4 big mistakes to avoid when selling crafts online - Etsy selling Guide
How to sell crafts on Etsy, Amazon Handmade the right way, from the start with the top four common mistakes to avoid.
By Chris Tailby from CraftLife.Academy
Q) What's the biggest mistake crafters make when they decide to open up their own Etsy shop or Amazon Handmade Store?
A) They make what they personally like and not what has been proven to be an "in demand", popular, trending and hot selling item.
Click the image below to watch a short animated clip of Joe. Its an extreme example but it illustrates how easy it is to fall into this trap.
I speak to dozens of sellers every month and often hear the same story. "How do I get more traffic to my store" because I'm not selling anywhere near as much as I need.
In many cases it's not the traffic numbers to a store that is the first thing that needs to be looked at, its what you are selling.
Are you selling a product that has proven sales? Are their similar products that have recorded many sales and reviews? Does it appear prominently or featured inside successful shops? Has it been added to lots of baskets?
These are all questions that need to be answered before putting your crafts up for sale. As much as I love to be original, it pays (at least in the beginning) to craft items that are already proven to be in demand and then adding original pieces to test as you go.
If you'd prefer to watch the video of this article, watch my Video on selling crafts biggest mistakes HERE
A massive 80% of Etsy sales is made up by only 20% of its stores as per a recent study conducted by Etsy. So what does this tell us?
Well it tells us that only 1 in 5 stores is making a massive contribution to Etsy sales leaving millions of stores recording zero, low or significantly less sales than the Etsy shop owner was hoping for.
Just taking a look at what Crafters are searching for on Google and YouTube. It paints a similar picture with many searches being around the following topics:
“What crafts sell best on Etsy?”
“What is the most profitable craft to sell?”
“What crafts sell on ebay?”
“Selling craft ideas”
The list goes on but the searches show us that either a potential craft seller has made a start making what they like, are recording disappointing sales and looking for something else to turn to. Or, someone’s new to selling online with an interest in crafts but just doesn’t know where to start or exactly what to make.
So, what’s the answer? How best to sell on Etsy? Amazon? Shopify?
My advice is to keep things simple.
At CraftLife.Academy I teach What to Craft, How to Craft and How to Sell Crafts. My first question to students is to find out what area of Crafts they like and to develop a tailor made plan of action that’s unique to them for making and selling.
So, for example, let’s take a recent conversation I had. A lady was making items of Jewellery, green stones in chains but was making little to no sales at all although I know that two of the top ten stores on Etsy are Jewellery makers and that big money is available.
If making Jewellery is your passion then I’d recommend, as a starting point to take a look at the stores “CaitlynMinimalist” and “SilverRainSilver” and to locate niches within the stores that you could re-create as your own.
So, for example, you’ve taken a look around many successful craft shops and made notes. Here’s a checklist to go through before selling crafts online.
What craft products are the stores best sellers?
The best selling items often have a tag saying “best seller” close to the image.
What craft items are scoring over 10 reviews?
Only 1 in 10 people (and sometimes less) write a review so if a product has over 10 it’s a good sign that the product has sold over a hundred and so on.
What handmade items have scored a high sales ratio between “Reviews for this product” and “Reviews for this store?”
For example. If a craft store has recorded 10 reviews for a particular item and 200 reviews for its entire craft shop, then that particular product has a sales ratio of 5%
Because 10 divided by 200 x 100 = 5%
So that particular product is responsible for a full 5% of the store’s total reviews. The bigger the percentage, the bigger the opportunity and an ideal way to see what items sell best on Etsy.
How to sell on Etsy - popular error #2
Not having a Crafts Selling Strategy
Many Etsy sellers often also have 80% of their income being generated by just 20% of its handmade items and so this is a great way to determine what crafts sell well on Etsy and whether or not to consider recreating your own version.
So, in this example, lets say that we can see that Daisy Jewellery has a strong following across Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings for both gold and silver. A starting point could be to ascertain what you could successfully recreate and at what cost so that you can be sure to make a profit on every craft item made.
