Saturday, April 11, 2009
A newbie's guide to Etsy
I've worked in customer service for over 10 years, and I never thought I would actually use any of the advice, tips, and tricks I've learned along the way. You see, the problem was that I was always selling someone else's stuff. I've worked for Habitude Salon and Spa, Aveda, Best Buy (as a sales associate, and later for corporate marketing) The Body Shop, Track and Trail, and Old Navy- just to name a few.
You have a completely different perspective when you're selling someone else's stuff. Not only are you trying to convince the customer they need to buy, you're trying to convince yourself the customer "needs" what you are selling.
But when you are selling your own items, you are selling a part of yourself as well, and its important to remember to distinguish yourself from your product, just as it is important to sell yourself through your product.
Needless to say, I've encountered some learning experiences on Etsy (even though I have only been on the site for a few weeks) and I'd like to share them with everyone and encourage everyone to share their experiences in the comments section. We are all going to fall down every once in awhile, but we can all be there to help each other back up.
1. The admins are not joking when they "strongly recommend" good pics. I've seen some so-so items on the front page that I'd gladly fork over $100 for, based on the pictures alone. If you know anyone who has studied photography, ask them to help. Better yet, have a photo shoot with your items. Literally, bring them around town, and try taking pictures of them in crazy places. Its fun and you're sure to get some great pics! Ditch the flash and opt for natural light!
2. The customer is always right. The customer is always right. The customer is always right. What happens if they're not wrong? Trick question! They are always right! This is super important for beginners. Setting aside your pride and making your customers happy is the only way to run a successful business. Feel free to ask them, "what can I do to make you happy?" It shows you care about them, even if you're not sure why they are upset.
3. Don't buy a showcase until you have 2 pages of stock, and tons of fabulous pictures! I spent $7 on my first showcase, went to bed, and expected to wake up on the day of the showcase with hundreds of sales! Not! I think I got around 45 hits that day, which is the same amount of hits I get from an hour in the forum. Don't buy a showcase until you are ready.
4. Network, network, network. Try to learn a new networking technique every week, day, month, whatever. Set a goal and learn Twitter, Facebook, Stumbled Upon, or whatever network site you choose. And don't just tweet or stumble your own stuff. That technique is network suicide! Its like walking into a party and only talking about yourself. Networking is promoting others to promote yourself.
5. Buy a banner! Unless you are a graphic design goddess, pay someone else to do it for you. Banners range from $5-$20. Its worth it. I bought a custom banner from ThompsonDesigns and it was worth every penny. I make around $22 an hour at may day job, and had I tried to make my own banner it would have taken two, and it would not be as beautiful as the one I bought. I get compliments all the time.
6. Don't try to do everything yourself. Ask for help. Offer trades. I trade cards and candles with my hair stylist. Every time I get a haircut, she gets to pick out a few items. Whenever people go over her house for dinner, they smell the candle burning and she give them my card. Whenever I go anywhere people compliment me on my hair and I give them her card. Its win-win.
7. Stick with it! A watched pot never boils and its always when you look away and aren't trying so hard that the sales come rushing in!