I am the first to advocate not mentioning the ‘C’ word before 1st December. But needs must this year due to so many changes, and I am having to break up my purchases over three months to make it through financially intact in some way. Whilst I want to follow Martin Lewis’s tips for not buying unecessarily, like most of us, I don’t want to be judged. And we do judge. I haven’t quite managed ‘no buy’ across the board.
So instead, I am making a policy this festive season and am buying all my gifts (except for books) on Etsy. I hate trawling the shops looking for generic gifts that you could get anywhere. You can never find what you want, so you buy for the sake of it. It’s payback time. If I want people to buy from my shop, I should do the same for them, right?
I’m not sure I am saving much money. Shipping costs are redressing that balance, but from what I’ve seen so far, I am getting a better quality of product and a more satisfying customer service.
There are for me, of course, other motivations aside from not having to endure the high street fiasco. More than anything, it’s all part of my Etsy experiment. If I am viewing other people’s shops and I am favouriting individual items and shops and having conversations with other sellers, this surely, is also advertising for my shop? I am appearing on other people’s dashboards. Potential customers who might not ordinarily look for purchases themselves or aren’t using the phrases that I’m using, are seeing me.
I think I have partly proved this in the number of people favouriting items in my shop and the number of visits I have been getting. In the first half of November, I had almost as many visits as I had in the whole of October. Now I need to convert them into sales. But I’m not sure how to do that yet apart from keep doing what I’m doing. Someone either likes your product or they don’t and such is the oversubscription to Etsy, it really isn’t as easy as it used to be.
This exercise is also helping me to think like a buyer rather than as a seller. When you are only selling, it’s difficult to get into the mindset of the average Joe on the street who is surfing Etsy. What search terms do they use? If they don’t know technical words, or material types, how are they going to look for your product? Once people have found your shop, or even just one item, there are the additional items they are likely to find on the way through as they browse through your listings.
For instance, I was looking for clothing for my three year old niece. She loves mermaids so I looked for mermaid print clothing. I found a pair of leggings, but better than that, was the shop they were in, and I found better items and things for my almost two year old nephew as well. I bought their Christmas presents there, and I’ll make sure that people know that I like the items because that’s how you help other sellers. This is how it should work. Now it’s simply a case of trying to get that to work for my shop.
What I realised more than anything, is that I didn’t find any of those items I eventually bought, by looking through Instagram or Twitter or by using Google, or indeed by using the search terms I typed into Etsy. So was this simply a luck of the draw, that you don’t know what it is you really want until you find it? I am not an impulse buyer. These were considered purchases.
It made me question why I spend so much time sharing listings on my social media with Etsy shop appropriate hashtags if people aren’t looking for purchases through those mediums in the first place. And that is all a part of the Etsy journey.