Nothing Is Working, No Etsy Sales — Help!

Starting an Etsy business is such an exciting time. Picking a name, photographing your items, and telling people you’ve opened up shop are all fun. Sometimes, all that excitement is followed immediately by the moment you’ve been waiting for… cha-ching…your first sale! Yay!

Other times, for one reason or another, that first sale just won’t come. People show-up, they look around, and they leave. No sale. It can be soooo frustrating.

Helloooo, customer, don’t you know you just left a wonderful and beautiful item, along with the chance to really make my day, on the table when you left. Uh!

Maybe this post will offer a new perspective that can help you get over that hump.

Imagine Your Etsy Shop as a “Real World” Business

Have you ever tried to think of your business as another type of business that you understand more naturally? Maybe you’ve got experience in a family business or you work for a successful company. We’ve all been customers to hundreds of businesses, so we know what we like and what we don’t.

At the end of the day, businesses of various types, online and offline, aren’t all that different when it comes to actually getting sales.

Think of your Etsy Shop as a “Real” store. If I think of an Etsy shop as a physical store rather than a website, it really helps clear things up for me quite a bit.

First, the products.

  • Do I understand the market for my products?
  • Do I know what makes people buy my products?
  • What problem, need, or want are my products the solution to?
  • How do my products compare to competition?
  • What is the answer to “Why buy from me?” or “Why choose this product?”

Then, the store itself.

  • How does it look outside or from the storefront window(curb appeal)?
  • How does it look inside? Is it easy to see what I sell, does my product look appealing, and am I focusing customer attention on the things I want to sell the most?
  • If a customer has a question have I provided a way for them to get an answer?
  • If a customer is ready to buy, have I made it clear how and where they do that?

Next, the marketing.

  • How well am I engaging with the community?
  • Am I engaging with the right part of the community (based on my understanding of who buys my products)?
  • Am I being consistent and repetitive in my message?
  • Do I have an understanding of the numbers? (such as conversion rate: I make one sale for every ten customers that come in the door, so if I want to make 10 sales per day, I need 100 customers per day in the store)
  • Are my expectations in-line with my marketing budget?

Chances are, if you’re not getting any sales, I’ve just listed the reason(s) why not.

Fourteen items. If you think of your business as a real store and you’re the manager and you go over and over those fourteen items, you’ll find the answers you need.

It takes hard work and constant improvement to build a real business. But it can be well worth the effort. If you’re selling on Etsy as more of a hobby, then you can look at the above fourteen items in a more relaxed manner. The path to more sales is there nonetheless.

The great thing about an online business is that you’re not paying any rent or utilities and you don’t have to sit there and pray for customers for 12 hours a day. So there’s no major clock ticking. You’re not going to go broke waiting. Just patiently go through the list, in-order, and see what you can make better today.

You’ll get that first sale before you know it!

~ Kim

Comments

  1. says

    I agree, hard work is very important to achieve success. Online businesses should be taken seriously just like handling a traditional offline business. Great insights!

    Annabella Merlin
    Creative Photo Albums

  2. says

    A very good list to work through. One of the most confusing things for me has always been identifying my market/customer; yet that’s one of the more important things, I think. Obviously someone who would buy what I make is not able to do what I do, or they would make it themselves. So if this person is not like me, how do I identify and find them?

    Anyway. Thank you for the post – very good food for thought. :)

    • says

      Kim – I love your pendants! It looks like your shop is off to a great start! Women of all ages love jewelry and it always makes a nice gift. Keep creating and selling and you’ll have more information about your buyers. :)

      ~Kim

  3. says

    Great bunch of questions… BUT, if you don’t know some of these answers, it would be nice to have a reference on where to find the answers. I was hoping to get more of that information, than generalities.

    • says

      Hi Vicki – Keep reading Everything Etsy for more information and you can always get tips emailed to you from Etsypreneur.com. We have lots and lots of information and resources available…you just have to read it all! :) Have fun growing your handmade business!

      ~Kim

    • says

      Beth – You are so right! Some people have patience for a week and give up. That won’t work in any business. I know you are constantly reading to learn more and more…you’re on the right track! :) :)

      ~Kim

  4. says

    I can’t get past the first two questions. Where DO we find these answers? I agree with Kim; I think people who buy what I make must be similar to me but just don’t have the time to do so. I suppose I can ask people to drop me a line via Etsy as to why they chose me? What do you think?

    • says

      ReWoolables – Over time I’ve learned why people buy certain items from my shops. Sometimes they say without being asked and other times they purchase right around holidays like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Pay attention and you’ll see patterns that will help you learn more about what your customers want. Then you just make more of what they want! :)

      ~Kim

  5. says

    Boy can I relate to this headline!! I make a fair number of sales through a couple of shops that I show my stuff in and special orders locally. I just barely have my toe in the door with Etsy but I must say it has been dissappointing. I think I am doing everything right and I’ve gotten compliments on my site so I guess I will now need to take a good hard look at your list. Thanks again Kim – I love what you guys provide to us :)

    • says

      Hi Terri! I do think you’re doing lots of stuff right! I just stopped by one of your shops to take a peek. I have more than one shop and sometimes i have to stop and focus a bit more. Growing your selection will help. The more you have, the more chances people have to find you. :) It’s a process that takes time, but if you do it right you’ll enjoy waking up to sales more and more…love that!

