Etsy Sales Down In 2018

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One of the most common things that successful Etsy Sellers say is that their Etsy Sales have gone down drastically. We've experienced the same exact thing as well. In some of our Etsy Shops, our sales of gone done. But in others (especially the newest Etsy shops we have), our sales have gone up in 2018. 

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If you're Etsy Sales are Down in 2018, here are some things to consider:

  1. Make new stuff. If you have been selling the same things as 2015, 2016 and 2017 as now, one of the reasons your sales are likely down is because you have not changed strategies and starting selling other kinds of products that people want in 2018. You must always continue to be ahead of the curve and develop new things that people want, but not a lot of other people are making.
  2. Don't rely on Etsy's Algorithms. Etsy Algorithms seem to change like crazy more than ever, and not in a good way. Their unreliable algorithms cause instability in the day-to-day searches of customers. The best way around this is to sell products that have high demand and low supply. It's hard to figure this out, but doing a lot of research on selling products and focusing on niche, under-served keywords is the best way to keep getting a lot of visibility on Etsy.
  3. Take control of your own Marketing. Think about building your own website and doing your own marketing. Etsy is the best place ever to start a new business and get sales quickly. But once you hit 1000 sales, you should start thinking about how to create monthly stability, and that's by taking control of your own marketing, collecting email addresses with Mailchimp.com, building your own website on Squarespace.com, and drive business to you instead of rely solely on Etsy. 

There is so much opportunity on Etsy, but you have to do it right. Don't sell what everyone else sells. Instead, stay ahead of the game a be a leader in your niche market. 

Have your sales been down in 2018? 

What kind of issues have you seen with selling on Etsy lately? Share your comments below.

Preparing Your Etsy Shop For Valentines Day

The next big holiday people celebrate is Valentines Day. And Etsy released a helpful data chart of search volume for people who buy for Valentines Day. 

Right now, people are beginning their search for Valentines Day gift ideas on Etsy, and it will peak around January 23rd, and essentially be over on February 7th, one week before Valentines Day. Below is the chart Etsy provided all Etsy Sellers today. 

 Data provided by Etsy, Inc.

Data provided by Etsy, Inc.

In light of this data, here is what I recommend:

  1. Make roughly 5 new items on your Etsy Shop with the idea in mind that the item would be gifted or used for Valentines Day.
  2. Research keyword ideas that would are popular according to Etsy Search results, but around 2-3 words in a Keyword Phrase, to work well with your product.
  3. Quickly create a prototype of your new item and get it up on Etsy as quickly as possible.
  4. If it starts to get views, customers questions or sales, quickly improve the item's design, listing description, pricing and photography. 
  5. Make sure this is all done and completed before January 23rd.
  6. These items do not have to be "Valentines Days" specific. They can be items that sell year round as romantic gifts, for anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas gifts, etc. But it helps to have Valentines Day as a starting point to inspire a new product design. 

This means you have the next 2 weeks to get this process started and up on Etsy. You may not make a ton of money, but take the Holidays as a time to spur some new ideas and innovation and set a habit for rotating out old, bad designs and replacing them with new, trend-inspired designs.

One of our biggest mistakes on Etsy was not continually creating brand new ideas, based on the trends and seasons, with brand new keyword combinations. When we rotate designs, allow old listings to expire, and create brand new designs, it is one of the easiest ways to continually see sales come in, because we are not relying on old ideas. 

4 Things To Sell On Etsy In January 2018

In December, almost all purchasing has to do with gifts, or Christmas decor, or other holiday and seasonal items. But right when Christmas ends, people slowly shift back into what they were doing before all the Holiday activities. As soon as New Years Day arrives, people will get back to their normal family and personal routines. But, in addition, most people think about their goals, ideas, and dreams for 2018. 

In January, the following 4 categories tend to do very well, and sometimes last for several months later. 

1. Fitness, Healthy Food, and Clean Living
Most people gain a few pounds in December, so January is the perfect time to focus on getting back in shape and pursuing healthier eating habits. In fact, January is the #1 month of the entire year for healthy living, diets and improved fitness, even more than the Summer time when people spend more time outdoors. This trend drastically falls away by February.

2. Wedding Planning, Baby Showers, Birthdays and Anniversaries
The Holidays take away from a lot of normal yearly activities, like birthdays and baby showers. In addition, a lot of marriage proposals are done during the Holidays as it's a more romantic time of year, which means Wedding Planning starts in January. Most Weddings occur between May and October, which means anything wedding-related or Anniversary-related will start in January and gradually pick up all the way until October. So January is the perfect time to start planning and creating items for all these categories.

