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?

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Etsy Quick Trick: Forums & Team Search

Regularly seen in the forums is this query:
"Whenever I have a question, I like to search to see whether it has been asked before. But all I find are irrelevant threads. What am I doing wrong?"

search results from Etsy forums
Searching the forums can be a challenge!

There are two tricks to finding the information you need from the forums, or even team threads:

  1. First, go to the forum most likely to answer your query, like Questions, Discussions, Studio or your team
  2. Next, go to the topmost search field on the page. Begin to type your query.
  3. When you get five keystrokes into your query, some choices will pop up.
  4. Quick search Etsy's forums
    Select your choice, titles or inside posts
  5. Select one and voila! your answers.

Use a Google Search

Another method is to make a search from Google. Something like "Etsy xxxx."

Be aware that in a Google search, the results need to be indexed first. So your results may be older than the first method described.

If you use the Google search method for a teams search, the thread must be public.

I hope that this journey into searching Etsy's communities has been helpful!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Etsy's new stats - why VISITS matter

Many wonder why Etsy switched from "views" to unique visitors ("visits"). The truth is, there is more information to be gleaned from unique visitors than plain old views.

In fact, your sales-to-visits-ratio can accurately predict how many sales you can make. Did I just say that you can predict how many sales you will have? I did! 

Use this simple equation to calculate your conversion rate:

Sales (or conversions) / visits x 100 = your conversion rate (a percentage). 

Click this link to see the raw numbers for your shop's data for this year. The two numbers you need are the number of sales and the number of visits. Plug them in and voila, you have your number.

Your answer is how many per 100 unique visitors to your shop actually buy from you.  Pure and simple, the more unique visitors, the more sales you make.
conversion rate calculation graphic
How has your conversion rate changed over time?

Industry standard is said to be 3%. I was unable to find a vintage shop on Etsy that is anywhere near that number. The sellers I polled averaged from 0.7 to 1.5 for their conversion rate.

It is difficult to compare between shops because there are so many variables. Do not be so concerned about what your individual number is.

The best thing to do is to know what your conversion rate is and keep track of it. New shops should begin tracking this number at about three months of sales.

Once you start, there is no need to do it every day, or even every week. Record your conversion rate about once a month, for that month. Look for trends in the number as time passes. 

If you have never tracked this number, you can go back into your statistics. Pull these numbers from your past data and look for trends.

Bear in mind that Etsy's search algorithm takes your conversion rate into consideration. The higher the better.

As your visits go up, watch the sales pile up. If your ratio goes down, try to determine why 🔍.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What happens if Etsy gets sold?

Will the sale of Etsy change anything?
Is Etsy for sale? Is that a bad thing?
Would would it mean if Etsy were sold? Rumors abound about it.

It is really a matter of ownership: do the current stockholders continue to own Etsy, or will someone else step in? If they did, would it make a big difference?

I went into a panic about this a couple of weeks ago... Will life here as we know it end?

Someone pointed something out to me:

(Taken from Wikipedia)

"Founded by Steve Ells in July 1993, Chipotle had 16 restaurants (all in Colorado) when McDonald's Corporation became a major investor in 1998. By the time McDonald's fully divested itself from Chipotle in 2006, the chain had grown to over 500 locations."

Think about it: when McDonalds had a large stake in Chipotle Grill, did they go and change all of the restaurants to McDonalds? No, instead Chipotle expanded greatly. 

Being taken over could mean getting improvements and upgrades like phone support and better site releases. Not so many site bugs would be nice, would it not?

So being sold might not be a bad thing. Regardless of how it plays out, Etsy is changing. 

Hopefully we all like what Etsy becomes, is becoming.

Handling negative feedback like a pro

Etsy seller reaction to negative feedback
Negative feedback happens to us all
If you sell long enough, it happens to you. We all receive negative feedback. It is just a fact of online selling.

Yikes, negative feedback!

First off, take a deep breath. Step back. Relax for a day.

Most have heard the saying, “life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it.”

Negative feedback is one of those situations where you have limited control over what happens, but you CAN control your reaction. Your public reaction to bad feedback is one barometer that potential buyers use to decide whether or not to make a purchase with your shop.

