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."

The best items for this type of promotion would be items with a relatively low shipping cost, of course.

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.

There. All done!
...................................................................................................................................
(Another way is to go to each listing and change it manually. Change the shipping method to "manual." Then, reduce the shipping to $0. In my case, I added most of the cost back on. However, I stuck to some price points... I was not rigid across the board with how I handled repricing.)

Here is a quick trick I discovered.

Here are more strategies from Etsy for offering free shipping.

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!

Who is in the driver's seat?

What is up with Etsy's search? Hold on tight! Reports vary... some shops are doing all right and some are not: theories abound....