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From Etsy’s Merchandising Desk: July June 28, 2011

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From Etsy’s Merchandising Desk: July

http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/from-etsys-merchandising-desk-july/

Story by marymary

Published on June 09, 2011 in Seller Handbook

Photo by Gabrielle Kai

 

 

 

July is on the way, sure to bring a busy season. Our goal is to create a healthy balance between promotions for traditional holidays, seasonal changes, cultural events, and lifestyle trends. It’s also a great way to change up the way you approach managing your Etsy business.

Promotional Opportunities for Sellers:

  1. Keep up with June’s seasonal themes, holidays and trends in the June edition of Merchandising Desk.
  2. Christmas in July Community Sale: Find details in the July section below for how to participate in this 4th annual community driven sale.
  3. We are continually looking to highlight the stories of the people behind the products. Including your name, in addition to your shop name, will not only help personalize your work, but also help Etsy admin looking for shops to highlight. To update your name, go to Your Account > Profile and edit the name section.
  4. As Etsy continues to work with partners like West Elm, it’s increasingly advantageous to describe your work and any custom options you are able to offer. Make sure to include any options for personalization, expedited shipping, and larger scale options with estimated time frames for these customizations in your item listings.
  5. Create and tag treasuries fitting June’s merchandising themes for a chance to have your collection featured on Etsy’s homepage or linked from promotional emails. Sharing these collections via your social networks during relevant time periods will help increase traffic and engagement around your items and shop. Tip: We’re looking to introduce a wider variety of unisex, men-centric, music, and vintage niches into the regular rotation. Make sure to tag lists appropriately for the best return.
  6. Holiday Tip: Think it’s too early to begin listing your 2011 holiday line? Think again! Now is the time media and press publications are finalizing their print plans for the holidays. Take advantage of this knowledge by listing your holiday line now with clear seasonal tags. To keep things looking in line with the current season, use Etsy’s Rearrange Your Shop tool to move these holiday items to the final pages of your shop.

Stay Engaged in July

Our central merchandising will focus on Americana, summer fashion, wedding season, and outdoor activities. While emphasis will be placed upon the seasonality of the Northern Hemisphere, it’s important to remember that the Southern Hemisphere is preparing for autumn. Maintaining seasonally appropriate options year-round is good practice for boosting international and overall sales.

  • 4th of July: Start out the month with patriotic decor, outfits and accessories. Stars and stripes, Americana, American flags, picnics, barbecues, grilling, spirits, fireworks, and summer sports. Continued themes throughout the month include folk art, primitives, country fairs, and rustic home decor.
  • Summer: Summer travel, outdoor activities, community events & fairs, open air soirees, summer fashion, and lighter, brighter colors. Emphasis on outdoor entertaining, hostess gifts, bath and beauty, and clever ways to stay cool all summer long.
  • Fashion: Emphasis on swimwear with NY Fashion Week 2012 taking place. Broader options for summer focus on showing some skin, open toed shoes, lightweight materials, and sun protection: sunglasses, sunscreen, makeup, balms, hats and coverups. Summer dresses, shoes, accessories, and options for hair are key. Design labels are already launching previews for for fall lines and lookbooks.
  • Seasonal Food: Expect farmer’s markets, seasonal food options, raising animals, community gardens, and co-ops to continue to grow in popularity. Think in terms of how you can lend to these concepts in the form of tabletop accessories, containers, tools, and seasonal calendars. July’s seasonal food options include carrots, gooseberries, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, watercress, cauliflower, fennel, asparagus, cabbage, celery, cherries, lettuce, nectarines, new potatoes, oyster mushrooms, peas, peaches, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, french beans, trout, pilchards, clams, pike, and pigeon.
  • Weddings: At the height of wedding season, think about how your line can offer or evoke outdoor options for both the ceremony and after-party. Additional highlights on warm weather honeymooning and early preparations for fall and winter celebrations.
  • Back to School: College dorm room, organizational essentials, gadget and computer accessories, notebooks, writing utensils, cases, book bags, backpacks, satchels, lunch carriers, and fall fashion.
  • Outdoor Travel: Think in terms of the beach, countryside, forest and mountains. Outdoor activities on the rise include camping, biking, hiking, fun at the beach, fishing, and water sports.
  • Christmas in July Community Sale 2011: Get involved in this year’s community driven sale by tagging your sale items with the terms “christmasinjuly” and/or “CIJ” between the dates of 7/14/2011 through 7/24/2011. All shops are eligible to participate and sale items do not have to be holiday themed. Be sure to add promotional details to the item description of each item you tag. For additional questions about how to get involved, contact the Christmas in July community sale leader, DesignedByLucinda.
  • Collecting: Summer months bring an opportune time to take advantage of antiquing, collecting, flea markets, outdoor bazaars, and vintage renewal.
  • Halloween Preview: Mid-month is the time shoppers begin searching out harvest and halloween decor, favors, and costumes. Get ahead of the game by listing your seasonal fall product line in early July.
  • Ruby is July’s birthstone; July’s astrological signs are Cancer and Leo (June 22 – July 22: Cancer, July 23 – August 23: Leo).

