot of customers may not be finding your products at all!
 
SEO sounds like a complicated subject, but it’s really not. I’ve dedicated an entire blog all about SEO for your Etsy shop. I even include a FREE workbook that you can download too. Check out The Ultimate SEO Guide For Etsy Sellers.
 

 

Poor Product Photos

Another reason why you may not be getting sales on Etsy is because your product photos aren’t very appealing. 
 
When customers type in a search term and search for products they will be presented with tons of choices and the first thing that they will see is a thumbnail of your product. 
 
Is your product photo bright? Does it catch the eye? Does it include distracting items that take away the detail of the product? Is it a high resolution photo?  Is it modeled? 
 
All of these things should be taken into consideration when working on your product photography. If you don’t have an attractive thumbnail of your product then customers are just going to scroll right past it.
 
 

Not Enough Reviews or Bad Reviews

Let’s face it, reviews are one of the major factors that buyers consider before purchasing. If you don’t have any reviews just yet then that may be why you haven’t had much sales. 
 
Unfortunately people are just so dang busy with their lives they just forget to leave a review or they might not know how to leave a review!
 
Here’s how to fix this: with every order that you receive I want you to write a hand written note to the customer personally thanking them for supporting your small business. Then kindly ask if they could leave a review when they have the time. By using this strategy you should see some reviews rolling in.
 
You can also follow up with every customer by emailing them a week or so after they’ve reccieved your product. Ask them if they were satisfied with the product and if there’s anymore you can do for them. Then again kindly ask for a review. Remember not to be too pushy though!
 

 

Not Enough Detail

One of the major mistakes that I notice in product descriptions is that the descriptions are NOT descriptive at all!  Seriously, would you buy a tshirt if you had no idea what material it’s made out of or what size it is? Probably not! When you’re listing products for sale pay attention to every detail about your product and list it in the description!
 
Material, size, weight, colors, etc.
 
Also include details for your processing and shipping times, this is super important. 
 
Add anything else that you consider important to your details section.
 
As many sellers know, a lot of customers never read the description. Etsy has made it challenging for the customer to even see the details. What’s my solution to this? I create an image that lists all of the details and I use that image as one of my photos! You can create an image for free at Canva.com.
  
 

Pricing

Having a sweet price point is obviously a main factor when it comes to achieving more sales. If your product has a higher price point from another seller with the same product then customers may be purchasing from that other seller instead.
 
The same applies if your price point is too low. If your price is extremely low compared to other sellers then customers may think that your product is too cheap or that there may be a “catch”.
 
Check out my pricing guide here.
 
 

Long Turn Around Time

If your products take a long time to create or if you’re constantly backed up with orders and your turnaround time is longer than a week then you may be losing sales because of that one reason.
 
Due to the popularity of the 2 day shipping that Amazon now provides, people are becoming less and less patient. 
 
I once purchased a hand painted bible cover on Etsy and her turnaround time to make the product was 6 weeks! But then the seller took an additional week to create it and so I waited over 7 weeks to receive the product. It was supposed to be a gift for my goddaughter and it was way too late when I got it. I was so disappointed and I’m usually a very understanding person.
 
Rant over. But do you see? A long turnaround time like that left me disappointed and I wish I had purchased a gift elsewhere. Hopefully you’re not losing sales because of your turnaround time.
 

 

Not Enough Products

There’s a general rule floating out there that says once you have at least 100 items in your shop then your sales will be more steady. I’m not sure that 100 is the exact number but the point of this “rule” is that the more products you have for sale then the more sales you will get.
 
Makes sense, right?
 
While I know it’s not possible to create 100 products overnight, I definitely recommend brainstorming new products constantly. Never settle. Always be on your toes thinking about the newest trends and how you can apply them to your products to expand your product line. 
 

 

You’re Not Renewing Your Listings on a Regular Basis 

Another thing that factors into your SEO is your product renewals. Whenever you receive an order your product renews and is listed again (if you have it set up to automatically renew). Etsy’s search engine views renewals as a good sign that you’re selling items so it will list your products higher in search results.
 
There’s actually a way to “trick” the system by renewing your products on a daily basis. You can manually renew products by going to your listings, checking off which ones you would like to renew, and click on “renew”. Keep in mind that it costs .20 for every time you renew a product.
 
OR if you’re like me and don’t have time for that shit in your life you can set up automatic renewal with a program that is dear to my heart, Etsy on Sale. Etsy on Sale is a program that offers automatic renewal and it’s super low on cost with a credit based system. Click here to try it out with 10 free credits which would give you a month free of automatic renewal.
 
Be sure to keep an eye on your Etsy bill though, those renewal fees add up quick!
 

 Time of The Year

Keep in mind that slow traffic and sales could just be related to the time of the year. All major businesses feel a slump during the summer time, and that’s because a lot of families go on vacations and aren’t necessarily spending money on other things.
 
Sales usually pick up during the holiday season, but it really depends on what you sell. For me personally the holidays are slow and it’s because no one is focused on planning baby showers or bridal showers. So really take a step back to evaluate what your market is and you may be able to figure out why sales are slow for particular times of the year.
 

Competition 

As each year comes and goes I’ve noticed that there are A LOT more sellers on Etsy. I have much more “competition” now than I used to. This leads to competition offering lower price points or better incentives to purchase their product over yours.
 
The best way to handle competition is to just stand out on your own and offer something truly unique. Something that you believe no one else could replicate.
 
Or you could just continue to pump out as many products as you can.
 
Don’t feel bad about competition undercutting you or the fact that they offer a better product. Focus on you and your business only, not your competition!
 
 
I hope these tips help you achieve more sales on Etsy. Selling on Etsy is a constant puzzle and there’s never 1 right way to go about achieving more sales. Do you have any tips for achieving more sales on Etsy? If so list them below in the comments 🙂
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The Pros and Cons of Being a Momprenuer

The Pros and Cons of Being A Mompreneur
 
I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 years since I decided to quit my job as a graphic designer to go full time with my business on Etsy. I’ll never forget the look on my husbands face when I told him I wasn’t going back to work after maternity leave. Y’all, his face was like 😱….😂. Not even a year later I was making the same money as he was and he’s a PharmD (check out how I make 6 figures a year on Etsy). So needless to say I think I made a good decision after all.
 
But, what is it really like to own a business as a mom? Well to put it simply: it’s extremely chaotic and rewarding at the same time. There are days when I wish I could have a 9-5 job back but then there are days that I take a step back to realize I’ve got the best career ever and I’m the luckiest person in the world. 
 
After two years of “being on my own” I’ve experienced quite a bit. Owning a business is not all fun and games … it’s more like hustle and bustle. Here are the pros and cons of being a momprenuer.
 

Pro: I can stay home with my kids if needed.

When I first left my old job to go full time with my business I was dead set on being a work at home mom… until she turned 2 months old and stopped sleeping so much. I had to find some form of care for her and daycare seemed to be a good fit. Now both of my kids are in daycare full time. But if I need to keep them home if they’re sick it’s no issue. I don’t have to call out and I don’t need to worry about how many sick days I have left to use in the year.
 

