Saturday, July 30, 2011

Business Lessons 101, A Continuing Series for New Artisans
day 71

#12 Etsy Pitfalls & Perils
River Girls Wry Mood Cow Card at ETSY
As one reader so gently pointed out to me, "Arrgh ETSY is not all sweetness and roses." Agreed. It's not the fluff and nutter sandwich of your childhood dreams either.

In last Saturday's post, I outlined some lessons I have learned since listing products in the River Girls Studio shop at ETSY. Most of these were positive, reflecting the overall experience of the past 16 weeks. There are however real pitfalls, two which I will explore today:

Excuse me is that your hand reaching for my wallet, or are you just happy to see me? There are two things you pay for when you join the ETSY community: listing your items and a 3.5% proceeds fee for items sold. Twenty cents a listing seems like small change, but it can balloon rapidly if you're not monitoring your expenses. Add in the sales fee and you've got a recurring shop bill that must be paid monthly. The awful truth is some shop owners sell very little or nothing, especially in the early weeks and months. Are you willing to pay those fees if you're one of those owners? For how long?

Ahem. Honestly It's Gonna Be More than 20 cents...
Next. Most successful shop owners discover that they need to renew their items well before their expiration date of four months, lest they risk not being seen or found among the other 318,000 stores in the ETSY constellation.  Some sellers renew at least one or two of their shop's items daily in the hopes of improving viewership. I have found that when I renew, I receive twice to three times as many "hearts" and views than when I do not. This does not always lead to sales, but face it. You cannot get sales without views! 

Some sellers are now suggesting that rather than renew old items, one should list new items entirely, lots of them. Guess what? Bottom line is the same: additional true expense which must be considered. (To pare this cost down, consider listing a single item and offering its varieties in the same listing. For example, an identical item in three different colors can be photographed in a single exposure. Direct your buyer to select one and place the color choice in the message box upon checking out.)

Frenzy Misplaced?
As someone who  after 4.7 months of listing is in almost 200 circles, has appeared in over 200 Treasuries and has been shop favored by 142 person, it's easy to get swept up by what I call the awesome and utter joy of my Etsy shop, but whoa, slow down.  Always ask yourself, where is that love coming from? Is it translating into sales?

Utilizing Google Analytics and sites such as Craft Cult will help you realistically assess what your true traffic is --- where it's coming from, through what key words and how long it parks. Of supreme importance is making certain that you are not inadvertently counting your own footprints and that you are getting traffic not only from other sellers but from actual buyers

Consider your shop like a house up for sale and you're having a Sunday open house. Other sellers who rarely buy are like the nosy neighbors who want to finally see whether it's marble or Formica gracing your kitchen counters: lots of ogling not much buying. Likewise, accidentally counting your own traffic is detrimental for it could be quite heavy when you're working on your shop and therefore misleading. I learned this the hard way when I went on vacation for a week and barely touched my store! Make certain to exclude your own visits. This blog will show you how and this site as well. That's it for now!

Good night friends,



Angela said...

love this. do you have any thoughts on zibbet? i've been hearing more and more, but am reluctant.

Wanda Fleming of River Girls Soap said...

Thanks Angela (smile) Some nights it takes forever to collect and pour my thoughts out. I'm pleased if one person can benefit.

I have heard some wonderful things about Zibbet and have mildly checked it out. I think it may be less costly and more intimate. It may also not yet have the whole reseller problem that Etsy is constantly mired in. The clear advantage of Etsy is the tremendous traffic (tons). I have also had some terrific customers over there and met some lovely artists too! If I had a moment's extra time, I would probably pick up a Zibbet or ArtFire to cover all bases! lol

Lori S said...

Wanda, great thoughts. I think your idea of multiple choices from one item is great. For those selling quantities that's a great way of reducing the costs of listing. It won't work for me, however, as mine are mostly one of a kind jewelry pieces. But it does get one to thinking.

Elizabeth said...

All so true. Great blog post!

Wanda Fleming of River Girls Soap said...

Yes Lori..excellent point it would be more difficult for artistic pieces that are one of kind. For my soap though I pour 30 different colors and scents, I sometimes offer a buy 3 and receive a 4th bar free, listing choices for my buyers. That of course cuts costs. If a jeweler did for example a Citrine series of three pairs of earrings, she could list it as "The Exclusive Citrine Collection"..photograph the 3 pairs and allow the buyer to indicate which pair she wanted. Your work I looked at and is beautiful and very unique from piece to piece so the strategy as you are saying would be more unwieldy... Thanks for the compliment Elizabeth. Much appreciated.

Good luck in your sales guys!;-)

Betty said...

Great post, I've been on etsy for years & my sales are so small I can't afford to keep relisting daily, especially when most of my items are OOAK. I keep making new stuff though, keeps my busy.

Lori said...

Wanda, Thanks for the idea of grouping. I'll have to think about how to utilize that. It would save on individual listings.

Blog Archive