Recently I reached 5000 sales and I was asked if I had any tips. I thought this topic would make for a good blog discussion. Here's what I have learned over the past two and a half years:
1. Have a good product and show it.
Have a product that you can be proud of and offer something you enjoy. My product is my prints. Since there are lots of artists on Etsy who sell prints so I had to do something to make my store stand out. I think one of the things that have made me successful is that I offer unique backgrounds. Make sure your pictures are clear and use all five slots to show your product.
2. Take note of your competition.
See what others like you have to offer and what their pricing is - as well as their turn around time. Be competitive - don't over or under price yourself.
3. Have your policies well stated.
State your turn around time upfront so there will be no surprises. Also state your shipping policies as well. Do you ship international? If so, let customers know that you can't control the mail but do everything you can to make sure that their item arrives safe and sound. Do you accept returns? It's better to have everything in writing from the start.
4. Handle issues quickly.
Most of the issues I have come up against have dealt with shipping. Packages are not always tracked as you know and sometimes they get lost. When a customer convos you to ask where there package is, check on it for them. Try to explain (calmly) whatever the issue is. I ask that they keep me posted and I let them know if their print does not arrive (by a certain) date I will replace it. When packages get bent or crushed (which unfortunately happens), I replace the print at no cost.
5. Have good communication.
Always respond as soon as you can when a customer has a question. If I have a question about their order, I try and send them a message right away both through Etsy convo and through email. If you foresee that the item will take longer than stated, let your customer know as soon as possible.
6. Be willing to do custom work.
A lot of my best ideas come from my customers. When they ask for something custom it often finds its way into my shop. So learn from your customers. Be willing to grow.
7. The more time you have to devote to your store, the better you'll do.
When I first opened my Etsy store, I was working full time as a teacher so I would have to work in the evenings which often didn't leave time for me to create new products. Now that is reversed. This allows me lots of time to keep my store fresh by adding new products daily (if possible) and renew items promptly. Keep your home page looking good. Work on your about page. Customers want to see who is behind what they are buying.
8. Package your items carefully.
Purchase good quality packing materials so the item will arrive safe and sound. Customers will appreciate the extra care you showed.
9. Be patient.
You can't grow a store in a month or two. Hard work and determination will pay off. I remember the sound of my first cha-ching - I was so excited to have made that first sale. It takes a good 6 months or more to see real sales. Don't get hung up on slow days because you are going to have them. Etsy does a wonderful job of letting us compare states with yesterday and a year ago but don't get too hung up on the numbers. As long as your sales continue to grow, what more can you ask for.
10. Offer discounts for bulk items and repeat customers.
I enclose a business card with every order and on the back of the card there is a coupon code for 10% off their next purchase. I love it when customers return to buy more.
11. Offer refunds or rewards.
If a customer has overpaid for something like postage, refund them the difference. Drop them a note to let them know and they will be ever so grateful. Occasionally I will enclose one of my greeting cards to those that have large orders. People love getting things for free.
12. Go the extra mile.
If a customer lets you know that this is a gift, ask if they would like you to enclose a card. Gift wrap if you are able otherwise, a card will do. If they have a deadline coming up and need something quick, help them if you are able; otherwise be honest with them if you are not able.
13. Be organized.
The better organized you are, the easier it will be to run your business. Keep plenty of supplies on hand and do regular inventory. This is something I am continually working on.
14. Take advantage of networking - social and teams.
Social means Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Wanelo, etc. Get help if that seems overwhelming. Join Etsy teams and get involved. Don't be an island. Offer to help others and others will help you. If you have questions, see help through teams.
15. Make sure to keep your listings up to date.
Have good titles, good descriptions, and good tag words. Do research on SEO optimization. Get help if you need it.
These are just a few of the things I've learned over the past two and a half years. I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions.
Thanks for stopping by...
Until next time,