Monday, October 2, 2017

Etsy now announcing some tests

Etsy now announcing some tests
A step forward in transparency
Oh no, another test... Have you ever complained about it? I know I have. It can be hard to navigate a site that constantly changes. It is especially difficult for those of use at a certain (ahem) age...

Etsy is now announcing some tests! That is happy news. Transparency is good.

Here is the page where you can find out what is going on. (You may wish to bookmark it.) Not all tests will be announced this way.

After all of the complaints by sellers I think that this is an improvement. If we see something unusual, there is an official place to go and check.

That is better than reporting something as a bug just to find out it is a test. It is more accurate than just asking around.

😎 Happy Etsy selling. 🍂

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Will you offer free shipping on Etsy?

Etsy is phasing in free shipping. It is optional for sellers. Buyers will start to be able to see free shipping on listings starting on October 9th.

Buyers will see a badge on individual listings. They will also be able to filter listings when performing a search.

offering free shipping on Etsy
Free shipping is not free for sellers
As with everything else, Etsy sellers have mixed opinions about participating. Some studies suggest that the conversion rate improves 90% when free shipping is offered. Etsy stated: "More than half of the buyers we surveyed in August said free shipping is a very important factor in their decision to purchase an item."

Free shipping can certainly be a powerful marketing tool. Do you shop on Amazon, using Amazon Prime? Or Wal-mart? Or eBay? Free shipping is not new.

Increased sales and a modest increase in fees are the up side for Etsy. (It will only be available in the USA.)

Free shipping affects the bottom line
Does free shipping improve your placement in search results? "Offering free shipping doesn’t change where your listings rank in search results... buyers will have the option to filter search results for listings offering free shipping."

Should I offer free shipping?


Of course, this is a business decision. Every seller needs to make an analysis of the benefits versus the cost of offering free shipping. It comes down to one thing: can your business still make money if you offer it?

How can you decide? Try testing out whether it works by offering it on some items and not offering it on similar items. See which items sell better. Analyze your profit margin, how much money you are making.

Do returns increase? Some sellers say that they do...

Offering free shipping is a business decision
Is the increase in sales enough to keep your shop making money? Making enough money?

Additionally, sellers should consider "the cost of offering free shipping as the cost of acquiring a new customer or retaining a loyal follower." There is some value to that, but how much?

Sellers can set a minimum order dollar value. They can also specify a minimum number of items in order to qualify for free shipping.

Etsy says that sellers can combine free shipping with another promotion (sale or coupon). "Eligible buyers will see both the free shipping and the other sale or coupon discount."

I may try it on some of my items. These would be items with a relatively high value/markup and relatively low shipping cost.

Do you want to try it on some of your items?

A short how-to:


1.) To create a free shipping sale or coupon, go to Shop Manager > Marketing > Sales and coupons and click "New special offer."

2.) Specify which discount you would like to offer by selecting "Run a sale."

3.) Select "Free shipping" from the dropdown menu, fill out the rest of the details about your sale and click "next."

4.) Choose the listings you would like to include in the offer.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fun market research to improve your vintage online selling

Cuddle up with your computer
Cozy up with your favorite device
Many of us realize that we need to do market research in order to improve our business. Yet, how exactly is it done?

There is an easy way. It is as simple as taking your favorite device and browsing the internet. Sound fun? It is! Why not give it a try?

(First, make a cup of your favorite beverage. Sit back and relax.)

fun market research
Choose an item for sale
1. Choose an item that is currently in your shop, available for sale. Look over your product. Think about its overall use and who you think would be the person to purchase it. (No stress - this is just to get your mind warmed up.) Linger a bit, noting the color, size, texture, where it is to be used, how it might be displayed.

2. Next, go online, using Google, Bing and even other search engines. Search for a similar product as a shopper would. (No, you are not looking for yours. However you may very well find it during this process.)