3. Home Decor, Furniture, Storage, and Organization
In December, most people spend their money on holiday decor and Christmas gifting. Once all of that is over, a lot of families take a deep breath and purge all of that focus on the Holidays by renewing their normal home activities and updating their decor, furniture, and other household items. This trend typically begins in January, and slowly declines until the summer when most people take big vacations. As September hits, summer vacations end, the focus tends to be on "Back To School" which is quickly followed by Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. So home decor, interior design, and home organization is typically the most popular from January to May.

4. Back To School, Calendars, Planners, Learn A New Skill, Start A Business
We typically also get this around August & September when the school year hits, but January feels very similar in the sense that most kids go back to school, and a lot of adults start thinking about their goals for the year, like starting a business, taking their own classes, and planning out their future. These topics tend to do well in August, but they can often be big hits in January as well. 

No matter what you sell on Etsy, it is important to re-think your selling strategy to take advantage of trends and seasonal changes to help your Etsy Shop grow to reach new customers, and expand into new categories. Don't just keep doing the same thing over and over. Instead, expand into new areas that can help you make selling on Etsy your full time job.

Learn more about selling on Etsy and grow your own business

What Should You Sell On Etsy?

The more I sell on Etsy, the more I realize over and over that selling on Etsy requires two very essential components: 

  1. You absolutely must understand Keywords and how to use them properly on Etsy.
  2. Like any business, you need to sell things on Etsy that people actually want to spend money on.

When you connect Keywords with Good Designs on Etsy, you get Sales. There are so many ways to market your products on Etsy, such as Promoted Listings, Instagram, Pinterest, and Email Newsletters. But Keywords should always be priority #1 as your main marketing strategy. 

But having good Keywords doesn't matter if no one likes your Etsy products.

So don't be offended if you have ugly Etsy products and you know it. Instead, I am instead going to offend myself by telling you a story about one of my biggest failures on Etsy. 

 

Here's my story about selling on Etsy

In 2010, I started my first Etsy Shop. I thought it was awesome that there was a website that focused on helping individuals sell creative, independent items online. 

I sold minimalist, very rectangular, geometric paintings, in various colors. I sold a grand total of 1 painting on Etsy. My first customer was a lady was from Florida, and she said the painting matched perfectly with her home decor. It was the blue painting shown below. I was so excited to get a Sale, and I figured that at least someone else would buy something too - eventually! 

static1.squarespace.png

I had about 8 paintings all together on my Etsy Shop, and in order to try to get a sale, I lowered my prices from about $400 USD to about $150 USD per painting and included free shipping. Little did I realize that it would cost $75 USD to ship the item. And then after subtracting the cost of the canvas, painting, packaging materials, and the roughly 8 hours it took to make the painting, I was basically making no money at all. 

I had no clue what I was doing, and after 6 months, I gave up. I had all these other paintings available for sale, like the green painting shown below. Personally, I really, really like this design. The problem is that no one else likes it and no one wants to spend their money on it. When I look at it now, it's probably because of the ugly green color. Or maybe people find it to be too boring looking. And no one uses green to decorate their home, especially in a modernist home. But I thought the design was cool, so shouldn't at least 1 other person like this design? 

static1.squarespace-1.png

The thing that I did not realize back in 2010, is that I am not creating things for myself on Etsy. Instead, I am creating things for other people. And they are paying me to make it for them. But what I kept doing was making things that only I liked, and I didn't try to figure out my own target customers and cater designs towards their interests. I should have continued to develop products based on my Blue Painting - but I didn't do that at all. I ignored what a customer bought, and continued on my own path. 

Your goal on Etsy is to sell things that other people want. But you're a creative person & you'll want to make things that you like, too. If you want to just be a business person, then you sell on Amazon or Ebay. But just like selling on other online platforms, your goal should always be to make money and sell things that other people want.

Six years later on Etsy, I finally created a modernist painting design that both I like and lots of other customers on Etsy like, too. Below is a black and white abstract painting I made and it has sold hundreds of times.

static1.squarespace.jpg

In terms of style, it's minimalist, it's a painting, and it is sort of like the designs I did in 2010. The difference is that people are willing to pay money for this design. And they can find me on Etsy through the use of good, clean, simple Keywords. 

