Thursday, November 8, 2012

Selling on-line

A friend asked me the other day about selling on etsy. She said she wanted to set up a shop but had heard that you had to renew your items all the time to get into treasuries and it worked out quite expensive.
So I thought I'd write a bit of a beginners guide to etsy.
This is hardly original - there are plenty of blog posts, forum threads, etc on this subject, but this is what I would say to my friend.

If you want a simple way to sell your handmade art or craft on-line, just dropping into an already established set-up that needs no great computer skills and doesn't cost the earth - then opening a shop on etsy may be for you.

There are some things you need to do to prepare for listing items in your shop.

a fabulous photo by Pratose Travessas

1. Fabulous photos.
The thumbnail is the window to your shop, you need to grab a shoppers attention straightaway.
I can't go into too much detail here but - 
Use your camera on a macro setting &
Shoot in natural light - are my 2 hot tips.

Use a photo editing program to improve your photos. Simply you can crop, resize, brighten, adjust contrast.
Use all your photo spots.
Check how your photos look. Do they stand out?
Do they attract your attention?
Are they sharp, not blurry.
Are they well positioned?

When you upload photos to your shop use all 5 photo spaces.

Here are a sample of some on-line tutes to better photos -

Handmadeology
outright
wahm

2. Shipping.
Get some small digital kitchen scales.
Work out the weights of your pieces including packaging and everything you are going to put in eg business cards.
Some people add part or all of the postage costs into the price of the article to make postage appear cheaper (or free).
Get a booklet form the post office or look-line.
Australia Post site is here. 
Here's an etsy blog post about Australian shipping.

3. Titles, descriptions and tags.
These are how customers will find you items.
Now that etsy has changed it's search from recency to relevency you need to pay more attention to titles and tags.
The main thing to remember is to try and think how someone would search for your item.

There is more information about etsy search here and here.

When listing your item include as much accurate information as you can.
Use all your 13 spaces for tags. For Australian sellers I would suggest adding "Australia" as a tag on at least some of your items.
Also you could use your shop name as a tag sometimes.

4. List something often.
Although it is no longer essential to renew items regulary to be found on etsy, recency has some value, plus it helps your shop to look fresh and interesting. Plus gives you something to facebook, twitter or blog about.

Your items will expire on etsy after 4 months. If you still want to sell that item, then renew it.
Also when you sell something you can "renew sold" to relist the same item which is quick and easy.

You can also list more than one quantity of an item if you like and it still only costs you 20c to list.

4. Shop banner and avatar.
You can make your own banner and avatar. Or there are many shops on etsy where you can either buy a pre-made package or have one custom designed.
You don't actually have to have a banner but it helps with your "branding" if you are into that sort of thing.
Also you can choose if you want your avatar to be a photo of you, your product or a logo, there are different schools of thought on that.

I got my banner made by a designer


5. There are other things you can do - shop policies, about page, shop announcement...which are not essential to having a shop - except maybe policies on refunds, shipping, delivery etc.

6. Now you need to promote your shop.


You can promote on facebook, twitter, pinterest, blog, newsletter etc.

Get some business cards printed with you etsy shop on and give them out to family, friends and customers.
I use vistaprint - they are cheap and look OK.

You could also get flyers or postcards printed - whatever suits you.

You could also advertise on other blogs - a lot of blogs have reasonable rates for advertising on the sidebar.

7. Network a bit more.
Join a team or two on etsy.
There are gazillions of teams to chose from.
There are regional teams for your country, state, region or city.
There are teams relating to your craft - artists, photographers, jewellers, potters etc.
There are other special interest teams.



8. Check out the etsy forums.
There may be answers to your questions there.
You can ask questions and offer suggstions.

9. Read the etsy blog.
There are always suggestions for using etsy.

10. Read the terms of use and how to sell on etsy.
You can read the do's and dont's here.
You need to know what is allowed and what is not allowed.

11. More networking. You can create treasuries. These are collections of items that you might like or think look beautiful together. Etsy admin select the front page from these treasuries so it's quite a coup to have your selected and can be very advantageous to be featured in them.
When you make a treasury the idea is to showcase other people's work and not to blag about your own stuff!
Also you pick 16 items when you create yours but it gets cropped to 12 when posted on the etsy front page and etsy admin can rearrange it as well.

12. If you haven't already it's a good idea to buy something from etsy to get an idea of how the process works.

13. And as a side issue you need to set up a paypal account. It is by far the easiest, safest and cheapest way of trading especially with overseas customers.

You will find more hints and resources than you can poke a stick at!
Here are a few I have found.

Handmadeology
Dummies
everything etsy

What vitally important things have I left out?
Have you some favorite resources that you used when setting up your shop?
Anything you would like to ask?

2 comments:

Marg said...

Wow, thanks for this great blog, Tess. I am inspired!

EarthAppleJane said...

I've been talking about doing it for yonks and yonks, so this is just what I need Tess, to get me moving! Thanks so much

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