Trending Topics:

  • Vampires: They’re back on the radar with shows like HBO’s True Blood and the recent movie trailer release of Twilight’s Breaking Dawn.
  • Sports: Tour de France trends including biking, the French countryside, and France.
  • The Typewriter: With the recent closing of one of the last typewriter manufacturing companies, these nostalgic forms of technology are becoming hot commodities.
  • Colors: Summer color trends include honeysuckle pink, neon, coral, and orange. Pantone’s color trend report for fall 2o11 includes quarry, cedar, and teal greens, nougat and coffee browns, orchid and phlox purples, bamboo mustard yellow, honeysuckle pink, and ember-glow coral.
  • Carnivals and State Fairs: Bright colors, side show spectacles, animals and costuming.
  • The Local Artisanal Shop and the Speakeasy: The butcher, baker, ice cream shop, patisserie. Barware, mixology, nightlife, live music, and secret passwords.
  • The Garden: Indoor, outdoor, community, and rooftop gardens. Glass domes, terrariums, air plants, window herbs, succulent plants, garden markers, planters, tools, buckets, baskets, gloves, organic seeds, and boxes.
  • Fashion: Slim clutches, espadrilles, wooden platforms, maxi dresses, stripes, tribal references, tailored classics, full short skirts, retro swim, summer scarves, circle lensed sunglasses, and sweetheart necklines.
  • Culinary Trends: Year of the homemade pie, whoopie pie, and macaron. Summer cocktails, home brewing, beer and wine accessories, herb infusions, garden to table.
  • Vintage Designer: Authentic fashion, collectibles, bikes, and auto accessories.
  • Writable surfaces: Chalkboard and whiteboard.
  • Letters, Numbers, and Symbols: Large vintage signage letters, letterpress blocks, monogram housewares, and typewriter keys.
  • Personalization: Monograms, initials, text, numbers, zodiac, constellations, portraits, custom labels, stamps, fingerprints and family trees.
  • Natural History: Woodland forest themes and animals, namely birds, owls, squirrels, hedgehogs, chipmunks, bunnies, butterflies, feathers, nests, eggs, acorns, leaves, trees, branches, woodgrain, and natural colors.
  • Lockets, secret hiding places, skeleton keys, arrows, diamonds, paper cuts, silhouettes, fortune cookies, wishbones, constellations, fortune telling.
  • Large scale vintage and handmade paper maps, botanical and anatomy charts.
  • Upcycled lights and lamps, specifically with exposed bulbs.
  • Feather hair extensions, earrings, and accessories.
  • Gadget cases, docking stations and accessories.
  • Scandinavian patterns and motifs.
  • Facial hair, beards, mustaches.
  • All things steampunk.
  • Wall decals.
  • Mermaids.
  • Peacocks.

If you’d like to stay engaged and involved with the approaching merchandising themes, use them in your own artistic voice as you add to your shop. They can be translated in your listings, photos, shop announcements, descriptions, tags, titles, sales promotions, and more.

If you make items that would fit well with the themes outlined, try stocking up and listing them in advance to take advantage of potential shipping deadlines and site features. Do you already have items in your shop that meld well? That’s great! Now it’s time to revisit those items to make sure your tags, titles and descriptions reflect keywords that shoppers might be looking for during this time of year. This is also a great opportunity to revamp your item photography with a new look. Check out some great how-to’s for item photography to get started.

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Etsy Success April 16, 2011

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photo by PhotoGrunt
Join us for an interactive workshop exploring how to fuel your creative business using the challenges of modern DIY entrepreneurship. Instead of focusing on the difficulties of building a business, find out how to tap into your DIY ethic to create exciting ideas and opportunities for your business. Read about how to attend online, or in person on the Etsy Blog

 

 
photo by ATeaLeaf
 
Free and open to the public on April 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. PT. Find out more on the Etsy Blog

 

 
photo by OptimisticArt
I’ve scoured the small business blogosphere to find these five must-read posts:
Find out what other two blog posts I recommend in this team thread. 
 
xo,

Guide To Twitter March 10, 2011

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Guide To Twitter: Rethink Everything

I caught this question in the Etsy Success Forums, “I thought tweeting your listings was a good way to market oneself?” In short, the answer to this would be “No.”  Actually, with each item listing tweet, you could be losing Twitter-cred. The very best resource for Etsy sellers curious about using Twitter effectively, is this guide by another seller, CopperLeafStudios

Social Media Marketing for Bead Stores and Lampwork Artists February 25, 2011

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Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

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I’d like to introduce Social Market Now to our beading and beadmaking community.

