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!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Five more photos - Etsy vintage shops score big

Five more photos for Etsy sellers
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? Etsy admin says "no."  But think of the possibilities!

Of course, there is the obvious choice of extra photos of the items for sale. Etsy tells us to have a photo that has something with the item to show its scale.

Show more angles. What angles, you say? When I sell rings, I try to display it on the finger from many directions. 

Photograph your item on a mirror. Try taking pictures in different location with different light.

Especially important is the case of flaws and irregularities. Vintage sellers need to bring them to the attention of any potential buyer. Extra photos are necessary for that.

Etsy extra photos: primitive farmhouse items
Primitive farmhouse style
Etsy lifestyle photos - now 10
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.

now there are 10 photos for Etsy listings
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.

Etsy extra item photos, item in context
Highlight your great item in use
Display your item in a seasonal way (summer, fall, winter) and rotate out the first picture depending on the time of the year.

Still have photo slots available?

Display your brand in a unique way



There are still all sorts of possibilities. Be creative.

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

what will you feature in your extra Etsy item photos?Make some "stock" graphics or take photos that illustrate:
  • how you package or gift wrap
  • a collage or collection 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?

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!

If you prefer that your description not be covered by your reviews, here is a quick trick. 

Here is more general 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:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“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”
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

Sales tanking? Vintage online selling remix

Sales are tanking... what should you do?
improving vintage etsy shops

Time for some soul searching. What is the issue?

Four questions to ask


Start with pinpointing where the issue lies:

1. Is there demand for my items?

2. How is my pricing?

3. Are my photos top-notch?

4. Have I optimized my listings for SEO and getting found on Etsy searches?

I continually see shops with weak tags and titles. Before deciding on words for your title and tags, always ask yourself if a shopper would type those words into the search bar? If not, avoid using them.

Take action on any of the four above issues that need work. Get everything is in shape. See if sales increase.

Consider an advertising campaign.


It could be that your items are simply not being seen. Many categories are saturated with listings. Etsy's promoted listings get your items in front of more potential buyers, more exposure.

There are no short cuts. Successful advertising campaigns depend on the above four points. Your items must be in good shape as to photos, in demand, pricing and SEO/Etsy relevancy.

Keep costs down by making maximum bids low. Give it a month or two and see if things improve.

What about changing what you sell?


Perhaps there is not very much demand for some of your items. Experiment with selling other items. Try specializing more. Or less. Research trends. Perhaps rebranding your or refreshing your product lines will improve your sales.

One vintage seller added a "DIY" section to her shop. That dovetails with Etsy's new Studio, and her branding. Other shops might consider a party section. Both of these ideas may involve reselling of new items (allowed with craft and party items). The dollars could be smaller. But listing multiple quantities is less work. You are attracting a different target audience, broadening your selling reach.

Consider changing up your selling outlets


With vintage, there are several ways to move your items:

1. Rent a booth in an antiques mall. This is a good way to dip your toe into local in-person sales.

2. Sell at shows. This can be a lot of work. At the right show, profits can be high.

3. Sell on Craigslist or another local venue (especially larger items).

4. Open a brick-and-mortar shop. Be sure to do your research. You will have to collect sales tax on any sales within your state, even online.

5. Open a Pattern shop. It now allows you to offer items less than 20 years old. Your items on Pattern can differ from what you sell on Etsy. There is a $15 monthly fee as well as final value fees. You are still subject to many of Etsy's terms and conditions. If you lose your selling privileges with Etsy, it will include your Pattern shop.

6. Create your own website. Most involve a monthly charge but no listing charges and no final value fee. Showcase your brand and creativity. There will be payment processor fees, however. There is no traffic, so you must drive traffic to your own site. Many sellers like making their own rules.

7. Sell on another online venue. Many Etsy vintage sellers sell on eBay already. Some items sell well there, particularly collector items. Perhaps yours will. Other websites include Amazon, Artyah, Artfire, Bonanza, Ruby Lane, eBid, eCrater and more. There is even a start-up in the works.
------------------------
Meditate on it. Ask a trusted friend. Carefully consider your options.

Does your business need a remix? How will you change it up? How will you ensure it is working?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Target market - define yours for more visits and sales

Who is your target market?When you build a house, you need a solid foundation. When you form a business of selling, you need to figure out who your typical customer is. Build your business on that foundation of your target market.

Many sellers feel that their target market is "everyone." But no one shop's appeal is that broad. You must delimit your potential audience. If you do not, you can get discouraged very quickly when sales are slow.

Besides, if your target market is "everyone" you need to market to them. No one can afford to market to everyone. No one.

With a clearly defined target audience in mind, it is simpler to determine how and where to market your items. In fact, small Etsy shops can easily compete with large shops by targeting a niche market. 

This does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing efforts on a specific slice of market, the people that are more likely to buy from you. 

The goal is to reach other people like them who could also love your products. Tailor your marketing to them. 

Most shops have a small market. How can we get seen by our best potential customers?

Defining your target customer is essential for effective selling. It is the most affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.

To define your target market requires detective work. Ask yourself some questions:


Who is your current customer base? What are their common characteristics and interests? Which factors bring in the most business? Why do they buy from you?

What products do you sell? Make a chart. Include your types of products. Next to each feature, list the benefits each type of item provides (and the benefits of those benefits). For example,

Once you have your benefits listed, make a list of people who have a need that your items fulfill.

What about your competition? Who is their target market? Who are their current customers? It is not necessary to copy them, but you may find a niche market that they are overlooking.

What details do you need to concentrate on?  Figure out not only who has a need for your items, but also who is most likely to buy it. It is time for some market research. Here are some demographics to consider:
target audience for our vintage etsy shop
Who are your peeps?
  • Age - 20's? 40's?
  • Gender - male or female?
  • Occupation
  • Location - USA? Worldwide?
  • Income level
  • Education - high school? college?
  • Family status - single collectors? Married mothers?
  • Ethnic background

varied look of target audience
Target markets come in many shapes
Try getting even deeper, consider things like:

  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior

How do your items fit into your target's lifestyle? What types of things are most appealing to your target? How and when will your target buyer use your items? 

Does your target market use social media? Other websites? Should you expand to another selling website? Should you start your own website?

Do not break down your target too far... You can have more than one niche market.

Signs that you may have broken down your target market too far:
1. You can reach more than one niche effectively with the same message.
2. If there are only 50 people that fit all of your criteria.

Find a balance.


How do I find all this information?


Educate yourself about your target market. Read magazine articles and blogs that talk about your target market. Read material that talks to them. Peruse blogs and forums where people in your target market express their opinions. Look for survey results, or consider conducting a survey of your own. You could ask your current customers for feedback.

Once you have determined your target market, evaluate your decision. Consider these questions:
  • Are there enough people out there who fit my criteria?
  • Will my target market really benefit from my items? Will they see a need for them?
  • Can they afford my products?
  • What drives my target market to make decisions?
  • How do I reach them with my message? Are they accessible?

Whew, that is a lot of work! Defining your target market is the hard part.

Once you know who you are targeting, it is much easier to figure out how to reach them and what message will resonate with them. Visits and sales will follow.

So, who is your target market? How can you reach them with your message?

 Here is more reading. Here is a recent forums discussion on the subject.

Still stuck? Here is a great case study on finding your target market. (More information on the subject from Etsy.)

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