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1. How to grow your Etsy shop: Eight best practices

How to grow your Etsy shop: 8 Top tips for 2024

Updated Jan 15 2024

Etsy is a powerful platform for small business owners trying to build their brands and expand their reach. With a few clicks and some product photos, you can get your Etsy account up and running, but that doesn't automatically translate to a profitable business model. The competition for sales on Etsy is fierce. By the end of 2022, the number of active Etsy shop owners had grown to 5.4 million, meaning that your Etsy business will be going up against millions of other sellers hoping to attract and convert new customers.

The most successful Etsy sellers optimize their product offerings, sites, and marketing materials to stand out from the competition. In this article, we'll explore eight tips that can help transform your Etsy store into a thriving online business. You'll refine your Etsy listings, identify your target market, and perfect your product photography to keep customers coming back again and again.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • To make Etsy sales, look for gaps in the market and find an in-demand niche.

  • Use promotions, product descriptions, social media, and brand ambassadors to reach your ideal customers.

  • Consider selling products on multiple platforms to increase your prospective customer pool.

  • Grow your Etsy store to new heights by offering print on demand products with custom artwork

How to grow your Etsy shop: Eight best practices

Opening an effective online store on the Etsy platform requires some basic technical knowledge and skills, but it also involves understanding the sales process and how the smallest details define the customer experience. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of creating an Etsy store that's built to be scalable and profitable.

1. Look for market gaps

Whether you're opening a brick-and-mortar store or establishing an Etsy shop, the path to making your first sale begins with market research. Take a look at what products most Etsy sellers have to offer and determine where you might fill in the gaps. Your research might involve:

  • Social media platforms: Do a quick search on a social media app like TikTok or Facebook to see what types of items are trending, then compare your results with what's currently available on Etsy.

  • Online tools: Online applications like Google Trends offer valuable insights into what search terms are receiving the most attention and which have fallen out of use.

  • Competing Etsy sellers: Look at successful Etsy shops to see not only what products are the most popular but also what requests current customers are making in their comments and reviews.

  • Other online businesses: Check the bestseller lists on sites like Amazon to see what products are garnering widespread interest and compare them to what Etsy sellers have to offer.

If you conduct thorough research, there's a good chance that you'll discover a void in Etsy's current offerings. If you can fill this gap with your own Etsy shop, you'll automatically have a larger pool of potential customers who can't get the items they want anywhere else.

2. Explore your niche

niche exploring

Finding the right niche for your Etsy business can mean the difference between a constant struggle for sales and long-term viability. Your niche is the type of product that you choose to sell, such as:

Choosing a niche allows you to develop a more focused customer profile and a thorough understanding of your product line. If you sell handmade products, a niche also makes it easier to ensure that you're making the best use of your talents rather than trying to make a little bit of everything.

Once you have a general niche category in mind, you can take a deep dive to determine what specific types of products and designs you might offer. For instance, if you choose to focus on wall art, you can decide what different types of art prints, such as posters or acrylics, you would prefer to sell. When you initially become an Etsy seller, it's often best to keep your product line fairly small, knowing that you can continually expand and test new items as you make more sales.

3. Offer discounts

Your pricing strategy is directly tied to the overall profits and progress of your Etsy shop. While you never want to undervalue your products, particularly if they're handmade items requiring extensive time and labor, offering periodic discounts and promotions will help generate more Etsy traffic to your store.

Some popular promotional ideas include:

  • Coupon codes: Offer coupon codes to customers who sign up for a mailing list or newsletter through your website or social media sites. Studies have found that customers typically spend more when using coupons.

  • Free shipping: Asking customers to pay high shipping fees is often a deterrent to sales, especially in an era when so many big companies offer fast and free shipping. Consider offering free shipping with a minimum purchase amount.

  • Holiday sales: Reduce prices on select items during busy sales periods like Black Friday and Cyber Week. Promote the discount with Etsy ads, social media posts, and email updates.

Although offering discounts to make money may seem counterintuitive, customers are more likely to return to your online store when they feel that they're receiving a bargain. Additionally, promotions are extremely effective at converting new customers, and a single sale might be enough to convince a first-time buyer to come back for more high-quality items.

4. Build a strong social media presence

build a strong relationship

In the past several years, social media has become one of the most important avenues for business marketing. In 2021, approximately two-thirds of online shoppers used social media platforms as a means of finding and evaluating products before making a purchase. As an Etsy seller, you have a lot to gain by capitalizing on the advertising opportunities available on apps like Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram.

