The Jam

Help! My Etsy Shop Sales Are Down!

We recorded this episode of The Jam back in December, before all the craziness with COVID-19 hit the world full force. With everything that’s happened in the last couple of weeks, we feel it’s more relevant now than ever. However, we deeply understand that these are uncertain times for everyone and that we’re all in this thing together. Our hope is that you feel encouraged to keep going in your shop, diving deep into things you haven’t had a chance to do before and most of all that you use this time to keep creating!

Don’t look now, but your sales are down. Down for the day. Down for the week. Maybe even down for the month. What do you do? What should you do? In this episode of The Jam, we talk about how to avoid the panic and productively pull your shop out of a pickle. So keep reading and learn how to weather the storm and find even more Etsy shop success

So your Etsy shop sales are down

Your Etsy shop sales are down. This is something that we know is talked about a lot, especially on Facebook groups. You hop on and someone (or multiple someones) are talking about their sales being down in a really generic way. Of course, the answer is never that there’s only one answer. There’s more information needed to figure out what might be happening to their sales, or yours, if you find that this is currently you. 

Could be because of today. Could have already been happening

There can be so many reasons why this is happening. Currently, with the craziness going on in the world, that could be SO much of why you’ve seen a sudden drop in sales. But, maybe you were already seeing this before COVID-19 came into play. If you were and you were wondering what in the heck was happening, we want to chat about some possibilities. Because now is a great time to reevaluate where your shop is at and what might have already been happening that wasn’t so great for your sales.

Lots of reasons

It’s true that there are many things that could be playing into your drop in sales. You could be facing more competition. There could be changes in the trends you’re used to seeing. There could be a change in the way shoppers are describing something. This could be a new keyword or something going on socially that’s a new buzz word.

Either way, shoppers could not be searching for things in a new way than they were when you updated your SEO last. Of course, if could be that there’s a shift in purchasing behavior. Whether that has to do with a virus or simply wanting to save money for upcoming taxes. Shifts in purchasing behavior are nothing new and tend to happen throughout the year, no matter what’s going on. 

Fidget spinners…where are they now? 

A great example of how trends and shopping habits change are fidget spinners. There was a time not long ago when fidget spinners seemed to be everywhere. But when’s the last time you heard anything about them? So, clearly, this is a trend that’s not currently as trendy and purchasing behavior for this item will have drastically changed.

This was obviously not the first item to have ever done this, it’s something that happens frequently! And while it’s true that’s it’s fantastic to jump in on a trend, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be a long term wave. If you jumped all-in on a trending wave and have noticed that it’s not so trendy anymore and your sales have dropped, identifying that this wave is tapering out is the first step. 

The worst day ever

Often we have customers write into us that they’ve just had the worst day or worst couple days in their shop that they’ve ever had. This is a statement we read often in Facebook groups as well. It’s never a great idea to focus on short term losses and gains, but rather to focus on longer term stats. 

Of course, we understand (especially right now) that it’s SO easy to get caught up in the day today. You might be looking at your stats and noticing that you’re not hearing that cha-ching on your phone as often. The easiest thing for you to do is to slide into freak out mode because you’re seeing that your stats are down today and yesterday and your mind can kinda snowball with what if’s from there!

But, instead of going down that thought process, take a deep breath, and understand that while you might be having a bad couple days or even a bad week, letting it ride out a little longer and reassessing in a couple weeks is probably a better idea. Don’t jump on that emotional rollercoaster with your shop right away, because with the world currently, there’s enough to be emotional about. Instead, wait and re-access after a little more time has gone by. 

Look further back

We always recommend looking at your year over year stats and compare in larger chunks. If you compare hour to hour or day-to-day, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Also, keep in mind that seasonality has a lot to do with sales. You might sell personalized coffee mugs and yeah, maybe they’re great all year long, but maybe right around Valentine’s Day you sell a TON because they also make great Valentine’s Day gifts!

The drop off that can happen once that holiday is over can make you feel like the sky is falling. But, if you go back and look at what was happening around this time last year in your shop, you’ll have a much clearer picture of your sales and how they truly fluctuate. And again, we don’t recommend even comparing once a month to the next. Instead, if you feel like your down this March, don’t compare it to February, but instead, go back to last March and see what was happening with your sales then. 

