10 Reasons Your Etsy Items Aren’t Selling

So you’ve got an Etsy shop and have packed it with awesome offerings. But, even with all good intentions, your sales are nonexistent or slow. Don’t despair! It may be easier than you think to increase Etsy sales.
 
Converting browsers to buyers may be easier than you think.
 
 
 

There are plenty of reasons to open an Etsy shop. Some benefits include the ability to:

  • reach a larger audience
  • own and manage your own store with little overhead
  • be part of a community
  • be associated with a community of fellow entrepreneurs and artists

 
All great, valid reasons. But, if despite all the great things Etsy has to offer, you’re still struggling, this list is for you. Here are ten things to help you build your own Etsy empire and a storefront you can be proud of.
 
 
 

1. YOUR SEO

No matter how great your shop is, if no one finds it, it won’t matter. Enter, SEO.
 
Search engine optimization is confusing to say the least. I often reference this free guide by SEO Moz when speaking with clients. They say it much better than I ever could.
 
My own best advice is to ensure you’re talking to your right people and you’re offering them the right products. Not even the best SEO can help you if you’re missing the mark on those items.
 
 
 

2. YOUR PICTURES

The importance of having exquisite photography cannot be expressed strongly enough. Invest in a decent camera or even a professional photographer.
 
Your photos should reflect the aesthetic of your work and the integrity of your brand. They should be rich with detail and supremely clear. Make use of interesting angles giving the item a unique perspective. Staging images in unique ways calls attention to the photo, too. An example might be to hang earrings from a teacup or other unexpected object instead of simply laying them on a table. This not only turns heads but it tempts curators of Treasuries to include your item.
 
 
 

3. YOUR DESCRIPTIONS

For the most part, your images catch their eye and entice them to click, and your description closes the deal. Great descriptions are easy to read, scannable in bite-sized chunks, conversational, and concise.
 
Be sure to share the benefits in addition to the features. Subtly explain them why their life would be better having bought this item and why they should buy it from you. You can reference your excellent customer service, the originality of your item, the quality of workmanship, your experience, etc. But do it briefly. People really want to read about the item. Tell them what they need to know as efficiently as possible.
 
Include all the details. It saves you from having to answer email inquiries for elaboration, and it makes it less likely the potential buyer will click away when they can’t get the information they’re looking for right away. I like to block off the details in a simple place (size, materials, etc.) A description done right will make the sale.
 
 
 

4. YOUR NICHE

No matter what business you’re in, you’ve got to know who you’re talking to. This free 5 page workbook shares everything you need to know to figure out your ideal customer.
 
Once you’re clear on your right people are, find out where they hang out and go there. Show up in online forums and social networking conversations. Don’t ruthlessly self-promote, but rather lend your voice and identify yourself as someone who offers products to help meet their needs.
 
 
 

5. YOUR REVIEWS

This is something I need to work on in my own shop. I have had 242 sales and have only 68 reviews. It’s worth your time to send a note about a week or so after the item is delivered to the customer to thank them and to make sure the item arrived safely and was to their liking. If they respond positively, as them to take a moment to leave a review.
 
Those reviews go a long way toward credibility. They add a layer of trust & give confidence and are proof positive that you offer quality products and service to match.
 
To increase the likelihood of a stellar review, go above and beyond in your service and packaging. Perhaps tuck a handwritten thank you note and a little unexpected gift. The idea is to make them remember you. Always stick to the branding and do more than you have to and you’ll earn the mindshare of your customers.
 
 
 

6. YOUR BRANDING

Branding is crucial to any business. Get a beautiful logo and perfectly sized avatar and banner. Get business cards, tags, and packaging that reflects your brand colors and style. As for your online brand, consistency of voice, appeal, logo, color, overall look and feel will lend credibility to your brand. Ideally, if a customer spotted one of your listings elsewhere,  they would recall the branding as yours.
 
Just because you’re on Etsy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your own brand. Quite the contrary. A little reminder in case you need it: Your Etsy store IS a business. Your business. Make it so.
 
 
 

7. YOUR PRICING

Pricing is among the trickiest and stickiest thing businesses contend with. For handmade sellers this can be tough because they tend to have more of an affinity for their creations. No matter what you’re selling, it’s really important to get it just right. In fact, it’s essential.
 
