woman packing and selling her products

You may be a crafter or artisan that creates unique handmade items. Maybe you have a small homemade goods business. Or you just love vintage items and you would like to turn it into a business. Etsy is an e-commerce website created to join together people who create and/or sell handmade items, vintage items, and craft supplies. In a way, it’s a giant online shopping mall for those specific goods. It’s a great place for sewers, quilters, and knitters who want to sell their items or just buy some supplies.

So, selling on Etsy is a great way to start or develop business for crafters and crafts lovers. Independent sellers can set up shops on Etsy and use their existing traffic and fans to present their own goods. It seems like it’s the answer to crafters’ prayers. Etsy allows them to overcome the confinements of fairs, open markets, and local stores, and show their goods to the world.

Obviously, starting your business on Etsy is appealing. New sellers can benefit from it, but it does come with some limitations. And it’s not like you just have to show up and everything will work out great. So, let’s see why it’s good to have your shop on Etsy and how to avoid common mistakes to achieve better results. 

Why It Is Great to Sell on Etsy

First of all, it’s affordable. You don’t need to rent a space or anything. Setting up a shop on Etsy is free. You just need to have something to sell, for starters. Of course, there are listing and selling fees, but they are reasonable.

The greatest benefit of selling on Etsy is that you get access to a large and targeted customer base. There are more than 40 million active buyers on Etsy. Last year they sold almost $4 billion in merchandise. These numbers say it all. Yes, there is a competition on Etsy, but reaching more customers is the greatest challenge for new and small businesses. It is way easier to do it on Etsy than on your own.

Also, it is very simple to set it up. You don’t need to be tech-savvy, actually, you don’t need any technical knowledge. In a couple of minutes, you can set up your shop, choose payment options, and create shipping labels.

man using a laptop for selling on Etsy

How to Avoid Common Mistakes

Even though Etsy seems to be a great place for crafters and craft sellers that’s just the beginning of the story. Selling your items online, using Etsy as a sort of middleman, is great to bring your products closer to the wider audience. Customization and listing options are scarce on Etsy, so it may seem that all you have to do is to list your products and the rest will unravel naturally. Well, you are wrong. There are countless stories of unsuccessful shops on Etsy. To end up on the winning side you need to put some effort. Etsy is helpful, but YOU are running your business. Here comes the list of the most important tips and most common mistakes to optimize your sales on Etsy.

1.Not Enough Research

This is probably the most common mistake of Etsy sellers. Assuming is not a good thing in business. Many people have high hopes, relying on Etsy’s large customer base. But, that’s not enough. Before you start you should examine Etsy’s policy thoroughly. You need to get a clear idea about the Etsy community. Check out some successful Etsy sellers and learn from their experience. Try to figure out what’s hot and what’s not. A good strategy and how-tos are crucial for your success. You need to research to develop successful strategies. Also, you need to find out the best ways to apply your strategy.

2.Titles, Tags, and Descriptions

You don’t have too many customizing and branding options. Listings look pretty much the same on Etsy. It means that it all comes down to titles, descriptions, and photos for your products to be found. The first five words are especially important. Creating good titles and tags is an ongoing process. It takes some creativity, experimentation, and patience to figure it out.

The description of your product is also important. It should be concise, specific, detailed, and appealing. Obviously, it’s not an easy task. You don’t want to write a story, but your short description needs to be catchy and attractive.

3.Photo Quality

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of great photos. We are visual creatures. Great images trigger the desire. Of course, a high-quality photograph is not enough to sell your item. But, I can promise you that grainy, bad photos will ruin your sale.

Take your time when taking photos. Pay attention to lighting and show every angle of the item. Etsy allows you to upload up to 10 photos per item. Upload at least five photos per item and try to make them look beautiful. After all, as the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is the ultimate truth on Etsy.

4.Not Using Social Media for Marketing

Marketing is essential for any business. You can create the most beautiful, high-quality items, but if you want to sell them you have to show them to the world. So, visibility is the last obstacle between you and sales. Etsy offers you to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your shop.

You can also use a couple of sharing tools such as the Pin-it button for Pinterest users. The bottom line is that Etsy provides a storefront for you, but you need to do your marketing on your own. Social media is a must for promoting your products and connecting to as many people as possible.

5.Not Having Enough Products

New home businesses usually offer a limited number of items. However, a short list of items, no reviews, and no sales (because you have just started out) may turn potential customers to look somewhere else.

So, it’s a good idea to accrue more items before you go out to start on Etsy. A larger number of products will give you a little bit better starting position.

cart button representing more online sales

6.Not Adding New Products Regularly

Another important tip is to add new items on a regular basis. Having a long list of products and adding new ones regularly may seem to be daunting. Hey, I’ve never said it was going to be easy.

Adding new items regularly is utterly important because it increases your chances of being found. New items have better visibility on Etsy. So, it’s reasonable to develop a plan on how to add items regularly.

7.Focusing on Price

I don’t want to underestimate the importance of pricing policy. However, new Etsy sellers are often afraid of competition and therefore they lower their prices. Don’t do that! With millions of sellers on Etsy, you can never be the one with the lowest prices.

Those spots are reserved for large players. Not to mention that you’ll diminish your profit. Instead of focusing on low price, focus on value. Focus on designing, great photos, and branding. 

8.Not Niched Enough

This is a very common mistake of crafters and artisans. You may like to make all kinds of projects. But if you are trying to sell crochet scarves and carpentry, it’s not going to work. Actually, it might, but it’s not a good long-term strategy.

For sustainable success and growth, you need to focus on a specific niche. It doesn’t have to be extremely narrow, though. But, there must be something that bonds all your products.

9.Keeping Old Listings

As I have already said, having a larger list of products is a good thing. But, don’t get carried away and focus only on quantity. It can affect the quality of your products and you may end up with too many items that never sell. High-quality, good looks of your products, and good marketing are the pillars that lead to success.

So, get rid of the old useless listings. Large numbers are desirable but they shouldn’t compromise the average quality of your offer.

Conclusion

While Etsy is a great platform that can boost your business immensely, it’s not an almighty power that will make you rich. It is just a convenient place to make some things easier. But, you still need to make some serious effort. Etsy provides space and potential customers, but it won’t run your business. 

The bottom line is that your success depends on your work. Etsy will give you an opportunity, but it’s up to you to make the best out of it and make it successful.