Tips for running a successful Etsy shop

6th August 2015

Tips for running a successful Etsy shop

Last summer I started an Etsy shop selling comic book style shoes that I made to customer’s specifications. Initially I only set up the shop as I trial, but a year on and it’s still up and running.

My shoes have become very popular. More popular than I ever expected. There were already tonnes of sellers producing similar shoes, so I didn’t think I would get noticed.

I’m not sure if it is the low price that I sell my shoes at (half the price of my competitors in most cases), or the fact I am based in the UK (most of my competitors are in the US), but my shoes have been a big hit with Etsy’s customers.

My Harley Quinn Mad Love shoes have been liked over 300 times, and if you search “Harley Quinn” on Etsy (a very popular search!), my shoes are in the top 5 items. I have 5 star feedback and wonderful testimonials.

I never read a single article on running at Etsy shop before I set up shop, so I learned a lot along the way. Today I’m going to share with you my tips for running a successful Etsy shop.

Create a window display

There aren’t many ways in which you can customise an Etsy shop, but you can create a banner that sits at the top of your front page. My banner features some images of my shoes and the shop name.

Tips for running a successful Etsy shop

To upload your banner, go to Your Shop > Shopping Settings > Info & Appearance. The recommended size is 760px by 100px.

In Info & Appearance, you can also connect to your social media accounts and provide a shop announcement (which appears under your banner and shows up on search engines).

I use my shop announcement to briefly describe the product and provide any information on updates to the store.

Quality images are key

The photographs you use are the most important aspect of your product listing. Shoppers will be drawn to a picture of a product, not the title, so you need to ensure that the photographs you use are good quality.

I have a large white sheet of paper that I use as a background for my photos. I set everything up so my shoes are lit by natural light (I never use flash) and then take around 20 photos of the product, changing the settings and the angle at which I am shooting.

Tips for running a successful Etsy shop

I then download the photos on my computer and carefully select the images that look the best and show off the main features of the product. I then edit them in Photoshop to ensure they are bright, clear and attractive.

I’ve experimented with my photography and backgrounds a lot in the past and I will be working on making my photography more consistent in the future. But I think you will agree, the white background works the best.

Explain everything!

When setting up a listing you will have the opportunity to write a description. You should make the most of this space and tell customers everything about the product. And I mean everything.

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and think about what they would want to know about the item.

For example, I sell comic book shoes, so I tell customers about the durability of the shoes and I am completely transparent about it. I also tell the customer exactly what they are getting for their money, how long they take to make, as well as the style of the shoes and any potential variations (the shoes I use are always changing in style).

Being transparent and honest lowers the risk of encountering problems. The last thing you want is a customer complaining because they didn’t get them item they were expecting.

Tips for running a successful Etsy shop

Above is the description I use for my Harley Quinn Mad Love shoes. Yes, it’s very long, but it does cover everything.

Admittedly, you still get customers who don’t read the description, and sometimes using lots of exclamation marks and asterisks just doesn’t help. Because of this, I follow up with an Etsy conversation, informing them of all the important details that they might have missed.

Make it personal and communicate

I make sure that I make every customers purchase as personal as possible. From the first time they contact me, to the delivery of their item, I keep in touch with the customer through Conversations on Etsy. I thank them for their purchase, tell them an expected delivery date, see if they have any questions or quiries, and just generally get to know the customer better.

I also include a handwritten note (on the back of a business card) thanking the customer for their purchase and hoping that they like the product.

I love it when a customer tells me the reason behind their purchase, whether its a present for their friends birthday, or just a treat for themselves. It makes it all worth while!

Market your store and products

So, your Etsy shop might only be run by one person (you!), and you might be running it from your bedroom, but pretend that you are running a bigger business and market your shop and products.

As mentioned above, you can connect your shop to a Facebook and Twitter account, but instead of connecting them to your personal accounts you should try creating Facebook and Twitter accounts just for your shop. Like I did…

Tips for running a successful Etsy shop

Share your images of your products and link back to your shop. Use hashtags and follow people who you think would be your ideal customers (not in a spammy way though!).

Also, try some offline marketing. I added the URL of my Etsy shop to my business cards, so when I’m talking to people about my shoes I can just pass them a card.

Utilise keywords/tags

You can add up to 13 keywords on Etsy to tag your item. Sometimes you might only be able to think of a few keywords, but really you should utilise all 12.

Using the example of my Harley Quinn shoes, I would use the tags…

  • Harley Quinn
  • Mad Love
  • Shoes

…because that’s exactly what they are. But I have 10 more tags to use, so I might choose…

  • DC (as in DC Comics)
  • Batman (because people searching for Batman might be interested in Harley Quinn)
  • Comics
  • Ballet flats
  • Customised
  • Womens
  • Joker (for the same reason as using Batman)
  • Nerd
  • Geek
  • Books

You get the idea.

Do you have an Etsy shop? Or have you ever considered setting one up?

Share your Etsy shop links in the comments, or any other tips you might have!

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  1. Good tips, the pictures are very important. I agree about the description, not everyone will read it but it’s good to have it :)

    • Thank you! I really wish you could make thing bold or change the font size in the description box to make things really stand out.

  2. Kya

    That is so wonderful that your shop is doing so well. You mentioned some really great tips, that I am sure will help many sellers. :D

  3. Great post! I love your shoes, btw. Pictures are definitely important for a good sell!

  4. Congrats on your Etsy shop progress! I think it’s great when those shops succeed :)

    My thing with Etsy shop is photos. I love seeing photos of a product, but I like to see more than one angle, and I also like to see it with other items to better seen the size of the product. If I can’t get a good view of the product, then I will go onto another shop with better photographs.

    I also like Etsy shops that are detailed with their products! So I’m glad you mentioned the titbits about details :D

  5. I haven’t forgotten that I wanted to buy shoes from you! I’m probably gonna pick something like Batman, but I’m still undecided. I think you’ll see an order from me before the year ends. ;)

    It’s great to see your shop has been doing so well. Quality images are definitely important. When I buy anything custom-made, I like to see all angles and be confident that the product I am buying is exactly what I want. It’s nice that you put a lot of information about custom orders because people buy them knowing that they are having something made just for them, and they will love it.

    I considered setting up an Etsy shop for guitar pick jewellery because I used to make quite a few pieces, but I lost interest and I didn’t think they would sell well. I would still consider selling something I create myself, but I feel like guitar pick jewellery may not be ‘it’.