Should you leave a response to negative feedback?

What will you say? After someone buys from you and has an issue, how will they be treated? You would not want to shut the door on future purchases from your shop by blaming past buyers, would you?

Experienced sellers have always counseled me to avoid commenting on the few negs my shop has received. That is what I have done, not to comment at all and move on.

Etsy does allow sellers to respond to negative feedback, if it is three stars or less. Sellers have 60 days from the last feedback revision by the buyer.

There is a caveat: once you respond, the buyer feedback cannot be changed. Interestingly, you can remove your response should you change your mind. But the buyer's feedback remains locked in place.

How can I prevent this next time?

Do some soul searching. Is there any truth to what was said? Can you improve in your item descriptions, photos or customer service?

Use it as a learning experience. As a buyer, how would you want to be treated?

Why do people do it?

Feedback is, after all, the buyer's opinion. "You can please some of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time."

Savvy shoppers realize this. They will overlook a minor amount of negative feedback buried in a mass of stellar reviews.

Buyers come in various moods. A few buyers may choose to spread their bad mood by leaving negative feedback. In that case, you can wait a day or two and perhaps reach out to the buyer to see if anything can be done.

No seller wants negative feedback
Stars are important!

Will Etsy remove negative feedback?

Etsy rarely removes feedback. Of course, they may remove feedback that violates their policies. That would be things like exposing private information or harassment. They may also remove it if the review is for a third party (for example, the buyer berates the postal service or Etsy's automated service asking them to review you).

I can remember when eBay started. The new world of online auctions required some checks and balances. The feedback system was a revolutionary way to assess sellers.

Now, decades later, feedback remains relatively unchanged. Most buyers are kind and forbearing when they do leave feedback.

Buyers still do still leave negative feedback, unfortunately. We must improve if there is room for it... endure if it is unwarranted.

And keep selling.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Etsy Sells Vintage - social media initiative

Etsy Sells Vintage Social Media Image
Social Media Image - Etsy Sells Vintage
You are already aware that Etsy sells vintage items. However, many potential buyers are not.

There is a movement afoot to advertise that vintage is thriving on Etsy (as well as handmade and crafting/DIY).

The hashtag is #etsysellsvintage. Feel free to use the image here.

Post it on whatever social media you use: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+. Even on the Etsy Forum threads. Share this on your Etsy teams. Blogs, too.

Some have even changed their social media avatars.

It would be so nice for Etsy to advertise that vintage thrives along with handmade and crafts... but if they do not, at least WE can. 

Give Etsy vintage a bump. Please join other vintage sellers in this social media campaign to get the word out!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Does Hearting Matter? (10/2016 Admin Update)

To heart or not to heart, that is the question. Here on Etsy, we have been ❤️ for years. Should we continue to heart?

First, let's consider Etsy's new site Studio. Some feel that this is the direction of Etsy as a whole: less shop branding, no favorites. Hmmmm.
Should sellers favorite items
Etsy favorites debate

Here is a question posed to Etsy Admin on favoriting:

Q: I heard that relevancy on the search is based on the amounts of views/favorites/sales an item gets after is searched. Am I right?

Now, I understand that because teams where playing some favorite games, the direct "favoriting" items won't affect his rank. My question is: I share a lot of my listings in social media, and I know for my views that many people are clicking on those links and favoriting some of them. Will this improve in what page my items are shown on the search, or it only gets affected by favoriting through Etsy search engine?

Can we get some extra tips on how to make it work better for us (ones that aren't on the seller handbook)...

Yes you are correct, any external likes or shares outside of Etsy will not affect your visibility on On the other hand, Google has said that while there isn’t a direct correlation between social and SEO rankings, studies have shown there is correlation between SEO rankings and social signals. 

You are also correct in saying favoriting listings or click farming won’t have an effect on your rankings. On the contrary I would think of it as, the more buyers engage with your listing, the more positive signals your listing will send that factor into your visibility on Etsy search.