Your goal is to see all the places, the venues, that show up for similar products. Example: you are selling a vintage fish brooch. Search for "fish brooch." Observe the array of ads, shops, pictures and locations. Enjoy the process... browse. Click some sites that look interesting.

3. Next search images. What appears? Select the links and observe how similar products are being sold. Read the product descriptions. Look at the pictures. How are the items being used? How are the similar items staged in their photos?

researching your market for vintage items
Who is your target market?
4. Find blogs that feature similar items. Read the posts (and even comments).

5. Browse Pinterest. Find some magazines. Locate similar products that are pinned and featured. What is being said? How is it being said?

6. Sip some beverage. Mull over your observations.

**There, that was fun!**

From all this shopping (I mean research) you should be able to identify some patterns about buyers:
who is your target audience?

  • approximate age
  • gender
  • occupation
  • home or office styles
  • trends (like colors, textures and patterns)
  • related products of interest
  • location (USA, Europe, etc.)
  • income level
  • families? individuals?
  • even personality, attitudes, behavior

Now you can see who your customer is. 

What else do they love, use or collect? (What other items could you be selling to them?)

Note any clues for improving your listings. What terms are used that could help sell your items? What vocabulary style(s) do you see?

(Perhaps your research will even reveal a new selling venue to try.)
market research on pricing
How is your pricing?

Think about the photos you have viewed that show a similar item in use. Can you show your product in the same setting?

Do you see room for improvement in your product (if you make it)? How about your photography? Staging? Item descriptions? Pricing? Title and tag keyword phrases?

Use the information you have gleaned. Select a listing that is not performing well in your shop. Make some changes based on your new observations. It could lead to sales!

This fun process can be repeated of course. The more different kinds of items you offer for sale, the more types of items you should check in this way.

Research one item. Meditate on your findings. Make some changes. Evaluate the results. Lather, rinse repeat for more items in your shop. Your sales should improve.

Go ahead, try it. You might like it.

Thanks for joining me in the online selling journey.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Etsy Quick Trick: display your entire item description

Vintage Etsy shop helpEtsy recently made truncated descriptions the standard rather than a test. This is where your item description fades into your reviews.

Etsy quick trick for sellers
Extra description text is hidden.
Do you like it? Or do you hate it?

If you are in the latter group, there is a simple solution. Short item descriptions are shown in full. How short? Keep your  item descriptions under 1100 characters, including spaces and line breaks, or about 15 lines.

Are your descriptions still fading after you have reduced your characters to 1100? Be sure to take into account how many "hidden characters," line breaks and special characters you use. Reduce your characters until the fading is gone.

Etsy item photo has description
Use your photo slots for more information
character counting short cut
Aim for under 1100 characters.














Is the prospect of counting to 1100 daunting? Use a character counting program. I use this one. Here is another. And another. Microsoft Word can count characters for you as well.

If you have more to say in your item descriptions, try using your photo slots. Buyers may be more inclined to look at photos than read text anyway. For example, one seller uses her photo slots for routine clothing sizing information.

Here is more information about how to write compelling item descriptions.

Vintage sellers certainly have a unique set of challenges when selling online. How long to make the description is a balancing act. Sellers are trying to make Etsy happy (by keeping it short), make Google happy, and be thorough in describing flaws.

How are you doing walking that fine line?

Thanks for joining me for another Etsy Quick Trick!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Are you having a sale?

Etsy new sale tool
Etsy is having a Labor Day Sale promotion. Are you participating? Here is the announcement.

I am moving in September, so you bet I am. Who wants to cart inventory to our new place two hours away and find it again? Not me.

I still need to figure it out. (Sorting and packing take time.) However, the tool seems easy to use. The metrics are very nice, too. Order minimums are not permitted for this promotion.

Users report that you cannot edit a sale once it goes live. Perhaps Etsy will fix that.

This is an example of how a shop looks with a sale:
How Etsy's new sale looks
Kris from EitherOrFinds has set up a sale.

Etsy stated that they will promote the sale by "driving traffic to the page through marketing emails, site banners, social media, and Etsy’s homepage."

