Setting up a shop on Etsy is so exciting, now it’s time to learn some secrets for improving your Etsy shop.
As we discussed in the How To Sell On Etsy article, there are many steps needed to get your Etsy shop up and running.
In this article, I will share with you eleven hacks, tips, and tricks for making your Etsy shop come to life and increase your odds of success.
My site is all about turning wood bowls, and that’s what I sell in my Etsy Shop. However, these hacks, tips, and tricks will work for almost any products in any Etsy shop.
Let’s dive in.
Scout Your Competition
When you open a shop in Etsy, you are adding your creativity into an already existing sea of other creatives.
To stand out from this crowd, you need to do a bit of research. You need to know your competition.
Always, with everything you do regarding selling your wood bowls (or any product for that matter), think of the customer’s point of view first! This is super essential.
What is a potential customer searching, and what are they finding?
Don’t guess, do it.
If you sell natural edge wooden bowls, search for them on Etsy and see what your competition is offering?
Now, ask yourself, how am I different? What can I do that will make me stand out?
If you’re thinking, “I can charge less,” you may want to rethink that idea and read my Pricing Wood Bowls For Profit article for tips along this avenue.
However you decide to make yourself stand out, you will be viewed among the competition in your group.
Study them and learn.
What are customers saying about them in the comments?
How are they describing their products?
What do their images look like?
Don’t copy anyone. Instead, try to set a standard that meets and exceeds your competitive craftsman and makes you stand out to a potential customer.
Tell A Story
We are all story-driven.
Look at Disney. I would argue that 100% of Disney’s success is based on storytelling.
When it comes to telling stories and selling products, storytelling has many benefits.
“Buy my product” rarely inspires any actions. Again, think from your customer’s experience first.
Now compare the above tactic with, “let me tell you about the wood I used to make this bowl…”
See a difference?
Open up and tell your story, both in each product description and your overall shop information sections.
People do read all of these paragraphs.
Taking the time to write compelling content that draws a potential customer in will not only bond them to you, but it will make them chose you over other options.
When someone has a story about you in their mind, they will be more likely to engage with you.
Refresh Your Listings
This Etsy hack is odd and straightforward.
It appears that Etsy’s “refresh” mode is based on chronological posting order.
In other words, the Etsy product posts that go up today will have viewing priority over the ones posted yesterday.
Here’s the hack.
Periodically, go into a handful of your posts and add, change, or remove some content in the description or title and re-post the listing.
When you do this, Etsy sees your revised listing as a “brand new” listing and adds it to the top of the list for people to view.
Now, that’s pretty simple!
Bring The Audience
When you first start your shop on Etsy, usually few people will come to shop through just the regular Etsy traffic.
If you have an email list of followers or previous customers, you will do well to email them and let them know about your Etsy shop.
You may also print business cards with your Etsy shop address to guide personal contacts to your Etsy store.
The more you do to drive traffic to your Etsy site, the more chances you will have for Etsy sales.
Name In Title
Apparently, Google has spoiled us really well because efficient, intuitive search engines are not always the norm.
Unfortunately, the Etsy search engine is pretty non-intuitive.
I learned this the hard way.
I made the mistake of just telling people I had an Etsy shop, only to hear them say they couldn’t find me.
Lesson learned – give people your exact Etsy store address in printed form, or use this trick.
Here’s the “be found personally on Etsy” trick.
Add your full name at the end of the title of your product. Put your name on every product title.
For some reason, if you search a person’s name on Etsy, instead of going to that person’s shop, Etsy’s search results just stare blankly at you like a curious lost puppy.
You would think searching a person’s name on Etsy would be no big deal, but that’s not the case. People would contact me frustrated because they couldn’t find me. Grrrr.
I contacted Etsy, and THEY suggested adding my name to my product titles. Etsy’s search engine “sees” everything in the product titles.
Remember to do this trick with EVERY product you list. If you do it with just a few, only those few will show up when someone searches your name.
Bonus – Combine Hacks – This is an excellent trick to do to “refresh” and boost your listings, as mentioned in the hack above.
So you’ve turned a bunch of beautiful wooden bowls from a nice batch of wood you scored awhile back, and now it’s time to post the fruits of your labor.
There’s a potential problem headed your way.
