This is Part I of a new topic. It's an in-depth look at your store and what you should be doing to make your shop work for you, not the other way around. I use this as my personal functioning list on Etsy and its what I offer as critiques for other small business owners on Etsy; although some of these apply to just about any business, online or otherwise. Some items I've taken from their critique list and other items I've added from my own experience.
So follow this list for a more complete shop and to get the sales you want on Etsy!
1. Are you using ALL possible features? This includes the exorbitant following list:
a. Profile - fill out your profile completely for a more rounded-out shop. If your customer views your profile, they want to get to know you.
b. Location (City/Town, State/Province, Country) - customers want to know where you are located and where their shipping will come from. (*most buyers on Etsy are from outside of the continental United States. Buyers in the USA however, don't want to think that they're paying the same for shipping as someone in another hemisphere. Take this into consideration when setting up your shipping prices.)
c. Current Bio (effectively this is your "artist statement") - For tips on how to write your Artist Statement, check out this webstie: http://www.mollygordon.com/resources/marketingresources/artstatemt/
d. Display Favorite Items - This shows that you support your fellow Etsians.
e. Account Info - Make sure your account info is correct (update as needed).
f Banner - having an EFFECTIVE banner (a banner that is representative of your shop and the items in it) that shows the range of your product. The banner should state your name and slogan.
e. Announcement - use your Announcement, but keep it short and concise. Make sure it's only two or three lines so that your shopper can still see your featured items.
f. Web Search Result -Try the using the web search result to see how your shop looks to a possible customer online. Can you see the titles and tell what the items are? How do your descriptions look in Google Search results?
g. Star Lineups - Use your star lineups. Some people like to change this up every couple of days to keep things fresh. Doing this may also help sales as big retailers do this as well. "An active shop is a happy shop."
h. Custom Order Information - do you provide custom orders?
i. Message to Buyers - It's nice to tell people what happens next. People need to know how long it will take to process and ship the item.
j. Rearrange Your Shop every so often - it keeps things fresh and helps buyers to see the range of your shop. Also try different views (gallery and list) to see what you need to change to have the most effective views of your products in each view.
k. Shop Policies - Exchanges? Returns? When is payment due? Buyers want to know this! When and how often do you send shipments? Every day? Once a week? Also, is payment due on purchase?
l. Sections - Do you have about five sections that are FILLED? You don't want to drive your customers to areas of your shop that don't have anything in them. So break your items down into a couple of categories and fill the categories.
m. Shipping Options-what are they? Keep in mind that most Etsy buyers are outside of the states. Are you using your shipping profile? When and how often do you send shipments? Every day? Once a week? Also, are you offering discounted rates for multiple purchases from the same buyer? Some people do this to encourage the buyer to stay in their shop and purchase more than one item. It's a nice option, but it's not a requirement. Keep shipping reasonable in relation to the piece.
n. Payment Methods - what do you take? People on Etsy take paypal, but are you willing to take a money order? Also, is payment due on purchase?
o. Titles - unique and descriptive - Eye catching and interesting! Some people like to list the size in the title.
p. Tags- use relevant key words! Use size of piece as a tag. Use all 14. Color, texture, size, etc.
q. Descriptions - The whole idea behind the Etsy listing is to create a feeling; the listing should provide a story that is both descriptive and informative. Dimension, size and measurement information should be included the description. Also please refer to the second part of this series for more information on descriptions and listings: http://rachaelshandmadedesigns.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-to-effectively-sell-part-ii.html
r. Photos - Probably the most important thing on the ENTIRE website. Photos should be clear, crisp, and bright. Show packaging. What does the back look like? Use all five spots. Photos shouldn't have distracting backgrounds. Keep it simple, bright and clean. The first photo should draw your viewer in and create space within the photo. I don't like to use a photo of a model in the first picture, just the piece itself. I like to do a close-up (one or two), a full size photo, a photo showing the piece on someone (brings it to life and adds to scale) and a packaging photo. Another idea is showing the back of the piece. Shoot from all angles. Get creative with it! Use some straight on "regular" shots to. Shoot outside in bright or overcast lighting. Shoot in the same spot for most of your photos. This will show consistancy throughout your shop and will go a long ways in creating a feeling for your shop. Have a "WOW" first sentence to go with a "WOW" first photo. ATTENTION-grabbing - this will spark interest and encourage views. Also, make sure to use LARGE images so customers and click and get a big photo.
s. Pricing - Price points should be varied to offer the most range to customers who want to spend a lot, a fair amount, or just a small treat. There are certain price points that work the best on Etsy. Look around on Etsy and figure out what price points work best for you and your shop. Does your price reflect material, packaging, photographing, describing, editing and shipping? Also, are you offering discounted rates for multiple purchases from the same buyer? Some people do this to encourage the buyer to stay in their shop and purchase more than one item. It's a nice option, but it's not a requirement. Keep shipping reasonable in relation to the piece.
t. DO YOU OFTEN REVIEW, EDIT AND UPDATE YOUR SHOP? An active shop is a happy shop.
u. List - do something every day. List, relist, renew.
v. Participate - Etsy is a community. Join the chat or post in the forums or on the blog. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the chat, but some people prefer the forums, or both. I'm not really a forum gal, but I have heard of people generating sales by posting in the forums.
2. Learn a little: A word about PHOTOS. They are so so so important - I can't stress this enough.
First please understand that it's not the camera, it's the photographer. It's up to YOU to make your photos interesting, and you don't have to be a photoshop genius to do it! Decide on a simple, non-cluttered, non distracting background that is well lit in natural light - outside is best. (The camera picks up with the human eye does not - indoor lights can change the feeling of a photo, as can using a flash.) Lighten and crop the photos, if you need to. There are some very good free programs out there for such a thing. (The one I use is called IrfanView. It is simple and straightforward and lets you do basic photo editing.)
2a. Angles - Have fun with it-shoot a LOT of shots, and all from different angles. If it's movable, move it! If you can do something with the chain of a piece, then do it.
2b. GET CLOSE and be descriptive. I, as a shopper, want to be able to pick up the piece, feel the weight of it, touch it's texture and judge how it feels in my hand. I also want to inspect the quality of the piece and the detail. Therefore, when shopping online it is impossible to do this. You must CREATE desire and the "need to buy" through your photos, as well as your creative descriptions. Keep your photos simple, but make sure you use the most effictive ones with the most effective angle that will "draw the viewer in".
Part II: Creating Desire Through Descriptions
Part III: FABG!