There is no denying that Etsy has successfully established itself as a leading marketplace for creative businesses, providing the many brands that are already selling on Etsy with access to a community of over 15 million buyers.
Now, while the reach Etsy itself offers is significant, as with any marketplace the competition is high, and because of this you should be leveraging best practices to get more from your Etsy store, and even more specifically your brand. This also means looking at alternatives to selling on Etsy.
With this in mind, consider following our tips in order to reach more customers and ultimately grow your business:
Blog to promote your business.
Due to the nature of the products you're selling on Etsy, blogging is a great way to promote your brand, build up a following and engage your audience.
There are a number of ways you can get more from blogging, which include highlighting and discussing trends, showcasing the new products you have in your store, or even providing tutorials on how to make products.
Once you have set up a blog, a good tip is to add your Etsy Mini to the blog's sidebar, in order to drive traffic to your site.
Get more from Pinterest.
Pinterest is a great social media platform for Etsy sellers, simply because Pinterest users tend to like creative, artistic, unique products, basically the items that you're selling on Etsy.
For this reason, if you haven't already set up a Pinterest account then you should, although you should bear in mind that you will need a business account in order to use these channels together.
As with anything, there are certain best practices you can follow to build your Pinterest following, including contributing to the community by pinning items other than your own.
Now, that's not to say that you should start promoting your competitors products, but by re-pinning and showcasing items and images from users that have similar interests, you can increase your followers, likes and repins.
If you're a US business, you can also integrate your Etsy store with your account, and by using a website platform such as Shopify, Bigcommerce or Magento, you can benefit from buyable pins, which enables your customers to buy directly from Pinterest.
Have an external website.
The Etsy marketplace is perfect for anyone selling handmade or vintage items, but for those of you looking to expand your business and increase your sales, selling only through one channel has its limitations.
Not only this, but as with any marketplace, selling solely on Etsy has it's disadvantages, including lack of control, marketplace fees and branding limitations, which makes it difficult to differentiate your Etsy store from your competitors.
Many Etsy sellers have in fact seen success simply building a seperate online store to sell these products. There are significant benefits to selling on your own web store, including reduced overheads, expanded reach, increased visibility, and not having to comply with other site's regulations.
When selling on more than one channel, it's worth exploring your opportunities with inventory and order management software. This enables you to manage all your orders, stock levels and more all through one centralized location - meaning you don't have to log into multiple sites each day.
If this is a route you decide to go down, there are a number of ways you can drive traffic to your store, both from current Etsy customers and new customers.
Firstly, consider inserting a business card and even a discount voucher with your Etsy orders, in a bid to encourage customers to shop directly from your store in the future.
To generate new custom, ensure you follow marketing best practices which include fully optimizing your store and blog for SEO, promoting your store across social media channels and your blog, leveraging user-generated content across all channels, as well as driving engagement through incentives and competitions.
Set up your own website with Pattern by Etsy.
You may well be wondering why this is any different from the above point. Let me assure you it is.
Firstly, if you're not already aware of Pattern, it's a website builder that has just been launched specifically for Etsy sellers.
It provides you with the ability to design your own website alongside your Etsy store, enabling you to better showcase your brand and items, by customizing your own theme and colour palette.
So what makes it different to setting up a website using Shopify, Bigcommerce, or any other website platform?
Ultimately, if you set up a Pattern website, then you should be aware that you are basically creating a new storefront for exactly the same products that are listed on your Etsy store. In other words, it will run in parallel with your Etsy store, which can result in duplicate content and potential SEO implications.
While Pattern certainly has its advantages, the bottom line is that it is not a standalone website, and to some extent Etsy will still be in control. Examples of this include the fact that you can't run promotions or use different pricing, you can't list products that aren't listed on your Etsy store, you can't optimize your website pages for SEO, and should your Etsy store be suspended or closed, so will your Pattern shop.
Pattern might be a great option for those of you currently selling on Etsy, simply looking for some additional branding. If you are looking to create a website to give your more control and help you expand your business, make sure you do your research prior to making any selling decisions.
Facebook is a great channel for brand promotion, especially for small businesses.
In fact, there are a number of ways you can leverage Facebook to raise your profile and boost your sales.
To start with, you should consider linking your shop to your Facebook page, which will enable you to post information about your products directly to Facebook, during the listing process on Etsy.
Another way to increase sales is by taking advantage of the 'social shopping' era, and set up a Facebook store as an additional sales channel for your business.
What this basically means is, as a business, you can now create a store on Facebook to showcase your products, allowing customers to browse, share and purchase them without leaving the site.
Again, eCommerce platforms such as Shopify or Bigcommerce will be able to connect all of your products to your Facebook store, while handling the payment processing and transaction tracking.
Expand into new marketplaces.
Many Etsy sellers have experienced success from selling on additional marketplaces, including both Amazon and eBay. There are also alternative marketplaces to Etsy, such as Handmade by Amazon.
Handmade is a new marketplace for Artisans looking to sell their unique and hand-crafted goods, but it is very select in who it allows to sell via this channel, and you will need to request an invite in order to begin the registration process and set up your profile.
Regardless of whether you decide to set up your own website or list on new marketplaces, there are a number of things that you will need to consider in order to effectively grow your business.
Unsurprisingly, when you start selling items across multiple channels, you are faced with challenges including managing high volumes of orders, as well as managing stock levels across these channels, both of which can lead to the overselling of products and human error.