Doing thorough Etsy market research before launching your Etsy store is vital. It’s a necessary process to make your marketing efforts more effective and improve your business’s long-term success and longevity.
The old saying “those that fail to plan, plan to fail” has been around for a long time for a reason — it’s true. Blindly opening an Etsy store to make a few quick bucks on the side could be a great idea. But without doing comprehensive Etsy market research, your sales may flatline quickly, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle to get more.
Before we begin
This article is a part of a series specifically for new sellers on Etsy! If you just stumbled across this article and you’re unsure where to begin, we recommend you check out the first of the series, Everything You Need to Know Before You Start an Etsy Shop.
At Marmalead, we strive to offer real, practical advice for Etsy sellers right here on our blog and on our YouTube channel. The world of Etsy is constantly evolving, so if you have a question you can’t find an answer to, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What exactly is “market research“
- How to do Etsy market research for your product
- How to define your target audience and speak to them
Let’s dive in!
What do you mean by “market research”?
Market research is the technical way of assessing your business’s opportunities and/or product before launching. Etsy market research means explicitly looking at the options and hurdles that your store may face when selling and growing on the Etsy marketplace.
- Who is your product designed for?
- How can you reach these specific buyers?
- Who else is selling products similar to yours on Etsy?
- How does your product compare to theirs?
- How can you make your product stand out so buyers purchase from you over your competitor?
These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself when performing Etsy market research.
You can do this research by looking at a variety of things:
- The number of direct competitors you have and their amount of sales
- The engagement and search volume for keywords relevant to your product
- Specific tags associated with certain topics
We’ll talk more about competitor analysis in the next section, but getting an idea of engagement and search volume is an excellent place to start. Engagement and search volume are a huge part of Etsy SEO, and they simply refer to the number of times a keyword is searched on Etsy throughout the month and the number of times listings in a given result set are engaged with.
If the search volume for a keyword is high, that means many people search for it. And if engagement is high, that means many people are clicking on listings in the results set of that search. So, if search and engagement are high, it may be a good opportunity for you – provided that the market isn’t flooded with competition.
Etsy Competitor Research
Without a doubt, the easiest way to get the ball rolling with Etsy market research is to look at your competitors.
After finding keywords with good search volumes and solid engagement levels that are relevant to your product, put them into Etsy and look at the results. Take a look at the product listings and the brands that are selling them.
Ask yourself the following:
- Can I make products that are better than these products?
- Can I create product listings that are better than these?
- Can I explain how and why my products are the best of the best?
- Why would someone buy my products over my competitors?
Having clearly defined USPs is essential to help you create target audiences and buyer personas.
Most Popular and Loved Sellers
Looking at your direct competitors shows you what you’re up against, but you also need to know how to compete. Search for one of your keywords, and then sort the results by “Top Customer Reviews.” You’ll then see the listings ordered from the highest ratings down.
Take a look at the search results and read the reviews of these products. What’s being said about them? Why are these products getting so many 5-star reviews?
Also, take note of sellers with really high sales numbers. They’ve likely been selling for a long time and have been dominating for a while. Look at their listings and ask yourself why they’re doing so well.
Who will buy from you?
It’s essential to have a clear understanding of who will buy your products and know how to talk to them.
Are you selling to stay-at-home moms? Sisters looking for a gift? Same-sex newlyweds? New grandparents? Biker dads looking for home bar decorations?
Earlier, you read about your brand’s USPs. These should help you find the right way to speak about your products. With a clear definition of who you’re selling to AND your USPs, you’ll know how to talk about your product.
Are you looking for inspiration? Again, take a look at popular competitors or other products that have similar themes to yours. Why are they selling? What do their product photos look like, and how are their product descriptions written? How can you replicate this but put your own spin on it?
These are the product-specific elements that are vital to your Etsy market research!
“I’m having no luck with my Etsy market research.”
Are you struggling to get clear, concise information about your market? Perhaps you’re finding that your market is flooded with competitors.
Try niching down.
Rather than selling “handmade beanies,” try selling “novelty organic cotton beanies for newborns.”
There are way fewer people searching for the second term, but that also means that this specific niche will be much easier for you to dominate. By niching down, you have less competition. Less competition makes it easier for you to be the best in that niche, and you’re sure to be found by those looking for you.
If there’s a niche market for “vintage metal door hinges,” there’s a niche market for just about anything!
Once you’ve established yourself in a second niche, then branch out to others that aren’t too far away from your current area of expertise. “Handmade alpaca hair winter beanies,” for example.
If there’s not much potential for you to niche down, consider selling a different product. It may be best to continue your market research, find an opportunity, and then devise a way to source and sell that product. Rather than asking yourself, “what opportunities are there for my product,” try asking yourself, “what products have the most opportunities?” With this thinking method, you can find the opportunity and then find the product rather than the other way around.
Etsy market research isn’t as complicated as it seems. It’s simply about getting a feel for the markets that your product is about to launch or expand into, rather than going in blindly. By taking a bit of time to research what’s already there, you’ll more than likely find simple yet effective ways to change the way you present your products to Etsy buyers instead of simply hoping for the best outcome.
Knowing what you’re up against helps you measure, test, assess, and improve your marketing and promotional tactics. The overall benefit is the long-term sustainability of your product, business, and its ongoing growth.
To read through the next article in this series, check back next week!