How To Get Sales On Etsy & Keep Growing
Find out how to reduce cart abandonment, become more visible in Etsy search results, and attract new business from outside of the Etsy platform.
Scaling a hobby into a profitable business is difficult, especially when you’re selling on Etsy, one of the most popular online seller platforms out there. If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking for ways to differentiate yourself from the competition, make a name for yourself, and turn more interested buyers into lifelong shoppers.
Keep reading to get all the tips for selling on Etsy you need, including tips on how to get found in Etsy search results, draw people to your store from other online platforms, and redirect interested shoppers to your store if they favorite and forget your store (or abandon their online shopping carts altogether.)
Whether you’re a seasoned Etsy seller looking to take your shop to the next level or you haven’t made a single sale, this post will teach you how to make sales on Etsy and how to grow your business in a meaningful way.
Table of Contents
10 Etsy Tips To Make More Sales
1. Do Keyword Research To Create Relevant, Targeted Products & Listings
To make more sales on Etsy, your shop has to get found in search results. The best way to do this is to make products that people are definitely searching for, and write product descriptions that match what users are searching for. This is where keyword research comes in.
Keyword research is one of the basic eCommerce SEO tactics all online sellers need to know about. It works like this:
Most of the time, consumers buy the products that appear in search results. That’s especially true for a platform like Etsy, where people know what they want and have thousands of options available. They type words in the search engine box. Those words are “keywords.”
Etsy’s search engine doesn’t just take into account keywords, as you’ll learn in the next section, but keyword research can inform what kinds of products you should make, as well as how to describe the products you currently have in stock.
For example, in the image above, “pizza greeting cards” is a popular keyword grouping. If you make greeting cards, it might really boost your Etsy sales if you design and list a greeting card with pizza on it, and describe the card as a “pizza greeting card.” Using just a little keyword research right on the Etsy homepage, you can learn what popular items you should make.
As another example of how to use keywords to get found in search, let’s say you sell personalized makeup bags. They’re not specifically made for girls who are 12, but you notice that the keyword grouping “gifts for kids girls 12” is a popular search term. You can easily edit your product description to include that search term and get found.
There are a ton of keyword research tools out there. Here are some of the best:
- Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator
- Ubersuggest Free Keyword Tool
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Google Keyword Planner
These tools analyze the search volume for any given keyword grouping, discuss how difficult it would be to rank in search results for those keywords, and suggest related keywords you should include in your Etsy product listings.
It’s important to note, though, that these keyword tools are not specific to Etsy. They analyze Google searches to gather keyword information, which works better for online stores that are not on the Etsy platform. To increase your chances of being found online, which leads to increases in sales, it might be time to start your own eCommerce store where you can get found on Google. Read our post, 8 Signs It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Etsy & Hello To A Better eCommerce Platform, to decide whether it’s time for you to create your own independent store in addition to, or instead of, an Etsy shop.
Make sure to do keyword research regularly, as search trends can change relatively quickly.
2. Learn About The 2021 Etsy SEO Update
Previously, Etsy’s search engine has mostly focused on keyword matching, which led many Etsy sellers to hone in on using the right words. It was an incredibly straightforward, linear approach to search: plug in the right keywords, and the search engine would “read” every product description to find the stores that best match the searcher’s keywords.
However, Etsy has recently introduced XWalk, a large-scale search engine that strives to provide better search results by taking into account data about your shop and its offerings, as well as the customer’s past history on the seller platform. This new web-like search engine structure departs from the linear “reading” search engine structure to provide a more personalized user experience and reduce the amount of time the Etsy search engine takes to produce search results.
While you can’t control your potential customers’ past search history and interests, there are other XWalk ranking factors you can control. Relevant ranking factors include:
- Recency Of Listing: XWalk favors products that are listed more recently, as products that are listed more recently are more likely to still be available. Update your older product listings regularly to let the search algorithm know that those listings are still relevant and available.
- Shop Quality: Your shop quality may depend on factors such as your return policy, customer interactions, disputes, infringement issues, and whether you improve your shop based on user suggestions in reviews. Make sure you have a fully completed shop and resolve any of your shop’s issues as fast as possible.
- Listing Quality: Your product listing quality refers to whether it’s been clicked on, favorited, or purchased before. The best way to make sure your listing is high-quality is to make sure your listing is relevant to what users are searching for when they use certain key phrases (i.e. choose your keywords wisely.)
- Shop Location: Etsy shoppers have expressed their preference for purchasing within their own country, most likely due to reduced shipping costs and times. Make sure your shop address is visible and accurate so you can be found, especially by people who want to buy their items locally.
- Shipping Price: Shoppers prefer free shipping in general, even if the product price is a little higher than it would normally be if they had to pay shipping costs. XWalk recognizes this, and prioritizes shops with free shipping.
