Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Selling On Handmade Sites Such as Etsy

I am the web leader for a team of jewelry artists on Etsy.  We started up because all the other groups were filled.   Over the Valentine season  there was a lot of moaning going on in our group because sales were terrible.  I took time to look over everyone's shop and found a lot of things in common that are being done wrong.   Here are some of the things that need to be worked on in general.  The comments are geared towards selling jewelry on  Etsy but  they would apply to anyone selling just about anything on a similar site.  

The number one, and most important thing is pictures. I can't stress it enough.  You need to have those 5 spaces filled with bright, clean, clear shots of your items. It is sometimes very hard to make a Treasury because I can't find good pictures that fit my theme. I'm thinking maybe others are having the same

Get or make a light box. Set your camera on a tripod or a pile of books or anything you can to keep it steady. Find some source of good lighting. If all you have is a window on a sunny day then wait for the sun to shine. I'm afraid I'd never get any pictures taken if I had to do that. We've had maybe 2 days of sun this month! If you have an Ott light, or natural light bulbs they work quite well as a substitute. Do not yeild to the temptation to use the flash on your camera. The glare it creates makes for a less than desireable result.

Look at what the top sellers do for their pictures. I don't claim to be a top seller, but I try to follow their examples. Lay your items on plain backgrounds.  Get down to table level. Get in close. If there is an obvious back, show it in one shot. Get a nice hanging shot for your necklaces and earrings. Use a necklace display manequin if you can. I just have black and white. When I can afford one, I'm going to get a tan one. I hate trying to get a good picture on black. It just doesn't work well.

Use a photo editing program. There are free ones available online. I used Picasa. It works the best for me. Don't be in such a hurry to get the item online that you allow yourself to use a bad photo. If it looks "iffy" to you, it is going to look terrible to others. I was taught one major thing. "Get it in the lense." If you don't get a good shot in the first place, no editing program available will fix it. If your pictures aren't great, do them over.

Moving on. The other main problem I am seeing is descriptions. I HATE writing copy, but it has to be done. What is special about your item? If there's nothing special chances are it's not going to sell. What is is made of?  Be sure to include both the metals and the bead types. What is the size? I've seen a lot of jewelry listed to sell worldwide that only provides the measurements in inches. The US is just about the only place that knows what an inch is! Use metric. If you can't convert in your head, there are places online that will do it for you. I have about a half dozen 6 inch rulers that are both centimeters and inches. They're great and they were free from Fire Mountain. I just lay my earrings on them and I get both measurements to list.

Make sure everything is filled out on your Etsy page. Profile, location, policies, etc. Don't present yourself in an unprofessional way. Approach your page as a business even is it is only a hobby.

This last paragraph could have contained a bit more.  I stopped short for fear of hurting some feelings.  If selling online is simply a hobby for you and you don't care if you sell anything or not, then share that it is just a hobby.  Personally, I probably wouldn't buy from someone who approaches their craft this way.  If you really want to sell, present yourself as a professional who really knows what they are doing, even if you are sitting there in your PJ's and have only sold a few items.  Buyers won't take you seriously if you don't. 

Some of this is my opinion,  some is proven fact.  It's a good start at taking a second look at any web site you have that just isn't moving your product.   I'm off to create!



Linda said...

I agree with all of your tips, especially the clear, clean photos - I have learned to just take pics of my jewelry against a bright white background. I made my own lightbox from a cardboard box, tissue paper, and white posterboard since I cannot depend on getting sunlight when I am ready for a photo session. I also use one of those mini tripods (Gorillapod) - works like magic, can wrap it around taller objects if I want to get different angles or height or flatten it to get down at table level.

Stef H (Glitterbabe) said...

wow sandy! what fabulous points. now i need to go redo my etsy - at least the journaling part. you know me, i always try to be funny!

hope all is well. i hear spring should get here around march 20 - lol. we can only hope!

customteddys said...

Great post, Sandy! Helpful and to the point. Vicki

Jenni said...

Good Job Sandy, nice post!