Some of you will already know that both Renee and I worked at Etsy.
During that time, Etsy was undergoing extreme growth in International markets, with Australia being in the top 5 of all countries joining Etsy worldwide at the time.
Before the business went public, staff were located all around the world, set up to support the local markets for success.
Some of us were employed to support the growing base of sellers to make their Etsy store irresistible to shoppers (Me as Australian Community Manager) and others to make sure the message of Etsy as an awesome place to shop was being heard by the right people (Renee as Marketing Specialist).
During my time as Etsy’s Australian Community Manager, one of my responsibilities was to provide Etsy Critiques to shop owners. Additionally, I was involved in the pilot of an automated service that supported sellers who had just set up their stores on the platform with hints and tips on how they could make sure their stores were optimised for sales.
The platform has undergone numerous changes since that time, however, the basic premises for success on Etsy remain.
We’ve gathered some of our expertise together to provide those of you with existing Etsy stores with some hints to make your Etsy store irresistible to shoppers.
Professional Product Photography
Yep, that again.
We bang on about it because it’s pretty important stuff. Having crappy photos is simply not an option if you’re serious about making sales online.
Make your product photographs clear, well lit, nicely contrasted, and positioned, framed and composed in a way that focuses on your product in the most attractive and descriptive way possible.
Use all of the image uploads available to you (currently 10). Include a variety of angles of your products, try to show the texture of your items, have close ups of item features, your item in situ if it’s homewares or similar, or being worn if it’s clothing or jewellery. Consider showing how your product is packaged, or highlighting if you offer gift wrapping.
One of the biggest barriers stopping people from shopping online is not being able to touch, feel and see the scale of the products.
Therefore, your images have to communicate all of the information someone would normally determine when experiencing the item in the real world. Size, scale, colour, feel. The photos have to back up all of the assertions that you make in your product descriptions, they are working in concert to provide key data to shoppers.
Consider utilising video to create an interactive shopping experience for your customer! According to HubSpot, 73% more visitors who watch product videos will make a purchase.
Put the best photo of each product as your listing thumbnail. Group products together that ‘fit’ nicely as a cohesive unit.
In addition, your thumbnail might be the image that got the most likes on Instagram, or the one you’ve highlighted in a marketing campaign.
If you have similar products, mix up the composition of your thumbnails for each of your listings. Consider the ‘virtual merchandising’ of your shop’s home page as though it’s a landing page.
Make your Etsy store irresistible with visual merchandising. Rather than showing the same style of product in repetition on your shop homepage (eg. all of your images on a white background) mix it up so people can get a feel for the broader range of products available by having some thumbnails in situ, some of the items being worn, some in a styled picture.
This gives a range of information to the browser of your store at a glance, just by cannily choosing your imagery for merchandising purposes.
Product Titles and Descriptions
This is where Etsy becomes the same as any other online store. However, Etsy has it’s own search engine as well as Google which means you must take advantage of keywords.
Use Keywords in your titles, but don’t keyword stuff (over use), that’s what eBay is for.
Titles need to make sense, and they need to be super clear as to what your item is.
So, instead of “Red scarlet magenta earrings jewellery studs ceramic clay handmade” consider “Scarlet red earrings, ceramic handmade studs, magenta silver jewellery” so that there is some modicum of sense and readability in the words and phrases you’re using.
Make sure they fit into the character limit too of course, those are just suggestions.
When you get to the descriptions you can delve a little further into the explanation, data and information to provide. This is the ‘meat’ of your search engine optimisation sandwich.
Use keywords in your sentences. Think of the variety of ways people could describe your item, and therefore the words they would use to search for it. Many people will describe things differently. Ask your friends without prompting how they would describe your products. Ask family what search terms they would use if they were looking for the products that you make.
Is it a vintage upcycled doll? Or are they handmade porcelain toys? Are they both?
Given that we all have our own ways to describe the same thing, it’s important you consider how you can cover the variety within your descriptions. You can’t have too much information in that regard, but again, don’t keyword stuff and make nonsensical sentences.
Keywords are what gets potential customers to your listing. Then it’s up to you to persuade them you’re selling a product they need to add to cart.
Tell a story, create an emotional connection to the product where you can, describe how it might work in your customer’s lives, pique their interest and get their imagination ticking as to what their life would be like with this product in it.
Include all of the facts. Size, material, how it’s made, care instructions, colours available.
You can’t have too much information and you have a chance to use different words to describe the same thing. Consider bullet-pointing factual information while paragraphs are good for elaborating.
We’re taking the opportunity to highlight this exemplary product description written by our very own Angela D’Alton for Oditi Designs. Looking for expert help on your own Etsy shop listings? Hire Angela to write your product descriptions.
Categories, Tags and Attributes
Further to the keyword use in your descriptions, Etsy kindly provides further search support by use of shop sections, product tags, attributes and Etsy Categories
These are all unique to Etsy features that allow you to use the in-platform search methods for shoppers to find your products.
Use them wisely. Use all of them where available, make sure you give them attention and consideration.
Attributes will be basic things like colour, size, materials.
You can use up to 13 tags which will feed into the Etsy search engine specifically.
Sections are those within your own store. Give consideration to how your products are divided. DO NOT “U S E T H I S S P A C I N G” where you add spaces in between letters. This messes with the search algorithm because it does not work as a “word”.
Categories you choose for your products feed into the search (and browse) functions as well. These are the preset Etsy categories within their breadcrumb framework. Choose wisely. Think about whether or not you need more than one, and maybe list a couple of products across different categories to make sure your shop is caught by a variety of searches if it’s sensible.
Bonus tip: Review your Etsy Stats to learn what specific keywords people have used to find your shop! Make sure the best-performing ones are utilised across all of your listings.
