Thursday, March 29, 2018

Etsy Quick Trick: use your SKU's

organize your vintage items for sale
A SKU system can work for vintage
In the mid-1980's I worked at a major chain garden center. (Ever heard of Flower Time or Frank's Nursery and Crafts?)

I remember when SKU (stock keeping unit) numbers arrived there... the cashiers hated them, as they had to enter a whole string of numbers rather than just the price. But inventory became much more accurate.

SKU numbers have come a long way since then... In fact, Etsy has recently added searchable SKU numbers. Have you harnessed their power in your shop yet?

Quick tricks to improve your Etsy shop
Another quick trick for your vintage shop
We might brush it aside and tell ourselves it is more for bar codes and big companies. Not so.

It can be super simple and easy... I have (update: had) some SKU names like “small metal bin” “bracelet bin” “glass shelf” and “hanging” to describe where listed stuff is located. 

Have you ever listed several similar items? You were worried about mixing them up so you put "1," "2," and "3" in the title. But that can look rather unprofessional... Now you can hide that and make it a SKU.

(You have 32 characters to name yours. Do not start with a space.)

Your SKU will show up before the title of your item when you process an order. I really like it.

If you would like to see yours when finding orders you have two options to access SKU locations.

  1. Via your device (mobile or PC), where you can see it on the order page.
  2. Print up an "order receipt" which may also work as a packing slip for your shop.

Having an inventory system is never a bad idea. This is especially true come tax time. (Ask me why I know.) I am in the process of adding a SKU system to my shop. How about you?

Give SKU's a try!

Here is more information from Etsy.

Adding sku numbers to vintage shelves
Adding my inventory SKU's in June, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sample keyword list for vintage sellers

keyword list ideas for vintage sellers
A hand written list is even more effective
When selling, we need to know our target buyer. Writing up and using a keyword list can be helpful. Well crafted listing text can lead to more sales. Really, it can.

What can such a list look like for a vintage shop? Here is a sample.


Sensational, fabulous, wonderful, lovely, great, fantastic, drool-worthy, stunning, incredible, enjoy, appreciate, delightful, fun, precious, glowing, luxurious, enticing, classic, beautiful, glorious, garnished, superb, distinctive, aesthetic, charming, fascinating, make you smile, striking, dramatic, cheerful, statement piece, lovable, special, sure to please, colorful, muted, perfect, superlative, understated, serene, eye candy, attractive, graceful, tasteful, discerning, refined, dignified, cultivated, distinguished, decorous

Regional terms (for me of course)

Northeast, New England, Maine, Pine Tree State, American, Primitive, Americana, Canadian, Acadian, Quebecois, Canuk, [words translated into language of target market buyers], folklore, cultural heritage, geographic detail, Maritime Provinces, Penobscot
hand write a keyword list
Do you have your key word list yet?

Vintage, conveying age

Vintage, antique, early, authentic, aged, old, ancient, last century, historical, bygone era, artifact, aged, prehistoric, antiquated, archaic, rarity, yore, venerable, relic, decades


Timeless, classical, traditional, inspired, whimsical, compatible, industrial, rustic, primitive, ethnic tribal, Native American Indian, Southwestern, Southwest, art nouveau, art deco, arts and crafts, mission, mid century modern, retro mod, kitsch, Victorian era, aesthetic, colonial, cottage chic, boho, bohemian, Victorian revival, Georgian, abstract, brutalist, modernist, pop, country farmhouse, French apartment, Kawaii, Edwardian, Civil War era, Navajo, European, Scandinavian, Asian, Hollywood regency, essence of the period, tailored, modernist, steampunk, granny chic, folk art, coastal, beachy

Details of design and craftsmanship

Intricate workmanship, rich detailing, skillful craftsmanship, consummate professional, fine finishing details, lost art, artistic detail, pleasing dimensions, fine art, great proportions, classic lines, superb design, patented (including information), artisan, realistic design, made with care, finely executed, traditional methods, at the top of their game, finely crafted, well crafted, carefully made, durable, versatile, useful, finished with, topped off, plain, simple, high quality, artistic

Collector-friendly, words conveying uniqueness:

Collection, valuable, uncommon, unique, prized, one of a kind, OOAK, hard to find, rare, desirable, exclusive, only, sought after, curio, memento, remember, heirloom, specimen, trophy, keepsake, museum piece, souvenir, curious, singular, Wabi-sabi keepsake, memory, curio, treasure, special edition, signed, showpiece, keystone, conversation piece


Pristine, excellent, outstanding, museum quality, pre-owned, vintage, lovingly used, patina, signs of previous ownership, evidence of loving use, distressed, wearable, original condition, crisp, manufacturing flaw, wear consistent with age, complete, functional, scuffs, shows its age, strong, sturdy, secure, usable, for display only, original detail, factory finish, works as intended


Dainty, pretty, sweet, feminine, romantic, ethereal, delicate, confident woman, elegant, understated, silhouette, darling, cute, adorable, glam, confection, frilly


Glamour, pizzazz, sparkle, flowing, classical lines, designer, brushed, textured, flourish, glowing, luxury, scintillating, flashy, simple elegance, formal occasion, bling


Chic, smart, sophisticated, fashionable, modish, stylish


Embellish, repurpose, remodel, refurbish, easy to install, versatile, customized, salvaged, art assemblage, create, rusty, ornamental


The narrower your target buyer, the smaller this list will be.