Con: I can’t work if my kids are home.

It’s extremely difficult to work when my kids are home with me. My kids are both under 2 years old so my youngest is usually crying because she stood up and can’t figure out how to get down and my almost 2 year old is crying because she dropped her fork on the floor and can’t get to it. My kids are extremely high maintenance and I know that if I even try to work while they are home I will lose track of what I’m doing.
 
I also feel guilty working while they are home because my eyes should be on them at all times since they’re always getting into something. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to them if I’m distracted with work. 
 
 

Pro: I pay myself what I want, when I want.

Financial freedom is a great thing. I’m on my own payroll and guess who decides what my weekly salary is? Me! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not swimming in cash but I pay myself double my previous salary as a graphic designer. If I ever go “broke” before my next payday I can always pull money out of my business bank account until then. 
 

Con: The cash doesn’t always flow

As a business owner you will experience times in the year which business is slow which is usually in the summer time. If business is slow, guess what? I’m screwed that week. And if I want go take a vacation I’m not going to get paid either (because I haven’t hired any employees just yet). That’s right, no paid sick days, holidays or vacations.
 
 

Pro: I can work whenever I want 

The ability to work when I want is definitely one of my favorite things about being a business owner. In the morning I usually drop the kids off at school, go to my workout class, come home and work a few hours, then I run and do errands for an hour or two then come back home to work some more if needed until I have to pick up my kids.
 

Con: I always have to work

Because it’s just me at the moment, there’s always something that I have to do. There’s either a message to respond to, an order I need to package, bookkeeping that needs to be updated, bills and taxes that have to be paid. It can be exhausting. Lori Greiner of Sharktank once said “Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week,” and that’s so incredibly true! I find myself working morning, noon, nights, weekends and holidays. 365 days a year. No sick days or paid vacations for me!
 
 

Pro: I don’t have a boss!

Every time I think of the general manager at my previous job I cringe. She was one of those micromanaging, everyone-is-beneath-me, talk shit behind your back type of general managers. Thankfully I don’t have to deal with that anymore! I am my own boss and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 
 

Con: I am the boss 

Being a boss ain’t all sunshine and rainbows (if you know where that quote is from then we should be friends). Unfortunately I have to do “boss like” things like answering obnoxious messages, overnighting things on Sunday nights, paying IRS taxes, and approving my payroll. I gotta admit handling pushy customers is not on my top favorite things to do list.
 
 

Pro: I love Mondays and I love what I do!

I used to hate Sunday nights. The thought of having to go back to work the following day was dreadful. But one thing that I realized is that Monday’s don’t suck, it’s your job!
 
 Now I actually look forward to Monday mornings. The kids go back to daycare and I can focus 100% on my business. I’m excited to work on new things for my business and build it up.
 

Con: I never turn “off”

My problem is that I never actually turn off. I don’t clock out at the end of every day, get into my car and forget about work related things like most people. Instead, I’m constantly distracted with work, even on weekends. There’s always something that pops into my head randomly. Did I ship her order? Did I log my gas receipt? When are quarterly taxes due? Sometimes I feel like it takes time away from my husband and kids, which can be frustrating.
 
 
Despite all of the responsibility that comes with owning my own business as a mother, at the end of the day I know I wouldn’t trade my life for anything at this point. I’ve worked so hard to get where I’m at today.
 
Have you considered opening up your own business online? What are some questions that you have about being a mompreneur? Let me know in the comments below!
 
 
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10 Gift Ideas for Etsy Sellers

10 gift ideas for etsy sellers
 
Does anyone else start their Christmas/holiday shopping in September or is it just me?  🙈  Seriously, I’ve completed most of my kids Christmas shopping and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.
 
Being an Etsy seller myself there is always something on my Amazon wish list related to my business. Are you looking for a special gift for an Etsy shop owner? Maybe you want to give someone a gift they can use to start pursuing their own business? Maybe you just want to treat yo self. I currently earn 6 figures a year on Etsy and it all started with just one computer. Yes, one computer! Crazy, right?!
 
So with that in mind, here are 10 gift ideas for Etsy sellers.
 

Computer

Believe it or not, you can run your entire Etsy business from a smartphone or tablet. But let’s get real, that shit gets super annoying after time and we’ve all run into instances where we just need a desktop computer (or laptop).
 
I’m a graphic artist so having a desktop computer is absolutely necessary for my business. I have to use programs that require a lot of space and I need a ginormous canvas and an iPad isn’t enough.
 
So, desktop computer or a laptop? In most cases a laptop will do just fine. If the person enjoys going out to coffee shops to work then a laptop would be perfect. Like I stated before, I need a giant canvas, so laptops are not big enough for my standards and I enjoy my 27″ screen even though I’m “grounded”.
 
PC or Mac? I have used PC computers my entire life, up until the age of 23 when my husband (then boyfriend) gifted me the iMac of my dreams. I will never go back to a PC again. In my experiences PCs are just slower, attract a million viruses and just … suck SO bad. I’ve had my iMac for 4 years so far and it’s still as fast as the day I first plugged it in.
 
Sorry if you’re a PC lover, don’t hate me 😧
 

A Tool or Machine to Help Grow their Business

I recently did a survey on a Facebook group that a lot of Etsy sellers belong to and I asked what is on their list this year. The majority of the members responded with machines that could help grow their business.
 
A cricut machine was the most popular answer. I have to admit that I have no idea what a Cricut does exactly, but it seems to be the thing to do!
 
Sometimes there are computer programs or memberships that could really help grow a business. A good example would be Adobe promgams. Adobe has all kids of creative programs for all types of creative people from photographers to graphic designers.
 

Planner

I’ll be the first to admit that my life is absolute chaos. Having two kids, a dog and a business is rough for both myself and my husband. Sometimes we double book appointments or totally forget about project deadlines. That’s when a planner really comes in handy. 
 
Yes, an actual physical planner. Sorry Apple, but a digital calendar just ain’t working for me for some reason. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Brilliant Life Planner
 
Now that I’m thinking of it, planners seem to be really “in” right now.
 

Online Course

Some of the most important things in life and business are not taught in a classroom. Instead, you can find a mass amount of information online for just a fraction of the cost of college courses these days. This would be an amazing gift for someone who is just starting their adventure on Etsy or Amazon Handmade.
 
Jami from the Handmade Journey started her blog right around the same time I did and now offers a program that focuses on growing Etsy Shops and Amazon Handmade businesses for as little as $14.99 a month. 
 

DYMO Label Writer

This DYMO 4XL Label writer was downright one of THE BEST things that I ever purchased for my business. This machine is a magical tool. If the person you’re shopping for happens to ship at least 1 to 2 packages a day then I would suggest looking into this nifty machine. That is, if they’re printing out labels on their home printer and cutting/folding them and sticking them on packages with tape.

 
This DYMO printer can actually save you a ton of money in the long run. This thing doesn’t require any ink or toner! It just requires these labels which can also be purchased for cheap on Amazon as well.
 

