Saturday, 21 January 2012

7 Warning Signs That Your Etsy Store (Probably) Sucks

We’ve all had that feeling. That doubt. That niggling idea that, perhaps, our store is not as great as we first thought it would be.

We dread the thought of folk asking questions. Questions like, “Do you get many sales?” when the answer is an unfortunate “no”.

We endeavour to hide the fact that our Etsy store sucks by offering up some pitiful excuse, such as, “Well, I just started out so…” etc etc.

Failure is difficult to come to terms with. No one, not you, I, or anyone on this Earth likes to fail at anything.

But we are only human after all. And trial and error is the road to success. I promise.

I started out on Etsy selling handmade tote bags, which failed miserably. I moved on to bookbinding. That failed too.

Luckily, I’m the type of crafter who can turn my hand to most crafts. I am not bound to any one skill in particular.

Years of curiosity and a voracious need to know how things are made, means I have accumulated many skills. Making the ‘trial and error’ a little more fun.

If your Etsy store is a failure then that is nothing to fear, simply look at it as part of the learning curve and start afresh.

But the first problem you need to solve is realising (or admitting) that the life of your store is probably not worth salvaging.

So I have put together 7 of the most prominent features of a failing or failed Etsy store, which you may or may not identify with.

You have gone 24+hrs without signing in

If you are not moved enough by your own store to so much as log in at least once a day, then buyers are probably not interested either. 

Crafters are normally very 'into' their own creations, more so than any customer.

A successful Etsy store requires effort, love, attention to every detail, and most of all, it requires a determination to succeed.

If you haven't got the desire to carry on then your heart is obviously somewhere else. 

You only have 3 items for sale
Ok. Maybe not literally, but if your store has less than 10 items in it, or even less than 50 in some highly saturated categories, such as jewellery, then you will not be found by buyers.

And if you’re items are not found by buyers then you won’t sell a single thing, no matter how low you set your prices.

This is a huge Etsy failure, as the purpose of selling is to sell, of course.

The other thing with having very few items is that it puts customers off. Imagine going into any real store to find only a few items on their shelves. It’s the same with online stores too. The more items you have, the more trustworthy you appear.

You’ve been open for 8+ months and no sales
My first Etsy store was open for months without a sale. I had personally come across sellers who had just joined Etsy and were already making sales, daily, within the first month.

This got me particularly riled. I constantly felt like there was some magic trick I was missing. And there was, but more about that at the end.

The bottom line here is that if you have still not made sales after a few months, and particularly over the Christmas period, then you have a major fault with your business.

In my own case, I simply closed up shop and retreated to the drawing room to come up with a new plan that would get me selling well.

No one favourites your items or store
This is something that tends to get to sellers, as (apart from sales) we seem to equate favourites to success. And while it may indicate success to a small degree, low numbers of favourites really means only one thing, you are not getting any views.

And no views, means no favourites and it definitely means no sales.

You’re in very few circles
Similarly, if you are rarely added to anyone’s circle then it’s because you are not visible enough to other people. You and your store are not being found, not being noticed by other sellers, let alone buyers.

This is again due to a lack of views. In order to attain more circles, you need to become very active within the forums or go on a circling spree in the hopes that others will circle you in return.

But if even after participating in the forums regularly, you still aren’t being circled then it could be something to do with the way your store is presented.

Your views are low to non-existent
Etsy sellers are always going on about their views. It really depends on what you sell and how long your items have been for sale.

More views do not necessarily equal more sales, particularly if your keywords are targeting the wrong searches (among other things).

However, if your views are so low that they couldn’t possibly generate any sales whatsoever, then you have a problem.

Getting people into your store is half the battle and if you can then succeed in keeping them in long enough to be hooked on an item, you will begin to see sales rolling in.

You’re not on facebook or twitter
Social media is the magic trick. 

It's not a tough as you might think. Wrapped by Design has a facebook page and a twitter account and just these two things alone do much of the hard work for me. 

I set up two stores selling similar items, one store I promoted on social networks and the other I didn’t.

The one that I didn’t promote is getting hardly any views/favourites/circles and very few sales.

If you aren’t promoting your work on social networking sites then your store probably does suck, but not for the reasons you might fear.

It’s simply a matter of getting the word out about your work. Your Etsy store can never be successful if you don’t spend time promoting it. 

So does your store suck? Did it suck previously? Let me know in the comments what you plan on doing about it or what you did to kick start your success. 

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Etsy Blog Ring: JuJuBeads by Judy Adolph

Cindy from RetroChalet began a Blog Ring, a continuous line of blog posts promoting other sellers on Etsy. As promised, here is my contribution.
As a jewellery designer-maker, I know how hard it can be trying to find buyers amidst the sea of competition, the jewellery category being the largest on Etsy. 

The store I am reviewing for today’s post is one that is succeeding in gaining sales where others remain patient still. 

JuJuBeads is a lively jewellery store on Etsy established by former piano teacher, Judy Adolph from Northport, New York. 

‘Born out of sheer enjoyment,’ the quality of artisanship that Judy brings to each of her pieces conveys that message loud and clear. 

Using a variety of interesting materials, such as crystal, gemstone, and glasswork beads, Judy creates bracelets, rings, necklaces and other forms of jewellery that contain an elegant, unusual charm. 

I found it tough trying to decide between the great selection of items Judy has in her store, but eventually I narrowed down my list of favourites to two pieces; 

1. The Crystal Bracelet in Brown and Gold 

I really love this item; it has an antique feel to its style and really appeals to the traditionalist within me. Yet it is made of quality, contemporary materials. 

Brown is a colour I wear often, so this would certainly suit my wardrobe, but brown and gold are such versatile colours that this piece would probably go with many outfits. 

2. Amethyst Rhodonite Bracelet with Heart Toggle Clasp 

I am a huge lover of gemstone jewellery, but amethyst is just so gorgeous, one of my all-time favourites. 

Judy has paired the amethyst with peachy rhodonite and I find the two complement each other very well. 

I really love the toggle clasps used, intricately detailed, which inspires a faintly Victorian appeal and heart shaped thus perfect for Valentine’s Day. 

Those are my two favourites from Judy’s store, JuJuBeads, but there are so many beautiful items there's probably something for everyone. 

I thought I’d also give a short store critique, as it may be of some use to Judy, as well as other Etsians looking for tips. 

JuJuBeads is an amazing store, there really isn’t very much to say in the way of criticism, the items are all very unique and there is definitely an overall style that persists throughout, which is great for branding. 

The only area I think JuJuBeads could improve on, slightly, is photography; the benefits of having unified photos always work to bring sales flying in. 

However, I really love this particular picture:

I think this photo is one of the best in the store and has a very professional quality to it that some of the others could use.

And that’s it, my little contribution to the Blog Ring on Etsy. Many thanks to Judy for participating.