The seasonality and forecasting tool

Don’t forget that seasonality isn’t just about a particular month, time of year or holiday. Keywords are also heavily affected by seasonality as well. The seasonality and forecasting tool in Marmalead really allows you to look ahead and also to see what happened the prior year before to get an idea outside of your stats. So you have your stats and this tool to get a better idea of how to transition in and out of keywords. 

Specifically in regards to forecasting, when you’re looking up keywords, you’re going to plan based on forecasting. You’re going to plan on a particular keyword going down and another particular keyword going up based on what you’re finding with forecasting. Your stats are going to show you what’s actually working and you want to pay attention to them. You can see the things you did that worked and what you executed well, and this is what you want to keep going.

Look at the big picture

Basically, don’t forget to check your stats and don’t ignore one piece of the pie or only pay attention to once piece either. Look at the whole picture. But, definitely be on top of your stats and be fully aware of what’s going on there. Make sure that you’re knowledgable about the things that are currently working in your shop. Don’t worry so much about what’s not working. Focus on what IS working and try to do more of that! Always focus on the positive. It’s a lot easier to focus on what is working and to do more of that than to chase something that’s dropping. 

Sales factors

Another thing to look at if you feel like things aren’t working anymore are your sales factors. Make sure your photography is top-notch. Get in there are do some competitive research and see what other shops are outdoing you in the photography department. What is it about their photos? Are they really on brand? Are they cleaner?

Make sure that you’re paying attention to what pictures your eye is drawn to first as you’re researching all of this because that’s what you’ll want to put your own spin on and emulate. And don’t just think that a photo that’s clear will cut it, you also need to make sure that your photos don’t look dated and are on-trend because this will only help to sharpen the overall edge of your shop.

Plus, don’t forget about your price point and your shipping, where is all of that at? You’ve got to make sure you’re on top of all of this, especially if you’re in a highly competitive market. If you have a lot of new shops coming in that have an edge on all of this, it’s imperative that you do as well. 

Descriptions matter

Something else to make sure and look at if you feel like things are falling off in your shop are your descriptions. Are you really answering questions that your shoppers may have? Because every shopper will have questions in the back of their head when they’re looking for a product. They may have specifically come to your listing to find answers to those questions, so the more you can answer in your description, the better chance you have of making that sale. This reassures your buyer that they really are clear on what they’re purchasing and know exactly what to expect.

Include those answers

If you’re getting some of the same questions in from customers multiple times, include those answers in your descriptions. More often than not, your customers are not going to ask you the questions they’re wondering about. They will simply leave and go to a different shop and purchase where they found the answer they were looking for. So do your best to incorporate as many answers to questions as you can in your descriptions. You want to give them all the reasons to buy from you. 

Incorporate your brand voice

Make sure that the brand you’re cultivating in your shop and your personality shines through in your descriptions as well. Give your customers a chance to know you and see the unique way you have of describing your products. Tell a little of your story in your descriptions and give your customers that friendly boutique shopping experience that they’re searching for when they come to Etsy.

If your customers relate to your brand and ultimately to you as a seller, this will encourage them to think of you the next time they want to purchase the products you offer. You want repeat customers and you want to pop into their mind first because of how you’ve connected with them! 

Etsy is always repeating that they’re the anti-amazon, so help this be a place that is truly different from Amazon! Give your shoppers unique and fun descriptions in your shop, that they’d never find on Amazon. 

Stay Active

It’s also important that you stay active in your shop. Never stop tweaking and adding. Don’t simply stop researching and being open-minded to change and trends, because this is where things will start to get out from under you really quickly. Add new products to your shop as often as you can (yes, we know if you make couches you’re not going to add several of those to your shop a week) and as often as is relevant to your shop!

This shows Etsy that you’re in your shop, you’re doing stuff and this will trigger the algorithm to pay a little more attention to what’s happening in your shop. And bonus, you get a small Etsy SEO boost for each new listing that you add to your shop!

Please remember that you really do want to create towards to trends that are currently happening. Marmalead is a great way to see what’s trending! A huge part of the reason we made this tool was to help you do just that and assist you in market research!

Final Thoughts

We want to leave you with this quote to keep you motivated. We hope this inspires you to get out there and check your stats, make sure you’re on top of the trends and are using the downtime while you’re inside to possibly come up with some new amazing products: 

“Research shows that the most successful sellers on Etsy are also the most innovative in keeping up with new trends and crafting a product line that is adaptable to the ever changing nature of buyer behavior.” 