Coffee Machine

Does this certain person enjoy coffee or tea while they work? Then consider gifting a new Kureg machine. I couldn’t imagine working without my hot tea. These machines are totally awesome and worth every penny.

 

Amazon Prime Membership

An Amazon Prime Membership is essential for running an online business. Especially if it’s for a shop owner who wants to spend more time crafting new products and not wasting their time in line at Staples. I purchase most of my shipping and packaging supplies from Amazon, including:

 

A Desk or Workstation

I recently designed and assembled my own workstation in my office and I am in LOVE! I have so much room to work now that I have a whole room dedicated to my business. I purchased desk tabletops, legs and drawers from the Ikea Linnmon collection. The result is amazing and the cost was VERY inexpensive. The desks don’t feel cheap and they are all white which is my favorite. The drawers are especially helpful for storing odds and ends like my packaging tape and tissue paper. I hope to write a whole article about my home office soon, but half of my home office is also a storage area and kids playroom which is filled with toys so hopefully I can get that cleared up soon.

 

A Professional Camera

A professional camera is also a great gift giving idea for a crafty Etsy seller. Let’s face it, smartphone photos are okay but can’t compare to a DSLR camera photos. Being able to showcase beautiful product photos gives someone a step up in the game. A DSLR Camera  such as a Cannon EOS Rebel T6 can provide excellent quality photos when paired with a 50 mm camera lens.

 

A Lightbox

Another product that’s helpful for capturing amazing photos is a lightbox. A lightbox is usually a small portable kit that includes lighting and backdrops for showcasing products. Perfect for photos that look professional and not cluttered.

 
 
What are some of the things that are on your wish list currently? Let me know in the comments below! 
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Boo at the Cape May County Park & Zoo – Things to Do in Cape May County

 
Growing up in the Philadelphia and south Jersey area the Cape May County Zoo was one of my favorite places to visit. What’s not to love about it? You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get in (visitors are encouraged to donate money when they enter the park) and they have all of the fan favorites including lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
 
This past weekend was Boo at the Zoo, the parks last hurrah for the summer tourist season. They encouraged the kids to dress in their Halloween costumes for a costume contest and the entrance of the zoo was filled with craft tables and bounce houses.  The Monster Mash was on full blast through radio speakers and cornstalks decorated light poles. It was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day.
 
The friendly spooky activities didn’t cost anything extra to enjoy (we donated $40 at the entrance) and my 1 year old really loved seeing the lions even though they were napping in the sun. I found her little witch costume from Pottery Barn Kids. It’s fit her perfectly and she loved wearing it but eventually gave up the hat.
 
We didn’t have too much time to enjoy there because we had a birthday party to go to later on in the day but it was definitely worth the drive down.
 
The only bummer is that their drink choices were limited and they were out of funnel cake. Also, the cost of the carousel and train ride was way too much in my opinion for what they were. But if you’re just going to enjoy the tricks and treats it’s worth going to!
 
Here are some photos from our weekend 🎃
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Free Ways to Promote Your Etsy Shop or Other Online Store

Free Ways to Promote Your Etsy Shop or Other Online Business

 

Hey guys! First, I just want to sincerely apologize for not writing as much as I used to. I’ve been kinda stuck in this rut where I just work work work on my business and leave no time for blogging. I realized I gotta cut that shit out. I’ve decided that from now on my Friday’s are going to be dedicated to my blog. 

As stated in my last blog, I am working on a series of different blogs that will help your business gear up for the holidays. Today I’m going to be writing about free ways to promote your Etsy shop or your other online business. We all love free promotion, am I right?! Well let’s hop to it.

Social Media

Yes, I know, I know. I had to say it first although I’m sure you already know that social media is one of the best (and one of the cheapest!) ways to promote your Etsy shop. And I’m not talking about ads. Forget ads, you don’t need em’!

If you sell crafty type of things or really any type of thing then I would suggest starting out with promoting your shop with Pinterest. Pinterest is hands down my favorite social media platform to use to promote my products. Really, all you have to do to promote your products on Pinterest is to start building a following. There are plenty of ways to build a following on Pinterest but the very best way is to just repin stuff. Pin your own products, repin other things on Pinterest related to your products. Just PIN! Like 20 times a day. 

I really go in depth with about promoting with Pinterest with a blog I posted earlier this year called How to Use Pinterest for Your Etsy Shop so check that out if you want to know more.

Instagram is also amazing for promoting your products. Can we all just pause and take a moment to admire the beautiful photos that ciarajcreations has? Her photos are absolutely stunning. So bright, so colorful! Who wouldn’t want to purchase those handmade dishes after that presentation?

The trick about marketing with Instagram is that when you post photos of your products you should use hashtags relevant to what you’re selling or hashtags that your target market may be searching for. If you’re a handmade seller here are a few hashtags that you can use:

  • #handmade
  • #etsyseller
  • #etsyshop
  • #handmadeshop
  • #etsymade

 

Start a Blog

If you enjoy writing and getting your word out to people then I suggest starting a blog for your products. You can totally start blogging for free RIGHT NOW by using WordPress.com. There are only a few “cons” to having a free website via WordPress.com and the biggest one is that you would not have your own domain name. So if your business name is Party Life you could not have your web address be www.partylife.com. Instead your web address would be www.wordpress.com/partylife.

Once you start a blog you can write all different kinds of blogs promoting your products. For example, I own an invitation business so if I ever had spare time in my life I could blog about things like:

  • Best Birthday Invitations for 4 Year Old Girls
  • 5 Party Games to Have at a Birthday Party
  • 7 Baby Shower Theme Ideas

But I never have extra time to blog for my business, so that’s not going to happen. But if YOU have the extra time then give it a try. 

If you would want to create your own domain then you can set up a blog with WordPress.org (not to be confused with WordPress.com). Warning: having your own domain name does cost money, but very little! Check out How To Start a Blog for Your Etsy Business if you’re interested in that.

 

Network

Blah, networking. When I think of “networking” I think of 20 people crammed into a small room with awkward looks on their faces and a semi alcoholic drink in their hand. At least that’s how networking worked at my old job. I shutter every time I think of that experience. Luckily for you and I, we have our own business and we can network however the F we want!

Believe it or not, networking yourself is a very productive strategy especially in person. When you tell someone in person what it is that you do their mind starts to wonder if and how your products can help them or other people they know. I’ve experienced this so many times. “Oh you create invitations? Can you create invitations for a 40th surprise birthday party?” -or- “My daughter in law is expecting a baby in June, I’ll pass your information on to her because she will need baptism invitations in the future.”

A great way to find an in person networking meet up is to browse local groups on Meetup.com. MeetUp is amazing and if you live in a built up area there should be a lot of different groups to join. Search for small business meet ups or crafty meet ups. Join, promote yourself and your business and most importantly have fun! You would be surprised that networking is not always about promoting yourself, it can also be a great way to connect with others who can share a lot of wisdom and ideas with you. Who knows, you could even meet your next business partner 🙂

When you’re networking your ass off to other business owners in your local area you can ask to place your business cards or advertisement cards in their shops. That way you can provide their customers with something to stare at besides their phones.

