I starting thinking about this today because of a gal on Facebook who was saying that she didn’t have any sales and who worried that it was because there were other sellers who had super low prices on their products that competed with hers.
The responses were great, but didn’t really address the real issue, that that seller was afraid to ask for a good price for her items.
Underpricing Your Products
One of the biggest mistakes I see Etsy sellers make is underpricing their products. Having a great product that is high quality means that you should be willing to price it at a level that makes sense.
Think about it, if you see something that looks great but is super cheap. You probably say to yourself, “It looks great but there must be something wrong with it to sell it that low.”
I have the perfect example of this from real life. There is a really nice looking Mustang (American car) for sale on someone’s yard across the street from my Mother In Law’s house for $4,000. The prices listed for that car range from $13,000 to $31,000 online so there MUST be something really wrong with a car that they are selling for 1/3 of its actual value. It could be stolen or the engine could be ruined or any number of other things, but something is definitely not right.
What Makes A Product More Valuable?
Before we get into how to price your products, let’s talk about what make a product worth more to a buyer!
Whether you are a handmade seller or a vintage seller, you need to source high quality materials or items. Shopping the bargain bins for the lowest price goods or materials will result in you consistently only having low quality goods to sell.
Vintage – I am a vintage seller and I have been steadily increasing the quality of my products. Instead of going to yard sales to source, I have been attending antique auctions and high end estate sales to get my items.
Handmade – If you are a handmade seller, don’t source the same low priced places that everyone else is using. Stop shopping on price and start finding sources that have something a little different or special. If you are using your 40% off coupon to get your materials, you are probably making items that have the same look as many other sellers on Etsy.
Being willing to pay a little more on the front end often-times means being able to charge more on the back end.
Speaking of selling same-old, same old products… if your items are exactly like everything out there already, you are selling a commodity product and will have to compete on price.
Milk is a commodity product. The price for a gallon of milk is pretty fixed. You might pay a bit more for the convenience of getting it at a gas station, but no one can reasonably expect to charge $20 for a gallon of milk if the normal price is around $4.
But what if it is goat’s milk? Hmmm or what if it is from your super pampered cow in the back yard who is only fed the highest of grains and has no antibiotics. What if your child is super allergic to cow’s milk? Would you be willing to pay more for some other kind of milk?
Handmade – What about jewelry? If you are selling a piece that is made from findings that are commonly available everywhere, it is hard to ask a higher price than if you have something special.
Vintage – For vintage sellers, finding cheap costume jewelry is easy, but not profitable. Taking the time to find unique items that are harder for the average buyer to find everywhere is a much more lucrative use of your time and money!
So here is the thing about selling more unique or quality items… you have to take the time to educate yourself about what is available and this takes time (which will set you apart!)
Handmade – I know that sourcing from wholesalers or unique sources is harder than sourcing from retail or other Etsy sellers. THAT is why you will be a standout product. Most sellers are not willing to take the time to educate themselves on how to find unique materials for their products.
Vintage – Oh my, the vintage arena is full of areas to educate yourself. You can go super niche and know a lot about one topic, For example I follow a gal who knows EVERYTHING about vintage needlepoint designs and finished products. She is able to source and sell at a higher price because she can buy wisely and then set her prices higher than someone (like me) who knows nothing about that kind of product. I am more interested in selling “metal stuff” like brass, aluminum and silver. Over the years I have been learning more and more about these kinds of items!
Who Is A High End Buyer?
If you are going to start selling to high end buyers, you need to know who is a high end buyer for your products. Here are a few examples of high end buyers:
Wealthy People – there are many people worldwide for whom “price is no option”. In fact, they do not want to buy something cheap, instead they are looking for quality items that are unique.
Film and Photo Stylists – these people are looking for great products to use in their films and photos and again, while they do have a budget, they are a little more willing to pay more for something unique and interesting.
Magazines – magazines are not always looking for handmade or vintage, but when they are they have an idea in mind and if your product matches that idea they will buy your item.
Gift Givers – I know that I am much more willing to spend money on something I get for someone else than I am for something that is just for me. If you position your product as something that you can give to a dear friend or family member your potential price point goes up.
Brides – brides are crazy! They are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a one day event, but that means that everything has to be perfect! If you sell something that can be targeted to brides, know that you can charge premium prices for “best of class” products.
Collectors – People who collect certain things are willing to pay more to find a unique piece or something that will “finish” their collection.
How To Price Your Etsy Products For The High End Buyer
If you are an “average joe or jane”, spending big money may mean saving up or going without (more about this later). For people who are wealthy, buying things that seem expensive to us is a daily occurrence and doesn’t take any thought at all.
Check Out High End Websites
Say you are an Etsy candle maker. You source the finest soy materials, have worked for years on perfecting the perfect “beach” smell and have great products. You start thinking about raising your prices a little because you aren’t making enough and think, who would pay $30 for a candle!
You might be surprised to know that this candle, from Ralph Lauren, is $70 at Bergdorf Goodman, a high end store in New York City.
Now I get that Mr. Lauren has spent decades providing high quality, innovative products, but this candle is mass-produced and definitely not “hand made”.
Now, all buyers do not want unique or handmade. They are happy to go along with the crowd and buy at regular retail outlets.
But we are ETSY SELLERS! We are on the marketplace where people are searching for unique and interesting things that they won’t see everywhere!
This works for vintage sellers too… whenever I feeling funky about selling something that is old and somewhat worn, I go to Restoration Hardware and look up what I am selling.
For example, I heard that aluminum was not worth anything and I should sell it for pennies on the dollar. And then come to find out this aluminum tray is $79.
