5 Great Reasons Why You Need to Be on Etsy


Etsy is one sweet four-letter word if you’re a small business owner with a product to sell. If you haven’t heard of Etsy.com before, don’t worry; you’ll soon be well educated about why it can help you sell more products. If you already know about Etsy, then you’re aware of what an awesome venue it is for product sellers.

In a nutshell, Etsy is the online marketplace for handmade goods and artisan products. Business owners on Etsy sold a cumulative 38 million dollars in products in June 2011, and the site continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Intrigued yet? Here’s why Etsy is a must in your marketing plan.

Easy Setup

Using Etsy is easy; a huge benefit just in itself is. Simply go to Etsy.com and register as a seller. From there, you can set up a shop with a customized shop name and logo for branding, create shop sections so customers can easily browse your goods, and add product listings complete with photos and descriptions. Adding products to your Etsy shop is a hand-held process with clearly explained steps the entire way. Whether you are using Etsy as an extension of your own website, as an additional selling venue or a sole shop, getting started is quick so you can start selling faster.

Listing products on Etsy is simple due to a predesigned template. You plug in product pictures and write a convincing product description, then add a few details about price and shipping and you’re done!

The listing template is aesthetically and functionally the same for everyone, so you don’t have to worry about sourcing your own templates or using website code like HTML to create your product listing.

Much like having your own website, Etsy offers integrated essentials that you can quickly customize:

• Accept credit cards, checks, money orders or Paypal

• Custom store policies

• Announcements page for listing valuable information about your business and product

• Shipping calculator for international and U.S. shipping and the ability to customize shipping options

• Ability to offer coupon codes and combine shipping on multiple purchases from the same customer

Because these options are built right into Etsy’s store platform, you don’t have to worry about installing a shopping cart, shipping calculator or other plug-ins to run your store efficiently. Who doesn’t love easy?

To compliment its easy platform, Etsy offers a seller’s handbook with everything you need to know about getting started. Consider it your personal hand-holding from Etsy as you embark on your valuable Etsy adventure.

Traffic

Much like a brick and mortar store must drive real-life foot traffic into the store; online stores must reach through the web to pull in customers. If you already have a business website, you likely know how challenging it is to drive traffic to your store. It takes a lot of research and work to get your products in front of the right clientele, and building beneficial traffic takes time.

With a whopping 25 million monthly visitors, Etsy nicely hands traffic right into your lap. When you open an Etsy shop, you have the ability to tweak your product listings to help attract the right customers and help people find you. The really good news is that Etsy provides step-by-step guidance on how to help your shop benefit the most from those 25 million-and-counting monthly visitors.

Just like any online venue; however, the more you promote your Etsy store, the more benefit you’ll gain from Etsy’s traffic base. You can increase traffic to your Etsy store by:

• Incorporating good search engine optimization (SEO) in your product titles and descriptions.

Know what keywords and phrases people use to search for products like yours. The Google keyword checker is a handy tool for finding the best keywords for your Etsy shop.

• Promote your shop outside of Etsy.

Let your contacts on Facebook and Twitter know about your Etsy shop. Start a Facebook fan page or blog and update it regularly to help increase awareness of your shop.

• Listing new items often to help search engines and customers find you through search.

Etsy has its own system for helping shoppers find your items. Tagging is one way visitors can sort through listing on Etsy to find what they are looking for. You’re allowed 13 tags, which essentially are keywords that people may use to find your item. Use single-word tags that describe your item to describe what it is, the color, size, material made of, etc.

The tags you choose are important and it’s a good idea to use all 13 to increase your chances of tapping into all the Etsy traffic. Follow Etsy’s advice on listing your products according to their search guidelines. This helps customers find you more easily while searching for products on Etsy.

Sales and Growth Potential

Etsy has achieved substantial growth since its humble beginnings in 2005 and has matured into a venue with over 800,000 shops. Etsy continues to grow and introduce new features to help sellers be successful. June 2011 ended with a total of $38.4 million in goods sold on the site (a 74% increase since June 2010). Consistent increases in sales totals and visitors to the site offer great opportunities for shops to sell more goods.

Future plans may help further stretch Etsy’s growth in the right direction, including possible affiliate programs to help drive traffic and enhanced seller tools. Growth is also being fueled by Etsy’s ever-growing name recognition. Synonymous with ‘handmade’, Etsy has become the place for people to look when seeking artisan and unique products.

Support System

Achieving business success is always a bit easier when other, like-minded business owners have your back for support and advice. Etsy supports a huge online support community with two main ways of connecting with other business owners:

• By joining an Etsy team

• By participating in forums

• Live Chat and email support

Etsy teams are a way for shop owners to self organize into groups with common interests and goals. For instance, if you sell your products at craft fairs or would like to learn more about doing so, you can join a team dedicated to craft fairs.

Makers of specific products also have teams, like soap makers, jewelry designers, greeting card designers and clothing designers. With over 3,000 active teams on Etsy, you’re likely to find a team of others in your genre. If not, you’re free to create your own team and invite others to join.

Etsy describes its team feature as a, ‘crossroads of our marketplace and community’. When you join a team you not only have the ability to gain support and advice on running your Etsy shop, but members can collaborate on cross-promoting products, offer specials and discounts and work together in other ways to promote each other’s businesses. Team members may also find that very valuable personal connection and fostering of friendship with other team mates.

Forums are an additional way to connect with other Etsy sellers and buyers. Etsy offers several forums where you can go for nearly immediate help with questions: Business Topics forum, Announcements, Site Help, Ideas and Bugs. Even if you use teams, the forums are a great place to source additional information or get help with questions.

Sellers with questions can also tap into Etsy’s live chat feature, which allows you to directly connect with a support person during set hours. Support email is also available. All these features combined create a support environment that is designed to iron out any kinks you may have with your shop and get you selling with less frustration.

Cross-Promotion

Even if you don’t use Etsy as your main selling platform, you can tap into exposure from the site to your benefit. Product sellers use their Etsy stores for many reasons:

• To list wholesale items only.

Perhaps you sell at retail from your own website or another selling venue. Consider opening an Etsy shop as a wholesale shop where other retailers can purchase at bulk from you. This provides an easy way to keep your retail and wholesale venues separate if you choose.

• List retail products only

Alternately, some Etsy sellers offer wholesale only through their own websites and choose Etsy for selling at retail. If you currently use a password protected website for wholesale orders, Etsy is a good platform for offering retail goods without having to tack onto your wholesale site.

• Launch a new product line in a different market

Perhaps you’re already selling from your own website, but have a product totally unrelated to what you currently sell. Consider offering your new product from your Etsy shop. You can have separate branding and identities if you choose, while testing the waters with your new product.

With all of these options, and more, you can easily cross-promote your own website and Etsy shop. Include business cards or coupons for your Etsy store if you like, even when someone purchases from one of your different venues.

Etsy allows you to have more than one shop at a time as well. If you have multiple products to sell and want to divide them into unique locations, you can open additional Etsy shops and cross-promote them all. With so many options and unique ways to tap into the power of Etsy, you’re sure to find a way that is the most profitable for you!

{Top photo via SXC)

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