So, you’ve been thinking about opening an Etsy Shop and want to jump right in? Are you absolutely sure? Take a minute to read my previous article on making sure an Etsy Shop is the right thing for you.
If you have decided that an Etsy Shop is definitely the solution for you then I want to take the time and help you get started the right way.
I do not recommend to just bite the bullet and open the shop. It is essential to prepare every single item (or most of them) you’ll need for your shop before you officially call it “live”. You don’t open a brick & mortar store without a system of sort, policies, guidelines, inventory, do you? No way! You don’t just buy or lease a space and put an open sign on the door without preparation, right? It sure does not seem as if this strategy is the way to success.
Let me tell you 15 things you want to get done first! When you sign up on Etsy it means setup needs to happen quickly. The reason is that you can impress potential buyers right from the start. As a matter of fact – Etsy even requires you to list an item immediately or you can’t open your shop. The odds of being found with only 1 item in your store are fairly slim (or zero to none). However,Le you never know because as soon as you open your shop Etsy will give you a big boost. You want to take advantage of that big boost! Get your name and products out there and don’t waste it because you were not ready. Makes sense, right?
Here is a list plus a brief description of things you will want to have ready before you click that “open a shop” button on Etsy and be “live”.
Etsy Success Must Dos Before You Open a Shop!
The name of your shop will be what defines your business. You can be as creative as you please, but keep in mind that you don’t want to confuse potential buyers. You can make it simple and use your own name with a term following your name that clearly states what you do (e.g. Jennifer Smith Graphics). By using your name everything business related will oftentimes be easier. This is the case in regard to having to register your business name, EIN (Employer Identification Number/SSN) and such. Of course, you can use any other name you like. Just be sure to make clear what it is that you are doing or trying to sell.
A logo is a must have for any business. Yes, your name defines your business as well, but for the visual part a logo is a no brainer. Make it unique – make it yours! There are many online websites where you can make your own or you can hire someone to create a logo for you.
Banner / Shop Style
When getting ready for your shop and it’s time to create an overall design you need to consider what you like. As well as what you want to get across and, of course, your products. Do you sell feminine items? Toys for children? Home items? Motorcycle gear? It does not matter as long as your design matches what you sell. For example, I sell wedding & event stationery, which is mostly geared towards women.
My shop would most likely not benefit from colors like dark blue with reds. I want my shop to convey the message of feminine and chose soft tones of pink and gold. It is feminine and classy at the same time – a perfect fit! For children rainbow colors may work great. Baby items tend to have a soft feel and it would benefit from pastel colors. There are no limits here, but try to match it as well as you can to your satisfaction and your products. Which audience are you trying to attract? Always keep that in mind!
An e-mail address is an essential tool to have for any online business. Etsy needs your e-mail to send you all sorts of notifications. Most importantly, they send you a message when someone is starting a conversation. It happens when you have a new order, but also when you’re getting billed and any other alerts. Think about if you want to create a new e-mail address for your new online business or use your existing one. I highly recommend to get one only for your business. Otherwise it will get confusing with a bunch of e-mails. I tend to sign up for various newsletters and such in order to run a successful Etsy shop and it can get overwhelming. It’s easy to lose the overview and get unorganized.
Fyi – Etsy will not have customers send e-mails to your e-mail address, which I think is great. They have a “conversation system” within Etsy where you can exchange messages with people.
Finances / Bank Account
Personally, my husband and I agreed that I get my own bank account. We want to keep all things related to my Etsy shop completely separate from our private account. If your bank offers a free business account go for it! Otherwise it’s not bad to open a regular checking account at first. If your Etsy business doesn’t work out or barely makes you money you don’t have to worry about any fees or having a steady income flow. You can always switch to a business account when your shop is really taking off.
Most likely you know what you are going to sell by the time you are ready to open an Etsy Shop. If not..you better get at it! Etsy is quite oversaturated for certain products and I’d say number one is jewelry. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t sell your jewelry there. It may just be quite a bit harder to compete with already existing shops. It’s all about standing out and getting your products out there. That’s why it is so important to take advantage of that initial “new shop” boost.
When you first open your Etsy Shop you are are required to post your first item and you might as well do it right and have several products ready to post. This will help your shop make use of the boost you will get when first opening a shop and posting new items!!! It is definitely something you will want to take advantage of and you can only do so if things are completely setup and ready to go. The more listings you have the more keywords you have for being found!
This is not an easy topic because of the competition. You don’t want to price too low or else it may not make it worth for you to sell your products. You also don’t want to price too high or people will buy at the competition. Best is to search for similar products on Etsy with a lot of sales and see what they price their items at.
It’s probably safest to price just a bit higher than the average for similar products because you can always run a sale or lower your price. However, it is not as easy to raise your prices just because you feel like it. Set them right from the get go and work with sales. Some people claim that the price does not matter and this is true for certain customers, but overall I strongly believe it does matter. If people find similar items and like them all just as well then why would they not go with the better priced item?