Recently, a bead store owner and I were discussing the importance of using social media sites for bead stores in this competitive market and economy.  She had noticed a difference in the social media marketing for a few bead stores in the US, and as it turned out they were all clients of ours, located in Ohio and Illinois.  She and I talked a little about the difference our campaigns have made for their businesses in this age of “Web 2.0.”  Again and again I hear the same things: “I would like a quick redesign for my website, but just don’t have the time” or “I know I need to use the social marketing sites, but don’t know how and can’t set aside the hours in the day to even finish what I’ve already got!”

I am very involved in the national and worldwide beading community – I have taught beadweaving and lampworking for many years as well as selling on my own website, on Artfire, Etsy and Ebay.  I also taught website design on college level and generally a good and functional redesign costs no more than $150.  We have recently completed overhauls for sites in Missouri, New Mexico and in Oregon.  Both my contacts and experience have helped me greatly in providing successful social media marketing campaigns for my clients, conveying the points of interest from the client to the client’s customer community.

Look around our website.  At the bottom of the packages page is our Flexi-package.  Our bead store clients find this particular set-up to be beneficial and convenient to their individual budgets.  It’s basically a pick your own price bundle; together we decide what would benefit your business the most on a consistent basis so your store or website stays in view of a growing online customer community.  I’d love to talk to you about a few ideas regarding a social marketing campaign for your Bead Company that will save you time to run other aspects of your business.

We know your time is valuable and a bead store owner already has too much on their plate to keep up with social media trends.  We’d love to help and I look forward to talking with you.

Sincerely,

 

Hannah Rosner  & David Louis

socialmarketnow@hotmail.com

 

Increasing Traffic & Sales on Etsy February 24, 2011

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Online Selling – Etsy and Beyond                            – Lori Peterson

Lori Peterson of http://www.loribeads.com/ wrote this set of tips on how to sell on Etsy.

Picking a name

Try to pick something that will either identify YOU or what you are selling.  “Your Name Designs” is one that I recommend (i.e. Lori Peterson Designs).  It covers a broad range of products and services, should your focus change.  I chose Loribeads before I really thought about that.  Also, think about what website names are available.  Chances are if you want something like Lampwork.com or FusedGlass.com it is already taken.  Do your research before making a final decision on picking an etsy store name.

Policies & returns

I could load this section up with examples of what not to do.  Put enough info in the policies to inform and protect your interests but not so much that it puts buyers off of doing business with you.  Keep it simple, straightforward and above all else, shopper-friendly.  Don’t gouge customers with shipping charges.  If you want to make more money on the product, price it accordingly.  Returns policies should reassure customers that you want them to be happy with their purchase.  Try to keep that in mind.  Occasionally you will get a difficult customer, that’s just the way it is.  Try not to let those experiences form your policies.  This is my opinion only.

Logos and branding

Pick a look and create a logo, online banners, etc.  Etsy is a good place to look if you want someone to create all that for you.  Some website hosts will have templates you can use and customize.  Branding is so important that unless you are just dabbling in selling, spending time getting this right is really important.  Make sure your logo/banner says something about your aesthetic.

Announcements and artist intro

Here’s the place to announce your grand opening!  You can also announce sales, coupons, new products and even general chit-chat here.  Artist profile is the place for your artist statement, how you came to be an artist, stuff like that.  I don’t like to shop at a store when I don’t know their location so be sure to put where you are, too.

Photos, photos, photos

-lighting and cameras

Honestly, it’s more about the photographer than the camera.  Get a decent camera – no need to spend a bundle – most point and shoot cameras are fine for web photos.  I sell beads so I made sure the camera I picked had a macro setting.

-photo tents and lighting

Light diffusion is pretty important, especially when photographing glass.  I recommend getting some good, bright lights and a photo cube, sized for the product you intend to sell.  Ott lites are a good choice for lighting but other daylight bulbs will work just as well.  Most bad photos are bad because there wasn’t enough light.

-post production

Photoshop, Gimp, Paint Shop Pro, there are many different photo editing programs out there.  Some are free, some are really pricey.  I have tried them all and trust me when I say that none of them can turn a bad photo into a good one.  Pick one that works with your level of photo-editing interest.  Photoshop can be a resource hog on a slower computer and is very expensive and has a pretty big learning curve but it is the industry standard for photo editing so if you get stuck and need help, you’re likely to find someone online who will have an answer to your question.  The bare minimum you will need from a photo editing software is to be able to resize photos.  Out of the camera, they will likely be too big.  Etsy has a 1000×1000 pixel recommendation for your shop photos.