We hope all of these things are helpful and that you feel encouraged. We know these are uncertain times, but to the best of your ability, stay active and keep creating! Who knows? These times of uncertainty might ultimately be what changes your shop for the better. 

Remember, we’re all in this together🧡


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8 replies on “Help! My Etsy Shop Sales Are Down!”

Very disappointed with the response from Etsy concerning this virus. I think Etsy COULD and SHOULD be doing A LOT MORE to support sellers in this time of low sales. I am keeping my shop open even though i KNOW i probably will not make any sales and so are many other shops. Etsy should wave fees for shops that stay open during this time. Do SOMETHING MEANINGFUL. The steps Etsy has taken so far are miniscule and pathetic.

Etsy is out for Etsy. I’ll never understand how they take a free from the post office charges for shipping. In essence we paying double fees

Judging by the first few paragraphs, I was afraid this was going to be clickbait or just for SEO purposes. Especially since fidget spinner most definitely weren’t a tried of last year… But more like 5 years ago 🙄

Thank you so much for your comment and for reading our blog! Both are important to us. My name is Jade and I write the blog for Marmalead. I can assure you that I didn’t mean for the article to come across as clickbait. Somehow one of the initial paragraphs was copied when the blog was uploaded and as for the fidget spinners, you’re right! That trend wasn’t peaking last year but the point of the example was actually the same point that you’re making. The trend isn’t here any longer. Some trends just aren’t built to last. That said, recognizing the timeline was off, I adjusted the article to reflect your feedback and want to thank you for taking the time to reach out. We hope you continue to read the blog and reach out to us with questions and comments!

Thank you for this helpful article. I wondered how to use Marmalead to check which categories were most searched for. We make squishy, poseable dragon toys. Several different categories would be appropriate for our products. So, far we have divided them among all of the possible categories (e.g., stuffed animals and plushies, figurines, dolls, amigurumi (as they looked crocheted), etc.). Within each of those broad categories there are sub categories. For example, within stuffed animals, you can choose monsters as a subcategory.

The question is what strategy should I use in selecting the category given more than one applies. Dividing my listings among the possibly relevant categories is what we have tried. Is this the best approach? Do you suggest using Marmalead to search each category as you would a keyword and then put them all within one or two categories according to whatever category scores the higests in terms of search, engagement and low enough in competition?


Your dragons are awesome! And I love the little environment backgrounds you’ve built for your photos. Categories can be a tough nut to crack when products fit into multiple different ones. Fortunately the majority of shoppers don’t use categories to search so your keywords are still king. Etsy does tell us that they treat categories and attributes like tags so your idea to search categories in Marmalead to get a sense of relative popularity of each one is a good place to start. Once you’ve found the most likely popular ones, I’d do exactly what you’re doing and spread your listings across those categories. After 2-4 weeks take a look at your stats and look for any category words that may have shown up in the list of keywords shoppers are using to find your items. Also keep a tally of which categories have sold more items than others. These are both good indicators that those categories are working more than others. Gradually move your products into the categories that work best. Hope this helps!

Thank you for your quick, thoughtful reply, Gordon. I will tell my daughter (the artist) that you like her dragons. So, if we rarely see the category key words in our stats under Etsy Search, than we can safely assume it is not the category that customers are using to find us? As for keeping a list of which category has sold me than another, I believe that would be tangled up with which dragon is more popular and which is not. I suppose we could do an a/b test on a few dragons with everything being the same except the category. However, If few shopper’s are using categories to find items vs searching a keyword phrase, I am not sure it would be worth it.

We will follow through our your suggestions to see what we can uncover. Stay healtht!!

The keywords that Etsy shows in your listing stats are the ones that shoppers are typing in to the search bar to find you. Unfortunately we don’t have much of a window into which categories they may be selecting to browse for you. Seeing a category name in that list will indicate shopper interest in that market but doesn’t necessarily mean they’re using the categories to filter or browse. And NOT seeing it unfortunately doesn’t mean that they’re NOT using those categories to filter or browse. But seeing the category names there DOES give an indication that there is shopper interest in the category which is what we would hope for. Regarding the tangling of listing popularity with category popularity you’re 100% correct that could happen. Keeping your popular listings spread out could help de tangle that or like you say doing some A/B testing would be a fantastic option. Etsy doesn’t mind duplicate listings for the same product provided that you have the inventory to support each separate listing. Best of luck and I hope your family stays healthy as well!

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