Title – Listing Descriptions – Tags
Ever heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Well, the title, description and tags of your listing help it a great deal to be found through SEO. Etsy changes it’s algorithms up on a regular basis because why let things get boring, right? Ha! You will find plenty of different information about Etsy’s SEO, but I can tell you what worked for me so far.
Create titles that are crystal clear about what it is you are selling. Include title keywords into your description and use it for tags as well. It is generally recommended to not have a description that is too long because people don’t read all the way to the end. Therefore, it is important to include the most important details about the product at the very top. Write things that you want your customers to read for sure at the very top! You can have a long description, but you need to understand that it will most likely NOT be read to the end by most people checking out your listing.
I know..it’s their loss because all the info is important. At least you can refer back to the listing when they complain about something and say it’s right there. The fact that they chose not to read the whole thing is on them!
You get to pick up to 13 tags and it is highly recommended to use them all. Besides including title and listing description keywords research to find out which other tag words are successful. Check out other seller’s listings and see what they are using and/or use places like Etsyrank or Marmalead for help. After a while you will get a better idea of what words work for you, but new ones are always recommended to not have your own listings compete with each other (e.g. so 3 of your listings may show up on the same page instead of just one due to competition with each other).
Do it yourself or hire someone for your listing pictures. Personally, I find it not too hard to take decent pictures myself, but at the same time I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people don’t have a decent camera for it and I know there are ways to take somewhat decent pictures with your phone, but it’s just not that same quality as a true camera picture. The angles, the light, the colors and everything else is all captured completely different than with just a camera on your phone.
Generally, the Etsy audience is very attracted to light and bright images. Some people swear by a white background and others say it’s not that awesome anymore. Just go with your taste and see what you like. Having a white background works for some items, but not others. As long as it’s an attractive picture I don’t think anyone cares what background it has. I’ve started to use a lighter wooden background with greenery once in a while and I think it’s stunning. Never be afraid to ask people around you like family or friends for their opinion!
Sections / Categories
Just like you have aisles with items at a store you want to create some sections in your online shop. Etsy makes this very easy and simply lets you create a section and you can name it whatever you want. Some people advice not to have more than 10, but personally, I find that if you have a wide range of products more sections are not necessarily bad. When you have several hundred items in your Etsy Shop it makes sense to divide it into more sections as long as they truly are different. Look at your products and decide how to separate the items and name them, e.g. wedding invitations, baby shower invitations, signs, etc.
Etsy mainly provides a policy template for you to use. You can choose certain policy items in regard to returns and shipping, etc. It’s a pretty quick process, but you will need to have an idea of what you want. Will you give returns? Will you allow cancellations? If so, what time frame will you give people for them? Think about it to assure that chosen timelines are a realistic option for your shop.
Staff Members / Bio
Etsy has a section where you can briefly introduce yourself and other members of your shop. It will show your name, a photo, the position and you can write a little something about each member if you choose. Take a nice picture of yourself and your members and not just some picture where you can hardly be seen. Try to make it look like a professional shot. Outdoor or in your workspace portraits tend to be a good option. A warm smile will get you a long way.
About / Shop History
There are many people who enjoy browsing through your listings, but many of them also enjoy checking out your about page. This is where you can tell your story. Let people know what’s going on in your life and what made you decide to sell your products on Etsy. This adds a unique touch to your shop and some people may be able to relate to your story. Once they see a connection they are more likely to buy.
Personally, I love to read FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and it oftentimes already answers most of questions I may have (since that’s the point). Think about it as if you were the customer and what questions would come to you before making a purchase? It may not hurt to bring up shipping and questions about cancellations or refunds (do you even allow those?) even though it is part of your policies. These are things that benefit from being mentioned as much as possible to keep yourself safe (I even bring it up at the bottom of my description sometimes).
Also, come up with product specific questions like why do you use a certain fabric or why do you use a program for digital products the customer will have to work with as well ( e.g. because it’s very user friendly)? Once your shop is live and you actually receive questions from customers you can always adjust the FAQs section and include actual customer’s questions.
Think about which social media platforms you would like to use to promote your products. Which ones are you already using and are familiar with? Does it make sense to use them for your products or would it be better for you to tap into a different one to reach your right kind of market? Having a Facebook page is very popular, but that does not mean it will benefit your business. You have to put a lot of work and time into your social media platforms to draw traffic to your shop. Will Pinterest or Instagram be better choices for your business since people will be attracted to your product more when seeing it right in front of them at first? A first impression matters so much and you have plenty of options, so think about it wisely and don’t sign up for more than you can handle.
If you can write and create content for everything or most items listed above you will be ahead of the game. Having all this ready right away will not let you waste that big boost you are getting through Etsy. Even with the right setup of your shop it does not mean orders will be pouring in right away, but it will help you to get established faster.
Now get to work and good luck!