Etsy is a large online ecommerce hub that allows users to create their own gorgeous-looking online stores. A person can go from humdrum homemaker to rising-star shopkeeper in a short matter of time, and sometimes overnight. Indeed, according to a late 2013 Etsy blog, this commerce hub is bustling with activity.
Over $109 million in goods were sold during September, 2013 (and that’s after factoring in any refunds or returns).By these numbers, Etsy is doing at least a cool half billion in sales each year. That same month of Sept. also saw over 5.5 million products sold, over 2.8 million new products listed and over 1.81 billion page views. Needless to say, the competition on Etsy is markedly competitive.
How you approach the design, appeal, operation and marketing of your online store is incremental in you gaining the traction and sales that you are hoping to. The following tips can help you get ahead of the pack and reap the rewards of increased sales as a direct result of your efforts.
One: Pictures Really Are Worth 1,000 Words
If you are not offering good pictures of your products, you can’t be all that surprised when they are not selling. Of course, we all can’t be gurus with photography. Yet this doesn’t mean that you can’t approach this subject matter with a bit more professionalism. Most standard digital cameras these days offer high resolutions for an affordable price tag.
According to an article by Smashing Magazine, you will want to feature multiple pictures of products that give shoppers a better understanding of the size, dimensions and features while offering multiple angles as well. You will also want to feature several different pictures, as online shoppers have nothing other than the imagery that you offer to go off when shopping online. Appeal to this innate human desire for visualization, and you can increase sales substantially.
Two: Branding is Everything
Your brand matters. If customers are unable to perceive your brand, there is a high likelihood that they will not convert into a sale. An Entreprenuership.org article offers some tips on branding. The article also advises that branding effectively, “creates a visual, emotional, and cultural connection between customers and your company, the product or service, and the type of consumer it attracts.” Consider these important metrics when creating your brand to increase sales at your Etsy store.
Three: Customer Service is Incremental
Did you know that the leading aspect of whether not your customers will continue to do business with you is, in fact, directly linked to the level of customer service that you offer? A blog that was written SalesForce noted that 92% of companies stated that satisfaction decreased with reduced customer service consistency.
A similar Forrester Research report found that over 55% of shopping cart abandonment rates are tied directly to the level of customer service being offered, and whether or not inquiries are responded to in a timely manner at the time of checkout. A McKinsey study found that over 70% of your shoppers based their experience on customer service.
Lastly, an eConsultancy study found that over 83% of your customers require service when placing an order. The solution: offer top-level customer support and increase your sales with a customer-focused approach to your online store.
Four: Online Marketing Matters
Your sales may manifest from some random organic traffic. But if people are unable to find your store, how will they know to make a purchase from it? SEO (search engine optimization) is becoming an increasingly necessary aspect of marketing any online store.
The benefits of pursuing such a campaign, in contrast against just pay-per-click ones, according to a Big Thinking Online report, is that SEO creates lasting results, as opposed to PPC ads, which go away the minute you stop your campaign. SEO actually saves you money in the long run against PPC. This is because SEO works to improve the credibility of your brand, and it helps attract demand-driven shoppers; it also attracts news coverage; it improves your ROI; and your competing rival stores are already using it.
Five: Become a Social Media Brand AmbassadorAccording to countless recent studies, social media is a great way to build a bridge of personalization to directly connect to your target organic market. Representing your brand on social media has a direct correlation with online sales. A ShopSocially study found that over 90% of ecommerce retailers increased online search engine rankings via social referrals and signals.
According to CrowdTap, over 60% of consumers will actually use social media to shop for gifts for their loved ones. And a Fedelta report showed that 74% of consumers intrinsically use social media to make a decision about buying something. Be sure to cash in on this consumer furor by being active on your social channels at all times.
Six: Find Your NicheThis one can be far easier said (or read) than done. To better help accelerate your efforts, a great article by Ecommerce Fuel offers some fabulous advice. The first tip is to be careful in selecting a niche, and try to find one where your store offers more value. Make sure that you target the best consumers for your organic market, and carefully research and choose the right products. In addition, select low turnover products that are made by reliable and respected manufacturers to help drive more sales to your Etsy storefront.
KONA’s CHIPS is a popular USA Certified Company that makes high-quality pet treats using only USDA Certified and inspected meats. It was founded after a family experienced their puppy getting very ill from eating tainted pet treats that were made overseas. They were able to save their puppy, and they also ended up finding their niche for their online store: making handcrafted and wholesome pet treats in the USA.
Seven: Don’t Overlook NewslettersNewsletters are a tried and true marketing tool. They help keep your customers informed and they can also help you attract new customers or encourage repeat buying patterns. A PC World article offers some more insight on this, explaining that newsletters benefit your store because they keep you in the spotlight with your customers, they reinforce your brand, they attach a story to your niche, and they intrigue and instigate a viable consumer response.
Eight: Make Your Shipped Packages Look Brilliant
How your package appears when it arrives at your customer’s door is important. Good shipping options matter, and can help you reduce the cost of shipping your items as well as how much time you spend creating labels and updating tracking information, comments and ship statuses (read our blog about Countering Common Problems With Ecommerce Shipping Services to Better Appease Your Customers).
Presentation is the real key here. Your shipped packages should be neatly organized, carefully packed and presentable with a “thank you” card, some sort of special offer and a packing list. Offer your customers this professional look – the look that few other stores offer them – and you can attract more buyers via repeat sales and word-of-mouth.
Think about it… would you eat at the restaurant that offers a terrible presentation or an amazing one? The simple answer is that proper presentation is priceless. Consider using reliable ecommerce shipping services to facilitate better appearance with your shipped packages.
Nine: Gain Exposure by Offering Free Samples
You’ll want to try and gain as much exposure as possible for your products. This can include a tried and true classic method of approach. One suggestion is to send samples of your unique product line to press and media members for consideration. Include a good write-up of your store and what you offer with an enticing sample that will encourage a written response. This can result in you getting far more write-ups, which ultimately result in more news coverage and increased amounts of website traffic pouring into your online store.
As we all very well know, traffic equals conversions, and those are the key to success with your Etsy store. As it pertains to the food industry, companies like Snack Factory (featured in a Swipely article) dabbled with offering free samples and found that they increased conversions by nearly 30%. Imagine what this same method could do for you when trying to gain press for your Etsy storefront and its offering?
Take Your Etsy Store to the Next Level
Hopefully these Etsy tips help you make key improvements to how you manage and operate your Etsy store to increase sales. Along the way, don’t forget that how you approach order fulfillment and management, returns management and your overall shipping process will also dictate whether or not you earn repeat customers or struggle to compete.
Take a look at some of our affordable software solutions that can ease these processes. Learn more about all-in-one software that integrates with popular ecommerce shipping services offered by TrueShip.