I launched my Etsy shop back in November 2013, it is still only a baby, less than three months old. However I have learned so much in this time.
I was proud and excited about the products I had to sell, although to begin with I only had a couple. I knew their benefits and worth and expected a lot of interest very quickly. However this was not the case. Just because I enjoyed creating them did not automatically mean that everyone would want to buy them.
But when my first sale came through I was over the moon! And before Christmas I got quite a few sales under my belt and only positive feedback. Fantastic!
Convey your enthusiasm, as well as vital facts. I focussed a lot on letting the customers know what the product was and the specifications of each gift. However, my creative writing took a back step and my enthusiasm wasn't shining through. It is kind of like a blank piece of card. If there are a few words on a card in black lettering stating the item, details, and price then that looks pretty dull in a market place filled with lights, bright colours and shouting proud voices. So, be the excited, enthused shop keeper who brings you into their world and makes you become excited about the product too. If a customer feels excited and interested in a product they are more likely to buy it.
I realised this key ingredient yesterday when I set myself the task to re-write my product descriptions using emotive and exciting language, almost boasting about my product and letting my passion for my craft shine through. Not only did it turn those descriptions into bright, interesting pieces, it re-ignited my passion for each product and made me think "why not be enthused and excited, I worked hard on those pieces and should be proud!"
Setting a price. This was tricky for me. I could work out what each product cost to make, but how do I factor in the effort put into making it. Looking at other shops for inspiration was tricky and the more advanced the shop was the higher the prices were. I decided to think about it from a buyers point of view. What would I pay for that product? I believe if you start off pricing your products with that in mind then you can come up with an honest figure that takes into account the materials and skills, at a price that is acceptable to your target audience. Discussing it with friends or family will also provide a realistic outlook and expectation.
Pictures: A BIG deal, and one that I am still perfecting. A few tips I have is photograph your pieces on a one-colour background. This will draw the customers eyes to the product and make it the focal point of the picture. When I shop online I want to see details in pictures and different angles, just as you would look at a piece if you picked it up in a shop, so make use of the 5 picture spaces available. Finally tinker with the picture before you put it online, I don't mean fake it, I mean brighten it to accentuate detail, crop it appropriately, use the sharpening tool to bring out details and improve the quality of the picture. Use a good camera or tripod, and ask for help if you know you have friends with photography or design skills, a valuable asset!
Etsy is an online market place that is different to other faceless sights. By this I mean that you have the opportunity on Etsy to introduce yourself as you would in a physical shop. Be friendly, take the time to fill out the 'About' pages. Be yourself, using descriptive language, and communicate your passion for your product. Take the time to plan what you are going to write, check it, and look at examples that you like from other shops. I always find it nice going into friendly craft shops where you can feel the positive energy from the creator of the crafts, it makes for a much more personal atmosphere which is what you want from your Etsy store, however do maintain professionalism.
Finally don't get carried away. At first I bought lots of bits in anticipation of sales. DON'T! Wait for your sales to come in, once you have used materials for one or two items then buy in again for one or two (Unless you get a great bargain for bulk buying). This way you will keep costs down on your end and also save yourself a load of space. Plus seeing all those materials waiting to be used can be a little disheartening in the days when your waiting for a sale.
Have fun with your shop, stick with it, don't be discouraged. All the stores on Etsy began one day and have the potential to grow into something amazing for you and your family. Dream big, its important and not far fetched. I believe if you want to achieve and work hard at it then you will get there. Be creative, accept custom orders if you can, and promote promote promote!