      ~Kim

  6. says

    I will… keep reading! Trying to figure it all out gets a little overwhelming. Thanks, I’ll search through your site and hopefully find some info.

  7. says

    Exactly how do you figure out the conversion rate? Some weeks I have many sales, like 7-10 per say 7 days, and other weeks it’s flat, no sales. I am not doing anything different during the peaks or valley times. If I could figure out how to extend the high times throughout the month, I’d be a “happy camper”. It seems that it has always been this way for me. . .and I’m getting impatient!

  8. says

    @Vicki – cute shop! One thing I’ve noticed is that the digi shops I’ve previously purchased from have jillions (like 10-12 pages) of items to choose from. Your items are great, look good, but maybe just need more. Not that you asked, but I did visit shop and thought I’d offer my $.02

  9. says

    The day I got this in my inbox I had just been asking myself the same question. I’ve had about a week of zero sales after having a fairly good month previously, so it’s been frustrating. I do love what I make though, and I feel like I’m off to a good start. I’ll just keep working at it! I love all the encouragement and help you give here. Thanks so much!

    Blessings, Grace

  10. says

    :) Nice post!
    It does get frustrating sometimes… but I learned not to focus too much on those 0 sales days and instead, just be more active!
    Everywhere! Spread out. Go blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest… all of these brought in more traffic for us. And why not join some new Etsy teams, make some friends, make a treasury, promote some people and they’ll get back to you!
    Most of the people you add to Circles will add you back and then you get access to their friends.

    And add a lot of products so whoever comes to your shop has an array of items to pick from.

    I noticed the quality of the photos and the “story” behind them are just as important as the “smart” tags and keywords so be really careful with all of these.

    We started selling seriously on Etsy since October 2011. We’ve got a huge wave of visitors and regular orders in February 2012 because we somehow managed to get in the Etsy newsletter… which was really cool! So I guess you really have to find that uniqueness about your shop and put it out there.

    Good luck everyone!

  11. says

    Nice post but I’m still at a loss to what else I can do reach my customers.
    I sell crochet patterns and I feel like the only shop of the kind to be doing badly. I see other shops selling like 10 patterns per day while I get no sales at all.
    I am part of teams, I try to be active in the forums, I’m also in other crafts pages, Twitter, I blog… I just did not try Facebook yet.
    Anyone, any idea?

  12. says

    I hear you Ana. My shop has a Facebook page and 63 likes. Twitter has 17 followers and 20 shop admirers on Etsy – yet still no sales. And I do my own blog. I am at a loss too…

  13. says

    patience friends, patience. I know it is annoying and difficult to be patient, but I have also found that etsy comes in waves of feast or famine. Next, you will experience a feast and you will revel in the glory. . .and right then, it’ll dry up again.

    At least this is my experience. Anyone else?

    Sure wish I could make it a feast daily or weekly, at least.

  14. says

    I have been plugging away, listening to your tips, trying to develop a blog, doing Pinterest, trying to think about your questions & still it is slow & sporadic. Is there something I am missing? Are there just too many aprons for sale on Etsy?

  15. b mill says

    It’s not seo, it’s not social networking. Lack of sales is in large sure to the fact that many etsy sellers sell crap. So much garbage on the site. There’s a reason you don’t get sales, your stuff sucks. No amount of marketing is going to cover those views to sales.

  16. says

    I have had my Etsy shop now for almost 4 months. I have read and followed all of the instructions on how to build and promote your shop. I was doing well with sales growing each week, I was making about 7 – 15 sales per week and things seemed to be continuing to pick up as I added my items and worked on my titles, pics and descriptions. Then about 4 weeks ago, the sales just stopped completely, it is like I dropped of the radar and I am utterly confused. I feel I have played all my cards, followed all of the recommendations, as well as, using Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy teams. What I don’t understand is how I could have been doing so well and then all of a sudden and for going on 4 weeks now, nothing. Please help, I am growing weary. Thanks

  17. says

    I have had my Etsy shop now for almost 4 months. I have read and followed all of the instructions on how to build and promote your shop. I was doing well with sales growing each week, I was making about 7 – 15 sales per week and things seemed to be continuing to pick up as I added my items and worked on my titles, pics and descriptions. Then about 4 weeks ago, the sales just stopped completely, it is like I dropped of the radar and I am utterly confused. I feel I have played all my cards, followed all of the recommendations, as well as, using Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy teams. What I don’t understand is how I could have been doing so well and then all of a sudden and for going on 4 weeks now, nothing. Please help, I am growing weary. Thanks

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