Thursday, September 18, 2014

3 Things Many Sellers Don't Do Before Opening a Store on Etsy (and Should!)

Do you want your Etsy shop to be a hobby or a business?

Etsy will take you through the steps to open your Etsy store, but besides knowing how to functionally set up your account, choosing your shop name, etc., here are the 3 things that I believe are vital to have completed before opening your 'doors'. However, I consistently see new sellers that start selling without completing these 3 things, and it leads to frustration, a bad experience, and in many cases, an early close to the shop.

1. Create a professional shop appearance.
Before listing your first item, you should have your bio, about page, and policy page completed.
A policy page is so important and a well designed, informative page can save you plenty of headaches down the line. Here is where you enter the following information:
  • Return & Exchange Policy
  • Payment Options
  • Shipping Information
  • Additional information such as custom order policy, wholesale offerings, etc.
I personally think your profile picture should be a picture of you, not of your product or even your logo. Other people may differ, but I believe it adds a personal touch and people like to see who they are purchasing from. Especially in the handmade world, when a customer can see the designer/owner, it adds to the experience.

2. Have at least 20 to 30 items made and photographed.
This will ensure that you are starting out strong and have a full shop right away. I personally will not purchase from a shop that has only a handful of items displayed. It doesn't give the appearance that the owner is serious about their business. Granted, there are some shops that are highly specialized and only make custom pieces. Then it is understandable that they can only list a few at a time. But, those are the exception. You also want to start off with a good momentum, and having 20-30 items ready to list immediately will get you on the right track.

3. Know how to ship your product and have the supplies already on hand.
This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many times I've seen the question in the forums with the title 'I've sold my first item. How do I ship it?'. Before opening your shop, make sure of the following:
  • Determine your shipping method - Etsy shipping, Paypal shipping,, or good old-fashioned stamps.
  • Purchase appropriate envelopes, boxes, shipping labels, stamps, packing material, etc.
  • Practice at least once shipping an item. You can even ship it to yourself or a family member. It may cost a couple of dollars, but knowing how the procedure works ahead of time is well worth it.
I have to admit that I wasn't prepared in this area, which is why I emphasize it here in this post. I didn't expect to sell my first piece of jewelry within 1 week, so I hadn't purchased the bubble mailers yet. So when I woke up to my first sale, I had to rush to Office Depot to purchase (very expensive) envelopes. I then made a mistake creating the shipping label and had to cancel it, and start over. Learn from my mistake!

Here is a good Etsy article regarding how to set up your shipping profiles:
Etsy Blog - Create Shipping Profiles

So, while there are other areas that are extremely important before setting up shop, I chose these three to discuss because I believe they are ones that are overlooked more often than others.

Remember, you want to have a professional shop - this will go a long ways to ensuring your success!