You can also do networking online by joining online groups. My favorite way to network online is by joining Facebook groups. There are endless types of groups on Facebook so just do a quick browse to see what would fit you. Facebook groups often have a certain day of the week that you can promote your business within the group so be on the look out for that (usually located in the group rules).

 

Create a Product Video

Videos are such a powerful tool for promoting your business. In fact, 58% of shoppers think companies with product videos can be trusted. Crazy, right? Trust is everything when it comes to getting online sales. So my challenge for you is to create videos of your products. If you can’t really think of a way to show off your item in a video then perhaps create a video showing you creating your products! Post these videos to social media and if you have an Etsy shop you can even post the photo to your About section.

 

Send Out Coupons with Existing Orders

Another crafty way to promote your online business is to send out coupons to existing customers. Create a design for free via Canva.com, print it out, trim it down to size and send off with every order. Your customers may use these coupons for another time or pass them along to friends.

A cheaper alternative to this method would be to order business cards with coupon codes through VistaPrint.com.

 

Be a Guest for a Podcast or a Blog

Podcasts are one of my favorite things to listen to when I’m in a learning type of mood (or sometimes I watch YouTube channels too). Often times the speakers of podcasts will ask certain people to be a guest on their show to talk about things related to the theme of the podcast. This is an excellent way to get your name out there. Look for podcast shows related to your products or your lifestyle and check out their website to see if they’re looking for guest speakers.

The same thing goes for a popular blog. Sometimes bloggers will look for guest writers or they just want to feature a different business every week, month, etc. If you see an opportunity like that then go for it.

 

Host a Giveaway

One last piece of advice that I can give you to promote our Etsy shop for free is to host a giveaway. This technically isn’t “free” because you’re giving away a product but if it costs you little money to make then maybe it’s worth a try? Hosting a giveaway on Instagram can be very effective for getting attention. There are many of ways to host a giveaway on Instagram. If you’re interested check out How to do an Instagram Giveaway for many many ways to host a giveaway.

 

And I think that just about sums up all of the ways to promote your online business for FREE. Or, at least all of the free ways that I can think of. If you have any ideas of free ways to promote your online business feel free to share in the comments below 👇👇

 

Have a great Halloween! 🎃

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9 Tips for Preparing Your Etsy Shop for the Holidays

9 Tips to Preparing Your Etsy Shop for the Holidays

Halloween is almost here!!! Raise your hand if you start your holiday shopping in September though 🙋  😂

With that in mind, it’s time to get your shop in tip top shape now. Like, right now! The holiday shopping season can take weeks or even months for online retailers to prepare. Now is the time to act and map out your plans to boost your sales.

If you want this holiday season to be your most successful one yet, check out these 9 tips for preparing your Etsy shop for the holidays.

Sell Holiday Items

Depending on what your actual niche is, there’s usually something that you can sell that is holiday themed. Seasonal items are actually a big seller for me. So for example, I design and print invitations for baby showers, bridal showers, etc. I have created winter wonderland baby shower invitations that sell extremely well during the holiday season.

Let’s use another example. Let’s say that you create hair bows for girls. You can create different holiday bows such as bows for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.

And that’s another thing, don’t forget that there are other holidays in December! Create items related to all holidays for maximum exposure.

 

Stock Up

This may be a “well, duh” piece of advice, but make sure that you’re all stocked up! Spend the months of September-November really bulking up your inventory to prepare for the holiday rush. 

But besides bulking up your inventory you’ll also want to make sure that you have enough mailing supplies, packaging supplies, etc. I order some of my mailing supplies through the USPS and it takes a few weeks to arrive so I’m going to order some more right now.

If you’re expecting to do a lot of shipping this holiday season I would also recommend investing in a DYMO 4XL Label Printer. Yes, it is a bit pricey but this thing is such a time saver! And also a money saver considering it does not require any ink at all. Grab some extra packs of labels too!

 

Include A Lot of Photos

Etsy recently expanded the limit on the amount of photos you can use in your listings which is now 10 photos. I know you’re probably thinking how the hell you’re going to come up with 10 different photos of your products. 

Well, offer multiple angle shots of your products as well as your products being used in real life. Photograph them against a plain white background as well.

If you have special instructions for ordering your product you can also use a photo slot for your instructions (because we all know that most buyers never bother to read the details anymore). Simply create a free graphic (1000px x 1000px) with your instructions via Canva.com. Then download it as a JPEG file and upload it to your listing! I know, I’m a genius, right?!

For all of my other genius photography tips, check out my 10 Photography Tips for Your Etsy Shop.

 

Optimize Your Listings with Keywords

Since I am a computer nerd, I always stress the importance of SEO (search engine optimization). Search engine optimization may seem like a scary subject, but it’s really not. SEO is all about placing the right keywords in the right areas of your listings so that customers can find you by searching for those specific keywords or phrases.

During the holiday season it’s best to include some holiday related keyword phrases in your listings because people are going to be searching for keyword phrases such as “gifts for men” or “handmade Christmas gifts”.

Luckily for you, I’ve included a 50+ keyword phrase list that you can download for FREE!

So, where do you include these keyword phrases in your listings? Well, first you want to choose 1 specific keyword phrase to use for each of your listings. So let’s say for example that you’re selling a customized leather wallet. You may want to include the keywords “Gift for Dad” since it may be a popular gift for a dad. There are three main areas in your listing to include this keyword phrase:

  • Product Title
  • Product Description
  • Tags

So make sure that you’re including that keyword phrase in your product title, description and tags. It’s important to use the same exact phrase throughout your listing to enhance your ranking for SEO.

I cover SEO in more depth in the Ultimate SEO Guide for Etsy Sellers.

 

Edit Your Category and Other Details

Another important factor when it comes to search on Etsy is checking to make sure you have your listing details filled out as much as possible, including:

  • Category
  • Primary Color
  • Secondary Color
  • Holiday
  • Occasion

When customers are searching for a specific item, they may be ticking boxes to narrow down the search results. So if you don’t have these options chosen you may be losing potential sales because your product isn’t showing up in a narrowed search.

 

Offer Free Shipping

With the increasing use of Amazon Prime and their free, 2 day shipping option, you may want to offer free shipping with your products.

But shipping is freaking expensive, how can you afford to offer free shipping?! Well, there are two ways:

First, you can offer customers a free shipping offer if their total purchase is over X amount of dollars. Of course the minimum purchase would be up to you. You would have to make sure that you make enough profit to be able to ship the items for free.

To do this, just create a sale in the marketing tools section of your shop dashboard.

Or, another option is to include a flat shipping price in with your product price.

So for example, I usually ship all of my items in a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope (whew.). I know that the average cost of the shipping is $6-$7. When I factor in my other shipping supplies and my time to actually pack and ship the item I get a flat fee of $7.50 for shipping each order.

I have a pack of 20 invitations that I normally list for $12.50, not including shipping. I just factor the $7.50 into that price, making it $20 for the 10 invitations and free shipping.