>Too High
Prices that are too high can cause potential buyers pass over your items in the search results. If your items aren’t selling maybe you’re asking too much for them. This includes shipping prices, too. As a buyer myself, I know I balk at making a purchase when the shipping cost seems exorbitant. Examine the market to make sure buyers can’t get the same or similar items for markedly less.
 
 
>Too low
If your prices are perceived to be too low, potential buyers may fear it is of inferior quality. While this may be far from the truth, it’s a common thought.
Pricing that’s out of line with the marketplace in general will leave your items collecting dust on your virtual shelves. You risk them becoming stale or out of fashion. Scour Etsy, eBay, and Google to see if your prices are in line with competitors.
 
If you’re still wrestling over changing prices, consider altering your items to make them better suited to the price tag. If possible, pad the listing with a free bonus to increase the perceived value.
 
 
 

8. YOUR POLICIES

Buyers want to know what your policies are before they hand over their money. Take some time to draft an excellent policies section for your shop. Include your rules on returns, exchanges, damages, etc.
 
 
 

9. YOUR RESTRICTIONS

Are you limiting your Etsy sales with restrictions? Two ways you may be doing this without even knowing it are through payment methods and by not selling internationally.
 
>Payment Methods
Paypal is typically the third-party payment venue of choice online. For the most part it’s reliable and easy to use, offering both buyer and seller protection. But they’re not the only game in town. And not everyone uses them. It may benefit you to add other payment options such as money orders (which are better than checks because you don’t have to wait for them to clear and won’t risk them bouncing), and other providers like Dwolla, WePay, or Skrill.
 
 
>Not Offering International Shipping
There’s a giant world out there loaded with potential customers. Limiting yours sales to a single country greatly narrows your potential sales pool. While it can be more time consuming to ship parcels internationally, it’s certainly something to consider. Click here to find out how to best prepare your international shipment.
 
Know that most countries have restrictions on the items they allow in the country. Click here for the giant list. Reference this prior to shipping your item, lest it get tied up in customs and lost forever. It’s happened to me!
 
Shipping internationally isn’t an option for everyone (like people selling very heavy or unwieldy items), but for most shops, it’s definitely something to consider.
 
 
 

10. YOUR MARKETING/PROMOTION

Are you sitting back and waiting for your Etsy sales to roll in or are you out there making things happen? Proactive marketing efforts are a must for business owners.
 
Some ways to shine the light on your store are:

  • Having a Facebook business page
  • Adding a tab to your Etsy shop to your Facebook business page
  • Pinning your items
  • Cross promoting with other brands
  • Maintaining an email list.
     
    Mailchimp and MailerLite offer free plans.

  •  

  • Writing to popular blog owners in your marketplace to inquire about how you can work together to mutually benefit from showcasing your shopThe Mogul Mom offers an affordable option to get your business out there through an ongoing annual dedicated ad and link through The Directory. You’ll also get access to our private community on Facebook where like-minded professional women meet to strategize and network. It’s a steal at $57 a year.

 
Hopefully these tips will help you take your Etsy shop to the next level. Which of these elements can you work on to build a better store?
 
 

Do use any of these tips to increase sales in your Etsy shops? Did we miss anything? What tips do you have?

 
 

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Melissa Bolton

Brand Therapist + Copywriter at Melissa Bolton
Melissa is a mompreneur and brand therapist providing neurobranding and conversion copywriting services to solopreneurs and micro-business owners looking to truly connect with their right people. Leaning on proven psychology principles, she helps clients create a brand presence that's not only explicitly unique, but highly memorable. She offers 25 years of extensive sales and marketing experience. You can learn more about her and visit her other sites, here: MelissaBolton.com & Revolutionary-Branding.com
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1 Comment

  1. Amanda Lou

    I agree with most of what you recommend however without sounding too pessimistic the problem with customers these days is they are so incredible fickle regardless of how much effort you put into a listing page
    What also doesn’t help are all the freeby youtube stars promoting how things have little or no worth and it can be all made yourself for a fraction of the price
    Its also unfortunate to see more and more china sellers are absorbing themselves into the network of etsy with items that are clearly no made at home but from sweatshop factories which kind of defeat the purpose of the whole etsy feeling
    Keep up the good work all the same will be back to visit your site again
    SA

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