Don't Give Up On Etsy

I've spoken to several Etsy Sellers this week.  And we are all experiencing the same thing:  Fewer views than ever. Sometimes, up to 50% lower. Are you experiencing the same thing? 

Last year, April 2015 was our slowest month of the entire year. And when things slow down, it is easy to get discouraged and either want to give up, try something else, or pause on Etsy for a while. 

That's what I did last year. That was a BIG mistake. I lost momentum. And when things picked up for me in Summer of 2015, I felt like I missed a big opportunity by not really trying to push myself through that hard time. I think my Etsy Shop would be in a much better position if I had simply worked a lot harder on it during the slow times.

I am not sure why April is slow again this year. It may not be for you, which is great if it is not. But for those of you who are seeing some slow downs, here are my guesses of what is going on: 

  • Tax Season. The U.S. makes up 60% of views on Etsy. April is Tax Season for the United States, which means more money is going to taxes for Federal & State governments, which means less money is available for spending on retail purchases. Some people will be getting Tax Money back, but they will not receive it for another few weeks. So Etsy Customers may be waiting to do some extra spending until their Tax Returns come back. 
  • Summer is Coming. People may be waiting for the Summer to buy more things.  Winter and Summer are the two largest economic seasons for retail purchases. People buy indoor things for Winter, and outdoor things for Summer.  And the in-between times during Spring & Fall are sort of a mixture that are not as economically strong. Should people still buy winter stuff? Or summer stuff?  Or what trends will be popular for the Summer? So, people might be holding off a little bit until it clearly gets warmer for the summer. That activity usually starts increasing in May. 
  • Etsy's New Layout. Etsy's new Home Page layout could be throwing off customers. You may be used to it, since you are an Etsy Seller. But imagine if you are going on a new website to buy things from some other company, like Nordstrom, or Amazon, or Target, and they totally re-did their website. I think it would throw people off, and it could be a while before people get used to the new layout. 
  • Possible Algorithm Changes. I do not believe that Etsy Keyword Algorithms have changed very much recently. But just to be sure, I am doing several tests and experiments. I will publish my findings to everyone soon once I confirm this. 

But if you believe in your Etsy Shop, if you love what you do, and you want to keep going, I ask you to push through the slow times and do not give up.  I did not take my own advice last year, and I totally regret it. There is so much opportunity on Etsy and there are so many things you can keep doing. So while your sales and views slow down, take this chance to think about how you can start improving your shop.  

Here are some things I will be doing:

  • Coming up with new ideas for Etsy products for the Summer. I am not going to create an actual product for every single idea I come up with. But I will write my ideas down, and only pick the top designs that I think will sell.
  • Optimize my Etsy Shop. It's taking me forever to to re-organize my 900 Listings in Etsy with the new shop layout. But I think there is a lot of potential to get it right, so having a perfect order and layout for Etsy Items is really going to help focus on the best-selling and trending items, so that Customers can find them more easily, and most likely lead to more consistent sales. I have noticed that the items I am featuring more at the top, are selling much more consistently than before. 
  • Learn some new business concepts. During the slow times, you will generally have more free time on your hands. I am going to be spending my extra time learning more about business concepts, and more marketing techniques, which I will share with you in the future. I always think about companies like Ford & General Motors, who did not spend time to think about the future and build better cars back in 2008 when the economy crashed. They got bailed out by the Government, and they are still around now. But back then, Ford & GM did not bother to learn new things and change and adapt to the economy, so they went bankrupt and lots of people lost their jobs. Don't rely on a bailout for your business. Learn from companies like Apple and Amazon. They always think about what is in store for the future, they test their ideas, and they inspire, create, and innovate. 

I hope this encourages you to keep going!  I needed it for myself last year, so I want to pass this on to you. If you believe in what you are doing, if you enjoy working on Etsy, if you like creating your own business, then do not give up. Push through the next few weeks, take a break, even take a full weekend off if you need just a time to relax and not think about Etsy at all. Then, come back to it next week and get your thoughts together, make a to-do list, and prepare for the Summer.

Justin Wood

JPW Design Studio, California

Minimalist Website Designer