As for extra tips, we would recommend adding as much relevant content on your listing and shop page as possible. Attributes such as color, size, material and gender would be examples of more descriptive content.
So Etsy here is saying that hearting has no effect on how our items place in search. (Or clicking, for that matter. Social media likely helps.)

Is this really true? Many sellers say no. What do you think? Does hearting work for you?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Staying positive in a sea of change

Penobscot Bay Maine coast
Sailboat off the Maine coast

We knew change was coming. It had to. Etsy did not buy an artificial intelligence company for nothing.

adjusting to Etsy changes
Turning the sailboat
To do anything well, we need to be flexible, to be open to change. Selling online is no different. On a vibrant modern selling venue, shifting direction is essential to stay on top of things. What things?

Etsy as a business must stay in tune with the trending desires of shoppers. And Etsy must keep up with the constant shifting and upgrades of e-commerce and computer technology.

We must face it: Etsy caters to buyers, not sellers. Etsy incorporates the latest technology to satisfy the needs of shoppers, not the sellers' need for stability.

So Etsy changes. A lot. They might even (gasp!) test strategies before implementing major changes.

If that is what they feel they need to do, then so be it. They have a vested interest in me as a seller. It comes down to these two points:

1. If there were no shoppers, there would be no need for sellers.
2. Etsy does not make money if we do not make money.

Simple as that.

How long have you been selling on Etsy? How many changes here have you personally seen here?

Here are some adjustments that have occurred on Etsy over the years:

  • Rearrange shop (6/2009)
  • Renew sold and copy listing (11/2010)
  • New Etsy forums (2/2011)
  • Feedback for buyer eliminated (3/2011)
  • New listing attributes (7/2011)
  • Search results based on relevancy, not recency (8/2011)
  • Search ads (9/2011)
  • Listing stats (2/2012)
  • Direct Checkout (2/2012)
  • Listing variations (10/2012)
  • Circles replaced by activity feed (2/2013)
    Lots of Etsy Announcements
    Recent Etsy changes can seem overwhelming
  • Etsy Shipping Labels (3/2013)
  • Forums restructure (6/2013)
  • Shop Dashboard (8/2013)
  • New review system (8/2013)
  • Mobile app for sellers (4/2014)
  • First class shipping up to 16 oz (6/2014)
  • New home page (9/2014)
  • Promoted Listings (9/2014)
  • Broader item categories (2/2015)
  • Listings manager (2/2015)
  • Calculated shipping (4/2015)
  • Shop icon (8/2015)
  • Shop Updates (2/2016)
  • Mobile payment methods (3/2016)
  • "Save for later" added to Etsy Cart (3/2016)
  • Pattern (4/2016)
  • Save for later function for shopping cart (4/2016)
  • Individualized home page (5/2016)
  • Treasuries (2006-10/2016)
  • New payment processor Adyen added (10/2016)
  • Improvements to spelling correction (11/2016)

And more recently:

  • Multi Shop Checkout (1/2017)
  • Etsy Studio (2/2017)
  • Variations & Attributes (2/2017)
  • New Shop Manager (2/2017)
  • Relevant reordering of shop home items (optional) (4/2017)
  • Etsy Payments replaces Direct Checkout (4/2017)
  • Site color changes (4/2017)
  • Coming soon: guest checkout

I agree that it can seem overwhelming. As I have worked on this post and after I released it, the changes keep coming!

If Etsy has stopped working for you, then find another venue. Start your own website. There are other options out there.

The rest of us are working hard, trying to stay positive and ride the waves of change!

Maine coast lobster boat

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Direct Checkout is now "Etsy Payments"

April 11, 2017 Etsy announcement
Etsy made a big announcement on April 11, 2017
Etsy’s payment platform has changed. Etsy announced that Direct Checkout is now called "Etsy Payments." According to Etsy, here are some benefits:

Can you keep your PayPal sales separate?

Yes, standalone PayPal is still permitted. Of course, Etsy recommends integrating your PayPal account.

Do you have to do anything?

If you already have Direct Checkout, you are automatically enrolled. If you do not accept payments via Direct Checkout, you must get on board by May 17, 2017. If not, your shop will be suspended.

steps Etsy sellers need to make
The "update settings" button is displayed prominently.

