Learning how to get your first sale on Etsy is a great exercise that can help you focus on actually get your store set up correctly. Sometimes, not getting sales early on is a good thing.
Many new Etsy sellers dive into Etsy and are eager to start making money. This eagerness often leads to doing things quickly, half-heartedly or leaving a lot of “holes” in their store that will hurt them long term.
Getting your store set up “perfectly” is really important in the long term. The danger in getting everything done perfectly right at the beginning however is that you get caught up in the details and never get started.
The strategy I recommend is to get your store started and up and running as soon as you can. Even if you leave a lot of “holes” – just aim to get it started. Don’t try and get it perfect on day one.
The reality is that your Etsy shop will evolve over time and much of your store setup will change over time anyway.
Getting your first 10 to 20 listings up is the most important part. Once that is done you can start filling in the blanks and complete the shop setup by crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s
Getting Your First Sale On Etsy
The thing about Etsy is that you never really know what’s going to sell. The only way to tell is to get the listing up, do everything you can from your end to make the listing as good as possible and then let Etsy and the market decide if they love the product or not.
Getting your first sale on Etsy is really important. There are 3 reasons why it is important.
- Motivation and Proof Of Concept
- Social Proof
- Etsy Algorithm
Motivation and Proof Of Concept:
From a personal and motivational point of view, that first sale is important because it can really give you a burst of energy to keep going.
In theory, if you can sell one then you can sell one hundred. If it is your first sale ever online then it can be a real eye-opening experience when you see how powerful selling online can be.
Etsy shows the sales volume for every store. This makes it easy to see how many items any given store has sold.
If a customer lands on a store with zero sales history is makes them apprehensive. Etsy customers are quite savvy and can sniff out a newbie store from a mile away.
Think of it this way:
When you see restaurant strips where there are dozens of restaurants next to each other you can walk past on any given day and one or two of them will be full and bustling.
The automatic assumption is that the bustling restaurant must be the best, right? If everyone is going there then it must be good, right?
This is social proof. We tend to like and trust things based on other people’s behaviour. A busy and bustling Etsy store has the same effect in terms of social proof.
This is the most important part of getting your first sale on Etsy. Etsy will favour stores that are more established. This means that more established stores with a good sales history will tend to rank higher in search results.
While your first sale might not give you a big boost in rankings, it will start to move the needle. You need to build trust with Etsy if you want your Etsy shop to become more prominent on the platform.
How Long Does It Take To Get Your First Sale On Etsy?
A big question is always how long does it take to get your first sale on Etsy? While its a very normal question, the answer is never straight forward. For most new Etsy shops it takes 2 to 6 weeks to see their first sale.
This depends on the product, the category of product, price, quality of the listing and whether you run Etsy ads or not.
When you activate Etsy Ads, even at just $1/day it can greatly boost your chances of making your first few sales much faster.
Relying only on Etsy’s organic traffic could see you go 2 to 6 months before you make your first sale.
New stores simply need time to build up trust with Etsy.
First Month Selling On Etsy – What To Expect
It is really important that you manage your expectations when you start selling on Etsy. If you have dreams of making your first $10k in month one then you might be bitterly disappointed.
It is possible? Yes! Has it been done before? Yes!
Are you likely to do it? Probably not. The Etsy shops that quickly shoot to the top are rare anomalies that sell really unique products that just hit it off with Etsy buyers.
The real question is not how long does it take to get your first sale on Etsy but rather how long are you prepared to go at it without getting any sales?
Most newbie Etsy sellers fail, simply because they give up way too early.
Are you prepared to work on your Etsy store every day for 6 months without seeing any results at all?
Setting your earnings expectations really low for the first few months is important because if you start Etsy with high expectations then you will probably run out of steam before you start seeing any real results.
In your first month selling on Etsy you can expect to maybe see one or two sales. You can expect a few people to see your listings from organic Etsy search results (check your store stats after 30 days to see how people find your listings).
You can expect a few people to “Favourite” your items and even your shop.
Not seeing any sales in your first month selling on Etsy is not a sign that you should abandon ship. Keep going. Keep working on your shop and keep creating more listings.
Spend as much time as you can learning more about Etsy and crafting the best possible listings you can.
Look at successful Etsy shops. Model what they are doing.
How To Get Your First Sale On Etsy – Without Etsy
There are some ways how to get your first sale on Etsy – without Etsy. Relying on Etsy’s organic search results to bring you enough visitors to make your first sale can take a long time.
Generating your own sales is not only faster but can have some immense benefits.
In some ways Etsy resembles the common marketing catch-22 situation. To rank high in Etsy search results you need to have a lot of sales recorded against your shop but to get a lot of sales you need to rank high.
So, how do we fix this?
You could wait it out and over time you will creep up as you start getting sales. You could also start running Etsy Ads and that certainly can work.
