Friday, June 17, 2011

There's always a fall-guy

It's hot outside
The kids are home from school
People are getting the kids ready for school
Everyone's planning their vacation
Everyone's on vacation
Everyone's broke from their vacation
Etsy changed the listing page
It's the economy
There's a postal strike in Canada
Everyone's watching American Idol

You've heard (or used) them all. Excuses, that is. Reasons why things might be slow on Etsy. Unfortunately, none of them are valid.

Retail sales are impossible to predict, apart from the fact that pre-Christmas is the busiest time of year. But maybe not for you if everyone's watching TV. The greatest economic minds in the world can't figure it out, so chances are you won't find the answer in the Etsy forums. If you do a search on the forums, you'll find that "Sales are slow" threads are as old as Etsy, and they never change. The initial conclusion is almost always, "Something is wrong with Etsy, I just know it". Nothing is wrong with Etsy (well, some things are, but they're more window dressing than anything else).

Lots of shops are doing very well, and if something were broken, it would be broken for everyone. Which is not to say that the only possible conclusion is that your idea of selling burlap thongs was a bad idea. Far from it. In fact, I think I might....never mind.

There are some really critical questions every shop owner needs to be able to answer definitively:

1 - Am I selling something people want to buy?

Not what you think they might want to buy, not what you think is something people should want to buy. Really, is it a product with a market?

2 - Is Etsy the right place to sell it?

Yeah sure, I've heard it all; "Men shop on Etsy too", and, "My grandmother has shopped on Etsy", but let's face facts; The vast majority of Etsy buyers are 30 year old women named Jennifer. And a few Laurens. It's all about exposing your product to the biggest possible audience, and if you're selling leather assless chaps for bikers, maybe you need to reconsider your choice of venues.

3 - Can people find me?

Only if you wave your arms wildly, and there is just one way to do that. Your listings. Google is everywhere, so your listings should be filled with lots of keywords, and not repeated ones. But most importantly, your listing pictures have to reach out and grab the assless chaps shoppers by the balls.
Nobody is going to click on a washed out, low contrast, nebulous thumbnail. It's just not going to happen. More on this here:

About Me

My photo
A blog mostly about my photography, my etsy shop, travel, and other assorted addictions and predilections. I've been passionate about photography for just about as long as I can remember, right from that very first 1960s Kodak Brownie around my wrist at Upper Canada Village... A great deal of my adult life has been spent travelling the world for extended periods, always with cameras in tow. My photographic interests run the gamut from intimate portraits to landscapes to ephemera to street life. Although firmly entrenched in the digital age, I have a weakness for film and for old cameras.