The fine print

"Etsy Payments" fees
Etsy Payments fee structure

The fee to use the payment service remains the same: 3% + 0.25 USD for each sale (may differ in your country). This is in addition to your Etsy selling fees.

Some countries require a minimum amount of funds for daily disbursement. For the USA and Canada, the minimum is $25. That means that if you were to arrange for daily withdrawals, it will not happen if there is under $25 in the account. (For countries using the Euro, the minimum is 20 Euros.)

Non-USA sellers may have to pay more in conversion fees to move their money between countries.

Sellers do not have to participate if EP is not offered in their country. Etsy plans to add more countries, including Turkey.

You must have your last name on file with Etsy Payments. Check here to make sure. You must have a bank account to deposit your EP funds. "We cannot process Etsy Payments (debit/credit card, gift card, etc.) funds to your PayPal account."

If a buyer uses multi-shop checkout, EP will be used even if the buyer paid with PayPal.

If there is an issue with EP, "an Etsy employee will be able to mediate." That is big news from a company with notoriously few customer service agents.

Since the WorldPay fiasco, there is this. "Note: In some cases, deposits to sellers’ bank accounts could be temporarily delayed by an issue at Etsy, at Etsy’s third-party service providers, or at a seller’s bank. ... Etsy is not obligated to refund any fees or reimburse any expenses due to holds or delayed deposits."

Sellers not based in the US will now be charged conversion fees. This does not happen with Paypal; for some large sellers this could be an issue.
Etsy is still on the move. Sellers need to hang on tight.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Long tail keywords: delving deeper

big fish in small pond of search results
There has long been a debate about how to best get found in online searches. Focus on (short-tail) head terms or long-tail keywords?

This is some basic information on the subject.

Little fish in a big pond, or a big fish in a little pond?

Here is an interesting blog post. It provides compelling data for the cause of long tail keywords.

After analyzing 1.5 billion (with a “b”) Google searches, the author came up with some interesting statistics:
  • 14% of Google searches use 1-2 words.
  • 22% of Google searches use 3 words.
  • 23% of Google searches use 4 words.
  • 42% of Google searches use 5 or more words.

So about 85% of all Google searches use three or more words (which are known as long-tail keyword searches). That is reason enough to focus on your long-tail keywords.

Okay. I see that long-tail keyword searches are popular. So what?

As queries get longer, their search volume plummets: “96.54% of all search queries in the US have less than 50 searches per month." The proverbial pond is indeed small.

You should aim to be the so-called big fish in this small pond of search results. There are millions of small ponds, or low-volume web searches out there being made. Searches made by shoppers looking to buy your unique item.

Because these long-tail searches are so, well, LONG, we have some hope of being at the top of results. We can be right there, ready to reel in buyers. (Oh, wait a minute. I am getting my illustrations mixed up, ha ha.)

"…around 40% of all searches [worldwide] are coming from billions of long-tail keywords that have less than 50 searches per month."

Are we the big fish in a small pond?
Pulling in searchers for one or two small “ponds” of search results is one thing. But there are millions of small ponds of 50 searches. If we can rank as the big fish for many of them, positive results can add up.


Aim to be that “big fish” of top search results in many small ponds. Increase your long-tail reach. Refine your long-tail search terms. Use lots of them by writing rich content for your listings. "Own" those small ponds of long-tail search terms.

Who has lots of time to invest in refining key word search terms? Vintage sellers often sell a large variety of items. This another time when the advantage can be for sellers who specialize. They can better target their market with search terms.

I think this has implications for those participating in search games. Target a variety of long queries that buyers might use.

Be the big fish. Own those small search ponds. Use various search phrases to try to increase the reach of your shop or website.

Harness the power of long-tail keywords. Draw in as many searchers as possible to your listings.

Sell, sell, sell!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Oh, no. Another test!

Sellers can opt out
Oh, no, not again!
"Etsy is rearranging my shop for me. What is happening?" "Etsy is still rolling out Etsy Studio. Don't they have enough going on?"