So essentially I am not missing out on the shipping costs and the customer believes that they are getting free shipping. This seems sneaky, I know. But, trust me when I say that all online retailers, including Amazon, factor shipping into their prices for items that include “free shipping”.

 

Offer Gift Wrapping

Another possible option that you could offer this holiday season is a gift wrap option. If your product(s) make a great gift for the holidays, then why not offer to include gift wrapping for a small fee?

Etsy recently announced that they will soon offer this add on feature for shops, so keep an eye out for it!

 

Plan Out Your Calendar

Now is the time to really start strategically planning out your calendar. Plan out your sales and set them on your calendar. Determine what dates are the “cut off” dates for certain holidays so you can notify your customers ahead of time in either your shop announcement, your description, or even by placing a graphic with the cut off date in your photos so they definitely don’t miss it.

 

Plan Out Your Promotion and Marketing

Lastly, you want to start planning out your promotion and marketing strategies. Promoting and marketing is super important around the holidays because, well, you want the business!

There are so many ways to promote your products and your Etsy shop, including:

  • Using Promoted Listings on Etsy
  • Facebook ads
  • Promoting on Pinterest – check out How to Use Pinterest for Your Etsy Shop
  • Host a giveaway on Instagram
  • Promote on Instagram
  • Start a blog that’s centered around your products
  • Be a guest blogger for someone’s blog

 

So I couldn’t be any more creative to come up with an even 10 tips for preparing your Etsy shop for the holidays, so I will just stick with 9. I hope this blog has help you and your shop, stay tuned for more!

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Easy DIY Background for Your Online Products

DIY Wood Background for Products

First off, happy fall y’all! Okay, technically it’s not fall just yet. But, it’s back to school time, which means fall. Am I right?! Who am I kidding I’ve still got my 4th of July decorations up.

Anyways! Now that fall is creeping up this is the most perfect time of the year to start getting down to business, perhaps revamping your business? Rebranding? (Psssst .. I have an entire article dedicated to branding your shop here) How about re-thinking the way your products are displayed online? Because you know, the way your products are displayed are a key factor of whether or not a customer will purchase your product.

A few weeks ago I really wanted to put more effort into marketing my products, so I took a photography class and I learned so so much. After learning how to work my DSLR camera I wanted to build a nice backdrop I could use for my products. Okay, so I should probably use the word “assemble” because I can’t build anything for sh*t 😉. I have zero building skills so I knew that I had to find a workaround. You can read more about that below.

Here is the full list of supplies that I gathered for my project:

  • 4 poplar boards .5″ x 3.5″ x 48″
  • Wood glue (I used Gorilla)
  • Walnut stain for wood
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Staining brush
  • Sand paper or a sanding block
  • Hammer (optional – not required)

About my supplies:

I found my wood in the “hobby wood” section of Home Depot. You could ask a worker where that is or you could look up “Poplar Board” on the Home Depot website and see what’s available at your store. The website will tell you what aisle and bay the wood is located at so you can pretend to know what you’re doing at Home Depot just like I did!

You’ll want to cut your boards in half so they’re 24″ long. If you don’t have the power tools at home there’s usually a person who can cut the boards for you at the store.

Next you’ll want to find a wood stain (I used a dark walnut) and pick up a staining brush as well as a regular paintbrush and don’t forget the wood glue (I used the brand Gorilla brand). One last thing, find some sand paper or a rough sanding block. You’ll have to go to a craft store such as Michaels to find the acrylic paint.

Once you’ve got your supplies in order you will have to plan your project accordingly. Since you’re going to stain wood and it will require drying so make sure you check that the weather will be nice for a few days. You will have to stain outdoors because doing it inside can be dangerous with all of the fumes.

When you have the perfect day to start your project put on some old clothes and lay some old towels on the ground outside to start your project.

Now before you start assembling the entire thing, if you want to achieve a really rustic effect at the end you’re going to have to beat your wood (woah, the sounded really r-rated). But seriously, take out a hammer and put some knicks and dents into the boards. I used both sides of the hammer to beat the boards up. Here’s a quick example.

 

Once you’ve beat your wood it’s time for fun!

First, lay down 6 of the boards all next to each other and leave little spaces in between each of the boards so the cracks are noticeable but don’t have too much space between.

Once they are all lined up perfectly draw lines of glue horizontally across the boards like the photo shown below. 

Next, lay one of your extra boards on top of the glue.

 

Do the same thing to the opposite side of the board that way all of the planks will stay in place once the glue dries! Once you’ve finished let the glue dry for at least an hour.

Once it’s dry it’s time for staining. Wear gloves to protect your hands, old clothes and a mask if you’re not sure you can handle the fumes. Wood stain is powerful. I actually love the smell of it.

Dip your staining brush into the stain and gently remove the excess by scraping the brush along the sides of the can, then lightly brush the stain onto the entire board except for the bottom.

Let the stain dry for an hour or so then add a second coat and let dry outside for 24 hours. 

Pro tip: don’t leave your project in the path of your sprinkler like I did.

When the stain has been completely dried it’s time to start painting. So grab your acrylic white paint and gently brush it on your boards in an up and down motion. When you achieve the color you like you can let it dry for another 24 hours.

When it’s all dry again you can start the fun part, distressing the wood! To do this just take your sand paper or sanding block and sand the paint down until the dark stain starts to show through in some areas.

 

 

And that’s all there is to it! Easy, right?! I love that this project required no cutting or power tools. Tag me in your finished projects on Instagram, my user is @christinaceoblog

 

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The Ultimate SEO Guide for Etsy Sellers – Plus a FREE Workbook!

The Ultimate SEO Guide for Etsy Sellers

SEO. Everyone always talks about SEO, but what exactly is SEO and why does it matter when it comes to being an Etsy seller? Well, I’m going to cover all of your questions about Etsy SEO in this blog post, so sit down and breakout a pad and paper and take notes! Oh and grab a snack too!

And, you can download this super awesome workbook that you can print out and use for your shop.

See, I’ve been selling on Etsy since 2014 and I’ve learned all of the ins and outs about SEO on Etsy. Most of my items are on the first page of search results which is the ultimate goal when it comes to SEO for your Etsy shop. I earn 6 figures a year on Etsy and having strong SEO is one of the reasons why.

SEO sounds complicated and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be! Follow along as I spill all of my secrets below 🙂

 

What is SEO and why is it important for your Etsy shop?

First things first, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your product page or listing in a way that customers will find your product when searching for it. Make sense?

Well, if I just completely confused you let’s put it in simpler terms. You want customers to actually find your products, right? Well of course you do! And that’s what SEO is about.

 

What factors contribute to SEO on Etsy?

There are multiple factors that contribute to SEO on Etsy such as product titles, descriptions and keyword tags, customer experience, product quality, recency, your shop title and about page, backlinks, and your click through rate.

Factors that Contribute to Etsy SEO

Got it? Alright let’s dig in!

