Why Your Etsy Sales SUCK!

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I follow a lot of Etsy conversations online and two of the things I most often see asked are; ‘How can I increase my sales?’ and ‘Why am I not selling more?’

Both are perfectly valid questions, from equally frustrated shop owners.

As sellers we should be asking these exact questions of our businesses on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter that this might be a part time gig for you, or you just want to make enough extra funds to save for a house. The moment you open an online, ecommerce website; an Etsy shop, or otherwise you are creating a business and businesses need to be sustainable.

Sustainability is made through a good balance of costs always being outweighed by turnover.


So what’s making your Etsy sales SUCK?

If I’m honest there are really just a few very basic things you are doing wrong;

  • You aren’t being clear about what you sell.

  • Your shop looks like the very worst of catalogues, when it should be the very best, glossy magazine.

  • What you are selling is just not that inspiring.

  • You aren’t being clear why I need this in my life - You just aren’t selling it to me!

  • Or I just don’t need what you are selling.

I think we easily forget that just because we can open an Etsy shop in 30 minutes doesn’t make us a shop keeper. We need to learn the art of selling; from product creation to customer aftercare.

It’s really not that scary, either!

I have created a 30 day Etsy challenge that will help you.


I opened my own Etsy shop back in 2007 with my product business. For me Etsy was to be a nice little side hustle to my already growing revenues from eBay. It was also a lesson in running two very different ecommerce sales platforms simultaneously, before I launched into the complexities of hosting my very own website. Over time the extra work didn’t feel so demanding and so I launched my own ‘dot com’. Etsy remained a nice way to find new customers and connections via a different venue, but never really got that big.

I’ll be honest and say that over 2,500 orders in my busiest year never quite matched up to the sales I made elsewhere, but it always got questions asked of me – ‘How did you do that?’ and ‘Why is your product so much more popular than mine, even though we sell a very similar thing?’

My own growth problem was time; I simply didn’t have enough time to direct all of my attentions to my Etsy shop. If I had, those figures would have been much, much larger.


I heard someone say that Etsy was dead! Is this why I’m not selling?

Don’t be the one who listens to rumours about the validity of a site, any sales platform can be dragged through the mud by nay-sayers. I’ve heard lot of rumours over the past few years that Etsy has changed this, or that and that it has killed businesses, or that people are moving away in droves. It’s simply not the case at this point.

The truth is in my 9 years of trading there I saw many changes and many people leave to focus on their own site, cut costs, or even just to do other things. Each of these bright, exciting and profitable shops was replaced with new ones.

Here’s a great example;

Salt and Printer

Salt and Printer burst onto the scene in early 2017 and has racked up over 1078 sale to date (in fact by the time this blog post goes live, maybe a few more). This has them outstripping a number of older Etsy shops for the same time period, according to CraftCount.

Salt and Printer

How are they doing this? Every aspect of their business and its proposition has been thought through from; the shop layout, the listings, the photos to their social campaign. They are really concentrating all of their efforts on making this business a sustainable project and you should too.


So how do we start digging deep into what’s happening in our shop?

First of all you need to sit down and take some time to go over what your figures are. So for example look at how you have been trading so far and what sales vs. costs look like. What are your figures telling you? Are they asking you to increase sales, or to decrease your costs as a starting point?

If your issue is figures based, in other words you are spending more than you are selling, then you need to address this immediately. Start by checking;

  • What running costs you can cut, or decrease

  • Looking at material costs vs. your price point – are you making enough profit?

For your business model to work you need to be profitable from the beginning. I made this mistake early on I my product business and honestly no matter how hard you work, if your sales aren’t profitable, then you have no business. Instead you are just working yourself into the ground. I switched that around and turned my business into something that became much more profitable and a lot less work.

Remember it’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter!
— Sara Millis

Getting more sales

If your figures are telling you that you really just need to make more sales, that your profitability potential is ok, then sales is next on the agenda. Before we get to campaigning for more sales we need to create a better environment for our customers to arrive at. What do I mean by this? I mean that your shop needs to be updated.

So check;

  • Your shop’s layout – look and categories are really clear about what you sell

  • Product descriptions – must be concise and clear on what it is people are buying

  • Tags – should be relevant

  • Keyword use – should appear in your title and description, so that you come up in searches on Etsy and Google.

  • Terms and conditions – should be clear and tight on what your operation is and what happens in certain circumstances.

  • Shipping information – should be clear in the how shipping takes place and the costs.

  • Contact details - should up to date.

  • Pictures – should tell me what I’m buying and how it benefits me. Your lead image should wow me!

  • Get more reviews – recommendations are always really great tools for success.

Make sure that everything is clear, concise and shows your expertise in your product area. Give your customer confidence to buy from you.

Then you can start your campaign.

Social media is your best friend online, so be active and be engaging. Offline there are many things you can do from; craft shows, to pop up shops. Think about what suits your products and where your customer is more likely to find you.

Need more in depth help? Then take a look at my eBook 30 Days to a Better Etsy Shop. It’s a 30 day challenge designed to help you get back on top of your business.

Next time I’m going to be concentrating on how to promote your shop.

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