5 success tips for selling handmade items online
Marketplaces like Etsy have made it easier than ever artists and craftsmen to reach potential customers. Even so, selling your own handiwork online can be challenging, just like running any small business.
While providers that serve customers in handmade-item marketplaces can benefit from many of the same business and marketing strategies as other companies, there are also some distinct opportunities that can contribute to your success.
The following is a look at several key tips for business success in handmade marketplaces.
1. It’s not just about Etsy
A lot of handmade marketers are familiar with Etsy, an online shopping channel with products from over one million independent sellers. The good news is that Etsy has a large base of customers that come to the site looking for handcrafted items. The primary obstacle is that competition is high, price ranges vary vastly, and simply listing a few products rarely leads to success. You have to promote effectively as well. Larger shops that have over 100 product listings tend to win out over smaller players as well.
If you plan to sell a lot of items and enhance your visibility through effective marketing, Etsy is a great starting place. However, there are several other quality marketplaces that may offer a better pro/con relationship for some providers. We recently compiled these alternative independent seller shops, including the following:
Take the time to review the distinct features and opportunities available from each of these shop platforms to decide which ones are right for your business. ArtFire, for instance, offers enhanced community features where creative shop operators can discuss recent trends and artistic topics in collaboration. DaWanda is a German-based site that creates listing opportunities for international providers.
2. Branch out with marketing efforts
Regardless of which channels you utilize, optimized success in handmade marketplaces is dependent on your effectiveness in publicizing your brand and products. The good news is a lot of digital communication strategies align perfectly with handcrafted brands and the target audiences that have an interest in them.
A blog and social media marketing are among the basic, important digital communication tools that you should focus on. In addition to their promotional benefits, these tools offer affordable execution.
A blog allows you to tell a story that features a particular product as a star. You could offer, “Top 5 Occasions to Wear Jewelry Piece X,” for instance. On social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, you can offer more concise messages with images that feature products and convey useful information.
In addition to organic social messaging, which often takes a lot of time to achieve impact, you could grow your following and increase message reach through paid social ads. You control your budget and connect with users on these platforms who match characteristics of your target markets.
Video marketing is another way to demonstrate to potential customers how your products work or look in a sample setting. In some cases, the most difficult aspect of driving a purchase in the handmade market is getting people to envision how the product fits into their lifestyle.
3. Don’t underestimate the importance of product photos
One of the best and most important ways to persuade customers to purchase handmade products in lieu of typically more affordable chain-store products is to provide proof of value. If you sell apparel or accessories, for instance, customers want to see how your items fit into a particular fashion style or look. If you sell home decor, they want to get a vision for how the item spruces up the look of a particular home.
As customers can’t actually touch, taste, or feel e-commerce handmade goods, the quality of your listing images play a key role in creating conversions. You want to project your products in the best possible light, which just happens to be natural light. Use a quality high-resolution camera, set up an effective visual display or model that features your product, and capture a great shot where the natural light accentuates product features.
You can use your images in more than just product listings; visualization is critical to promotional success as well. Your blog posts should include a few images that reinforce core content messages. Include images with the majority of your social posts as well, since they capture greater attention and lead to higher levels of post engagement.
4. SEO is your friend
When shoppers enter phrases into Google, another search engine or the Etsy store search feature, the top relevant results are returned. Much of your ability to get traffic to your listings, and convert it into sales is based on your success in achieving prominent search results placement.
Search engine optimization on Google is a priority for a handmade product business. Use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to conduct research on the types of keywords you expect people to search for that would lead them to a particular product. The tool offers estimates on the number of monthly searches for specific phrases you enter, as well as close synonyms. After identifying the best keywords to target, create your content and listings in line with top SEO strategies.
Another trick to figure out what people search for on Etsy is to enter the first word of a phrase, and then the Etsy search bar autopopulates a list of popular search options.
Create effective Meta Descriptions for your blog posts and product listings as well, as these are what compel a user to click on your listing from a search results page.
5. Stay on top of pricing fluidity
Pricing strategies play a key role in handmade marketplace success as well. If you charge prices much higher than typical competitors, your audience may not give your items a second look. However, charging below what the market is willing to pay cuts into your revenue and profits.
Conduct thorough competitive pricing analysis before setting prices. Periodically adjust prices to see how customers respond to your products at different price points. Over time, you get a better sense of the ideal point to maximize the volume-to-price ratio.
Success in the handmade marketplace is typically based on your ability to leverage synergy across a few specific business strategies, including selecting the right product platform, building impactful promotional strategies and integrating high-quality images. Online sellers should focus on these strategic factors to sell well as an independent shop owner.