Although every brand has to develop its own voice on social media, these are the best tips for getting started:

  • Run targeted paid ads to attract potential customers

  • Consistently post updates, photographs, and commentary about your business

  • Engage with followers who comment on your posts or tag your shop name

  • Understand the demographics of your target audience and tailor your social media content to their interests and needs

In combination with other marketing materials, including emails and paid ads on Google, your social media posts, comments, and videos help keep customers engaged, interested, and aware of what your business has to offer and what's coming next.

5. Optimize your product listings

Unlike a physical store where customers can pick up and examine products before buying them, online shoppers have to rely on your product listings to get a better understanding of the items you have for sale. As such, your product descriptions should be as thorough, accurate, and honest as possible.

Fine-tuning your item listings has multiple benefits, including:

  • Search engine optimization: Use relevant keywords in your product descriptions and titles to fall higher in the list of Etsy search results and achieve a better ranking on search engines like Google.

  • Increased customer interest: Use high-quality images to grab the eye of scrolling customers who might otherwise overlook your items.

  • Fewer returns: When your product listings genuinely reflect the quality, material, and size of your products, customers won't be surprised or disappointed by the items they receive and will be less likely to request refunds.

Poorly written, misleading, or improperly labeled product descriptions can also affect the overall strength of your brand. If customers can't find your products because you didn't use the right keywords to appear in their search results, you'll miss out on the opportunity to make a sale. Even worse, if they feel deceived by your product listings, they might leave complaints and negative reviews that make other prospective customers wary about going through with a purchase.

6. Sell on other platforms

platform selling

Etsy offers a built-in customer base, an easy platform for setting up a new business, and a well-known name to associate with your brand. However, if you sell your products exclusively on an Etsy shop, you might be depriving yourself of a massive opportunity for growth.

Expanding to additional platforms like Shopify helps broaden your reach to customers who don't frequently shop on Etsy. Many artists and Etsy sellers use multiple platforms to reach the widest possible audience and sell the greatest number of items. Although many of your ideal customers might frequent Etsy on a regular basis, others might prefer an independent store with a customized front page and a more personalized shopping experience. Operating a store on other selling platforms, in addition to your Etsy shop, is an effective strategy to increase your profits and grow your overall business.

7. Leverage brand ambassadors

Although email marketing and paid ads are necessary ways to reach customers, it's important not to forget the effect of a supportive and outspoken brand ambassador. Brand ambassadors are individuals who promote your products and speak positively to the public about your business. Unlike an everyday product reviewer who leaves a comment after purchasing an item, an ambassador is a person that you formally recognize as a representative of your store.

There are many opportunities to collaborate with a brand ambassador, including:

  • Creating content like reviews, videos, newsletters, and blog posts

  • Providing feedback on new items before they're made available to the public

  • Promoting your shop through personal social media accounts

As you build your Etsy shop, look for ambassadors who embody the values and vision of your brand. Brand ambassadors should also be familiar with and connected to your niche. For instance, a personal trainer or athlete might be a good option as a brand ambassador for a sportswear company.

8. Consider print on demand

consider POD

Many Etsy sellers are invested in creating products from scratch, but the items you offer don't have to end there. Artists and creators can expand their product lines without adding to their workloads by partnering with a print on demand supplier. These companies make it possible to offer new products that reflect the style of your brand and thus encourage further customer sales.

Print on demand services can apply your custom designs, images, and artwork to a range of products, such as:

Introducing new products serves a number of purposes. First, it gives you an opportunity to engage with established customers in new ways. A customer who loves the graphic designs on your custom pendants might also like to show them off on a phone case or shirt.

Additionally, broadening the number of products you offer helps you increase your presence in the list of Etsy search results. A customer who discovers a t-shirt that you now offer with a print on demand partner will land in your store, where they will be exposed to your other products.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a reputable and reliable print on demand company like Gelato makes it possible to sell custom items to shoppers all over the world. Gelato's extensive network of local printers reduces shipping fees, allows your customers to receive their items more quickly, and is more sustainable than alternative options.

Grow your Etsy store with print on demand

Anyone with an internet connection and a business idea can open a shop on Etsy, but truly successful Etsy sellers have a much more targeted approach to running their stores. Choosing a niche, expanding to other sales platforms, properly marketing and listing your products, and making use of print on demand services are all key components to selling more products and growing your Etsy business to its full potential.

Unfortunately, even entrepreneurs that plan ahead and follow all of the guidelines for building a business might struggle under the weight of expensive inventory. From payment processing fees to listing fees, small business owners have enough competing priorities and expenses to worry about without adding overpriced production, storage, and shipping to the list.

The print on demand services from Gelato make it easy to add high-quality products to your Etsy shop without overextending your financial investments. With production sites in more than 32 countries, Gelato allows you to reach customers around the globe and elevate your business to the next level. Get started with Gelato today to expand your Etsy business with custom print on demand products.


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