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The fifth installment of my business planning series focuses on setting up an online shop with Etsy. This post is geared toward the new shop owner, but it is also a good review for tweaking existing shops. As a leader on one of my Etsy teams, I am in charge of our shop critiques and I will be using that model to outline the process.

BASIC SHOP SET UP

Shop Banner

Think of your shop banner as your online welcome sign. What should be your customer’s first impression of your shop? Ever since I first set up my shop, I wanted to portray a free spirited beach image. My current banner is actually my fifth, replacing others as my shop evolved and my brand became more evident. My first banner was just one of my photos of the Caribbean Sea with my shop name. It was pretty, but rather bland. After a couple of sales, I decided to treat myself to a professionally designed banner. I chose one that was perfect for my shop: a very reasonably priced mermaid image. It was quite beautiful, but it was not an exclusive design. I actually received an email from a fellow Etsian asking where I got it so she could use the same design for her shop! I immediately went on the hunt for a new, exclusive design. There are so many talented graphic designers who sell shop banners on Etsy, but be certain to choose one who designates their designs as OOAK (one of a kind). You put your heart and soul into making your unique crafts; you want something just as unique to advertise and showcase it.

My third shop banner was a lovely vintage beach girl image. By vintage, I mean turn of the century, not 60’s surfer girl. I loved the image, but it was not exactly right for my shop. I chose it in a hurry, because of the mermaid debacle. My fourth image was a rustic daisy design on a soft teal blue background. I was very pleased with it: it was simple and free spirited, just the image I wanted to convey (and daisies are my favorite flowers!) There were two things that this banner did NOT do: it did not convey in any way that I create jewelry, nor did it convey a beach theme. My shop name, Serendipity Blu, is abstract. The word jewelry is not anywhere in my name. What I realized is that my banner should be less abstract. For my most recent banner, pictured above, I decided to try my hand at designing my own. I featured some of my bracelet images along with my shop name and a beach image. I gave the photos an aged, distressed look to complement my rustic jewelry. Now when a potential customer see my banner, she immediately thinks beach jewelry.

If you would like to design your own shop banner, remember it should measure 760 pixels by 100 pixels. It can be in .jpg, .gif, or .png formats. You will upload your completed banner in the Info and Appearance section of your shop.

Shop Title

Your shop title is different from your shop name. The terminology can be confusing. Think of it as more of a subtitle. I have seen many shop titles the same as the shop name, which makes for a redundant listing in a search engine. If I also used Serendipity Blu as my shop title, I would show up in a Google search as Serendipity Blu by Serendipity Blu. Instead, I used my mission statement as my title. (For more information on developing a mission statement, please review part 4 of this series.) My shop title reads boho beach chic for a free spirited life.

Shop Announcement

The first paragraph of your shop announcement should elaborate on your shop title. This is used in Google searches, so you want to make sure you are using simple sentences and important keywords. Additional paragraphs can feature current promotions, item turnaround time, and any additional shop information you would like a potential customer to easily view.

How Is My Shop Viewed In a Google Search?

boho beach chic for a free spirited life by serendipity blu
Aloha and welcome to my cyber beach shack! This is the place to find laid-back leather jewelry, with many pieces featuring eco-friendly recycled glass.

This is where we need to find a balance: you want to be certain that potential customers clearly know what you selling and are also intrigued by your creativity in presenting it.

Shop Policies

While this is not nearly as much fun as designing a shop banner, it is an integral part of your shop’s success. You want your policies to be clear and concise, yet answer any questions your customers may have.

Welcome: a brief greeting. Mine simply reads, “I believe life should be about enjoying the simple pleasures: a sunny sky, a perfect beach day, or a fresh picked flower! I strive to convey that same easy going sense of free spirit in my designs. Please enjoy browsing and feel free to convo me if you have any questions.”

Payment Policy: here is where you list all of your payment options: Paypal, Visa/MC/Am Ex/Discover through Direct Checkout; Etsy Gift Cards.

Shipping Policy: Are your items ready to ship? If not, what is your turnaround time. How do you ship? USPS, Fex Ex, UPS? Do you supply tracking information? Do you ship internationally? All of these questions should be answered this section. Please note, if you do ship internationally, be sure to state whether you or the buyer is responsible for duties, customs, and taxes levied by the buyer’s country.

Refunds and Exchanges: take the time to set up a simple and reasonable refund policy. If you are stuck, view other shops and see how their refund policies are worded. Mine reads,

“Customer satisfaction is a top priority. If your order is lost or damaged, or if you are dissatisfied for any reason, please convo me and I will work with you to resolve any issues.

REFUND POLICY:
~Full refunds are only available up to 14 days after receipt of item.
~Exchanges are available up to 30 days after receipt of item.
~Custom orders are not available for refunds or exchanges.

Additional Information: Do you accept custom orders? Wholesale orders? What other questions do you think your customer may have?

This link will take you directly to my shop policies for more ideas:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/serendipityblu/policy?ref=shopinfo_policies_leftnav

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Avatar

Your Avatar is simply your profile picture. I have seen some avatars utilizing a product photo (like mine), the shop owner’s photo, or a graphic matching the banner. All three work beautifully; it really is just a matter of personal preference.

Personal Profile

This section is about you. Tell your potential shoppers a little something about yourself. Are you a proud parent or grandparent? An intrepid traveler? (like me!) What would you like to share. Also let your customers know what inspires you. Your Shop Announcement and About Page tell your shop’s story. This is where you tell your story.