Handwritten lists are supposed to be even more effective. (Who knew?) (Let me know how those Japanese characters for Wabi-Sabi go for you.)

Make a list and add to it as you think of more terms.

Use your keyword list as you compose listings.

Take your item descriptions to the next level with a buyer keyword list!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Etsy search in early 2018: algorithm factor list

colorful data graphic
No one really knows Etsy's algorithm
This post is about Etsy's search factors in 2018.

This is all theory and conjecture. Information is based on my observations and those of many others. If you want facts, please move on to another blog post.

Possible Algorithm Factors

Remember that these change all the time. And some are weighted differently.

(The algorithm is kept private. That maintains fairness for all sellers.)

Okay, here goes...

*Asterisk means factors that I have seen said by Etsy Admin that DO count. But factors can always change.

#Pound key means factors that I personally have seen at work.

->Elements seller can work on

Item quality

Beautiful click-worthy photos*
Titles and tags*
Accurate item category*
Attributes completely filled out*
Attributes accurate*
Accurate title and tags* (Admin is saying that inaccuracies are now being penalized by Etsy search)

Seller shop activity

Regularly renewing items and listing new#
Using Shop Updates in the last period of time (week? month?)#

Shop completeness

Completed About section*
Returns Policy* (have something)
Canned Policies* (Etsy prefers that sellers use their preset policies)

Shop promotion

Offering free shipping
Having sales
Using Promoted Listings (internal Etsy ads seems to have an indirect positive effect)

Shop quality, buyer experience

Shipping quickly (do not go past your stated shipping time)*
Customer service cases*
Review score (stars)*
Copyright infringement cases*

Factors some feel play a part, but I disagree with

Use all 5 About photos
Using FAQs (in canned policies)
Frequent renewal of items
Using Etsy shipping labels
Using a cover photo (I do not)
Using Integrated PayPal (I do not)

Things that Etsy has stated do not factor in but may have changed

Content of Descriptions (admin has said that it may eventually be a part of search)
Using Pattern (website)

->Elements that sellers cannot directly control

Quality scores of the competition
Random rotation (of items within search)
Time of day
Buyer location (some countries are regionalized)

Buyer behavior

Shopper's recent search history
Shopper's overall Etsy search history
Shopper's social media activity through Etsy

Item quality

How long listing has been listed without sales#
Hearts (to a degree, within reason)
High click rate (can work negatively if no one buys)
Item conversion rate*#

Specific to search terms

Shop score for those search terms
Sales in that specific search*
Sales in similar searches#
Clicks in that specific search*
Clicks in similar searches
Favorites in that specific search*
Favorites in similar searches
Details (context) of current search*

Shopper data

Etsy Purchase history*
Shopper location*
Shopper age, gender and other demographics (this just makes sense)

Clicks of similar shoppers
Favorites of similar shoppers
Purchase history of similar shoppers

Shop quality

Shop conversion rate*
Backlinks to your shop
Backlinks to your listings

Items that are not a direct factor

Price (can certainly be an indirect factor)
Using all ten photos (could become an indirect factor if Etsy adds photo recognition)


Phew, that was a lot of factors. No wonder artificial intelligence is necessary to sort it all out!

Here is some new information on search:

Have I missed something? Let me know and I will add it.

In another post we will cover what sellers can do with the information.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Vintage buyers: are yours collectors, trend setters or thrifty?

If you are a vintage seller, you already have a defined target market. Etsy defines it for you by limiting "vintage" to items over 20 years old. Plus, not everyone wants to buy pre-owned merchandise.

So we just limited our target market by, say, 50%. Every vintage seller is a niche seller. That was easy!

Within vintage there are at least three types of buyers:

target vintage buyers trendy thrifty collectors
Know your target market

  • collectors
  • trendy shoppers
  • thrifty shoppers

Who are your buyers?

  • What motivates them to buy? 
  • How does your shop appeal to those motivations?

Consider the buyers who come to Etsy and browse vintage shops... They want to buy something. Sometimes they will buy something they had no idea that they wanted until they saw it

What made them decide to buy? You need to crack the code.

Great product selection helps, but it is not the only factor.

Sellers need to identify why some items sell well. Harness that information and use it to sell more stuff.

Pinpoint your most effective listing style

Separate yourself from the products you sell... just consider the listings themselves. Not the "what" is being sold but "how" it sold. What is it about the listing's style and makeup that buyers are responding to?

Consider the details of some listings that sold right away. Look at a few items that were barely in your shop before they sold.

Ask yourself some questions about the makeup of each listing.

Wording & listing setup

  • Keywords. Check for keywords common to the titles or descriptions of your best-selling listings.
  • What was the opening sentence in the first paragraph? 
  • Description: how did you "talk" to your customers?
  • Were listings more effective if  you gave some history of the item? 
  • Were listings more effective if you suggested ways to use the item? 
  • Where in the listing did measurements appear?
  • vintage bottles on a shelf
    Collectors are unique buyers
  • How did you manage the "attributes" fields on the listing creation page?


Here is more information from Etsy about taking effective product photos.
vintage sellers photo style
Are you styling photos?

Target buyer

  • Consider what you know about who bought the items (age, location).
  • Was the item a gift?
  • Look at their Etsy profile. Can you see preferences in their favorites?
  • Was the buyer a collector, trendy or thrifty? Does the same listing style appeal to all three?

After gathering this data, analyze it. What made the listing effective?

Now, go make more listings like that.

Selling vintage in uncertain times

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