How to make an Etsy shop that sells

Being a creative myself, having a ton of industry knowledge about marketing, design and branding....I feel obligated to give you the most sincere advice that I can.

If you are reading this article titled, “How to make an Etsy shop that sells” it is most likely that you have already chosen the platform you want to use to showcase and sell your art to the world.

You might not be ready for what I am going to say next, but in the spirit of giving you the most sincere advice, I will say it anyway:
The best option for a #craftpreneur like you is not Etsy.

And no, the title of this article is not deceptive.

I am still going to tell you the best ways to make an Etsy shop that sells, but before I go on to that I feel it's my duty to tell you the pros and cons of choosing Etsy.

If you are not interested in listening to the pros and cons and have already made up your mind, you can simply jump to the next section of the article and get to what you came here for.

Pros and Cons of making an Etsy shop


I told you that Etsy is not the best option for a crafteprenuer like you and you didn’t even ask what the best option is?

Let me tell you myself.

The best option is an E-commerce website of your own.

Now that you know what the best option is,
let’s discuss the pros and cons of Etsy as compared to the best option.

An Etsy store is comparatively easy to set up.

Setting up an Etsy store is free and it has ready-made and straightforward listing templates which makes it very convenient for users to just start listing their products and get things started.

On the other hand, setting up an E-commerce store of your own will require some decision-making on your part.

You might even have to hire a graphic designer.

The good part: you will get to decide what your website looks like, and you will have complete control over product descriptions, SEO, and the layout of your website.

Etsy has a customer base of millions already whereas if you develop your own website, you will have to do the work from scratch to drive traffic.

**However as a patron of Etsy myself I have gone away with shopping on the platform because it's too difficult to wade through all of the manufactured "dropshipped" from Amazon and China stuff...if you know what I am talking about. I will use the platform if I find the goods on Instagram or elsewhere and it's the only option to purchase.

It is important to note though, that Etsy’s customers, even if they are in millions, are Etsy’s customers, the customers who will come to your website will be YOUR customers.

An e-commerce website of your own gives you a greater chance of building brand loyalty and saving money when it comes to multiple sales per customer. It costs more to get new customers than to keep the ones you already have.

With Etsy, you automatically get access to seller tools, payment processing tools, statistics, and social media tools. But this convenience comes with a price and the price is that you don’t own any of it, not even your own store. Etsy can decide to close your store at any point in time due to some inadvertent policy change or something of the like. Even if you regain the permission to use Etsy by making a counterclaim, you’d still have lost your store.

Having said that, if you are new to e-commerce and don’t have the time, energy, money, confidence, or patience needed to start your own e-commerce store, Etsy can be a good platform to make you familiar with the world of e-commerce and help you get started before you decided to take your brand to the next level and build your own e-commerce store.

How to build an Etsy store that sells?

Creating a store on Etsy is easy, creating a store that sells, not so much.

There are a lot of blog posts and articles out there on the internet that tell you how easy it is to create an Etsy store. And it is! It's a great platform for makers and creatives to sell their wares without having to invest in their own website. But what these articles don't always tell you is that it's not quite as easy to create a store that sells. There's a lot more work involved in making sure your shop is well-organized, attractive, and easy to navigate; and in making sure your products are well-promoted and stand out from the competition. But with a little bit of effort, you can make your Etsy store into a successful business.

Here are the steps for creating a good Etsy shop that sells:

1. Choose your ideal customers

First things first, know who you are selling to.

Before you go on to make marketing campaigns or even develop a brand language, know who you are creating for.

Once you know what kind of people you want to be your customers, the rest of the things will become clearer.

This is the single most important part of creating a good business and it doesn't matter what industry you are in. THIS SINGLE thing is most important in determining your success in your business.

If you know who your people are you can find them, create better products, and build a brand that they truly resonate with.

I have a handy guide that will walk you through this very important step...Go check it out.

2. Discover your big “why”

You cannot sell someone a product or an idea unless you know yourself what it stands for.

There is always a deeper reason for creating something than, “I just feel like it.” You feel like creating something for a reason.
Find that meaning in what you are creating and ask yourself what value it will add to others. Oh and While You are at it watch this video by Simon Sinek. You can thank me later.

3. Determine the vision for your store


The answer to your big why will help you determine a vision for your store.

Determining your vision can help you create a vision statement that you can even use as the tagline for your brand. Not all customers come for solely the products, they also want to know what the brand stands for. When your vision is clear it will help your customers determine whether or not their values align with yours and sometimes the vision alone is powerful enough to develop a sense of brand loyalty in customers.

Not only that creating and maintaining a vision for your company (Yes even though your business is on ETSY you are still a business) is just as important for your businesses long-term success as marketing and selling is.

Vision not only motivates you and your employees, it helps you stay focused on the goal and work together toward something.

Researchers have proven that visualizing an outcome and the process you’ll use to get there can substantially increase the likelihood of you reaching your goal. Whatever your business’s goals are, visualize it constantly. Think about what your business will look like when you get there.

“To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.” Seneca

You have to know what you want and where you want to take your business.

How do you want to be seen? What do you want to be known for? WHAT PROBLEM WILL YOU BE SOLVING?

If you don’t know where you want your business to go or what you want from it then you’re going to be lost, and nothing will go your way.
How could it when you don’t know what direction you want to go?

As a business owner, part of your job description is leading your company in the right direction. Plot a course, get on it, and then steer your ship, so you’re not wasting time and energy being blown around the entire ocean.


4. Know your mission


A company’s mission is its goals and objectives and the approach it takes to achieve them.

Having a well-defined mission will help you create a focused and result-oriented brand strategy which is a key element in the growth of any business.