About Page

This is a relatively new feature for Etsy, and one that every shop owner should utilize. This is where you can really tell your shop’s story (in worlds and pictures). This section is also where you can link you pr blog to your shop. My about page features pictures of my favorite jewelry model (my sister’s Weimaraner, Mia); an eco-friendly shop that features my bracelets; my craft show display; and the recycled glass beads I use. Yours can include anything you want. Did you start making jewelry for your wedding? A photo of your wedding party would be an amazing touch. Get creative!

LISTING AN ITEM

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Photos

Most Etsians will tell you this is the most challenging part of the entire listing. I am planning an extensive follow up post strictly on photographing your work, but in this post, I will outline some basics.

The collage above shows the basic layout of my photos for my Betty Bracelets. The first shot features the bracelet propped up on natural seashells placed on a piece of cream colored scrap booking paper. I always use natural light for this shot to capture the truest hue of the beads and sharp details of the leather and toggle. This is the photo I used as my “cover photo” for my Etsy listings. The second image is taken in direct sunlight on dark distressed wood. I love these shots because they really show how amazing the recycled glass beads look shining in the sun – remember, I am marketing to beach bums like myself! I often use these images in this blog. The third photo shows the open bracelet, often with a small seashell in the center. It is also taken in natural light and shows yet another angle of the bracelet. I sometimes use a fourth photo if the item name was inspired by my travels. This particular bracelet, Hua Bay, was named after a surfing spot I visited on the Big Island of Hawaii, so I featured this photo from that 2007 trip of a beautiful street mural to complement the turtle toggle on the bracelet. You can view the listing here to see see the full size pictures:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/123882128/recycled-glass-bracelet-seafoam-green?ref=pr_shop

It is imperative to make sure your photos are crisp and clear. My best advice is to purchase the best camera you can afford (don’t be afraid to buy a used camera if it is high quality), always use the highest resolution setting, and take many photos at various angles. My camera is a few years old, but it still takes amazing pictures, so I have no plans of replacing it anytime soon. It is a Fuji FinePix with 16MP and 10x optical zoom.

Titles

My titles basically went from Alive and Black to Elderly Woman Behind the Counter at a Small Town. (Couldn’t resist the Pearl Jam reference!) I name all of my pieces, and when I first started selling on Etsy, I only used those one to two words. That is a big no-no if you ever want your items to be found in an Etsy or Google search. For optimal Etsy search results, you want to make sure your defining word (what the item is) is in the first 2-3 words. When I re-worked my titles so that “woven leather bracelet,” “macrame leather bracelet,” or “recycled glass bracelet” are the first 3 words, I really moved my position up in the search results! (I now start appearing on the first or second page of those search results!) Please note that I also vary my defining words, since potential customers may search different keywords. Another thing to remember when titling your items is that search engines like Google only pick up the first 55 characters, so you want to make sure everything you want displayed in an external search is within the 55 characters. Back to the PJ reference, one of the first items I listed in my shop was simply titled Wakiki Beach, and it received little or no views. Now it is titled Macrame Leather Bracelet “Waikiki Beach” Seafoam Green Dragonfly Recycled Glass Boho Surfer Style “Betty Bracelet”, and it gets many hits and hearts!

Description

You should write your item description as if there were no photos. Be very specific and answer any questions your potential customers may have. Google search results give the most weight to the first paragraph. be sure to optimize this by including colors, materials, and keywords first. Always remember to include sizing information. If your descriptions are lengthy (like mine!), separate them into paragraphs for easier reading.

Tags and Materials

Etsy allows you to use 13 tags to describe your item. Be sure to use all 13 or you are missing out on potential search results. The best advice I have ever received on using relevant tags is to view the tags used by a shop with similar items that has a high sales volume. Another option is to show your item to some friends and ask them to describe the item using one or two word phrases. They may come up with great tags you never thought of using.

While Etsy does allow relevant phrases to be used as one tag, they do frown upon “tag stuffing.” For example, I can use recycled glass beads as one tag, but not surfer beach ocean.

Etsy also allows up to 13 materials tags. I was not fully utilizing these until recently. I now use not just leather as material tag, but also distressed leather and brown leather to help increase my search results.

Shop Sections

Etsy allows up to 10 shop sections to categorize your listings. You should try to make your sections descriptive and creative. Instead of simply using Bracelets, Chokers, and Pendants, I use use Betty Bracelets, Beach Bum Chokers, and Mermaid Tears Pendants to enhance my beach theme.

Inventory

Etsy recommends having at least 40 items in your shop. One reason is to give potential shoppers several choices. My shop has Betty Bracelets in several sizes with a whole plethora of color and toggle variety to appeal to several tastes. Also, the more items you have, the more opportunities there are to be picked up in Etsy and Google searches.

Whew…there is a lot involved in setting up an online shop with Etsy! I hope this post helps you realize your goal of selling your crafts. There is just one more post in this Getting Down to Business series. Next week, I will focus on marketing your items within and outside of Etsy. I will also be taking a six week photography course beginning next week at my community college. Once I am finished, I plan to write an extensive post on photographing your work. Please keep an eye out for both of these posts by following my blog.

Thanks for stopping by and happy selling!

Shanti,
Erin

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