- Processing Time: If your store processes and ships orders quickly, you are more likely to rank higher in search results.
- Recent Reviews: Recent reviews reflect your product’s quality more accurately than older ones. Get new customers to leave you reviews to improve your search ranking.
Keywords are still an extremely important factor of SEO. Beyond that, focus on the quality of your products and customer interactions. XWalk is just looking to give users the best shopping experience possible, and to rank highly, you have to offer your customers the best.
3. Offer The Best Etsy Shopping Experience Possible
Great customer experiences are crucial for two main reasons: to get positive reviews, and to create a loyal customer base. Positive reviews encourage new customers to buy and will help you place higher in Etsy search results. A loyal customer base will help your shop become more sustainable and profitable.
To offer a great shopping experience to all of your customers:
- Answer all questions and direct messages promptly (ideally within 24 hours.) You can set up an automated response for up to five days if you’re taking a vacation day or an emergency comes up.
- Provide accurate processing and shipping times.
- Create transparent shop policies, including refund, return, and exchange policies.
- Respond to any complaints.
- Make sure you and your customers are on the same page when it comes to making customized items, especially since you can’t resell custom items if they’re returned.
Once you have a satisfied customer, ask for a review. You can ask in a sale confirmation email, send a personalized follow-up message, or leave a reminder in your product packaging.
4. Tailor Your Product Offerings To What’s Trending Right Now
Since the majority of items on Etsy are handmade, a lot of people browsing on the site are looking for unique gifts, costume pieces, customizable clothing and accessories, and items that relate to recent trends, but can’t be found in stores. For example, many people on Etsy search for handmade holiday gifts, custom cases for the newest phone releases, and items that relate to cultural events or trends.
Develop products with current and upcoming trends in mind. Right before the holiday season, consider offering a holiday-themed item or updating your product descriptions to convey the fact that your products would make a great gift for a certain audience.
If you know a big cultural event is coming up or a huge trend is going on, try to offer something related to the trend. For example, if you make laptop stickers, design a few stickers with trending TikTok phrases on them.
5. Use Social Media To Market Your Shop
The most popular social media platforms are basically made for visual content creators, so it’s easy and natural to advertise your shop products on places like TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest. These platforms offer a low-stakes way to expose your products to the right people, build a loyal brand following, and announce exciting events like sales and discount contests.
You can even connect your Etsy Shop to your business’s social media profiles in your Etsy Shop Manager dashboard. Then, whenever you run a sale or add a new product, you can easily create and share a new social media post and share it right from your dashboard.
To learn how to run your first social media marketing campaign, read our complete guide to social media marketing.
- Related: Did you know you can start selling directly from the TikTok platform for free with a Square Online account? Social eCommerce capabilities are a huge advantage for sellers who want to differentiate themselves online. Read our Etsy VS Square comparison to find more advantages of switching from an Etsy shop to your own Square store.
6. Develop Your Own Streamlined Product Photography & Editing Process
Etsy is an overwhelmingly visual platform. Your customers are purchasing handmade items, and expect to get exactly what they see on-screen. Your photos have to be appealing and accurately portray your products.
However, many sellers can get “stuck” on photography and editing, which can be enjoyable but are really just administrative tasks for most Etsy sellers. Some sellers take too much time trying to get the perfect creative shot. On the other hand, many sellers do not take enough time getting the shots they need to show off their product in a positive light (physically and metaphorically.)
If you spend less time on photography and editing, you’ll have more time to make and sell your products.
- Designate an area in your house or studio specifically for photography. If you get natural light in any part of your house, try to make that your photography area. If your items are smaller and more detailed, build or buy your own photo lightbox so you always have a uniform source of light to work with.
- Collect a few creative, but not distracting, items to use in the background of photos.
- Choose a few items that demonstrate the relative size and/or fit of your products. For example, if you’re selling custom-made pillows, use your couch as a prop to give shoppers an idea of how large the pillows are.
- Coordinate any shoots with models well in advance, especially if you are selling wearable products.
- Do photoshoots in batches. Instead of setting up an entire photography session for each product you make, set aside a day specifically for photographing multiple products.
- Photograph each product from several angles and positions. It’s better to have too many photos than not enough.
- Consider taking a 10-15 second video of your products being held or used. It helps customers get a better sense of size, and helps them imagine having your product in their lives.
- Edit photos with a photo editor you’re comfortable with. Be aware of Etsy’s product photography rules and best practices.
- If you take pictures with the same kinds of colors and backgrounds (which will help you build brand recognition) use a program such as Adobe Lightroom to save your edits as a preset that you can use for editing photos down the line. Otherwise, just stick to the simplest possible editing you can while still maintaining the quality of each image.
- Optimize file sizes so that each image is detailed enough, but still meets image size requirements and doesn’t take forever to load on a webpage.
- Use photos and videos for social media posts and for listing products on your own website, if you decide to start up your own eCommerce store.