 

Optimize Your About Section

Okay, let’s start with the basics. Do you have your shop’s About section filled out? If not, you really need to get on that. And if you do then let’s see if we can improve it!

To edit your About section for your shop, click on the pencil icon next to your shop name under “sales channels” on the shop manager menu.

Once you’re in edit mode scroll towards the bottom until you see the About section.

Start off by adding 5 awesome photos of your shop, workspace, favorite product, or anything that represents you and your shop! These photos should be crisp and bright. You can also add a video if you’d like, but I never had any time for that 🙂

After you add a few awesome images, you should fill out your shop title. Your title should be short and it should pull the customer in. Choose three bomb ass keywords that describe your products. Here is my current title:

“Are you looking for affordable, professional, high quality invitations?”

See, that type of question will get the customer to read the next area of the about section, which is the description about your shop.

It’s also important to use awesome keywords in this area because it will help boost your SEO. Etsy will “rank” your shop higher if you have this information filled out.

The biggest tip that I can give about your description is be honest and personable. Don’t tell your story like you’re this big corporation when it’s really just you. Don’t use “we” instead of “I” when writing this section. People love when things are personable and usually like to support small businesses.

Give a little background on yourself and what got you started on your business journey. Write a little about your process without giving away your secrets. Most importantly, write about why your products stand out from all the rest!

If you’re totally stumped on writing this description feel free to use my “mad lib” template that’s included with the workbook that’s provided above.

 

Product SEO

Once you’ve established an amazing About section, let’s move onto product SEO, which requires a lot more dedication. There are a lot of parts that are involved with product SEO, and the biggest factor are your keywords.

Keywords are extremely important to use throughout your product listings because customers are using keywords to search for things they want to buy. Let’s get started on brainstorming keywords.

If you’re using the workbook I provided write down the answers to the following questions:

  • What is it?
  • Who is it for?
  • Is it for an occasion, if so what occasion?
  • What materials are used?
  • What is the main color or pattern?
  • What size is it?
  • Is there a scent? If so, which?
  • Can it be used as a gift for someone, if so who?
  • Are there any synonyms related to what the product is? (example: sweater, cardigan)
  • Are there any adjectives to describe your product? (example: elegant, rustic, modern, chic, etc)

Next, write down a few other keywords that may help to describe your product.

Finally, look to see what keywords your competitors are using! You may be thinking, isn’t that sneaky? Well, probably. But there’s nothing wrong with it just as long as you’re not copying your competitor word for word! It’s completely normal to check out what your competition is doing.

So with that being said, do a quick search on Etsy for your type of product and see what keywords other people are using in their titles and descriptions. Here’s a quick example:

Here’s one of my products that I’ve been selling as “Greenery Bridal Shower Invitations”. This product wasn’t selling for the longest time and I know something had to be wrong with my keywords. So I did a quick search and realized that similar styled invitations were being sold as “botanical bridal shower invitations”. Lightbulb moment! I honestly would have not thought of that before.

 

Using Long Tail Keywords

Now that you’ve got some keywords written down, you’re going to want to come up with long tail keywords. 

Say what???! Long tail keywords are like a group of 2-4 keywords used together to describe your product. It’s so much better to use long tail keywords.

For example, so you have a sweater that you want to sell. Sweater? Um yeah, there’s like a million “sweater”s available to purchase online. How about this: Light blue cotton sweater. Much more descriptive, right? By using these groups of keywords together, you’re helping customers find the exact thing that they are looking for.

Different combinations of keywords are going to work for different types of items, feel free to use my long tail keyword planner as a guide for your items.

 

Product Titles

Whew, is your head spinning yet? Because mine is just by writing this blog! Onto the next: boosting the SEO for your product titles.

Product titles on Etsy have a maximum character length of 140 – you’ll want to use all of the keywords in your titles as you can! This is called “keyword stuffing” and it’s usually a rather old method of SEO but it’s totally okay for Etsy still!

Remember those long tail keywords I talked about? Well I want you to use your best long tail keyword in the very beginning of your title – this is SUPER important! The first few keywords used in your product title are the foundation of the SEO for the entire listing.

After your first group of keywords, add a hyphen or a comma to separate each group of words to make it look somewhat organized. Many people believe that adding a hyphen or a comma in the title is bad for your SEO, but that’s a total myth!

Here’s one of my titles: “Fall Baby Shower Invitations – Printed Invitations – Little Pumpkin Baby Shower Invitation – A Little Pumpkin is On the Way”

Don’t forget to use all 140 characters for your titles before moving onto the description.

 

Product Details and Description

Moving on! There are a few details that also contribute to your SEO on Etsy including the category, color, holiday, and occasion. It’s important that these options are chosen if applicable. Why? Because when customers are searching for a product they may be selecting these options to narrow down their choices. If you don’t have these options selected then buyers may be missing your products entirely!
 
Up next is your description. Again, super important area for your SEO. You do not want to skimp over this area.
 
Firstly, when writing your description you should include your star long tail keyword in the very first part of your description, just like your title. So give a quick intro about your product with those keywords. Include these keywords throughout the description if possible.
 
There are quite a few other things that you should include in your description also, which I will explain later on. Just know that your description should include lots of juicy keywords. I’ve also included a template in the workbook.
 
Here are some samples of awesome description introductions:
“Beautiful genuine leather wallet with custom leather engraving. This wallet would make the perfect gift for Father’s Day!”

Floral baby shower invitations for sale. These invitations are perfect for a spring baby shower or any time year round! You can select a digital version to print yourself or you can have us print them to save you the hassle! See full details below”

“Do you love the smell of vanilla bean? If so then this vanilla bean body scrub is for you! It would also make a perfect gift for your mother’s birthday or even your wife’s birthday, whoever!”

Besides having an awesome introduction paragraph, there are a few other things that I believe are essential to have in the description including exactly what’s included with the purchase, directions for ordering, followed by your processing and shipping times and any disclaimers and/or copyright information that you may have.

I separate my descriptions with sections just like that so it’s easy to understand and hopefully answers all of the customers questions beforehand 🙏

These sections are amazing from a customers perspective because they know exactly what they’re getting, they know how to order, and they know when they should expect to receive it.

Use the workbook to finish up the rest of your product description.

Tags

The product listing tags are probably the most overlooked area by new Etsy sellers. This section may seem non-important to your SEO, but believe me, they are super important!

What most people do is use one word for each tag. While that’s all fine and dandy, I suggest using long tail keywords for your tags as long as they’re under 2o characters long.

Yes that’s right, you can totally use 2-3 words in ONE tag. And you should! You will see a lot more results by using “elephant baby shower” instead of “elephant” “baby” “shower” all separately.

Curious what tags your competitors are using? Find a product listing on Etsy and scroll all the way to the bottom where it says “related to this item”. Shhhhh… you didn’t hear this from me!

Use up all 13 of your tags!

And as for “materials” I’ve heard that this area doesn’t effect your SEO, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right?