There is a much faster way to do this though and it is a lesson I learned from selling on Merch By Amazon.
If you can bring your own “traffic” and sales to Etsy it can give you a big boost in search results and help to quickly give your store a big boost. It’s all about priming the pump.
So, how can you drive your own Etsy sales on a brand new store? Here are a few ideas:
Friends and Family
Letting friends and family know about your new store is an easy way to “prime the pump”. Give them a big discount – even if you have to forfeit all your profits. Remember that the goal here is to get sales recorded against your Etsy shop.
This is not about making money from friends and family. If you can target family reunions or weddings or big occasions where you can sell 10 to 20 items in one go then you can really get a nice kickstart.
You can follow the same strategy as above but approach local businesses who might have a need for what you have to sell.
Sweeten the deal by offering them some sort of customization to the products like adding their logo. Make sure they order the products through your Etsy shop and never place the orders yourself.
To get the full benefit you want to get multiple sales from multiple different credit cards.
Teams and Organisations
Another easy win is if you can supply teams or local organizations with your products. By offering the products at cost price (you forfeit all your profits) and offering them customized products it often is a no-brainer.
Think of small charities, local sports teams, dance schools, and even restaurants. It really depends on your products, but there will always be opportunities.
Using your social media reach can often land you a few easy sales. Make sure you announce your Etsy shop on Facebook, Instagram and any other social media platform you use.
Make sure you let your let them know you are offering a huge discount as you are only looking for sales – not profits.
People often want to help out a new startup business and you will be surprised how many sales you can generate from friends of friends who like and share your posts.
Etsy Store Setup – Checklist
While it can take weeks or months to get your first sale on Etsy, it is really important that you don’t make any obvious mistakes.
Not only can this make it much harder to get your first sale, it could prevent you from make any significant sales even if you try really hard for months.
If you do “everything right” and you still don’t see much results after 6 months then at least you can abandon your store with confidence.
Tinkering with a “losing store” will not make it successful. The fact remains that if people are not interested in what you’ve got to sell then no amount of work on that Etsy shop can “make it” successful.
Here’s a checklist of the 15 most important things you can do to ensure your success with Etsy. Following these 15 checks will not ensure or promise success.
Instead, it will help you avoid obvious mistakes that could cost you sales on Etsy.
1. Product Demand
One of the first and most important steps to ensure success on Etsy is to check for product demand. Trying to sell something that has no demand will be fruitless.
Are there other Etsy stores selling similar products?
Are they successful? (check their sales figures)
You want to tap into a ready-made market where there are already hungry customers who are buying products similar to what you are going to sell.
You can also do some more in-depth product research with Allura. This will allow you to see more accurate numbers in terms of demand and it will also allow you to access the competition.
2. Product Titles
Your product titles are the most important part of your product listings. To write effective product listings you need to understand what keywords people use to search for your products.
Filling your product titles with highly relevant keywords will not only get you traffic from Etsy, but also get your traffic from Google searches.
Tools like Ubersuggest are free and give you some great ideas for keywords to use.
Etsy allow you 55 characters in your title. Make full use of these 55 characters and DO NOT just write cute or catchy titles. Write relevant and highly targeted titles based on keywords.
3. Product Descriptions
Your product descriptions are another very important component in your Etsy listings. I like to include the main keywords in the product description (as well as the title) as that will help a lot with SEO.
Your product descriptions need to be very thorough. You want to make sure that you answer all the possible questions someone might have about the product.
Coming up with a creative and engaging product description that uses emotionally driven and engaging language also goes a long way to draw in potential customers.
Ultimately you need to understand who your potential customers are and talk directly to their biggest pain points or desires for buying your product.
4. Product Tags
Product tags used to be more important than they are but they are still very important. Your product tags will be the main “keywords” that Etsy will use to pull search results from.
Make sure you use all 13 tags available to you and make sure that your tags are highly relevant to your products and based on your keywords you want to target.
Most of the time I simply try and include as many of the keywords from my product titles in my product tags as well.
5. Product Thumbnails
Your product thumbnails are really important because it is often the first thing that people see as they scroll through the hundreds of listings.
Your thumbnails need to be your best and clearest picture of your product and it really needs to pop.
Bad thumbnails simply won’t get clicked on. Good thumbnails draw a lot of attention to them. They get clicked more often which improves the CTR (clickthrough rate) of your listing which in turn gets you pushed higher up the search results (Etsy rewards good CTR’s).
Pay attention to the listings that pop when you scroll through Etsy searches.
Why do they pop?
Model other successful thumbnails.
6. Product Images
While your product thumbnail is designed to draw people in to your listing, your product images need to “sell” the product.
Product images on Etsy need not be super professional photography. More authentic looking product images tend to work much better.