Optimise your logo to fit the Shop Icon specifications. Make sure your Etsy shop name is as close to your business name as possible.
Use the banner and make it attractive and professional. There are different formats available depending on what Etsy subscription you have. If it’s pixelated or has a heap of sales words in it or looks like it’s been put together loosely, that will affect the perception of your brand. Consider including your hero product photos but do not go overboard with bells and whistles. This isn’t a $2 shop. Canva (affiliate link) can be a great tool to design an on brand banner that creates impact.
Be consistent across the platform where possible when showing your brand colours.
Your Shop Title is 55 characters, and directly affects how you appear in search results on Google, so use this wisely.
Use the Shop Announcement feature to highlight current sales, recent product launches or other pertinent information, for example if you’re on holidays, open for custom orders or have a discount code. Keep in mind the information you communicate before the “see more” button, as not all customers will click this.
Bonus Tip: Remember that your Etsy Public Profile, the place where you save favourite items and write about yourself, is connected to your shop. Ensure this is an extension of your brand.
While we’re on the topic, the About section is an important part of your brand narrative.
Having an empty About section is one of the biggest and most common mistakes we see on Etsy.
Use this area to make your Etsy store irresistible! It is an opportunity to communicate your key messages about your brand to your potential customers and provide further information about you, your business and your products.
Your biography should be well written and clear. It should include details as to what inspired you to make, become a seller, open a business. Outline where you are from!
If other people work for your business, include them here. Tell their story, invite people into the world of your business.
Consider adding a video of you working in your studio to reinforce the small, handmade, Australian owned side of your brand messaging.
A photo of you adds warmth, personality and again emphasises that handmade, sole trader, small business story.
Choose your Location Settings
Make sure you choose your geographic location from those available within the Etsy platform list, rather than adding your own.
This allows Australian shoppers to filter Australian stores within their search for products, providing them with the certainty that you’re local when that’s top of their priorities.
It also provides browsers with a clearer understanding of domestic shipping time frames during busy seasons.
Nothing breaks our hearts more than seeing an amazing Etsy store without any shop policies. Without policies you are missing sales by the minute.
People need to know that you have a refund, exchange and returns policy before even thinking about buying one of your items. This is paramount to building trust.
Browsers of your store will want to know what payment methods you accept before they add to cart.
Shoppers will not buy from you if you haven’t outlined your shipping methods, given them details of how long shipping takes to the four corners of the globe, and told them how much it will cost.
In fact on that note, Etsy has recently begun favouring stores that offer free shipping. Whilst this is predominantly a US based initiative, there is still a way for you to do this, even if it’s purely domestically.
Now it’s not for everyone. If your niche is custom carpentry where you’re building furniture for people, your shipping is going to also be estimated based on someone’s location and will no doubt be a transparent additional cost that is difficult to include in your pricing strategy.
However, if you create earrings or smaller scale items, you are definitely in a strong position to be able to create a pricing strategy that factors in your shipping as a business cost. In other words, the customer pays for the shipping within the price of your product as opposed to you transparently adding that cost on during the checkout process.
This is why it’s favoured. It’s simply a psychological barrier for shoppers adding up the contents of their cart as they buy items to find during the checkout process that there’s an additional charge for items to be shipped to them.
According to Shopify’s Australian Retail Trends May 2021 consumer report, 74% of Australians identify free, regular shipping as their method of choice and when faced with a lack of free shipping, half of shoppers would look for another online retailer that offers free shipping.
You don’t have to offer free shipping, but it does make a difference to your chance of selling your products.
Policies however are an important way to manage the expectations of your customers. Make it super clear, make it super easy for them to find. Etsy links to them in each of your listings which is helpful, but you can go a step further and highlight any key information in your product description. Have a really flexible returns policy? Highlight this as a selling point!
Not everyone will read them but if you include them you’re covering yourself.
You only have to follow @smallbizmemez on Instagram to see that even when you do have them people will still bug you, but you must have them. Seriously.
Yep, it’s one of the most straightforward and obvious things but strangely not many people get it right.
When you’re providing exceptional customer service people will flock to you. Etsy reviews are a fabulous way for shoppers to see that you deliver on your promises.
Managing customer’s expectations, under promise and over-deliver.
Encourage reviews that support that notion and share them on your social media, in your newsletters.
Building trust in your following has a marvellous snowball effect, and it’s one of the easiest ways to stand out from your competition.
Social media links
Etsy provides the option for you to include links to your social media accounts. Use them!
Not everyone will want to buy from you straight away, so having the links available for people to enjoy your business journey on another platform by following along with your content is helpful to them.
Not to mention it provides you with a growing number of people to market to via that platform.
As above, although Etsy does not have a built-in method of managing email addresses and newsletters, find a means by which you can collect email addresses without breaking any laws, globally speaking too.
This will provide you with a marketing channel that you can control (i.e. one that is not at the whim of algorithm overlords) and create stronger connections to potential buyers with offers, previews, discounts and advance details of product launches.
Is your Etsy store irresistible to shoppers?
Now please note that this list is in no way comprehensive advice when it comes to owning, managing and maintaining an Etsy store.
There’s more to consider and so much more to do.
However, the hints and tips here will give you the foundations of an Etsy store that is optimised for conversions and irresistible to shoppers.
If you’re yet to open your online store, Etsy is perfect for those starting out. It is affordable, easy, well-supported and gives you a straightforward way of determining whether this whole online business thing is for you.
If you’re keen to have your own Etsy store critiqued, click here. Renee can provide you with custom advice specific to your own shop with actionable tips for you to start making instant improvements.
If you’re implementing any of the changes above, we’d love to hear how they worked for you? Did you notice a change in your sales numbers? Engagement? Store visits?
Let us know in the comments.