Many products, especially wooden bowls, can look very similar to one another and get mixed up.
A trick I use when photographing bowls is to shoot the inside straight down into the bowl and shoot the full bottom side of the bowl — also, photograph as many other regular angles as possible.
Like to see my product photography setup? Be sure to see this article next.
The top and bottom shots usually work as a “fingerprint identifier,” and a match can be made most of the time by looking closely at the shapes and wood grain patterns.
A better and more sure-fire approach is to add a unique serial number to every product, on the bottom of the bowl, and then add that number also to the listing title.
I have a unique way I identify and mark my wood bowls. Check out this article to learn how I serialize and label each of my wooden bowls.
The last thing you want to do is ship the wrong item to a customer.
By using this method, you can read the serial number in the title of a sold listing and pull it quickly from your inventory, rather than guess which item is which.
This is a universal hack or trick that works every time with any business model.
Under commit and over-deliver!
Whatever you set as your practices and standards on your Etsy site, try to go above and beyond.
Again, as a customer, how do you want to be treated?
If you have listed a 3-5 day out-the-door time frame on your site and you can send the item out sooner, do it!
Think about how it feels to purchase an item and know it’s probably going to take a week or so to get it, but then, within an hour of making your purchase, the company sends a message saying “your item has shipped!”
You feel like, “wow, they are fast and on the ball. And I’ll get my product sooner now. Yeah!”
Give your customers that feeling as often as possible, and you will have many happy, satisfied customers.
It doesn’t have to end with just shipping.
Do you turn other small items that you can add to an order? What if you shipped a small bowl as a bonus item to add to a more significant purchase?
Imagine the surprise when it is received.
These are just a couple of ideas. Get creative and figure out how to over-deliver to your customers.
The great thing about special touches is they don’t take much extra effort, but their goodwill can go for miles and produce lifetime loyal clients.
We all like special touches, right?
I write a personal thank you on the back of a printed card that I insert into every order I ship.
It only takes a few moments to write out this card and include it with the package, but it adds a special touch and a part of me to the experience.
Again, be creative and think about what you can do to add a special touch for your customers.
What advice is most commonly given to newlyweds?
Building customer relations is not the same as marriage, but it is no different than any other meaningful human interaction.
Communication is critical!
When someone has gone through the process of searching, who knows how many listings on Etsy and elsewhere online, and decided to part with their hard-earned money to purchase from YOU, reach out to them.
In the order listing within the Etsy Shop Manager panel, click the envelope icon to the right and send your new customer a thank you message.
When an order is placed, this is also an excellent time to tell your customers what to expect.
I usually thank my new customer and let them know I’m packing up their bowl right now, and they will be receiving a shipping confirmation message soon.
If they reach out and message you, take the time to address what they have mentioned in their message.
Communicate one-on-one with each customer. Don’t let your messages seem boilerplate or generic.
Communicate with each customer throughout the process of each sale on Etsy, and you will see more success.
Yes, you need to offer free shipping.
The 10,000-pound behemoth in the room, Amazon, has changed the way we purchase and receive goods. So much so, that people (all of us) expect things to be shipped for free now.
I so wish all the shipping carriers would start shipping packages for free because then it would be a no brainer. Ha!
Well, apparently, people who drive delivery trucks and fly cargo planes still want to be paid for their time. The nerve of those people. LOL
Adding the shipping costs into your listing prices is necessary for a couple of reasons.
Customers perceive they are getting a “deal” or, at a minimum, not adding to the listed cost of an item when they receive “free shipping.”
Also, Etsy supports and gives priority to Etsy shops that offer free shipping on all their listings.
Be sure to read my How To Sell On Etsy article to learn all about the “free shipping” best practices details.
Feedback Feedback Feedback
Feedbacks on Etsy are the currency of trust and respect for both the shop owner and customers.
The feedback you receive can make the difference between a sale or no sale.
Think about your own consumer experiences.
What happens when you see a bunch of positive reviews? Any internal doubts or skepticisms relax, and you’re more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase.
Positive feedbacks are super valuable, and you need to get as many as possible.
When you stay on top of a purchase by communicating with a customer and offering excellent service, you deserve a good Etsy feedback.
Ask for it!
After a customer has received their purchase from you and ideally messaged you with praise, ask them to please post a feedback about their experience with you.
