We have all been there… a day or two goes by with no sales and we start panicking. So what can you DO to change what is happening (or more like NOT happening!) 5 ways to kick start sales when you are in a slump.
Before You Start….
Before you look at this list, please listen up for one minute. DON'T take a little slump and vow to CHANGE EVERYTHING!
I hear gals in other Facebook groups all the time saying, “I changed all my listings and nothing happened”. Never change all your everything all at once.
Yes, there are a few things that you can do to increase sales, but don't take all 5 of these and go nuts in a frenzy of faux productivity. Try one, maybe two and then see what happens!
There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase something I get a wee bit of money, that is what helps keep my site free!
1. Check Your Recent Sales
Okay, one of the confirmed algorithm updates from Etsy is recency of sales. This is why, if you sell a set of asparagus tongs, you are more likely to sell another set soon. Here is what they say!
We look at how well a listing converts—how many people view it and then make a purchase—to determine whether buyers are interested in it, which boosts that listing’s quality score and placement in search results. source Etsy
What that means is that you have the most chance of selling something similar to that item that sold.
So what does this mean for you? Look at your recent sales. I like to keep my sales “open” so I can see this easily, but you can also look at your sales stats. source SoGlamorouslyVintage
As you can see, I have sold two different funky glass dishes and two different mason jars. None of these was sold to the same person!
What to DO with this info?
For vintage sellers – check your stash and see if you can find any similar types of items to list! I have more jars that I could list and keep that bump going! Use Copy on your listing to carry over the bulk of the keywords and attributes that worked in those last sales.
For OOAK (one of a kind) handmade sellers – Make something similar to what has sold. Use Copy on your listing to carry over the bulk of the keywords and attributes that worked in those last sales.
For handmade sellers, tshirt peeps, etc. – Get a new listing up there for a similar product right away. If you can make a new-new one, great! If not, take new pictures of an older item and list it as a separate listing. I KNOW Etsy doesn't encourage this, but they don't say you can't do it either! Additional resource… How To Use Multiple Listings To Rank For Different Etsy SEO Keywords
2. Update Your Etsy SEO
Just yesterday I was responding to a gentleman on one of the groups that said his sales were down and he didn't understand why. Looking at his listings, many of them had very few keywords and were super repetitive in their titles and tags.
I suggested that he needed to have more keywords and functionally he said, “this has been working for two years why should I have to do more work now?” Um, because your sales are down?
I KNOW it is super frustrating thinking you have everything figured out and then realize you have to go back and change things. But if your views and sales are down, then one of the first things you have consider is that your search category is saturated and you need to do some more work on your SEO.
What to DO with this info?
- Do a search for your product and see how many competing items are listed in search
- See if they have strong SEO keywords (if they don't have strong keywords and have lots of sales they may be driving them themselves through social media)
- Go to your listings and look at them with a critical eye… do you have lots of keywords that buyers would be searching for?
- Get creative, go beyond just what it factually is, think about who (will buy it), what (they could use it for), where (they would use it), when (the time of year or activity it could be for), why (could be a gift or because they are having a big life event), how (it will make their life better)
Most of you who follow me are pretty darn good at Etsy SEO, but if it has been a while since you have taken a peek at your listings, might be time to update and see if you can get more views (ie, more views means more sales!)
ADDITIONAL ETSY SEO RESOURCES
- I talk a fair bit about this topic… check out all my Etsy SEO articles!
- Sign up for my favorite Etsy SEO research tool … you get two weeks for free
- Check out all my Etsy Marketing videos
3. Find Out What People Are Searching For
I find this one to be fun! Digging around in your Etsy stats can help you find out so much about why or why not things are happening.
Search Terms In Your Store
Look at the long tail keywords that people are already searching your shop for. Etsy shop manager > Stats > Search Terms
On the first page you will find all the regular ones, but see down there at the bottom? There are 192 PAGES of different ways that people have searched to find my products.
You can do recent searches, like the last month or two OR longer time periods like “this year” or “last year”. You can even go back to last year and see what people were searching for in this time frame!
What to DO with this info?
Digging into this data can help you to find “trends” in your own shop that can help you spot what kinds of products sell well for you and additional search terms that you could use in your listings.
I have multiple times found that by digging into search data from my clients that things that they thought were not a big part of their stores could be super popular sellers if they stocked more of them or different kinds of similar items!
Other Items They Have Searched For
I tend to find this are of you stats to be SO darn interesting. Here you can find out what else your buyers looked for when they were shopping!
Here I can see they look for spco (which turns out is a railroad), green fluorite, pewter figurines (I sell mostly brass), ironstone & pyrex (I could source that!) and pairs of candle holders (interesting).
When you are in here you can often find things that are shocking or unsettling. Say you sell hair bows and they are looking for pony tail scrunchies. You may not want to have to start making something new, but your customers may be loud and clear about the kinds of things that are popular in their shopping now!
This works for lots of things!
Say you did a bunch of green items because last year's Pantone color was fresh green, but now buyers are looking for purple or aubergine. Well, you will have to start making purple products to stay current.