Yes, Etsy is testing another new feature. Here is Etsy's announcement about it. Like most tests, only some user accounts see it.

Here is part of the announcement:

"As a continuation of a temporary test we began earlier this month, some buyers may see Relevance as the default sort option in some shops without a custom arrangement. We’ll let you know if changes to default sort options become permanent."

Etsy has now concluded the test and relevance is a new option for shop arrangements.

Shop arrangements

Shop owners have long had the ability to allow their shop to be arranged by recency. The most recent thing listed or relisted will be the first thing in your shop.

To get out of that, many shop owners use Etsy's newer option of custom rearrangement. I put my prettiest things (newly listed first) at the beginning of my shop. Relisted items stay where they were before I relisted them.

Etsy now has an option of your shop displayed sorted by relevancy.  For vintage sellers, this option will probably not work well. It is because "best sellers" are at the top of relevancy. Vintage sell so many different items that this approach likely has no..., well, relevance.

Try to opt out of site testing

If you do not like being in a site, you can sometimes opt out. Clear your browser cache. Change web browsers. For details, refer to point #4 of this article.

Sometimes, we are just stuck in a test. Right now (April, 2017) some sellers are seeing a different profile page. There is nearly always some testing going on.

Etsy wants to continue its reputation as the premier place to sell. They work hard to stay ahead of the pack. Testing potential new features is part of that process. All users, including sellers, share in site testing.

Happy selling!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

What to Make of Etsy Studio

New Etsy Crafts Market

Etsy Shop Manager Link to Etsy Studio
Accessing Etsy Studio
Do you sell any items that are considered craft supplies? Then your shop will be included in Etsy Studio.

There is the Etsy we all know and love (well, usually). And now there is Etsy Studio, which is just for craft supplies. They are separate markets, each with its own website.

Etsy Studio is an offshoot from Etsy, but still part of the website. Etsy hopes it will become the "go-to destination for craft supply enthusiasts."

Have you taken a peek at your new Etsy Studio shop? It IS different. How so?

1. Etsy Studio has a plainer, more streamlined look.
Etsy studio attributes on the left
Categories and attributes are on the left
2. There is no banner or cover, less individual shop branding.
3. Shop sections are not displayed. Instead, Etsy's categories will be displayed.
4. There is no favoriting of items on Etsy Studio.
5. Item photos are arranged differently.
Rather than a cart
6. Instead of a cart, you have a basket.
7. Individual items can have ratings if previous ones have been sold and rated.
8. Money order, check, and other forms of payment (like trades) are not accepted on Etsy Studio.
9. The item description is truncated.
10. You can sort feedback by star rating.
11. Attributes act like tags in ranking for search results.
12. Attributes and craft uses will be displayed
13. There are no shop updates.
14. There is no shop rearrange function.
15. Craft projects are integrated into (and integral to) Etsy Studio.
16. Items can have designations as handmade, vintage, recycled and organic. Here is Etsy's definition of "recycled."

Etsy Studio sewing sub categories
See the sewing sub-categories on the left? Shop names are not displayed in search results.

SEO for Etsy Studio

Regarding SEO, from admin: "For Etsy Studio's search ranking, previous listing performance on Etsy will be considered in search placement on Etsy Studio, including views and sales along with listing specific reviews. One important difference is that listing favorites don’t exist on Etsy Studio and so do not count towards search placement."

"Adding listing attributes helps buyers find your items by more specific item qualities such as size, color and material. These listing attributes along with titles and tags will continue to be important for search on Etsy Studio."

More information is here.

"Etsy Promoted Listings will work similarly on Etsy Studio as they do now on Etsy."

Individual item feedback is displayed on Etsy Studio. Take note of any listings with low feedback ratings. Avoid "renew sold" for those listings. Rather, consider "copy listing" to shake the negative feedback. Of course, your item feedback will then read zero.

No banners or shop covers
Our shop avi is front and center on Etsy Studio.

What to do now

Attributes are scheduled to go live on Monday, March 27.

  • Add your attributes.
  • Make sure your store avi looks good in the new format. There is no banner or shop cover in Etsy Studio.
  • Check your item categories. They will be displayed. Etsy auto-changed some.