No matter how quickly you shoot and edit photos or what you do with them when they’re ready to go live online, make sure to name and store your product photos properly. One of the most unaccounted for losses in productivity is the time you can waste by not using descriptive titles or not grouping product photos in the right folders.
7. Use Free Shipping Strategically To Get More Etsy Sales Without Cutting Into Your Profits
Just about everyone who buys online, including Etsy buyers, can admit that free shipping is compelling. That’s why Etsy prioritizes products with the free shipping tag in search results. Free shipping is only “free” for the buyer though, so you have to decide when it’s worth it to cover the cost of shipping an order yourself, and when it’s not.
You could offer free shipping on all your items, or after a minimum number of purchased items, or when a certain minimum cart balance is met. You might offer free shipping for all your customers, regardless of location, or stick to free shipping on domestic orders, which costs less. You could also set up a free shipping guarantee for U.S. buyers who spend over $35, which Etsy specifically prioritizes in search results.
Offering free shipping on all items is very compelling for the buyer. At the same time, when a buyer sees that they only need to spend a few more dollars to get free shipping, they’re much more likely to buy another item from your Etsy store, which makes figuring out shipping costs on your own more worthwhile.
Don’t forget that the Etsy platform charges shipping fees, too, while eCommerce solutions such as Shopify do not. Read our Shopify VS Etsy comparison to find out what other advantages Shopify has over Etsy for online sellers.
8. Run Your Own Sales & Contests, & Offer Coupons To Entice Buyers
Limited-time sales and coupon offerings are a great way to create a sense of urgency, one that motivates potential customers to buy now.
You can generate your own sales and coupon codes as an Etsy seller. Simply go to the Marketing tab on the left side of your Etsy Shop Manager dashboard and click on “Sales and Coupons.” Sellers can:
- Offer free standard shipping
- Run a sale for anywhere from 10-70% off their entire shop
- Create a coupon code for a fixed amount of money or percentage off the order amount
- Designate a start and end date for special store offerings
- Customize coupon codes
- Designate a minimum purchase amount or number of items shoppers must reach before sales apply
- Create custom terms and conditions to specify sales limitations and exclusions
- Share special sales and coupon codes on social media
Before you offer a sale, figure out what discount will be compelling enough to drive sales, but not so large that you don’t make a profit.
9. Use Etsy Marketing Tools To Recapture The Interest Of Shoppers
A lot of online shoppers, especially on Etsy, are not ready to make a purchase when they find your shop. Luckily, Etsy provides sellers with a range of marketing options to recapture the interest of shoppers who have noticed your shop but didn’t make a purchase (yet.)
Many Etsy users are “just browsing” before making a decision, and favorite your products to come back to later when they are ready to buy. Often, though, shoppers forget to look back to their favorites, and just start searching fresh every time they’re on Etsy. To remind Etsy users about your shop and entice them to come back to it, create a “recently favorited” campaign with Etsy Marketing.
Other shoppers may get overwhelmed at their balance at checkout, and abandon their online cart altogether. You can also design an “abandoned cart” campaign and send coupons to those customers who experienced “sticker shock.” They’ll appreciate the discount after seeing such a high cart balance. You’ll make a sale and have the chance to convert a new customer into a lifelong supporter.
You can also entice one-time customers to come back to your store with a “post-purchase thank you” sales campaign. Once a customer makes a purchase, send them a coupon to use on their next one. They’ll remember your shop’s focus on retaining customers, and (hopefully) become a loyal lifelong customer, or at least recommend your shop to other online buyers.
10. Create Your Own Email Marketing Campaigns
Your customers don’t specifically check on your Etsy store or social media profiles every day to see what your shop is up to, but they probably check their email pretty often. It only makes sense to use email to send your customers coupon codes, inform them about new collection drops, and deliver personalized messages.
You’ll need dedicated software to capture emails and design email campaigns. Read our post on the best free email marketing software for small businesses and choose the one that’s right for you.
FAQs: How To Increase Etsy Sales
Final Thoughts On Getting More Sales On Etsy
Getting more sales on Etsy requires intentional planning and focus. From your product photoshoots all the way to your marketing efforts, you have to keep current trends and customer interest at the front of your mind. To break away from the competition, you have to offer more and meet potential customers where they’re at. It’s also crucial to build an online presence so more people find your shop, especially if you’re new to Etsy.
Etsy offers a lot of the tools you need to grow your customer base, but it also comes with limitations. For example, you can’t get found organically in search results if your store is on Etsy the way you could if you had your own eCommerce site. The platform also charges a fee for listing items and takes a cut of each sale, which you could avoid with your own online shopping solution.
If your store is getting enough attention outside of Etsy search results that you’re ready to leave the seller platform, or you just want to sell with fewer limitations in general, read our post on the six best Etsy alternatives for online sellers.