If your Etsy sales are trending downward despite all of your continuous hard work, it can be easy to get discouraged. Most likely, it’s not anything you’re doing wrong, and there are things you can do to give your shop a boost.
It’s normal for any business to have fluctuations in sales. However, as a business owner, it’s never comfortable to see your numbers dwindle, even if it’s just temporary.
There are a few factors that can cause sales to drop, and more likely than not, it’s not permanent. So don’t panic!
We’ll help you troubleshoot, and give you some tips to help bring your numbers back up.
Five Things to Check First When Sales are Dropping on Etsy
If you’ve noticed your Etsy sales have diminished, there may be very simple explanation.
Most sellers tend to get very discouraged once the first few sales begin to drip – but don’t despair! There are many shops that fluctuate in their sales for good and simple reasons, but they tend to get back on their feet.
You may be one of them!
Here are some possible factors to consider before you hang up your entrepreneurial hat:
1. Time of Year
Most retail businesses notice a bit of a dip in sales between January and April.
Budgets are often a little tighter after the holiday season, and before people have fully had time to recover, they’re getting ready for tax season.
If you notice your sales dropping during this time of year, you can use this time to update your product line, and remember to budget for a slow season next year.
2. Change of Season
If you’re selling clothing, your sales may decline when certain items go out of season. Or, if any of your items are holiday-related, they’re less likely to move after the holidays have passed.
You can put out-of-season items on sale to keep business coming and make space for new inventory.
3. Increased Competition
Take a look at shops that sell similar items to yours.
Are their prices lower? Are their listings more descriptive, or do they contain more SEO keywords?
See if there are ways your shop can stay competitive.
4. Changing Trends
Trends shift over time. The most successful Etsy sellers are the ones who keep up with changing trends.
Pay attention to what’s happening on Etsy and elsewhere online, and keep your product line adaptable.
5. Listing Quality
Your listings can make or break your Etsy shop.
Make sure your descriptions and item titles are personal and descriptive, with plenty of SEO keywords so they’ll be more likely to come up first in a search.
Make sure and take clear, professional photos of your items, with plenty of natural light.
Don’t stop after checking just one variable, and you don’t have to wait until you see sales drop to take stock of how your shop is holding its own.
Make sure you’re staying on top of trends, competition, changing seasons, etc, in order to keep your shop consistently thriving.
Should I Renew My Listings to Get a Boost on Etsy?
Etsy keeps your listings up for a 4-month period, and this period costs a $.20 service fee each time it’s renewed.
It used to be that when you renewed a listing, that listing would automatically get a boost in search priority.
However, Etsy has since change its search algorithms, so simply renewing the listing will not alter its place in a buyer’s search.
All that a listing renewal will do is allow the listing to stay up in your Etsy shop longer. So if your aim is to boost sales, you’ll need to do more than just renew the listing.
How Can I Boost My Listings’ Visibility?
There are some things you can do to improve your item listings’ visibility, beyond a renewal.
First, you need to improve your Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
SEO can help your items come up when buyers search not only in Etsy, but in other platforms like Google and Yahoo as well.
Search Engine Optimization can be a complicated process. Search engines frequently change their search criteria, so it can be difficult to know what terms will make your listings most likely to show up first.
When writing your listings, ask yourself what kind of terms would you type into a search bar when looking for an item, and try to use as many words like these as you can in your item description. Find the words that most accurately and descriptively capture your shop.
Etsy also parses your shop into different sections, or categories. Another way that you can improve your SEO is by naming your sections in clear, straightforward categories.
Make sure that each of your items is optimized for at least ten different searches. This may seem overwhelming, but there are some helpful resources in the Etsy Seller Handbook if you need more tips on how to do this.
Beyond improving your SEO, you also want to make sure that your items stand out when they do show up in a search, or when they’re found in general browsing rather than through a direct search.
Making Your Listings Stand Out
There are many ways to make your listings stand out, and it is important to make sure you have a firm grasp on what other major sellers in your category are doing that you could be doing, too.
A few of these techniques are:
Quality, Professional-Looking Photos:
Use natural light, and stage and frame the photo.
You don’t want a picture of the item on a cluttered kitchen table, or a mirror selfie of you wearing the item or a picture that’s blurry.
Make it good enough for the ‘Gram, and then maybe take it up another notch.
Of course, you still need to make sure you’re giving yourself realistic profit margins.
But see if you can find similar items, and price yours close to or less than the prices of those items.
Descriptive, Personal Write-Ups in Your Listings:
Do you believe in your products and your shop? Do you love the items your selling, and want your buyers to love them as much as you do?
Stay away from too generic descriptions.
Be vivid, poetic, and authentically you as a seller, so that your buyers can connect with you and with your one-of-a-kind products!
How Do I Know if My Prices are Set Right?
