I’ve been running my Etsy crochet shop for just over a year, a perfect time to reflect on what I’ve learned (gosh, it has been a lot!). Etsy is a fantastic platform to sell crochet related goods. It’s a massive community, which is not only a wonderful platform for selling, but also a super place to glean new ideas and get inspired! I was so nervous before I launched my Etsy crochet shop. Would anyone buy anything? What if they didn’t? What if they did? I can assure you that it has been well worth it! It is important to note that you are up against a lot of competition in the crochet space, so you need to take every step that you can to improve your listings so that you have maximum opportunity to make sales. Are you thinking of starting an Etsy crochet shop but not sure how to take the plunge? Here are some of my tips for starting an Etsy crochet shop; things I wish I had known right from the beginning.
1. Take AMAZING photos
You’ll see this tip over and over again, but that is because it really is true! Online, people shop with their eyes. Since there are no products to touch and examine, your pictures are all you have to show your customers your product. You don’t have to go off and buy an expensive camera to take decent pictures as many cell phones these days have incredible in-built cameras, but take some time to work on your photography skills. If your photos are great then you are more likely to be selected by Etsy for Google Shopping adverts or even for your shop to be featured in newsletters or on the front page of Etsy. This will boost your shop views – guaranteed! Not sure where to start? You can have a look here for some of my top tips to improve your crochet photography, vital for starting an Etsy crochet shop.
2. Work on your keywords
Etsy has thousands of sellers in the crochet space, so adding a keyword “crochet” is really not very helpful and is not going to set you apart. When you are searching for something to buy, do you really click through all 247 pages of similar products? Probably not. Think of the words that you would type into the search bar to find your item if you were a buyer. Try and use words that describe your item uniquely (but not so uniquely that no one will ever type it into the search bar!). And for goodness sake, use ALL the keywords! Each keyword is an opportunity for someone to find your item and if someone finds it, they can buy it!
Have a look at what other makers are doing too. I find it helpful to have a look at a shop on Etsy that really inspires me. Scroll down to the bottom of the listing and you’ll see a series of words next to the title “Related to this item”. These words are the keywords used by the seller for that item.
Let’s say that I have a baby blanket for sale. Don’t simply use the words “baby” and “blanket”. What about where this blanket will be used? “nursery”, “baby room”, “stroller blanket”, “cot blanket”. And how about “nursery decor”, “bedding”. This kind of thing gets given as gifts right? “baby gift”, “baby shower”. What if I was selling a washcloth. How about “washcloth”, “cleaning cloth”, “textured cloth”, “facecloth”, “dish cloth”, “spa gift”, “bathroom decor”. You see where I’m going with this? I’ll say it again – use all your keywords! And don’t be afraid to change them every now and then, they are not set in stone.
3. List more than one item
No one likes to eat at an empty restaurant, so why would someone want to shop at an empty shop? If you have a shop filled with goodies, then buyers have the opportunity to buy more than one item. Now, I’m not saying wait until you have 10 items before starting an Etsy crochet shop… not at all. When I first started, I had one lonely little pattern. But, I’ve worked on adding to that list and so my style and brand has slowly emerged.
Also to say that if one of your listings expires because no one has purchased it, I would strongly suggest that you renew the listing until you have a decent number of things in your shop. I’ve got a few patterns that have NEVER sold but I keep them listed in my shop as they help to define my brand and keep my shop looking full. You also just never know when crocheted lampshade covers are going to come back into fashion*! Obviously use your discretion on this one… I have also ditched listings that weren’t popular because they weren’t enhancing my brand and were just wasting money.
*Personally, not in my home, but you never know!
4. Read all the Etsy guides
There are SO many tools, tips and tricks available in the Etsy sellers handbook when it comes to starting an Etsy crochet shop. I highly recommend reading through it and the related articles. Etsy also sometimes runs little weekly workshops (such as the Christmas bootcamp that they ran last year) that you can subscribe to where they send out weekly tips, tutorials and suggestions. Well worth it. I have to say that the newsletters that Etsy sends out are one of the few (of the many newsletters that I receive) that I actually read from top to bottom.
5. Don’t stress about your shop name
Really, don’t. I spent weeks agonizing on what to call my shop. I would think of a new name, excitedly type it into Etsy, only to find that it was already taken! Even more annoyingly, taken by someone who hasn’t even opened a shop with it. Now that I’m a year into selling, I see that I could have called my shop almost anything. Obviously it’s nice to have a name that instantly connects the buyer to what you are selling, but it’s really not essential. One of my favourite designers is Lydia Tresselt and her shop lalylala. When you read that shop name, do you instantly think crochet animals? No. BUT if you go and have a look at her shop / website etc, you will see that she has created this incredible brand that it doesn’t matter that her shop doesn’t have the word “crochet” in it. If you are desperate to have a shop name that has already been taken, be wary of adding random extra things to the name (e.g. crochetshop72) unless you plan to make it part of your brand. These little add-ons can make your shop feel spammy or unprofessional.
6. Provide excellent customer service
Engage with your customers. Respond to messages quickly. Remember (not to sound dramatic), you are one fish in a sea of a gazillion other fishes. If you don’t respond to a query that may lead to a sale, then chances are that the buyer is going to look elsewhere. This is one reason why I love the Etsy Sellers App. Communicating with clients and making shop updates is so much easier with this app.
7. Have 5 star products
If you are selling physical items, then make the experience of opening the parcel a magical one. If you sell digital work, then make sure your patterns are top notch. Give your buyers no choice but to give you five stars in their reviews! A lower star review is really hard to recover from, so make sure that your buyers have an excellent experience shopping with you. That way, they are more likely to be a repeat buyer – bonus!
8. Give it time
Most Etsy shops aren’t a huge hit over night. It takes time. There will be good months and bad months. And if you are trying out Etsy in your spare time (like me) then don’t fall into the trap of comparing your shop to those that are run by teams of people on a full time basis! Set yourself some reasonable goals and go for it!
Have I left anything off the list? Pop me a message, I’d love to hear about your Etsy shop!
Yours in craft,