Category changes

Etsy Studio is all about Craft Supplies and Tools. Many subcategories already found there have been adjusted, expanded, or renamed. Some categories have moved to Etsy Studio. (They have been added to the Craft Supplies & Tools main category.)

Below is a summary of these changes. The complete list of the seller categories is here.

  • Kids crafts 
    VintageMaineia Etsy Studio page
    Shop items in Etsy Studio listed by Etsy categories
  • Clip art 
  • All nail art related categories 
  • Bath & Beauty face-painting applicators 
  • Craft & Hobby Books 
  • Cameras and photography equipment 
  • Electronic maker supplies including 3D printing and robotics 
  • Electronic parts including electrical bulbs, tubes, parts, sockets, wiring, and testing & calibration 
  • Picture frames and displays 
  • Home improvement hardware including doors & locks, flooring, hinges, knobs & pulls, molding and trim, plumbing, and windows 
  • Bakeware including vintage 
  • Gardening tools, greenhouses and hydroponics, garden plants, seeds, seed bombs, and artificial flowers 
  • Gift wrap and wrapping accessories 
  • Origami paper, kits, and tools 
  • Paper ephemera 
  • Blank stationery including blank envelopes, folders, recipe cards, writing paper, stickers, and tags 
  • Party supplies including balloons, confetti, party lights and lanterns, straws, and tableware
Are you excited about Etsy Studio? I know that some of my items will be on the site. I hope it does well.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Big Changes at Etsy in 2017

Etsy is on the move! If you have sold there for any amount of time, you know that change is a constant on this vibrant online marketplace.

First, what changes were announced in Feb, 2017?

1. A new website called Etsy Studio has been created for those who sell supplies.
2. Many new categories were created for supplies. Your items may have been moved to new categories without your knowledge.
3. Shop Manager is available. It is an improved "all-in-one" interface to navigate the selling side of Etsy.
4. Enhanced search attributes are being added to all listings.

When is this happening? These changes are being rolled out over days and weeks. Possibly months. You may already have some of these changes. I know that I do. March 27 [date updated] has been announced as when the new attributes will begin to factor into buyer searches.

Etsy starts new supply selling site

Etsy Studio - Etsy's New DIY Marketplace

Right now, Etsy is a website for (1) handmade, (2) vintage or (3) supplies. If you sell supplies, this new development will affect your shop. Etsy Studio is born!

Etsy's CEO Chad Dickerson described his vision of the new one-stop crafting marketplace*. A venue with "joy" to compete with traditional craft stores. Etsy's new do-it-yourself marketplace seeks to provide an all-in-one crafting experience. People will refer to detailed tutorials for crafting projects. Etsy Studio will provide a list of all supplies needed for a project. Those supplies can be purchased on Etsy with one click.
Vintage Supply on Etsy Studio
How our items will appear on Etsy Studio. See the "Vintage" feature?

Money orders, checks and "other" payment will not be accepted in Studio.

A traditional new craft website would need some time to get off the ground. Etsy Studio has access to the millions of crafting items already for sale on Etsy. There will be no extra cost for sellers on Etsy Studio for the time being.

Sellers can expect that all of your items in the "supply" category will automatically be added to Etsy Studio.

On Etsy Studio, items can have a special designation feature of "vintage" or "recycled." We all are familiar with what vintage means. But what about recycled? Here are Etsy's guidelines about that.

Here is more information about Etsy Studio.

Enhanced Supply Categories

Etsy has updated the categories for materials and supplies. Etsy wanted to help sellers with these changes. They performed bulk category edits.

There have been some unintended consequences. For example, sellers report some framed art moved into "Supplies."

Additionally, you may wish to reevaluate whether additional items qualify as supplies. I found that my doorknobs and drawer pulls could be moved from "vintage" to "supplies." That way they will enjoy the extra exposure of Etsy Studio.

New Look Etsy Seller Dashboard
New look - Shop Manager dashboard

New Shop Manager

This is a centralized dashboard for Etsy shop owners.  It improves the visibility of important information, such as orders, buyer conversations, statistics, and inventory management. Sellers see right away what needs prompt attention, such as overdue orders.