5. Discover the competition


Once you are done looking inward and knowing yourself, it’s time to look around.

Research similar products on Etsy, see what pages are the most successful, and notice what they are doing to achieve success. You can also read their customer reviews and determine what areas you can improve on yourself. You also want to have a difference in your visual identity as well as your product too.
What are your competitors doing well and how are they not...and how can you do better? Determine this and you will already have a leg up.


6. Decide how you will be different


Why would a customer choose you over the whole ocean of creatives selling something similar to yours?

Before you launch your store go check out the products and services already available in the market, research what the customers are saying about them, and identify the gaps and points of improvement. The point is to show your customers that buying from you will give them something significant that is not easy to find elsewhere. This will also give you a unique selling point.


7. Engage the senses


Create an experience and focus on quality design, create products that are well made, and invite them into something bigger.

Not everybody has time to read your tagline or understand your vision. Your first task is to grab the attention of potential customers and in order to do that, you need to create a visual id and online experience that is unique and looks like nobody else. This will not only attract customers in the first place but it will also help them remember your page. If designing your visual assets is not something you want to tackle, hire a graphic designer (or brand strategist like myself). I promise you, that having a good visual id is worth the investment in the long run.


8. Decide on your product lineup


If you are planning to scale your business with time and don't have a huge budget you need to think about your product lineup.

I am a fan of K.I.S.S. No not the 80's rock band.

Keep It Simple Stupid.

This applies so well when it comes to curating your product lineup.

If you know who your ideal customers are (and you should we coved this in step 1) then you can curate a lineup of goods that satisfies them and minimizes your startup costs.

You already know who your ideal customers are, and based on that knowledge, decide on what they’d want the most.
You can also see trends in other stores and even conduct surveys for this part. The next step is to make the product and put it to the test. Remember that you can always come back to revise the product if you are not satisfied with it and you should anyway.

I have an example for you. If you are a soap company don't try and launch with 45 products. And if YOU must...think about how you can keep your packaging simple. Keep the same size containers for more than one product. Can you create labels that are the same size for all? The more scents and types of products you have the more startup cost you will have.


9. Take good photos


I can’t stress the importance of taking good photos and the impact has on your brand.
You can have great quality products and still not make sales because the potential customer didn't see the value in it...good photos create trust and demand.

The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to online businesses, this phrase rings true.
Whether you’re posting product photos on your Etsy shop, online store or simply trying to attract customers through your social media channels, high-quality photos are key to grabbing attention and driving traffic.

SO >>>>Invest in a good camera yourself or hire a professional for some good product photography.

Either way it's going to level up your business.

You can take a course to learn how to make good photos:

Amy Takes Pictures offers a great course if you are looking to take on the tall task of photographing your own products and brand. However if you are a busy maker already trying to figure out how to make and market your work it's best to find a photographer that will do it for you.

Here are a few brand photographers who do really good work:

ou get what you pay for when it comes to photographers. And I promise it's worth every penny.

Especially photographers who have great style and a great eye.

The photographers below all have an amazing style and ability to curate photos that are on brand and capture attention. It's important to find a photographer you feel comfortable with who is able to capture your brand essence. I have a fantastic photographer that I work with on a regular basis named Dana Ashley Photography however she specializes in newborn photography and occasionally does branding photography for me. So sometimes you can find a good photographer that isn't in the traditional corporate setting and still do well.

I know that having an eye for good photographers is a learned thing so please don't just grab an average photographer, hire one that will capture your brand's essence and do it justice.

Photo's sell products, just keep that in mind when selecting your photographer.


Holly Booth


Heart Take The Wheel


Girl Behind The Lens


Abigail Jackson Photo


Jenna Joann Photos

 **Need a local recommendation send me a DM. I would be happy to help you find a local photographer that does good work.

10. Make your products searchable


To make your products appear in search results, it is very important to do keyword research and the right search engine optimization. Your product descriptions should match the search intent of your ideal customers. Think about your products like your ideal customers do. What are they typing into the search bar? Make sure your keywords are actually words they are searching for.


11. Launch your store


Take the leap of faith and launch your store.

Launching your store is not the end of the story, rather it is the beginning of a thousand lessons. I promise it's worth the journey!

Use customer reviews and statistics to know better about what’s working and what’s not working.

Make a list of things that you can do better to make your products sell more. Notice the limitations you are facing. Determine what changes you’d make to your store if you were not limited by anything.

Don't hold yourself back from starting. Go launch it. Even if you think you are not ready. Nothing will be perfect the first time. So even if you feel it's not the best it can be...just launch it anyway and continue to improve.


12. "Own" your store


Use all the lessons you have learned and all the knowledge that you have gathered from running an Etsy store, to launch a store of your own. Some of you might be thinking, “How clever of Heather to bring us back to the idea of having our own store”

The point is: It is THE best option, and I want nothing but the best for you.


Want to know more about what’s best for YOU and how you should step into the world of e-commerce as a creative? Book a call with me today. Together we will figure out the best way to move forward.

About The Author

Heather Bunker Branding Co helps you boot-strap your way to your own personal definition of success. She helps you work through the uncomfortable and necessary parts of business—the foundations—life, business, branding, design and marketing. If you are looking to find clarity, create systems, market your work, stand out in the crowd, develop more products that sell and work past any decision paralysis that is holding you back...she, is the business partner that will help you do it.

She offers done for you services like marketing and brand strategies all the way through to helping you get start up funds. She helps you leverage your creativity and adds in the business know-how so you can build a thriving creative business. She is the business "therapist" that you need to gain massive momentum as a professional creative—so you can bring your dreams to life. 

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