Or you jumped on the “succulents” wagon this year because everyone is in love with cactuses but next year they move on to “starfish” or “sea turtles”. There is no sense being mad that you did a whole bunch of succulents no one wants now. Just keep an eye on the trends and see what your peeps want to buy!
What to DO with this info?
For vintage sellers – Start sourcing things that your customers are telling you they want!
For ALL handmade sellers – You can make things that are in the same theme of what they are looking for!
4. Think of New Sales Channels
One of the things that keeps me off the ledge is that when my Etsy sales are down, oftentimes my Ebay sales are up. I don't have all my eggs in the Etsy basket!
This could mean many different things to different sellers:
- Vintage sellers could use Mercari, Ebay or even Amazon as a second selling platform
- Anyone could list locally in Facebook Marketplace or Let Go
- You could have a “shop” in a local store or farmers market
- Wholesale to retail stores is a great option if your products are a good fit
- You could set up your own website and drive sales there with Google SEO, social media or an email list
There are considerations for this that you have to take into account, but it is definitely a way to branch out and keep your income higher when your Etsy sales are lower.
Should you cross sell? One of the considerations is whether you cross sell (listing an item on both/all the platforms you use). I don't do this, having separate inventories on Etsy and Ebay. If you are Johnny on the spot and can take down things that sell right away, this might be a good option for you. For me it would just be too much of an admin pressure.
Do you like internet marketing? One of the ways I hear A LOT is to “get your own store” as if that would be super easy peasy. Don't jump into opening a stand-alone store unless you like doing social media, videos and email marketing to drive customers to it. The thing I like about Ebay and Etsy is that they bring me customers and I can focus on sourcing and creating things to sell.
Do you want to meet people in person? Selling on local sites means “hooking up” with people in the real world. If you are a nut about safety or live in an area that is unsafe, maybe not your best option.
There truly are many other places you could sell. Just make sure you don't pick so many that you lose sight of your “main” selling platform. For me that is Etsy. I put 90% of my efforts there and then when I have extra time or items that I don't think will sell well on Etsy I list them on Ebay.
5. Have A Sale / Do Promotions
I left this one for last because who wants to hear “decrease your profits or spend more money” when sales are already down! That said, when you do this kind of marketing right, you are making more than you are paying so at the end of the day you will have more income.
Have A Sale
Etsy has a special toggle right in search that allows buyers to pick things that are on sale.
That said, if you are just running a sale without promoting it, you might not see the results that you need now that you are in a slump. This is going to take extra effort!
- Post your sale to social media
- Email your list and let them know you are having a sale
- Talk about it in your Announcements banner
- Add it to your tags
- Make a category in your shop and put all your sale items in there
- Change your product titles to say “ON SALE”
Do you have to do ALL these things? Nope. But if you just decrease your prices without putting in anymore effort, you probably won't see the results that you want from your sale.
Promote Your Products On Etsy or Google
Etsy has built in marketing that you can turn on or off when you want more exposure for your listings. Here is where promoted items show up in Etsy search….
The nice thing about doing promoted listings is that you can choose on an item by item basis what to pay to promote. For example, in this search, my Real Estate Planner from my Paperly People shop ranks in the top 4 searches. I could choose NOT to pay to promote that because it is already driving sales and ranks highly as a “Bestseller”.
What to DO with this info?
- It is important to monitor this closely! Don't forget you have the cost of promoting, PLUS any sourcing, making and packing costs added on to that!
- Make sure you are making more than the cost of the item, hopefully with some profit
- If you are just breaking even, it might be worth it to keep promoting as the “sell more of the same thing” could kick in and you might sell more to “non-promoted” customers
- Digital products sellers – if you are making more than what it costs to promote, keep upping your daily budget until you aren't and then back it down
Paying for promotions or Google ads is a way to jump start your sales again. Just make sure you have done everything else you can before resorting to spending money that you might not have right now!
Additional Thoughts About Overcoming An Etsy Sales Slump
If something I said struck a nerve and you are fired up to get started, skip this section. But if you are still in the pits of despair, then maybe these additional ideas will help!
Don't Go On Facebook and Bitch
I KNOW, when you are sad it helps to have people rally around you and tell you things you want to hear. I promise that if you go into most Facebook groups, you can bitch about slow sales and a gagillion sellers will jump in and tell you it is the “throttling” or “etsy has favorites” or a million other conspiracy theories to explain why things aren't selling.
None of that helps you!
I am going to get a little “airy fairy” for a minute here, so hold on. I truly believe in the power of positive thinking and also that you can keep yourself down by being down. If you are spending even 5 minutes bitching on Facebook, that is time you have wasted instead of doing something proactive to help your income!
I wrote this post because a gal in my Etsy Facebook group was sad she wasn't getting sales. If you are looking for an uplifting group that can help keep you motivated, check out Awesome Etsy & Ebay Artists and Vintage!
Set Up An Email List
I wanted to put this one down here because it is a long term play, not something to jump start sales.
Having a list of people who know, like and trust you can be a great way to increase your sales! Every time you list something, have a sale or just want to keep in touch, you have a group of people who have raised their hands and said they want to hear from you.