Sellers can opt in and out of the Shop Manager for now. I find it beneficial to opt in rather early, as the change is coming anyway. If you wait a week, Etsy admin can get some of the bugs out.

A new capability is included. The new Shop Manager allows sellers to perform searches across multiple shop tools, including Conversations, listings, and orders. I am not sure how useful it is, but it does work.

Included is an improvement in inventory management, SKU numbers. SKU's are visible to the seller but no one else. This is a great innovation for those of us who have been known to {looking away} lose sold items. Here is more information about how to set up an effective SKU numbering system. I have seen complaints that the SKU system is not all that sellers had hoped for.

Search Attributes

Sellers will be able to able to add details about listings. Such "attributes" will eventually serve as filters when buyers search on Etsy. Attributes include:

  • Colors (primary and secondary)
  • Occasions
  • Holidays
  • Size: clothing, jewelry, pillows, dollhouse furniture, dolls, signs, wall hangings, fabric
  • Capacity: teacups, cups
  • Fiber content, potential use (and a lot of other aspects): fabric
Maine granite stones VintageMaineia
Quick Add Attributes for Etsy Studio itens

If you had an item in the "weddings" category, the "wedding" attribute should be pre-selected for you. Sellers report that some pre-selections are inaccurate, so you will need to recheck.

This is pretty straightforward for vintage sellers. If the attributes do not apply, no need to try to force them to fit. Conversely, if more than one attribute could apply, be sure to vary your attributes for different products. This way you will show up on more different buyer searches.

Here is more information about attributes.

Item Variations for Custom Colors

Item variations screen
Below the colors is an option for "more than one."
Item Variations are useful if you sell items like hand made jewelry. There you might have multiple options of lengths, colors and styles with different price, quantity, and SKU numbers. They have been broadened out with these changes. Here is more information about them.

Some have been upset about the color attribute choices. If you have an item that is maroon and cream, you have to call it "red" and "white." Turquoise becomes "blue" (or "green").

Etsy seller custom color workaround
On the screen that pops up, select "create a new option."
There is an interesting workaround. If you have colors that are not on the list, they can be added using Item Variations. Once you select "color," you will see a box with colors listed. At the bottom it has a spot to add your own color.

The custom color(s) you add to variations will be used in regular search. However, the colors will not be seen if the color search filters are used. (Search filters are not available yet. Well, they are but they are not really working. A working color filter will eventually become available.)

Pluses and Minuses

More details about your items will now be visible on the Etsy app on mobile. Item descriptions are hidden when buyers use the mobile app, so this in an improvement.

Attributes will act like "extra tags and titles." This means more opportunities for your items to be found by buyers.

Big shops will need to take some time to make the necessary changes to attributes. Etsy's promised bulk editing tool is available, but some users do not find it very helpful.

Will the new attributes affect how items are found via searches?

As mentioned, the new search attributes and variations will "become a factor in Etsy search" starting in late March. When it takes effect, both pre-set and custom variations and attributes will be searchable, same as tags and titles.

The filtering aspect will not be enabled until later. [Update: Etsy has begun testing filtering in June, 2017.]

It is impossible to know how Etsy's search algorithm will change. Stay tuned for more on Etsy search as information becomes available.

Etsy Quick Add Screen Attributes Tool
Quick Add screen for new attributes

What do you need to do right now?

1. Make sure all your items are properly categorized. Etsy may have changed the categories for your items without your knowledge. You will want to recheck every item's category during this process.

2. Use Etsy's new "Quick Add Attributes" tool. Mine had a little thermometer-style indicator [for a while] that told me that I have only 609 listings to go... It takes you quickly through the process of adding attributes and fine-tuning categories (but nothing else). Unfortunately, if you have already made changes, it will still take you into the listing. It has a reputation for being buggy as well.

If you have a large shop, this task may seem daunting. Try breaking it up into smaller pieces, like sections.

The new search attributes will eventually become important to getting found when buyers search Etsy. They will begin to factor into buyer searches on March 27.