Specifically, ask them to mention their thoughts on your product’s quality, shipping, and customer service.
Why ask for those in particular topics?
You want to see these specific words because Etsy, despite not being able to link a person’s name to their shop home page (as mentioned above), does single out the terms “quality, shipping, and customer service” in customer comments.
If you look at my comments section, at the bottom of my Etsy page, you can see the subcategories of quality, shipping, and customer service.
So a feedback that says, “I love it. Just what I was looking for.” might seem great, but it does nothing to tell people about your service or shipping practices.
If a customer says, “I received the bowl fast, and the quality is fantastic!” Etsy “sees” specific words and categorizes that comment within the “shipping” and “quality” subcategories.
Etsy Hacks, Tip, Tricks Conclusion
Etsy is a great online platform helping craftspeople reach customers every day.
How we reach those people and stand out from the crowd of other creative people can be tricky at times, but by utilizing some or many of these tricks, you will be ahead of the creative mob curve.
Hopefully, some of these hacks and tricks will become obsolete and not necessary as Etsy continues to improve its site and practices.
I’m willing to bet there are other Etsy hacks, tips, and tricks out there that will increase sales within your shop as well.
If you know of any of these, please share with us and leave a comment below.
Ready to sell your products? See these articles next:
• PRICING WOOD BOWLS FOR PROFIT – THREE APPROACHES
• PRO PHOTO SETUP CHEAP – SHOOT WOOD BOWLS
• PRODUCT PHOTO SHOOT MADE EASY – WOOD BOWLS
• HOW TO SELL ON ETSY – WOODEN BOWLS AND MORE
Thank you, Kent.
This has been so helpful and so easy to understand!
Look forward to see the results after putting in place your advice☺️
Thank you, I’m so glad to help!
All the best to you and Happy Turning!
Kent, I’m fairly new to turning. I have always been creative with wood, ask my wife, our house is filled with beautiful creations which she cherishes but that’s not why I am contacting you.
I turn and create because I love it but there becomes a time, like now, when I wonder if I am going about it correctly.
I’m retired, have a manageable retirement income but keep wondering if I should start selling.my work. Eventually I’m going to reach a point that I won’t know what to do with it all and fear friends and family are going to get to the point where they say “oh! Not another bowl”.
Selling is one problem and all that goes into collecting money, paying taxes and fees which are running a business processes. Basically I dread the thought of it since all I want to do is create. Any recommendations?
The other issue is buying equipment such as the coring system I am looking at. I have stacks of bowl blanks and I hate to waste a chunk of wood by turning it into shavings when I could core it and get two to three bowls out of it.
I know, it’s my decision. Is it wise to invest in a coring system? Hell, I just bought a new bandsaw. Where does it end?
OK, let’s start with the coring system question. If you have access to large logs, 18-24″ + sized, then the coring system is well worth the cost. If you are turning logs under 12″, it’s not worth the expense. Notice the 12-18″ range is a so-so size because you will probably only get two bowls from that size. The small 6″ bowls you can core are not a great size for turning or selling.
Now, the selling issue. Selling items on Etsy is a good option because they deal with all the taxes etc. If you go that way, please price your pieces appropriately and don’t “give them away” at a low cost. See this article > https://turnawoodbowl.com/pricing-wood-bowls-for-profit-three-approaches/
Another thing to consider is that many local charities have auctions and or give gifts to donors, staff etc. You might want to explore and find a few charities you can work with. You can donate a few items and they in turn sell them to make money for their charity. You might also be able to get a tax deduction from your donation. Something to consider.
All the best to you and Happy Turning!
Kent, thanks for the positive review of the Etsy experience. I’m considering signing up. How do you package your bowls to keep shipping fees as low as possible and to insure no damage occurs? What do you do if a customer says the item was cracked or damaged in some way when they received it?
Thank you for writing and sharing!
I use multi-scored boxes of different sizes. I’ve found that 12″ x 12″ x X and 14″ x 14″ x X are good to have around. The X is variable and the box can be folded down to 6 or 8 inches (plus other stops) as needed. I pack it with loose brown craft paper as padding.
Knock on wood, I’ve never had a return or complaint of a broken bowl. I do mention in my live edge descriptions that the bark might not hold on forever.
All the best to you and Happy Turning!