Setting your prices can be tough. If you’re noticing a decline in your sales, you may be tempted to assume your prices are too high and drop them significantly.
However, your prices probably aren’t the cause for declining sales, particularly if your prices have never posed an issue before.
It is important to pay attention to prices of Etsy shops and items that are comparable to your own product line but don’t cling too tightly to the idea that your prices have to remain competitive.
If your prices are too low, you run the risk of putting other shops out of business, only to burn yourself out because you’re increasing your output without making sustainable profits.
Strategically Determining Your Pricing:
Add up the cost of all of your materials.
This includes everything: your raw materials, your tools, your Etsy listing fees and other costs associated with the platform, any fees you pay on PayPal, and even any photo editing programs that you use for your listing photos, and yes—your time.
How much do you want to make per hour? Figure this out first, then time yourself making each item, and include this in the cost of your materials.
Now, based on the average cost you’re putting into each item, you can calculate the price from here, and see how it stands against typical prices of similar items.
You may want to adjust a little higher or lower than what you’re calculations came out to. Feel free to play around a bit and see how things sell. You may notice that you can raise your price significantly without affecting sales—in which case, do it. You can also do little things like charging $27.50 instead of a straight $30, and sometimes these kinds of adjustments can help your products move.
You’re not quite finished yet. Now it’s time to decide whether you want to offer your customer’s free shipping. If you do, you’ll want to adjust your prices a little higher to make this work for you. You can use Etsy’s Smart Pricing Tool to help with this part.
How are Sales Generally on Etsy These Days?
In general, sales on Etsy are still continuing to trend upwards.
Some sellers have expressed that they’re struggling to find their former groove after Etsy implemented some changes to their search algorithms. For example, in 2019, Etsy began giving search priority to items and shops that include free shipping.
Etsy has had to keep up with bigger commercial sellers like Amazon, which is most likely the reason behind some of the changes they’ve been implementing.
But Etsy is still a place for unique and handmade goods that can’t be found on some of the bigger sites.
Considering that the overall trend of Etsy sales has been upward, it seems that what many sellers are experiencing are typical growing pains. A few adjustments to make sure your shop is getting featured in searches and your product line is keeping up with market trends, and you should find your shop bouncing back in no time.
Is it Still Worth it to Start an Etsy Store?
With some of the changes that Etsy has made, new sellers may be nervous to set up shop for the first time.
But if you’re a seller of handmade or vintage items, especially of items that are one-of-a-kind, Etsy is still the biggest platform for you. Before you decide whether or not to start your Etsy shop, think about whether Etsy is the right place to sell your products.
Here are some factors to consider.
- Are you comfortable selling online, and are you relatively computer savvy?
- If navigating Etsy and keeping up with your online stats is going to be tantamount to pulling your own teeth out, then maybe this isn’t the space to move your products. Otherwise, proceed to check out the other factors.
- Are your items one-of-a-kind, or more on the generic end?
- Etsy buyers come to Etsy because they’re looking for something unique. If they stand out well enough, they’re more likely to sell on Etsy. However, if your items are the type that can be found anywhere, Etsy may not be the right platform.
- What is your target demographic?
- If your potential customers aren’t the type to frequent Etsy, then you’re not likely to make very many sales.
Remember that even if you do decide to set up an Etsy shop, this doesn’t have to be the only platform you use to sell your products. In fact, it’s best to have multiple sources of exposure.
You can sell your products on your own business website, or other selling platforms such as eBay and Amazon. You can also participate in local craft shows, sell your items at farmers’ markets, and feature them at small local shops.
The one hitch you may run into with having multiple online selling platforms is keeping up with when items sell so that you can remove the duplicate listing from other platforms, so that you don’t have to explain to a disappointed customer that the item they’ve put in their cart is actually already sold.
It’s also important to make sure you’re getting exposure on platforms other than Etsy.
Make the most of your social media, and try setting up email lists so that you can keep in touch with your customers and give them first dibs on sales and promotions.
Avoid Making Too Many Changes at Once
If you’re noticing your numbers dwindling, you may feel tempted to do a complete overhaul of your shop, change your product line, update every single listing and wax poetic, slice your prices in half, and even change your shop name.
But don’t forget—you’ve already invested a lot of time and hard work into building your brand, and to change everything would mean tossing that built-up momentum to the wind.
You don’t need to do this.
So what should you do? Take a look at the variables above that may be causing your sales to drop, and slowly make some changes. Update your SEO, and then give it a couple of days. If nothing moves, maybe try looking at your most recent selling items, and see if you can cater more products to demand. Then, start updating your product line to follow recent trends.
Slow and steady troubleshooting will keep your progress moving forward, while also helping you narrow down what factors to focus on, should you run into similar sales droppings again at another time in the future.