Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 2017 Admin Update for Sellers

tips and tricks for Etsy sellers
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.
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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. (This information was researched from 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?
Lower conversion rates are better
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!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Five more photos - Etsy vintage shops score big

Etsy sellers get more photos
On July 11, Etsy made a major announcement: sellers have five additional photo slots in their listings! This is very exciting for vintage sellers, who have been hoping for this feature for a long time. 

Etsy stated, "90% of shoppers said the quality of the photos was “extremely important” or “very important” to a purchase decision."

That fact tells us that photo quality is crucial for Etsy sellers... Buyers often will not click through on items they see because the photos are not top-notch. Photo quality will be the subject of a future blog.


Fill the slots


Is it necessary to use every one of the spots for photos? Fully utilizing them has not been a factor in Etsy search in the past. But think of the possibilities!


Of course, there is the obvious choice of extra photos of the items for sale. This is especially important for flaws and irregularities. Vintage sellers need to bring them to the attention of any potential buyer.

props for primitive farmhouse items
Primitive farmhouse
Etsy lifestyle photos
Lifestyle photos can sell items



What if your listings do not require ten photos? 



Try some "lifestyle" photos. 


These are photos of your item in use, or with similar items. Such photos make your item way more valuable. They help our potential buyers "see" an item as their own and BUY.

tropical style setting for jewelry
Is this tropical setting too bright?
Who is your target audience? How will your items fit in with their lifestyle?

Having trouble figuring out what types of pictures to take? Make some test searches of similar items on Etsy. Note the photos that you like. Why do they work? Then try to come up with something even better. Showcase your creativity.

Pay attention to styles. Add props that complement your item, not compete with it.

Use care, though. Props can be overdone. Choose props(s) that allow your great item to shine.

show item in context
Highlight your great item in use
Still have photo slots available?

Display your brand in a unique way


There are still all sorts of possibilities. Be creative.

These slots could become sort of like a shop update. (Need some ideas for those?)


Make some "stock" graphics or take photos that illustrate:
Showcase your coupon code
  • how you package or gift wrap
  • a collage of similar items
  • a great photo once used as a shop update
  • a coupon code
  • sizing chart (for clothing)
  • your words of wisdom
  • your standalone shop and/or blog address
  • your shop logo






How will you use those five new photo slots?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Do item descriptions matter?

I recently had a huge multiple sale. The buyer first asked me some detailed questions about bottle sizes. Bottles are not the most expensive items I carry. However, I treated the inquiry with respect.

The result? One of my largest sales to date.

Her comment to me was: "I loved reading your descriptions; you made several items very tempting."

Did my item descriptions matter?

The need to write compelling copy


After your titles, tags and fabulous photos have drawn in a shopper, your job selling is not over. You must convince visitors to your items to buy what you are selling.

First, your item description must contain some basic information:

  • Size
  • Identification marks
  • Color, pattern
  • Special attributes
  • Flaws


Compose copy that is search engine friendly


Etsy does not care a whit about item descriptions, but search engines do. Here are some tips for optimizing your listings to be found by search engines (called SEO):
  • Write naturally.
  • Prioritize your information. Put the most important details first.
  • Make each item description unique (search engines prefer this anyway).
  • Use good grammar and spelling. Write well.
  • Sprinkle keywords naturally through your title and text. (Don't be guilty of keyword stuffing.)
  • Provide at least one working link back to your shop section or a shop search for similar items.
Any boilerplate in your descriptions is a turn-off to search engines. Try to put shipping information under that tab or in your policies.

Being search-engine friendly is the "science" of writing effective item descriptions.

How can you be persuasive?


There is some "art" to this skill. You need to engage the reader.

First, find a writing style that represents you and your shop. Are you and your stuff folksy? Mod? Beachy? French?

  • Sell things you love.
  • Be positive.
  • Make the item relevant to each shopper.
  • Tell buyers why they NEED the item for sale.

Try sharing some interesting historical tidbits or a compelling back story. Keep it short, though. Long descriptions can be a turn-off.

Your goal is to help the shopper fall in love with your item. You must make your item into a treasure that the shopper cannot live without. It goes back to selling things you truly love, and communicating that in your descriptions.

May your item descriptions speak to shoppers and motivate them to buy!

(Here is more information on the subject from Etsy.)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Etsy policy change hits vintage sellers

sellers today received message
The forums lit up on Wednesday, June 28 about it. Vintage Etsy sellers' black memorabilia items for sale were being removed without warning. Things like Aunt Jemima bottles, historic books and advertising graphics.

As you can see, sellers were warned that continued violations can risk their shop. Yikes!

For some time, such collectibles have been permitted on Etsy. I sold a golliwog doll a while back. It is not part of what I normally offer; it popped out of a pile of linens I bought. So I sold it to a collector.

Some do find such items to be offensive. So be it. I find certain things uncomfortable as well.

Here is Etsy’s current information on items that “glorify hatred:”

Notice that the policies state at the bottom that they were “Last updated on Jun 8, 2017.” This is a recent change. (This issue has, of course, been visited in the past.)

If you were curious, here is the wording of what Etsy’s policies used to say, before being updated:
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“Examples of What is Allowed [on Etsy]:


“We tend to allow items that have educational, historical, or artistic value, but we know that even those items are subject to a variety of valid and sometimes conflicting interpretations. Recognizing that there may be no consensus on their educational, historical, or artistic value, the following items are generally allowed on Etsy:

“Vintage Black Americana items, such as “golliwog” dolls (but not newly-created items or PDFs of patterns)

“Example [pictured, entitled]: Vintage Golliwog Doll - Black Americana History”
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I perused the above policies when I verified that items I sell are allowed under Etsy's TOU. As Etsy's venue, they make the rules. And change them.

