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Original Hardware--Hip, Handcrafted Silver Jewelry Designs's Fan Box

Monday, December 14, 2009

So you are going to be a Featured Seller? An Inside Look into What I Did!

"Now is the Right Time"
--Lotus Sutra

I'd been a member of Etsy for almost a year when I got the convo in my Inbox from Etsy Admin that started out with, "We think your work is awesome, and we'd love for you to be a Featured Seller!"

I couldn't believe what I had just read, and yet I was not surprised because I had seen it in my head. Since I had joined Etsy, it was a big dream of mine to be a Featured Seller. And everyday I visualized it happening and how I would handle it; what I would do if I were selected. I sent out positive thoughts and worked on my shop; redid my branding, upgraded my collateral and packaging, focused seriously on my product photos and descriptions. And so when the call came as they say, I was ready.

I am sure that many other Etsians visualize this very thing happening to them, too. But when it happened to me, I knew I wanted to take full advantage of it. Fortunately, I had two months to prepare myself for the Nov. 11-13th event, and I used it to create a comprehensive strategy for building a new customer base from the Front Page real estate.

In just 2 days I had nearly 150 sales, and at least 100 more in the weeks that followed, as well as 1200 hearts, numerous features in other blogs and thousands of item hearts as well. I also had several awesome leads on the wholesale side and some inquiries regarding production-scale projects!

As I was preparing, I didn't have much in the forums that was of help. So I am posting these tips for others in the hopes that it might do them some good when they get the call:
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* Focus as much as possible on offering Ready to Ship items and emphasize the immediate availability in your product descriptions and headlines. I believe I got more sales because customers knew that they could have it in hand sooner. If this means investing in supplies, then do it. It's your one chance to sell, sell, sell! As a result of this single strategy, I sent out 90% of all my 150 orders within 3 days AFTER the sale. By Monday of the following week, all of my orders were out the door and I was enjoying a nice glass of wine!

* Stock on up packaging, etc. and have it ready to go! I spent the better part of the weeks before my spot sticking OH label stickers on boxes, pre-prepping "Thank You" cards and getting my shipping system organized and figured out. It saved me loads of time I would have spent during the spot doing things that would have been frustrating and time consuming!

* Relist, relist, relist! If you can take the time to sit by the computer and manage sales as they happen, then I would recommend relisting as items are sold vs. listing multiples of the same item. The reason for this is that it keeps the items on your Front Page fresher; Etsy pulls directly from what has been recently posted to populate the images on the home page for the Featured Seller spot, so relisting helps keep the photos and items there fresh, which pulls in sales.

* Having items ready to ship made processing packages much easier. Unless it was a custom item like a ring or a personalized design, I would just pull the inventory (everything in my shop has an item number) and place it on the invoice. When I had 6 or 7 of them ready to go, I took a few minutes to box them, package them and create shipping labels for them.

* Focus on a solid breadth of price points. I created a category of "bling under $30" which got a lot of sales. In a bad economy, people are still looking for treats. I believe it helped tremendously with sales, as well as sales of multiple items.

* Snag the customer, then keep them for life. To keep customers coming back for more, each purchase from my Featured Seller spot received a special "Gift for You" coupon for 20% off their next purchase, either in my Etsy shop or on my Web site, http://www.originalhardware.com/. The strategy has worked well; so well that I continued to administer these coupons during the holidays as well, giving them an expiration date at the end of Feb. I hope this strategy will keep customers coming back at a traditionally slow period.

* Expect to Educate. There are a lot of newcomers to Etsy who see your shop on the Front Page and purchase something but really are confused by the buying process. I was prepared for this, and posted a "New to Etsy" link on my announcement section that helped newbies walk through the process. It didn't help everyone, which is why I say expect to help people through the purchasing process!

* Market yourself and your big achievement! Post your news on all of your available outlets; facebook, Twitter, etc. I sent the news to everyone I knew; including my wholesale customers as a way to generate even more buzz around the feature.

* If something bad can happen, it just might....My Featured Seller spot occurred when Etsy was "reorganizing" the way it counted page views. Craftcult was down for hours; and in addition I believe it jacked up Paypal as well for a few hours as well. I had 3 or 4 hours in which I had NO SALES during my Featured Seller slot because Paypal kept timing out. Expect that these things might happen and take folly in knowing that you prepared yourself with as many ready to ship items that could be sold quickly as possible.

* Have a blast. I know I did. It was the ride of my life. I can't wait to see what's next!

16 comments:

  1. Wow, congrats! Really interesting read, thanks!

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  2. Congratulations! May we all have to take your great advice!

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  3. That is absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing such great and useful tips!

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  4. Congrats again on your success! This is all such great advice. I think it all applies to just a regular day on etsy as well the busier times. I used to get teased for being organized and detail oriented while in art school, but it makes business run so much smoother and creates more time for the fun part...making jewelry!

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  5. Thanks ladies. I hope it is useful and helpful! Happy Holidays!

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  6. Wow, congratulations! Thanks for the useful information :)

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  7. This is great, thanks for putting this together!

    And Congratulations on being a featured seller!!

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  8. Fantastic article! Thanks for sharing your experience and your advice. I know it is a dream for all of us to be a featured seller one day. Congratulations to you!

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  9. Really fantastic post, thanks for sharing! I have been on etsy since 2005 and am always trying to working my shop in a many that it could be featured seller material!
    Cheers
    jaime

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  10. What an awesome article - thanks for sharing!

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  11. This is a very well thought out post! You are a true professional.

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  12. Wow! Congrats to you! Thank you so much for posting this wealth of information. I also dream of being a featured Etsy seller and sharing your helpful tips and experiences really put things into perspective as to how to make it all happen!

    Best,
    ~Yarn~

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  13. Wow, this is a great read! Thank you so much for sharing your experience to help others. I'm bookmarking this page; who knows maybe someday I'll need it : )

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  14. Great article, I hope someday I need to use your advice :)

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  15. thanks so much for sharing your expertise...as another commenter noted - great advice for every day business too!

    - and much more success to you!
    happy holidays!!

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