For every big niche there are individual niches to choose from. Never go for the biggest niche like “Candles” or “Bath Bomb” – niche it down to find your tribe of buyers, so for Candles it could be:
Candles > Luxury Candles > Organic Luxury Candles
Bath Bombs > Luxury Bath Bombs > Vegan Friendly Luxury Bath Bombs
Jewelry > Silver Necklaces > Silver Daisy Necklaces
And so, you now have a niche with products that sell on Amazon Handmade and / or Etsy. Products to populate your niche store and you are ready to learn the next, important step before opening your Etsy or Amazon Hand Made store.
And that’s how to write titles and tags to attract the right “buyer visitors” in the largest numbers possible through search. To get this right, see my YouTube video below How to write titles and tags for Etsy.
How to sell on Etsy - mistake number 3
Not making the most of your product page listing and how to set up a craft store the easy way.
Lots of agreement amongst Etsy selling coaches including myself is that Etsy sellers in large numbers have not made the most of their product page listing.
Here’s another checklist below with my top tips :)
1- Download the Keyword surfer chrome browser extension or sign up for Google analytics to view the Keyword planner tool as per my video above.
2 - Be amazing at writing titles and tags for your product. You have 140 character spaces in your title. Fill the entire space with buyer keywords closely related to your item using the strategy from my video above on writing titles and tags.
3 – Add related and keywords that couldn’t be fitted into the title, place them into the tags. It’s ok to split words over two tags as you have less characters available.
4 – Look at top craft seller’s photographs – yours need to be as good! Invest in a Whitebox photo booth from Amazon to shoot photos against a white background and take extremely close up photographs of your item to highlight all of the product’s detail.
Use all photo spaces available, add pictures saying “Fast Shipping” if you really have no more photographs to add.
5 – Write unique related keyword filled, detailed descriptions of each product. Look at other successful seller’s descriptions and see how they include details of all product variations and how their product differentiates from other craft sellers. Include all sizes, weights and delivery options. If you ship really quickly, let potential buyers know.
6 – If you’ve never sold online and want to. I recommend getting your first online craft store made through outsourcing. For this, visit Fiverr.com and do a search for Etsy Shop.
I provide a simple to populate spreadsheet inside Craft Life Academy to pass to your chosen outsourcer. The entire shop is created in just 3 days usually and for around $50.
Common Mistake #4 Selling Crafts Online
Pricing errors and how to price your craft products for profit.
Become clear on two metrics: -
1: The cost of producing your item
2: The cost of running your business.
Be clear on every cost that your business incurs so as to price your products high enough to make a profit. Sound simple enough?
It can be but many sellers get this wrong by looking closely at the cost to produce their items but overlook the many other costs that accumulate as part of running a business and generally price their craft products too low.
Every month keep a close eye on costs. Your aim is to secure a healthy net profit margin. This is your total profit after tax and otherwise known as your wages! Many companies believe a net profit margin of 30% is healthy, any more is advantageous.
I aim to price my products between 3 and 9 times the cost price. I don’t have a fixed mark up for every product. Always know your product and its competition well and price as highly as you can whilst still recording sales.
If you enter a market early, you can command a higher price for longer and as competition grows you’ll still have some room to be competitive whilst still making a profit.
Don’t ever get involved in price wars – it often ends up as a race to the bottom. You can be very busy fulfilling orders but actually still be losing money or barely breaking even. It’s just not worth it and so compete on being brilliant at writing titles and descriptions, have great packaging if it’s a luxury item, deliver as quickly as you can.
Be focused on profit rather than your competitor’s prices. I know from experience this can be difficult but you need to put profit and buyer traffic first.
Make a quality product and learn how to sell on Etsy to drive buyer traffic up rather than driving prices down.
To get the fast track, see some cool craft demonstrations and learn the Etsy marketing tactics that work, see my 1hr how to sell crafts online training here.
And for more craft selling tips, tricks, strategies and hacks, consider subscribing to my Craft Life Academy YouTube Channel, where I am releasing new videos weekly.