Online E Commerce Series

If you're crafty, entrepreneurial and interested in making money from something you truly love creating; Etsy might be a great place for you to open an online shop. This popular ecommerce platform has sales that totaled over $1 billion in 2014, with more than 1 million active online sellers. While an Etsy store does take some time to set up and maintain, it's a low-cost way to get your products into the hands of thousands since each listing only costs $.20 to publish. Interested in learning more? Read on for some helpful tips when thinking about expanding your business onto Etsy's selling platform.

Find Your Niche

Etsy is the number one online marketplace for crafters - a unique site where you can get anything from a hand-drawn portrait of your cat to wooden initialed coasters for your coffee table. Even though it's incredibly eclectic, there are still some markets that are highly saturated on the site. Jewelry, monogrammed items, wedding items and vintage finds are popular categories that thousands of sellers offer items in, so do your research prior to deciding on what you're going to sell. Compare what you want to offer with what's already out there, make price comparisons, observe the popularity of items, check out other sellers' discount policies and more to get a good idea of how you can stay competitive in the market.

If you're thinking about selling in one of the more popular categories, try offering a variety of items first, then tailor your listings once you can gauge what your best selling items are. For example, if you open a shop that sells necklaces, custom watercolor portraits and handmade blankets, monitor your sales closely to see what's selling the most and the fastest. Once you know what your highest-selling items are, you can shift your inventory more toward offering more of these items.

High-Quality, Professional Looking Photos Are Key


Subpar photos on your listings can tank your sales, so invest in every single picture you post. Take the time to really capture good shots of what you're selling since buyers are solely relying on these and your description to convince them to make a purchase. Aim for bright, close-up pictures that showcase your item in a visually pleasing way, and shoot your item from all angles so the buyer can get a feel for the size, depth, length and height of what they're looking at.

In fact, it's actually wise to concentrate more on the look of your listings rather than your shop design in the beginning stages of your Etsy shop. Because most buyers will generally find your items through the search engine, you don't need to shoot for perfection when your shop first opens. A basic shop with great images and descriptions is better than one that's under construction, and you can always tweak your shop design later.

Know Your Keywords


SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial since the right keywords are what allow your products to show up in search results. Just as you'll tweak your offerings and shop design, you'll also adjust your SEO strategy, or "optimize" your shop, to align with frequent search engine changes. Since you can't sell your amazing items unless people see them, Etsy allows you to customize different areas of your shop like the shop title, description and meta description with popular tags, keywords and titles. If you're an SEO beginner, Etsy does offer link building strategies and on-page optimization, as well as a comprehensive guide on understanding SEO and its importance to Etsy selling.

Don't Skimp on the Details


Once a picture of your item draws the attention of a customer, the shopper is going to read your description. Add a little heart to what you're writing in this section to really capture the essence of the product. For example, instead of saying "this is a white beaded top that is a size small," add more details to create more of a personal connection for the potential buyer. The meager sentence above could be rewritten to become "this stunning white tank features dazzling crystal beads that shimmer with every move, perfect for pairing with a blazer for a day in the office or a fitted skirt for a night on the town. It measures 13 inches across unstretched and fits a standard U.S. size small."

Ensure Great Customer Service

Besides your descriptions, the shipping details and your return policy are two areas that need to be clearly communicated to customers from the get-go. Why you may ask? Interestingly, these two areas can help directly dictate the ratings and feedback you receive from buyers. Some even consider these areas of customer service just as important as receiving an item that lives up to the product's description and pictures. Make sure customers are able to find your shipping options, can easily understand any time frames and discounts offered and will have zero questions about your return policy.

Now that you have the tools to be successful on Etsy, shop all online retail essentials here!