Descriptions / Categories / Tags

-take a look at similar items for keyword/tag/category help

I know this seems like cheating.  But, really, it is the easiest way to make sure you get tags that make sense for your product.  Take a look at a few different products before you pick tags, though.  Some people use tags inappropriately.  Make sure the tags you pick actually make sense for the product you’re selling.  If they don’t, someone might report you and your item may be removed.

-dimensions, materials used, facts

Make sure you give all the pertinent information for the product.  It may seem obvious to you that the item you are selling is teeny-tiny because it’s in front of you.  When you look at macro photos of the item, it may seem MUCH larger.  Let the customer know what to expect so they aren’t surprised when they receive the item.  Same goes for materials used.  If you used sterling silver, let them know.  If you used base metal containing nickel, let them know.  Nothing worse than wearing something that gives you an unexpected rash!

-inspiration and artist stuff

Some artists like to include a story, like how the item was conceived, inspired or stumbled upon during the creative process.  Customers like to catch a glimpse of the artist’s soul.  Remember, you’re selling yourself as much as you’re selling the item!

Listing Strategies

-list a few items a day rather than all at once

The default search result for Etsy is newest first so you probably want to be on the first or second page when someone searches for an item like yours.  If you list frequently, the chances are better you will be easy to find and be seen by more people.  Also, keep in mind that the more items you list, the more items you will sell, generally speaking.  If you only have a couple things in your store and never update it, you won’t be as successful a seller as someone who keeps their store fresh and fully stocked with exciting new items.

-list and promote, list and promote, list and promote

Etsy makes it really easy to promote your items now.  One button push and you can publish your item to your Facebook page!  Same goes for Twitter, too.  You can also send out newsletters to your customer list to let them know when you have new items and sales.

After the sale…

-feedback

If you want feedback (and you do) you need to leave feedback for your buyers.  Thank them for their quick payment or for supporting your art.

-tracking sales/ customer base/ follow up

Keep a list of customers and get a mailing list going.  Make sure you check with them before adding them to the list.  No one wants spam.  There are a lot of free and paid opt-in mailing list generators you can use that will add a form to your website.  Some of those are Bravenet, Constant Comment, Vertical Response.

-packing and shipping

Pack your items securely so that they will arrive at their destination in once piece.  Make sure you include a hand-written thank you on the receipt or even on the back of a business card.  You can personalize your packages by adding special touches like gift boxes, pretty tissue paper or whatever makes you happy and furthers your brand image.  Get creative!  Oh and don’t forget to ship promptly!

Advertising and Promotion

Paid and Targeted

There are tons of advertising opportunities for artists out there but you have to look for them.  If you want to pay for advertising you can sign up for Google Adwords or buy an ad in a magazine that targets your audience.  I like advertising on forums I actively participate in.  It is pretty reasonably priced and super targeted.    It pays to do some online research to see where your customers are gathering.

Blogs / Facebook / Twitter

A blog or posting to Facebook or Twitter is a great way to talk about your creative process, promote your items and let customers know about your latest creations.  If you’re not a good writer, just post photos and links!



What is keeping your business down? February 17, 2011

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Here’s a really great article we found on Etsy.

It’s time to get rid of the junk that is keeping your business down, and time to start growing your business! Crissy Herron, of IndieBizChicks.com, has put together a mini-workbook to help you start getting rid of the riff raff: How to De-Clutter Your Biz. If you dig this, sign up for her free six week workshop that will help you learn how to prioritize, focus and create new goals for long-term success.

http://www.etsy.com/storque/media/bunker/2011/02/5-Steps-To-De-Clutter-Your-Biz-Etsy.pdf

She has some really great advice here.

Now what?

You’ve followed some of her advice, but that whole thing about website and blog makeovers, social media marketing and dealing with mailing lists?  Who has time for that?

Well, we do!  Call us today.

Etsy Listings & Sales Comparison February 12, 2011

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A comparison study shows the primetime sales transactions as well as the heavy listing times for Etsy buyers and sellers.

The chart gives a clear indication of when is the best time to list products on Etsy for the best responses and buyer traffic on the market site.

Social Market Now has conducted an independent study of when product listing times better result in buyer responses and sales of any type of market on Etsy and many other similar craft market websites.

We will schedule your renewals for the most optimal viewing time as well as perform your product listing as such to target the primetime sales window so you can spend the time you need to produce your handmade craft and art pieces at a higher rate of completion and without the interruption of sales and management of your Etsy store. 

Call Hannah at 740-739-7054 for more information.