In this episode the guys talk about some things you can do to help during a spring sales slump. We will tackle ideas you can use to help set your shop up for success!
We just LOVE this time of year in the Etsy universe (and in all e-commerce really), don’t you?! Products are just FLYING off the shelves, there are all kinds of sales figures flying by, and people are just ROLLING in cash!…..wait….is it Christmas?! What are we talking about?? Ok, ok, yeah, it’s past April Fool’s, although that would be a good…or maybe a not so good, April Fool’s joke;) The truth is, this is a really hard time of year to be a seller. In fact, it’s been a really slow spring, not just for Etsy, but on several platforms. Amazon, Ebay, pretty much across the board, there’s a slump.
It’s what all the cool kids are talking about
This slump seems to be all sellers are talking about. Our Facebook group has some great threads going on about said topic (shameless plug: go join our Facebook group), and the Etsy forums are filled with the same kinds of discussions. These conversations seem to be tied with all the search updates Etsy keeps talking about. People tend to think that Etsy is doing a TON regarding their SEO, and really changing stuff around. Maybe the slow down does have something to do with all these changes, BUT we really think it’s bigger than just that. Side note: Etsy more than likely anticipates that this will be a slow time of year, and what better time to update SEO stuff than when it’s slow? Obviously, they wouldn’t do this when things were going to be super busy. Can you imagine trying to make changes and monitor those changes during Christmas? How could Etsy possibly know if changes made were actually because of SEO updates they did or simply because Christmas is a busy time of year? Think about it.
What to do when it’s slow as molasses
So, what are some practical things to do during the current slump we find ourselves in?
1.) Stop talking about it constantly
Now, don’t get us wrong, there is value in confirming things aren’t just slow for you, and discussing with other sellers some of their ideas and techniques during a slow down. However, if ALL you’re doing is talking about how slow it is, you’re wasting valuable time. You could be spending this time on “house keeping” and all the other things you didn’t have time for during your last busy season.
2.) Improve your photos
We hear people constantly talk about needing to do this, but not having the time. Now is the perfect opportunity! If you’re new to a DSLR camera, watch some videos/read up on how to most effectively use it, how to get great lighting, honestly the list could go on and on for this alone. If you’re planning on hiring someone to do photos for you, reach out to people who can recommend someone great, research pricing, and find who you’re really happy with. Don’t wait until things have ramped up again, because you want to be ahead of the curve and prepared when you’re actually very busy.
3.) Build up your inventory
One of our previous guests, Kyle, from Cigart Metalworks (another shameless plug: go check out his shop on Etsy, he has a great video and about page posted there), talks about how he really prepares for the holiday season. He created a spreadsheet of the things he wanted to accomplish each week and how these would help him get to where he wanted to be during the holidays. Some of that was just creating inventory so that he was prepared and wouldn’t have to scramble to complete his inventory when he was slammed with sales. So, months ahead of time he was planning out how many units he needed to make each week to be able to hit a certain number that he wanted for the holiday rush. What better time to do this than during a slump?
4.) Beta testing
This is something else Kyle talks about. He’s a huge fan of testing his different products, so he sends things out to people to see how they like them and how his products stand the test of time. Well, during a slow period, you have time to do this! Talk to whomever you have in your life, whether that’s friends, family, or past customers. Ask them to test your product out, put it to “use” and get back to you about what they thought. This is a fantastic way to find out if you need to make small adjustments to your products ahead of time instead of waiting until the holidays to find out your customers aren’t happy with something that might have been an easy fix.
5.) Add a new product and do your research
Adding in a new product to your shop might be a huge gain for you, so now is the time to do some research on whatever that may be. One of the things people use Marmalead for is new product research. Taking the time to sit down and look at what you have and what your skill set is, the materials you work with, and also checking out what people like and are buying, can be invaluable! Maybe you want to add something small that isn’t a huge jump away from what you’re already doing, OR maybe it’s something totally different that you want to learn to start crafting. Either way, now is a great time to try out some new product ideas.
6.) Reach out to customers
Obviously when things are slow you have time to reach out to customers and spend time chatting with them in order to build a higher touch relationship. This is fantastic customer service and will stand out way more than just a simple follow up email. It’s also a great time to get feed back on your products and find out how your customers like them and if there are any changes that could/need to be made. Are your products standing the test of time? Are they breaking down in any way? All of this is invaluable information for you as a seller. Now, don’t get us wrong, this is NOT the time to spam your customers or try and sales pitch them to buy more. We are only talking about reaching out for information on how you can improve your shop and products.
IF you are using your own email list that your customers have requested to be on, this could be a great time to send out a coupon thanking them for their past purchase(s) and offering something off your current products. This could help you see a boost in sales during an otherwise quiet season. Just remember, your customer has to have requested your emails be sent to them, otherwise you’re just spamming them.
8.) Work on your SEO across your shop
Go through all your listings and make sure you’re using all your tags, and that your titles make sense. Make sure you don’t have mistakes or mismatches between your titles or tags, and just clean everything up. In general, this is good SEO practice. It will also help to ensure that you show up at the top of the keywords you are targeting. Also, when Etsy starts changing things up, this is a good time to tweak and test some of your SEO keywords, tags, and titles. You certainly don’t want to do that during your busiest time of the year. You want to figure that out ahead of time. So, go slow, change maybe 5 to 10 things at a time (not everything at once), and see how those changes preform.
9.) Go back and look at your suppliers
If you’re buying supplies from other sources and you’re crafting things with those supplies, now would be a great time to revisit that and think about if you’re getting the best deal from your suppliers. Maybe you’re selling more than you used to, which means you need more supplies, and if you switch over to a different supplier you’ll save more money. Now is the time to make the switch! Whether you find a supplier that is cheaper, or one that gives you better quality supplies at the same price, either way you’ll be saving yourself in the long run.
So, we’ve covered house keeping, how to boost your sales, and practical SEO management. What else can you do during this time? Something we don’t talk about a ton is checking out what you have in your local area. Because remember, your shop isn’t something that JUST gets done in search, you can actually send your direct link to friends, family, neighbors, anyone that could be a potential customer to you. You’re probably not the only person that likes what you do in your city. There are usually lots of opportunities in your community for potential buyers. Also, if you’re not set up as a company and you’ve been doing all your Etsy stuff on your own, this might also be the perfect time to look into registering as a legit business. As a registered business, you would have the potential to save money on your taxes the following year by being able to deduct some of your business expenses.
Last but not least, revisit your pricing! You can use Marmalead for this! It’s kinda like going through your keywords and seeing where things are at. Definitely familiarize yourself with market based pricing and just see where you’re at, and where you stand against your competition.
Stay informed, but don’t get sucked into the trap of social media. Do some of the above practical things with your time, but most of all, focus on what you WANT to achieve! Because what you focus on expands. Focus on positive things like growing, and that is EXACTLY what will happen!
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