5 Common Mistakes Etsy Sellers Make (and how to avoid them)

Working from home as a designer/maker/craft business owner might be your dream realised after years of working towards goals and escaping the ‘day job’. It might be something you are working on part time or as a side hustle to other work or commitments?

Whether your Etsy Store is a full time business or a part time project it can have its ups and downs at times. I have written this article to help you troubleshoot a few common and easily rectifiable mistakes. To help you develop your store, products and brand and to maintain a positive mindset and level joy more easily! Here are a few simple structures and tried and tested tactics for a more successful Etsy seller experience!

Mistake 1 - Overcharging on postage

If you ever shop online (somewhere like ebay or amazon for example) you might have seen this odd and annoying selling tactic before - where a product is priced very low but then when you reach your cart the P&P is extortionate to make up for the product cost… its down right infuriating!

Most successful sellers I know take particular care and attention getting their shipping just right!

by either:

Weighing each item in a category and creating a shipping profile in line with the Royal Mail pricing strategy that is fair and does not cause them a loss in profit

OR

They absorb the postage fee into the costing to enable them to offer ‘free shipping’ to certain destinations. Some people even split the different depending on the value and service being paid for.

Another tip would be to always offer a accurately priced fast track/next day service AND always set clear expectations in terms of your dispatching times! They key here really is accuracy! So buy yourself a digital scale and work out those P&P prices before you make your strategy.

Mistake 2 - Not regularly refining your product range

I have fallen into this trap before! By getting comfortable with my sales goals and not doing enough forward planning… The key is the set aside a day a month to work on new designs or testing ideas on your audience online.

Taking time out to play with new ideas is not only important for business development but also helps keep you inspired! Being aware of seasonal trends and timings is also key. Planning Christmas Holiday products in November?… chances are you have missed the boat by not giving yourself enough time to test, refine or make enough stock!

Looking at your store analytics and key metrics is also a super insightful way to see what is and isn’t working in your current product ranges before you decides what to take forward or invest more time/money into developing! See what your customers are engaging with and use that as a measure.

Mistake 3 - Not regularly updating your keyword tags

I know, I know, it can be a real pain especially when you have hundreds of listings! But regularly reassessing and altering your key word tags really does freshen up your traffic stream and audience visibility. Make sure your listings are tagged only with accurate and relevant words. Think about what people will be typing into the search bar to find an item like yours, what are the categories? Descriptors? Details?

You must also make the most of every single character in your product description! This is essential to be found.

By using descriptive words, you’re painting a picture for your prospective customer, sell them an experience, and you’ll definitely stand out in the overcrowded online marketplace.

Mistake 4 - Not charging enough

Undercharging for your product not only messes up your profit margin but it reflects badly on your fellow handmade business owners. Customers come to you for unique hand crafted and thoughtful designs, items painstakingly created, curated and produced usually by hand.

I can guarantee you have spent hours designing, testing, refining and listing your product. That time, energy, cost and skill all needs to be reflected in your pricing strategy… as well as your base overhead costs! This is afterall a business.

Make sure you have an accurate figure for your hourly rate/price which can be applied to your production time + materials costs. You can use this handy sheet to help crunch those numbers. Make sure you are conducting regular market research, measuring material costs and finding your pricing sweet spot.

Mistake 5 - Using poor quality product photography

It’s likely your customer cannot just pop over to view your product and try before they buy. So it is essential that each item is accurately captured from every different angle, with correct lighting and also fuss free styling. An image of your product in situ or on the body will help the customer not only understand the use/benefit but also how to style up their outfit or space gorgeously!

Make sure your photos are clear and well lit, shot on plain backgrounds and with minimal props.

Etsy often alter the quality of your photos when uploaded but this is even more reason to make sure they are hi res and shot with a macro lens where necessary! Your customer needs to see every beautiful detail, stitch or brush stroke.

Offer different angles, multiple photos and document any damage or mark (vintage items etc)

Keep digital enhancement to a minimum. A little editing in photoshop can be a good thing but keeping colours as true to the real thing is again essential! Try a little light and contrast tweat if your natural light isn’t as sharp as you’d like… but remember less is better!

Lastly - never use stock photography! Not only is it potentially infringing on copyright it will mess up the clarity of brand image and is pretty lazy!

If you’d like more ideas about developing your online store or support growing your creating/craft business drop me a line. As Nottingham Etsy Team’s co-captain I have several years of supporting Etsy makers and team members. I am offering free 30 minute Maker Mentoring calls during September which you can book here.

Need help or advice getting your Etsy Store in shape for upcoming seasonal events? Find out more about my Etsy Shop Review mentoring