It always makes me smile when I see people spending good money for fake old stuff when they can buy real old stuff on Etsy, but that is back to the “unique buyers”.
The buyers we are looking for want a unique and authentic item from times past, not a copy that has been mass produced.
Read High End Magazines
I have a monthly subscription to the Texture app. It allows me to see SO MANY magazines for one low price!
I spent my free time cruising Elle, Brides and Decor, looking for things that are “hot” in the world of luxury today.
Just recently a magazine had an article about using antique items for putting your pretty flowers in. They used old mason jars, vintage colanders and old dented food tins. BRILLIANT! I sell all those things at my vintage store, Glamorously Vintage!
If you are selling handmade to the bridal market, you have to subscribe and read many brides magazines. Sell clothing, start perusing the fashion mags.
You will start to get a feel for how much things cost in that world. For example, the Oprah’s Favorites List last year included a clutch purse in fancy colors. (#promo amazon link)
They are truly beautiful and support women in developing countries, but the thing that caught my eye is that they are $250. I know ladies on Etsy who are afraid to charge 1/10 of that at $25.
Seeing something like this will help you to think about your items and the price that you will be willing to sell them for!
What High End Buyers Require
Okay, now you are feeling better about pricing your Etsy products, but what do you have to do to SELL those products? When you start selling on the higher end, you may have to change some of your shop policies and practices!
Exceptional Service And Communication
The first thing you are going to need to realize is that you will have to be a “high touch” seller. You can’t just have orders and convos sitting around without acknowledging them and answering. I know of some sellers who get upset when their customers ask for confirmation and delivery dates. You should just plan on making this part of your shop practices.
Where will you get the time? I KNOW! We are all super busy and the thought of being so responsive might make you sad. But good news! Because your prices are higher, you will not have as many low end buyers who tend to be more picky and high maintenance. Additionally, you may sell less in volume but make up for that in profit.
Offer Lots of Shipping Options
If you are targeting high end buyers, you will need to start doing things that they expect. They do not balk at paying high shipping fees to get things fast or shipped half-way around the world. Make sure you offer international shipping, priority and express.
I KNOW that might sound scary if you are used to shipping just in your country, but now you are starting be a professional seller and need to offer options that your customers expect.
One note, because I sell to film producers and designers a lot, I often have to ship overnight on Saturdays to get the item to them fast. I also am asked to ship with Fedex using their shipping code which is fine. I still charge the regular shipping amount to compensate for my time and then send them the tracking info.
If you are unsure about your pictures at all, you probably need to step up your game a bit. Someone paying top dollar for a product expects to see the kinds of photos that they would in a high end catalog.
I KNOW this sounds daunting but if your pictures are not up to snuff you have to figure out how to make them crisp, clear and professional before you can command high prices.
Additional resource: How to take super amazing product photography with your iPhone
You will need to have nice packaging to make your high end buyers happy. Now, I am not talking about breaking the bank, but using recycled “stuff” to send your items will no longer cut it.
I was horrified to hear that a seller I love uses grocery bags to wrap her items to ship. I cannot imagine buying something amazing and then opening the box to find that they shipped it in what I consider to be garbage.
I use pink tissue paper that I get in bulk on Ebay to pack all my items after I have bubble wrapped them. I also have pink bubble mailers and a cute card that I include in the boxes.
Skimping at this step of the process could mean getting poor reviews… even if your item is immaculate!
Final Notes About Pricing Your Etsy Products For High End Buyers
If you are reading this post, most likely you are a little unsure about how to price your items higher than you feel comfortable. That is okay, but know that your perceptions are not always right! Here are a couple of things to think about…
Don’t Ask Other Etsy Sellers
Unless you are selling a product that is specifically for Etsy sellers to use, please do not ask your friends on Etsy forums and Facebook groups if your item is “too expensive”.
Etsy sellers are not your target market and should not be consulted as they will mess up your head. Some will say your price is okay, some will say it is ridiculously high and some will say it is too low. I have found that most Etsy sellers have no idea what “fair market value” means let alone have they researched it for their own products.
Fair market value is the price that the market is willing to pay for an item. Unless they have done exhaustive research before giving you their opinion, just don’t let it bother you.
Your High End Might Not Be Their High End
Last but not least let’s talk about you and your perception of cost. I have found that artists, artisans, Etsy Sellers and well, creative people in general, are much more thrifty than the average bear.
You may think that $250 for a handbag is crazy, but Oprah didn’t. You may think that it is ridiculous to pay $125 for an old chipped dish, but I promise you there are people out there who consider that dish to be the find of the century.
Don’t use your life as a reflection of what your customer’s life is!
You Will Pay For Things You Want
No matter what your financial circumstances, you are probably willing to pay more for something than someone else is!
For example, I am notoriously cheap about my clothing. I cannot fathom paying more than $20 for a shirt and $30 for jeans seems really luxurious to me. That said, I will gladly pay hundreds of dollars for decor for my home, training for my business and sporting equipment for my children without batting an eye.
Maybe yours is spending $5 a day for coffee or splurging on a night out with the girls. Somewhere you have to have something that is precious enough an item or experience to pay good money for! Think about that feeling in regard to your Etsy products and know that someone will feel just that rush from buying something from you!
Etsy Seller Planner
I am a current Etsy seller with two successful stores (one vintage and one digital) so many of these forms are ones that I developed to make my life easier! I also worked on this planner with the help of current Etsy sellers who let me know the things that they struggle with time-wise!
Using this planner will help streamline your systems and (as one gal put it) make sure that important things don’t get lost in your “bermuda desk”!