You can simply take pictures using your phone as most modern phones have really good cameras. You can also do the basic editing on the phone as well.
You want to make sure that you clearly show the product, show all the angles and also show the product being used.
If you are selling flower pots, make sure you show people what the product looks like with flowers and how it looks like on a window cill.
7. Shop Sections
This is where most shops fail miserably. Your shop sections is another opportunity to use your main keywords.
Most shops try to be cute or simply be descriptive with their product sections. By using your main keywords you can get the SEO benefits that come from adding yet another layer of keyword rich information to your store.
While relevant keywords are the most important aspect, you need to make sure it still makes sense and don’t just stuff your sections with irrelevant keywords.
8. Pricing and Shipping
Etsy is one of the least price sensitive marketplaces on the internet. If you go to Ebay, people generally search for the cheapest. The same goes for Amazon.
On Etsy, price seldom is the determining factor in getting a sale or not. People buy stuff from Etsy because it is unique and hand made. Not because it is cheap.
Resist the temptation to “be the cheapest”. It simply does not work like that on Etsy.
Instead, try and price your products similar to your closest competitors. If you want to stand out, it is better to position yourself as the more expensive product than being the cheapest.
This is counter-intuitive but by being more expensive you create the expectation that your product is better or more exclusive.
Your product price always exists alongside shipping costs. Keeping shipping costs low or offering free shipping is usually the best strategy.
Do not try and make up for low product prices by bumping your shipping costs. High shipping costs usually scare off customers. It is usually a better strategy to absorb some of the shipping costs in your product prices.
You should at least offer free shipping on orders over $35. If you can, give customers the option for express shipping. This is a great incentive for gift givers who buy last minute gifts.
9. Shop Name, Logo and Banner
Your Etsy shop setup should have NO holes in it. Make sure you fill out every single part of your Etsy shop.
Your shop name, logo and banner is a priority and even though it need not look flashy and high-end, it needs to look good.
If you have zero design skills, then simply pay someone on Fiverr to do it for you. It is usually well worth the $5 to $10.
You can also use free logo creators like the Wix Logo Maker but for Etsy you want it to have a unique aesthetic. You are not a corporate brand. You are Louise from Minnesota selling your handmade beeswax candles that are infused with lavender from your grandmother’s garden.
Don’t try and look like a “brand” or some sort of corporate company. That’s not what Etsy is all about.
10. Shop Owner
Make sure you create a cute and authentic paragraph about yourself. This gives a face and a personality to your shop. Be authentic and just be yourself.
11. About Your Shop
Giving people some insights about your business and “your story” adds to the personality of your Etsy shop. It helps to make it look and feel authentic.
Authenticity is the name of the game on Etsy. Don’t be afraid to add some “raw pictures” of yourself and your manufacturing process. People love to see first hand that what they are about to buy is made by hand.
If you have an interesting product with an interesting process, you can even add a video.
12. Shop Policies
Your shop policies need to be in place before you can start making sales. It can be quite intimidating to create shop policies if you are a new shop.
Most of the time your policies will evolve as you start seeing what the issues are with your shop.
For a start, just use Etsy’s simple policies setup as that is more than good enough to get started. The main things to look for are refunds and returns as that is what concerns most shoppers the most.
13. Social Media
Social media is a powerful way to help promote your Etsy store. Pinterest is the social network of choice for most Etsy sellers simply because it fits so well into the Etsy handmade framework.
Make sure you get your Pinterest account (set up a business account) set up and linked to your Etsy shop to enable rich pins.
Be sure to replicate your keyword strategy in your Pinterest boards and make sure you pin often. It is recommended that you pin 10 to 20 pins per day.
You can easily make 5 to 10 pins for each and every product listing you have on Etsy. This can quickly grow your reach on Pinterest if you just keep pinning.
14. Etsy Ads
Etsy Ads tends to divide a lot of Etsy experts on whether you should or should not use it. My personal view and experience is that you absolutely have to – especially when you first start out.
With Etsy Ads you can get prime spot listings even if you are a brand new store. Not only can it help you to get your first sale on Etsy much quicker but it can give your entire store a boost.
It doesn’t have to break the bank either. Start with $1 or $2 per day and let it ride for a week or two. Most sellers start seeing sales even with low budgets like that.
Once your starts performing you can always up your budget. Be sure to always make sure you get a decent ROI and not spend more than you make.
15. Sales and Coupons
Setting up some basic coupons right at the start is a great way to make sure you “catch” all potential sales.
There are 2 coupons you need to set up early on. By setting up an “Abandoned basket” and “Recently favourited” campaigns Etsy will automatically email these discount codes to shoppers who expressed an interest in your listings.
Offering a 10% to 20% discount is often all it takes to convince shoppers to pull out their credit cards.