Why do people like this design? I have no clue. I have some theories, though:

  • Modernist design is much, much more popular today than it was 6 years ago.
  • Black & White is so much easier to match to a home than blue or green is.
  • I've figured out a way to lower the cost of my designs.
  • I've also realized that it's hard to sell very large paintings, like my original 24" x 48" paintings because they are so expensive. Now, our best seller is a much more affordable 8" x 10" print. 
  • I've also learned a ton about Keywords in the last 6 years, and this helps me get my artwork in front of more people. 

So the whole point of this story is to tell you one main piece of advice: It doesn't matter what you like. It matters what your Etsy customers like!  And you need to find a way to create things that both you and other people enjoy at the same time. That way, you have fun doing it, and you get to make money at the same time. 

So learn from my mistakes. Get over yourself and what you like. And start making things that other people are going to enjoy. 

How To Interact With Your Etsy Customers

One thing I often forget to do is ask my Etsy Customers what they thought about their purchase.

I can easily come up with new ideas for new products or changes to make to my overall Etsy shop. But without talking directly to my customers, I'm always just guessing about what next step to take. 

I recently decided to make a new Customer Survey regarding our Etsy Shops' physical Premium Print artwork. I sent the survey out to about 50 customers. In total, 6 of them replied.

These 6 customers gave me feedback that was incredibly helpful. They told me they were looking for prints that were larger than what I currently offer, as well as more horizontally-oriented art options. Almost every single customer said the same thing. And for our Etsy shop, I have not offered those options at all. Every time I do a customer survey, I learn a ton of new things I never could have guessed on my own. 

What I recommend for your own Etsy Shop is that roughly every 3 months, you should send out some sort of Customer Survey to your previous customers. Even if you only have 10 Sales on your Etsy Shop, you can still try out Customer Surveys to learn what you need to work on in order to get more Etsy Sales. Even getting 1 reply back is better than nothing. This way, you are asking questions towards people who have actually spent money on your products - and that kind of information is extremely valuable. 

Here are 4 Tips that I have seen work best for Customer Surveys: 

  1. Offer an incentive for the survey, like a coupon code or a chance to win a free product from your Etsy Shop.
  2. Send it out to about 20 Customers and see if you get any responses back. If you don't get any responses, your offer may not be compelling, or your questions may be too long and too confusing. After your refine and improve your Survey, send a new one out to another 20 Customers. This way, you can learn to perfect your Survey, rather than just sending out 1 to everyone at once.
  3. Keep it to roughly 2-4 questions. The shorter it is, the more likely they will answer.
  4. Ask questions that are crucial to the issues you need to figure out. Don't ask things like "Did you like your order?" or "Would you recommend our shop to a friend?" Those kinds of questions are completely pointless. You want to ask things like "What was something you were looking for that you did not find on my Etsy Shop," or "What was the most difficult and frustrating experience you had with your Etsy Order." These are just examples. But you want to ask questions that really get to the heart of things that your Etsy Shop desperately needs in order to change and improve. 

Whenever I feel stuck, I always turn back to doing Customer Surveys. They are one of the best ways to get you motivated to fix the problems that your Etsy Shop is not addressing. 

If you're unsure how to send out customer surveys, the two easiest options are to simply write customers through Etsy Conversations or to set up a survey web page on a website such as SurveyMonkey.com. 

Developing New Etsy Products January & The New Year

With Christmas just a few days away, Holiday sales on Etsy are pretty much over with. Everyone will be doing their last-minute shopping at places like Walmart and Target to get cheap, last-minute gifts. 

The great news is that people get back onto Etsy very quickly right after Christmas and when the New Year starts. So now is the perfect time to plan ahead and think about how to optimize your Etsy Shop for January. 

Most items that do well in January typically include things related to New Years Resolutions and a lot more focus on the consumer's own identity, rather than being focused on giving gifts to other people. Things that sell well in January typically include:

  • Fitness & Health - especially trying to lose weight after all the Christmas party dinners
  • Calendars & Planners - to focus on the new year ahead
  • Academic & School Items - as students head back to school
  • Spring Fashion - people start looking to see what the warmer-weather clothing trends will be in March
  • Home Decor - there's usually a surge in redecorating the home after Christmas ends

If your Etsy Shop focuses on any of these items, it's already time to gear up for January and optimize your shop to focus on these New Year trends. For our own Etsy Shop, January is always the biggest month of the year for sales, so we're anticipating the trend to continue. 

Take advantage of your time off between Christmas and New Years, and work to develop new items in the categories stated above. It's never a bad goal to work towards selling on Etsy your full time job!