Black memorabilia removed from Etsy
Mammy dolls, including my pecan doll, were pulled from Etsy today.

This is yet another reason to have several baskets for your eggs... I am forced to move my two affected dolls to another venue.

Can something be learned from such black memorabilia, or Etsy's removal of them? I cannot say... However, Winston Churchill stated "Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A tail of two coins - counterfeits

Are your silver dollars real or fake?
Two of these coins are counterfeit. Which ones?
heads and tails not even
The peace dollars' tails did not line up
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Oh wait...

We bought two peace dollars at auction last evening. Later my husband, the collector, noticed a couple of odd things... There were red flags that prompted us to do some research.

What was the primary alarm bell? After he put the coins in the album, he noticed that they did not match the others when he turned the page. In other words, the lineup of their tails was wrong.

This simple and obvious check of how the front and backs line up was not mentioned online at all in our research about USA peace dollars.

Here are some tests to determine if your silver coins are counterfeit. If you sell a lot online, you may already have everything you need to test silver coins.
silver coins weigh a specific amount
How does its weight compare?

 The front and back (obverse and reverse) should line up exactly, clocked at exactly 6 and 12 o'clock. Easy, right?
✅ Do a "ring test." The sound was off. Could we be sure? There are "ring test" apps for this.
counterfeit peace dollars too thick
The fake coins are a little thicker
✅ We weighed them on a jewelry scale. One weighed too much -!
✅ Stack them up against other real peace dollars. In this case, the problem coins are slightly thicker than the rest. See the photo.
✅ Check with a regular magnet. We found no magnetism.
✅ Examine the lettering (looked OK for worn old coins).
Inspect the finish under magnification for holes like Styrofoam. None found.
✅ Ice test. The temperature change was indeed slower with the counterfeit coins than real ones. We did this a few times to get the feel for it. (Put your finger on the bottom, ice on the top.)
checking heat transfer of silver coins
Silver transmits cold & melts ice faster

(After that, we hunted around for a stronger magnet to try another test. I knew that we had strong little magnets that came inside Sonicare toothbrushes. My husband finally located one.)

Slide a super strong little neodymium magnet down the coin. Silver has some magnetism. The little magnet's travel will be slow, almost sticky. Depending on what metal is in the coin, for fakes, it could slide down faster.

However, this stronger magnet STUCK to the counterfeits, not to the solid silver coins.
magnetically test silver coins
Neodymium magnet sticks to left coin

Which ones were counterfeit here? The two on the right, the 1923S and the 1927.

Interesting. (And good news, the auctioneer trusts us and will refund us what we paid. He will return the coins to the consignor. I have a photo we took at auction to authenticate if necessary.)

I am glad we caught it early enough to return them. It is good to use a reputable auctioneer, too.

(There are two more tests that we did not attempt: chemical silver test, which damages the coin. Unnecessary, as these coins are likely coated with silver. The other test we did not perform was melting the coins down for obvious reasons.)

1923 S 1927 counterfeit obverse clockwise
The tail (reverse) was off, slightly clockwise on the two coins on the right.
testing fake peace dollars
Check all coins from different angles, in good light. The two on the right turned out to be counterfeit.
Thanks for sharing this little bit of our vintage journey.  We learn something new every day selling vintage!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Guest Checkout - confusing avatars for sellers

Etsy's new guest avatars
Have you seen Etsy's new guest avatars?

Have you had any buyers using the guest checkout? I have. There is a small caveat for sellers here...

This is how I found out: I had a few sales over the weekend. This morning while packing up orders, I noticed the same avatar on two of my buyers.

That happens once in a while, the buyer makes a second purchase without saying anything. No problem, I repacked to combine their packages.

Except I happened to take another look. It was two different buyers, yikes!

I checked back through my sales. Who knew? Etsy gives guest buyers a choice of six avatars. (As you can see my guest buyers seem to prefer the pink cat.)

Screen shot new guest avis
 Looks like the same buyer on my seller sold order screen

According to Etsy's help page on this new feature:
"When a buyer makes a guest purchase in your shop, you’ll see their full name on the order along with one of these guest avatars..."
"Your guest orders will appear alongside orders from signed-in Etsy members and can be fulfilled in the same way. There is no additional fee for guest checkout."
Good to know... Now you know, too.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Etsy Quick Trick: get rid of Automatic Renewing


Etsy Quick Tricks for sellers


Etsy recently announced that all new listings will default to automatic renewal.  There is an easy workaround if you prefer to renew manually.

It is simple. Go to your active shop listings page. Arrange it so that your listings are the newest first. Tic the orange select box to select your newly listed items.

Then, along the top, it says "Renew, Deactivate, Delete." After that is "More." Click that. Select "Manage Renewal Options." 



A box appears that gives you the choice to make those listings manual. Tic (select) the round box next to that. Click "Apply." Done!

Click on "manual," "apply" and you are all done.

(This is possibly a non-issue for those who always copy other listings to make new ones... Be sure to check your new listings.)

Stay tuned for more quick tricks for Etsy selling, and online selling in general.

July 2017 Admin Update for Sellers

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 v...