Etsy is a popular US-based retailer of hand-made arts and crafts which has been gaining market share in recent years as it sells from designers not only located in the United States, but all over the world.

There are several reasons for Etsy’s popularity with people looking for unique, hand-crafted items online. Firstly, it is a secure shopping site, and secondly, it accepts a wide variety of payment forms, including PayPal, adding an extra layer of security to transactions.

There are many customers online shopping at Etsy, but of course, that also means there is competition. Depending on what a designer wants to sell, there can be a lot of competition. However, if a designer learns a few simple tricks regarding using the Etsy site successfully, he or she should be up and selling successfully in no time.

Gauging Online Selling Competition

As a guide, run a search of what items are to be sold, for example, earrings. Then run a more specific search, such as silver earrings, playful silver earrings, or silver Scrabble earrings. Be as broad and then as specific as possible. The number of results that come up will indicate how many competitors there are for that niche item. The number will also help give some idea as to what keywords will be most useful to help drive traffic to a seller’s online store.

Conducting Market Research Online

If a designer is selling silver Scrabble earrings, next check to see how many other people are, and If so, how much they are charging per item. Then compare: Are the new designer’s product/s similar? Different? If the price on the site is too low, chances are it is not going to be real silver. The new designer can then be sure to write product descriptions which really set his or her product apart from the others available on the site.

Use High Quality Digital Photos to Sell Online

Make sure the items are photographed as professionally as possible and that the pictures match the product descriptions. Where possible, use a ruler or tape measure to help show actual size. Use a high contrast background such as black if items are white or silver. Be sure the picture is clear, a close up, and that the photograph is keyworded correctly, silverScrabbleearringsrosewood.jpg, for instance, if using rosewood-colored Scrabble pieces for designs, versus ones in oak, mahogany and so on.

Write a Detailed Seller’s Profile Online

People buy from people they like. Especially if a person is producing handicrafts, customers will want to know more about the designer, his or her artistic inspiration, how he or she likes to work to create the designs, and more. Yes, it is important to deal with essential business matters, such as the payment methods accepted, shipping and handling and the return policy. However, it is also important to stand out from the crowd in a crowded market. Just be sure whatever is posted online is not too strange and also keep in mind that using one’s real name will make a person very visible on the Internet.

Use Keywords Whenever Possible to Sell Online

Put keywords in the profile, in the detailed selling description, in links to the Etsy sales pages and links from other pages around the Internet to the main website. Never use the phrasing “click here” by itself. “Click here for Silver Scrabble Earrings” with the hyperlink on Silver Scrabble Earrings would be the best way to link in order to attract the search engines and drive more customers.

Make the Most of Marketing

If the designer has received any awards, special mentions or write-ups in newspapers, trade journals or magazines, either link to these from the profile page or be sure to include links to them on the designer’s main selling site. Scan in clippings if need be and create them as PDFs that can be downloaded. Do the same with price lists, business cards and any other sales materials which help to promote the items.

Participate in Forums as a Form of Marketing

Join the online Etsy forum and participate. A new designer to the site can soon establish themselves as someone with knowledge and expertise through discussions about such topics as inspiration, working in silver, for instance, or other key topics. The forum name will link to the online selling page so it is easy to start coming to customers’ and other designers’ attention without being too spammy. Sometimes other designers or store owners can become customers too, as affiliates willing to sell someone’s work for a commission.

Etsy is a great opportunity for new designers to sell hand-crafted items at a reasonable price to an interested and even eager audience provided detailed thought goes into the online presentation of the items at the Etsy store and one is willing to market a little bit every day through forum postings, discussions, linking, and affiliate marketing.