 

Quality Products

Having a quality product is absolutely huge. You have to believe in your product 100%. Your customers are trusting you to deliver a quality product. If it easily breaks or rips, or whatever, then you risk getting negative reviews. Once negative reviews roll in your SEO will drop drastically and your listings will fall behind in search 🙁

 

Good Customer Service and Experience

Another thing that I cannottttt stress about SEO is customer service. Seriously, if you cannot handle customer service then you probably shouldn’t be in the retail industry, period. With that being said, I’m definitely not telling you that you have to kiss the ass of every extremely rude customer because trust me, I don’t.

But, what counts as customer service and experience? My pro tip: think of every detail from the customer’s point of view. This starts with your listing itself. Make sure your titles are clear and understandable. List every bit of detail in your description and include very detailed photographs of your products.

Shipping your orders on time is also important not only for your customer service, but also because Etsy “punishes” your search rankings if you’re not shipping packages on time. They announced this at their 2016 Etsy Up Conference in New York. So at the end of the day always check that you’ve shipped your items on time by their ship date. If you can’t make the shipping deadline then I suggest contacting the customer and updating the ship date.

Another customer service tip I can give you is COMMUNICATION! Communication is HUGE on Etsy. After every order that’s placed I personally message that customer with the details of what they ordered and exactly how long it will take for processing and shipping. I also ask if they have any questions about the purchase. This is excellent for customer service because I confirm with them the details and make it more comfortable for them to ask any questions.

And lastly, when it comes to shipping issues: the only thing that I can say is again, look at everything from the customers perspective. If the item arrives defected or broken then either refund the sale or resend the item. Please do not put the buyer at fault if something arrives broken or it doesn’t arrive at all. That’s totally not fair to them.

 

Recency

The recency of your listings is also a determining factor for your SEO. You see, if your product is constantly selling and the listing is being renewed at least once a day, Etsy’s search engine is going to believe you’ve got a trending item. This can happen organically of course if you do in fact have an item that’s selling at least once a day. But, there’s also a way of “tricking” the system. 

Yes, that’s right, you can actually trick the system by manually renewing your products. You can manually renew your products by clicking the gear icon on a listing from the listing manager page.

Or! If you’re like me and totally don’t have any free minute of the day to do anything, you can use an app to auto renew your listings for you. I highly recommend using the Etsy on Sale app. Click here to sign up and enjoy 10 FREE credits!

For only 5 credits you can schedule up to 10 listings to auto renew once a day, twice a day, or whatever floats your boat!

 

Click Through Rate

One of the major factors of SEO is your click through rate. Your click through rate is the percentage of people who are clicking to view your items from an internal or external source. 

Okay that’s cool and all, but how do you increase your click through rate? Well there are tons of ways!

To increase your click through rate internally (via Etsy only) you’ll have to have amazing photos, titles, descriptions and keywords like I stated earlier. The more you work on those factors then the more clicks you’ll receive by people searching on Etsy.

To increase your click through rate externally, start out with what you may know best: social media. Pinterest is my absolute favorite! I’ve written an entire blog dedicated to marketing on Pinterest for your Etsy shop. If more people are finding you through Pinterest then your click through rate will increase! This goes for any other platform too such as Facebook and Instagram.

Another way of increasing your click through rate is by blogging (hey that’s what I do!). If you write blogs about your products and include links back to your products then that will surely help boost your SEO. You can also look around the internet for blogs that offer guest posting. Guest posting is where you write an article for a blog and in return you get exposure from their followers! Including the link to your Etsy shop will boost your click through rate!

 

 

Whew! I believe this is the longest post I’ve ever written. Over 2700 words to be exact! And yes, I actually WRITE my blog posts in a notebook before typing them up. Crazy, right?

I really hope that this blog has taught you the ins and outs of SEO on Etsy. I’ve included a full checklist for you at the end of the workbook that goes along with this blog.

Feel free to comment below with any questions you may have 🙂

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Why I Stopped Selling on Handmade At Amazon

Why I Stopped Selling on Handmade At Amazon
 
If you’ve been following my blog recently then you most likely saw the blog that I posted a few weeks ago about How to Sell Your Handmade Products on Amazon. I gave tips on opening up your first H@A (Handmade at Amazon) storefront as well as my opinions on the platform. Well, the other day I decided to delete all of my H@A listings and I am no longer going to list my products with Handmade at Amazon. Sadly, my venture on H@A didn’t last too long.
 
But, don’t get me wrong. selling on Amazon has definitely been a learning experience and i was able to venture into another world that I never knew existed. I’ll get to that part later.
 
But first, why did I quit selling on Handmade at Amazon? Right now Amazon has almost 250 million customers so I must be out of my mind, right? Well, I probably was out of my mind way before I started selling on Handmade at Amazon, but that’s besides the point 😊
 
ANYWAYS, let me hop to it. Here are the 5 reasons why I stopped selling on Handmade at Amazon.
 

Lack of Communication from Buyers

If you’re like me, a seller who crafts custom products for each customer, there’s a bit of communication required between you (the seller) and the buyer. Normally I handle all of my communication with Etsy through their messaging system. I rarely ever run into a situation which a buyer doesn’t respond to my messages.
 
But for some reason, communication on Amazon is a complete DISASTER.
 
See, I sell custom printed invitations. This requires names, dates, times, addresses, etc to be printed on the invitations. In order to avoid mistakes I always send a proof to a customer first before doing any printing. I require that they approve the proof before I print them, and this is where communication between me and the buyer is crucial.
 
For some unknown reason, I rarely ever get a response from my customers on Amazon. It drives me nuts! Does Amazon not notify them that they’ve received a message? I’m not sure. One of my customers said that the message went into their spam box. Big no-no.
 
Whatever reason it is, it sucks. So just as I do on Etsy, if I don’t get a response about the proof then I cancel the order. I don’t want to take the risk of sending out something with the possibility that the customer won’t be satisfied with.
 

My Account is ‘At Risk’ for Being Suspended

So one fine morning I woke up and realized that my account was “at risk” for being suspended. What the …..? As I investigated into the matter I realized that Amazon “grades” your sellers account based on orders shipping on time, your order tracking rate AND your cancellation rate. I had a total of 11 orders that month and 3 of them had to be cancelled due to no communication from the buyer.
 
Dear Amazon, that’s pretty F’d up. I totally get suspending an account when the seller is at fault, but it’s ridiculous to suspend a sellers account when they are not at fault, am I right?!
 

It’s Not Worth The Hassle

I’ll be straight up with you. Selling on H@A is nothing like selling on Etsy. Out of the 2 months that I was selling on H@A I only received 12 orders. I normally receive that many orders or more in 1 day on Etsy.
 
In all honesty I don’t think that buyers on Amazon are searching for Handmade things. Amazon customers are more interested in items that are available for Prime, meaning they will receive their item within 2 days. 
 
So with that being said I didn’t think it was worth the hassle any longer. Why risk getting my account suspended for such little orders?
 
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone won’t have luck with selling on Amazon. Perhaps my customization process is too tedious for some people. It’s always worth the try, but it just didn’t work out for me.
 