[June 20, 2017 update: most of these changes are not yet fully implemented. Attributes are not up and running to any degree. Custom variations still cannot be searched. Etsy's recent tests hardly even using the attributes. Etsy Studio has very few sales as of yet.]
*Here is Etsy's former CEO Chad Dickerson's interview about Etsy Studio:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Basics of Vintage Pricing

How should vintage items be priced?
In the old days before Etsy, pricing was easy. You put your vintage item up for bid. The auction price was what it sold for.

With the advent of set prices and buy-it-now, we must figure out prices for our items. How is that done for vintage items?

Start with five basic questions

1. What is the demand for the item? Is its color popular?
2. What is its condition? For some types of items, condition is more important than others.
3. Is the item complete? Is it truly usable, or only displayable? Are the box and parts present?
4. Will the shipping add a tremendous amount to the final price?
5. How long can we wait to sell the piece? Can we easily store it and be patient to wait for our price? Or do we need to ask a lower amount to move the item quickly?

vintage market price research
Pricing Research

Next, research prices

  • Search Etsy for the item... check how your direct competition is pricing.
  • Search the Internet for the item... in a broad image search you can see what is out there.
  • Search eBay for the item... low end sold prices are visible when you check the box in the left column.
  • Search Ruby Lane for the item... there we see more expensive pricing.

For special types of items, there are more websites. For example, can be helpful for china, glass and flatware. and AbeBooks work well for books.

Consider what you have into the item. What did you pay for it? What kind of profit margin do you need? Can you factor in a 10-20% discount for coupons or those who ask for a better price?

Take a realistic look at the piece. How does it compare with what is already for sale? What have similar items sold for?

We must view our item within the context of the market and price it accordingly.

We walk a fine line. 

should be ask a high price?
If the item is priced at the bottom, shoppers may assume that something is wrong with it and pass it right by. If we shoot for the moon, the high price could also turn off potential buyers.

I picture myself shopping. I make a search and see a page of results. I filter as to price. Which item would I choose based on the selection?

However, not everyone shops that way.

This brings up the questions of who are our buyers, and how do they shop?

Pricing goes hand in hand with marketing and branding.

are we the cheapest or the best?
are we the cheapest or best?
I took a marketing class many years ago. My takeaway was that you can market yourself as either the cheapest or the best.

Given the choice I try to market myself as the best... but with more moderate pricing. That is because my Etsy shop has a bit of a primitive Maine theme.

Niche shops can add a bit to their prices in general. Vintage sellers who specialize can attract more repeat buyers. They have less overall research to do. Here is more information why specialization is a good idea.

How do we attract better buyers?

Most of us would rather market toward upscale buyers. They are willing to pay more, right?

Ways we appeal to higher end buyers:

1. Make your shop look complete with everything filled out, your about page, banner, avi, etc.
2. Photograph your items well.
3. Have interesting items that appeal to upscale buyers.
4. Emit an aura of quality.

To whom are we marketing our items? Who is our target audience?

Here are some more ideas for raising the bar for your vintage shop.


If the item is rare, you can price it higher. However, there has to be enough demand for it so that someone will want to pay the price. As vintage sellers, we must pay heed to trends in design and fashion.

If there are a lot of the item already for sale on Etsy, I tend to price mine toward the bottom. That is how I handle the issue of direct competition based on price.

price points for vintage selling
pennies or whole dollar increments?

What are your price points?

When you go shopping, take notice of prices. Upscale stores usually round to whole-dollar amounts.

Discounted pricing usually end with penny amounts like .95, .99, .88 and the like.

If we are marketing to upscale buyers, then round to whole dollars. If we aim to be the cheapest, then use "discount" price points.

My own take on price points? On the other E where it can be a race to the bottom, I use .95. On Etsy, I use whole numbers. The exception? Items in my bargain section are generally priced with the .99 ending.
How comfortable are you with pricing your vintage goods? Do your prices reflect all of your costs including time and effort?

What tactics do you use when setting prices on Etsy?

Guest Checkout - confusing avatars for sellers

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 sel...