Will you promote the sale... put out a Shop Update?

Here is Etsy's explanation of the new tools. More general information from Etsy on sales and coupons.

Will you be having a sale?

Etsy new sale item graphics
See the extra sale information?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Testing Etsy Badges: Popular vs. Unique

It sounds like something from high school: do you want to be
One of a kind badge test
Are these Pyrex bowls really one-of-a-kind?

Most popular?  


or


Unique?


Here is Etsy's announcement. Some are seeing the new badges: "best seller" and "one of a kind."

How do sellers get the badges?


Etsy test badges
Shop Manager view of an item's past sales
Look at your item using the Shop Manager. (Toggle on your stats first.) Stats are displayed along the bottom of each listing: visits, favorites, SALES.

Quantity: more than 1


If you have a quantity of more than one, then it is not one of a kind. 

No stats are available for how many items need to be sold for a listing to be considered "best-seller." Chances are, most vintage sellers will not qualify for this badge. However, you may receive another designation. Read on.


Quantity: 1, Sales: 0


Bingo! Your item will show as "one of a kind" and get the badge.


Etsy is testing new badges
Do you prefer popular (only 1 left!) or unique?

Quantity: 1, Sales: 1 or more


If your previous sales with that listing show as one or more, your item may get an "only x left!" badge. This rewards your item that has sold more than one.

Artists report issues


Some art work is not receiving the OOAK designation. Why, who knows?

Here is an example:

original art work not receiving the etsy test badge
Only one piece of original art in this group receives the badge







Remember, this is only a test.


What can we learn?


So, just like... other things... Etsy is going over to polar opposites here it seems.

Sellers are rewarded for selling:

The MOST, or

One Of A Kind.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 2017 Admin Update for Sellers

Etsy search algorithm factors
On July 20 an update was held for a few Etsy sellers in positions of team leadership. Admin answered some questions. This is a condensed version.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Etsy remains committed to Etsy teams. More team captains and leaders will be invited to join the Fellowship program [which is located on Facebook] this year.

Q. What effect do hearting games have on Etsy's search algorithms?
A. (The information provided by admin duplicates what was said during the public Q&A post on Etsy.) If a buyer clicks, favorites, or purchases an item found in search results, that has a positive effect on that items search ranking.
Q. Do conversion rates affect search ranking?
Conversion rate affects search results on Etsy
Lower conversion rates are better
A. Yes, conversion rates do affect search ranking.

Q. Is a fee increase in the works for sellers?
A. No.

Q. Regarding the 10 photos per listing, if not all 10 photos are used, will this reduce search ranking?
A. No. The number of photos used has no impact on search placement.

Q. Why have sales have plummeted for sellers this year?
A. Etsy admin understand that fluctuations in sales are scary. Unfortunately, there are many causes. There is no general trend; it is SHOP specific.

Concerned shops that have decreasing sales may contact Etsy. A team of Etsy admin can do a 15 minute shop critique to increase sales. The link is in the Help pages. Shop owners should click on the contact button in that Help section to request a critique.

Q: (Re-questioned): you are saying that there is no Etsy trend that is affecting sales… It goes back to the individual shops? That the experimenting that seems to be affecting sales, is not having an effect on sales?
A: As part of the recent realignment, Etsy now has a dedicated group of admin (called Voice of the Consumer) who are listening to all channels to hear from sellers…

Q: Some feel that morale among sellers on Etsy is at an all-time low. Shop owners could use more timely information from Etsy.

A: We are currently working on better communication plans. We will communicate better with our sellers. This week there are lots of meetings going on at Etsy about being more transparent to sellers. We are working to be better at letting sellers know testing and experiments, ones that are working and not working.

😎 Thanks to long-time Etsy vintage sellers Gail and JD for the above information!

Etsy now announcing some tests

A step forward in transparency Oh no, another test... Have you ever complained about it? I know I have. It can be hard to navigate a sit...