This morning, as usual, I went online to check on my Artfire and cruise the forums for a while. Then, went over to Etsy where my other shop is and found this post from a very successful seller there. I contacted her and asked for permission to post it here and she graciously agreed. Her shop is called Bliss Candies.
It's a little long, so go get you cuppa and settle in for a few minutes. It's very good advice, and we need all the help we can get, right? Here it is:
I've been working from home and selling online for 7 years now, the last 5 of those years full-time; though I just opened my Etsy shop in mid-April. So I know exactly how tiring, merciless, and down-right discouraging it can get (yes, I've cried in the proverbial "corner" many times)...but I also know how rewarding, self-satisfying, enriching and flexible it can be for my family.
So I just wanted to take a few moments to share what has been working for ME and how I get an average of 1 sale a day (this does NOT include our icepack sales for hot Weather shipping). I am not guaranteeing anything, but if any of this info helps you to stay motivated then it was well worth my time to write it all down :)
1 - PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES! Selling online means you have only ONE sense to appeal to, their sight. So make sure your pictures are *top quality*, and if you don't know what you are doing there are tons of threads here on photo taking, as well as other great tutorial/informational sites.SERIOUSLY, I GET INTO A TREASURY OR HIGHLIGHTED IN A BLOG ABOUT ONCE A WEEK just due to my pictures alone. I don't advertise, my self-promotion is almost non-existent, and yet people find and include me because of my PICTURES.
2 - I have a really pretty journal (thanks to BookgirlsStudio) that I keep close at hand to write down EVERYTHING work related. Things to do, items to order, recipes to try out, project to tackle in the near future and 2 yrs from now, what inspires me, thoughts/ideas to ponder and come back to later, anything! Having a journal keeps everything in one place plus it is portable, so I take it everywhere I go, as you never know when a thought will strike!I then go through it at least once every other day, as it keeps things fresh in my mind it helps me to develop new concepts and ideas, light a "light bulb" going off in my head..
3- Think OUTSIDE of your box - look for inspiration in un-likely places. Step outside of your comfort zone. What is your style, what do you do or use....now think of something contrary or opposite of that and go explore! Inspiration comes from so many different places, why limit yourself to what you ALREADY know?? One of our MOST POPULAR items is something I created for fun by combining two products we were already selling...Fudge Brownies and Safe to Eat Cookie Dough. maybe that's why they sell so fast, a unique creation made out of 2 very common edibles.
4- Now think INSIDE of your box - GET ORGANIZED! Create a workspace that is just for you and your craft, or as best as you can do with the space you have. Keep everything close by including shipping supplies (within reaching distance if possible), and have a specific place for everything. This will greatly increase your efficiency and cut down on "wasted time" as you hunt for things, get up to go get something only to then get distracted by something else and so on. For the longest time I kept my flour and sugar jars over by the oven...because that's the logical spot for them. But my work space is actually off to the side of our kitchen and I was always walking back and forth...then I got smart and just moved them over to my work space!
5- Playing "Hide & Seek" - Work those titles and tags! Make sure you include descriptive words for-flavors, colors, shapes, main components and ingredients used, who it's meant for (grads, dads), genre, age or era (vintage, modern, 50's), etc...as this will help with search results and getting included in treasuries and blogs.
6-LOW VIEWS ARE NOT THE END OF THE WORLD! I know the mathematics on this, more views equals more sales, but I am telling you, it is NOT the only factor! Our shop is proof of that, as we have far LESS VIEWS now then we did 2 months ago, but far MORE SALES then before! What has worked for us it to fill our shop with QUALITY items, developing a cohesive theme and taking good pictures. It draws people in and keep them SHOPPING. Honestly, almost ALL of our customers buy 2 or more items from us, and no, I am not counting our icepacks (for hot weather shipping).We have had items with less then 10 views sell, while I know others with similar items have had over 500 views and it is still un-sold....so it can't just be the number of views that counts.
7- They Love Me, THEY LOVE ME NOT! Again, I know that mathematically the more people that "heart" you the more potential sales, BUT it is not the only factor! It's quality of your admirers, not the quantity, that matters. We have about 170 hearts for our shop and I'm not sure what that really means (all things considered), but I've seen shops with over 2000 hearts and I have to say...the difference in our sales is not *THAT* wide.
8- Need a JUMP START for your business and feedback rating? Being new is hard enough, but being new with no feedback can be one of your biggest hurdles. So if you can't bring the customers to you, you go to them! Place a few bids on alchemy requests, charge less then you normally would if you have to and just consider it an opportunity to hone your craft and get your name out there! This is how I got our first few comments, and after that the sales started coming in, in singles. Then after a month or so we had enough feedback where people felt comfortable in buying MULTIPLE items from us at a time and that's really all we get now....multiple item sales, woohoo!
9- If you can afford it, GO THE EXTRA MILE. Be that in your communication, packaging, free samples, but especially in making things RIGHT when they have gone wrong...or not-as-planned. I know it is not always the sellers fault, but sometimes it is not about fault or blame, the buyer just wants a good experience, period. NO, don't let them take advantage of you, but in certain situations you can make things better and it will speak directly about your level of integrity. For example, one time I shipped a gift to the person that paid rather then the gift recipient, so I decided to eat the fee for both the products and Express mail shipping...she is now a repeat customer. Another time the hot weather was a factor in some melting chocolate, and to make the customer happy I shipped out a free batch of goodies...and she is now a repeat customer.
10 - TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Every once in a while, take a day off. Step away from the computer. Don't do ANYTHING related to your Etsy shop and use that time to just re-charge and enjoy LIFE. Trust me, you need this valuable time away more then you need another item or 2 in the store while slowly driving yourself to the brink of insanity. Remind yourself that there is MORE to who you are then JUST your shop. What did you do/where did you go for fun BEFORE Etsy? Go there for a quick visit :)
Visit Bliss' awesome blog at:
and her Etsy shop at: http://www.BlissCandies.etsy.com
Here is a little portion of Bliss' bio:
Q: Who are you?
A: I am a stay at home/work from home mom, happily married with 3 bright & creative kids (sometimes too creative), 2 cats and 2 dogs…oh, and a gold fish. I’ve lived in Minnesota pretty much my whole life and though the winters do get cold here, I am blessed with being able to experience all 4 seasons, though there are days I long for the beach life. My husband and I own a few online business and we both work from home full time, so our pj’s have a lot of miles on them! I am just so thankful that God has provided us with this opportunity, and try not to take it for granted. Not only has working from home given us maximum flexibility for our family, but I also get to spend every day with my wonderful husband. Once in a while we have a little *too* much of each other, so I praise God for the 3 level home we have as well!