Handmade at Amazon Fees Are Ridiculous

I thought it was so great that Amazon doesn’t make you pay a fee to list an item like Etsy does. But then I saw their “referral” fees, which are 15% of the sale. Say WHAT?!?!!! 
 
Then, on top of the 15% referral fee you have to pay a sellers fee, which is $39.99 for a pro-merchant account (over 35 sales a month) or a fee of $.99 per item sale as an individual seller. 
 
So in the end the fees weren’t really worth it for my business either.
 

Focusing More on Fulfillment By Amazon

At least something good came out of my entire experience with H@A. While selling on Handmade at Amazon I looked into selling with Fullfilment by Amazon. 
 
Fulfillment by Amazon is where the gold is at, at least for me anyway. When you see items that are offered with “Prime” that’s done with Fulfillment by Amazon.
 
The way Fulfillment by Amazon works is you send in items to Amazons warehouse, and they are stored in the warehouse until the item is purchased. Amazon then handles the packaging, shipping, and all customer service for you.
 
 Let me tell you, it’s magical. I do all the hard work up front and then Amazon takes care of the rest. I absolutely love it. 
 
So if you create Handmade products that don’t involve customizations, I would highly recommend trying out Fulfillment By Amazon. Let me know if it works out for you!
 
Okay, I’m done with my ranting for today! Hopefully Handmade at Amazon works out better for you if you decide to try it. 
 
 
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10 Ways to Brainstorm Ideas for New Products

10 Ways to Brainstorm Ideas for New Products on Etsy

I don’t know about you guys, but June happens to be my slowest month of the year selling online. I’ll be lucky if I can get 5 orders a day when I typically get 10-15 orders a day on any other month. So with that being said, I panic lol. And when I panic like that the first thing that I think to do is to create new products for my shop.

But, how do I come up with ideas for new products? There are so many different ways that I brainstorm ideas. I actually have a list of idea’s that’s so large it’s quite overwhelming.

Here are the 10 ways that I brainstorm ideas for new products.

 

Improve Existing Products

Before you go off to create more products perhaps you can improve on products that you already have? I do this all-the-time. Over time I’ll realize that a product is not selling as much as it used to, which usually means it needs to be updated. So before I jump into new projects I focus on updating my existing product designs first.

 

Offer Matching Items

My business exploded overnight from just this one simple tip: offer matching items or items that go well with your products. So for example, I was selling just printed invitations for the longest time, and baby shower invitations are among the most popular. After a while I had a lot of customers messaging me asking if I offered matching diaper raffle tickets or thank you cards. So over time I slowly started to add matching items like those to my shop. I know 100% that offering matching items makes a difference.

In fact, when I was searching for a specific quilt for my daughter’s nursery I found two different quilts that were made by two different sellers. The one seller had an option to purchase a super cute matching pillow along with the quilt, and that’s what sold me on that purchase. The other seller lost my potential sale because they didn’t offer the matching pillow.

 

Sell Holiday Themed Items

Another way that my business exploded was by offering holiday themed items. People LOVE seasonal items. If you can sell an item with a seasonal theme then please do! You would be surprised how much pumpkin stuff sells in fall. Fall is surprisingly my biggest season for selling online.

 

Search for Trends

Where on earth did this unicorn trend come from?! I have no freaking idea! But I do know that if you jump on a trend quickly you can make some big $$$. But, how do you find out what the latest trends are? Research, research, research! Use platforms such as Instagram to see what people are posting. Use #hashtags to search for terms related to your products and see what’s going on in the world!

 

Use Stats on Etsy

If you sell products on Etsy then you should definitely check out your stats page! There is a brand new feature which I absolutely LOVE! When you locate your stats page, click on the “customers” tab. There is a super useful tool called “What else your customers have searched for”. Use this information to your advantage!  See what other search terms your customers are searching for and brainstorm new products based off of those keywords.

 

Use the Search Bar on Etsy

Another one of my best magic tricks is to use the search bar on Etsy. Did you ever notice that when you start to type words into the search bar on Etsy there are keywords that start to pop up on a dropdown list? For example, if I start to search for “Baby Shower Invitations” on Etsy the search bar automatically suggests search terms like “baby shower invitations elephant” or “baby shower invitations for a girl”. I can use these search terms to work off of when brainstorming products.

I can even go further by using the search bar for searching for terms alphabetically. What I mean by this is there are only a limited amount of suggested terms that come up when I search for “baby shower invitations”, but if I try to further my search with each alphabetical character, I can find more specific commonly typed suggestions. 

Yeah, that was totally confusing. Let me show you. I’ll start searching for “baby shower invitations a” and additional terms pop up such as “baby shower invitations all star” and “baby shower invitations animals”. Then I can search for “baby shower invitations b” and terms pop up such as “baby shower invitations boy” or “baby shower invitations boy nautical”. I can keep repeating this step for the entire alphabet to gather ideas for my newest design!

How To Brainstorm Ideas for New Products for Etsy

 

See What’s Selling

Another way to brainstorm ideas for new products is to see what’s selling. A lot of people feel sneaky doing this, but it’s actually something that all businesses do. It’s very smart to see what the selling trends are. On Etsy you can view what’s selling by typing what you sell into the search box and then refining the search by showing “most recent”. So for example, if I type in “baby shower invitations” into the search box I can select “Sort By” and click on “Most Recent”.

The most important point that I should note here is that it is SUPER important that you see what type of items are selling, but not to actually copy those items. Copying items or designs can get you in trouble with copyright infringement. Make sure that you are using this information wisely and to create completely different items from your competition.

 

Play a Word Game

This may seem silly, but playing a word game is an excellent way to get the creative juices flowing. My favorite word game to play is called Word Storm. The way the game works is very simple, you write down a word, then write down a bunch of other words that come to mind when you think of that first word. Before you know it you’ll have a long list of random words that you can work off of to brainstorm an idea for your next product or design.

 

Create a Mood Board

I bet you landed on my blog from using Pinterest, am I right?! 🙂 Well, Pinterest happens to be my #1 place for creating a digital “mood board”. A mood board can be a physical board or a digital board (Pinterest) that’s made up of pinned photos, doodles, and ideas for your next project. Pinterest is great for creating a mood board for your next project.

Create a Pinterest board and call it “Mood Board” or “Brand Board”. You can set the board to private if you’d like.

Next, take the keywords that you chose to describe your idea for your project and search those words on Pinterest. Choose anything that you would like to use for inspiration for your project and pin it to your board. Photos, color palettes, fonts, etc. Try to find as many inspiring things as you can.

Soon enough you’ll have a big giant board of ideas to work off of.

 

Ask

Finally, the biggest tip that I can share with you is to ask your customers directly. I don’t mean that you should message each and every one of your customers to see what products they are interested in, but you can post a question to social media or create a poll. If you have an email list you can certainly send out an email with a survey and perhaps offer a coupon for those who complete the survey. 

 

Hopefully this long list of brainstorming tips has helped you brainstorm ideas for new products. What other ways do you use to brainstorm ideas?? Let me know in a comment below 🙂

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