Etsy Wholesale Platform Closing

Etsy is closing their Wholesale platform effect July 31, 2018!  Kruti Patel Goyal, the General Manager of Seller Services at Etsy, says the platform will remain active through the end of June.  After that, it will no longer accept wholesale orders.

The details of the changes in their program are listed on their website and in the video below.

When Etsy Wholesale first announced their coming launched in late 2012, I contacted them to wholesale my and/or my Idaho Gifts Wholesale producers.  Since the program was new, I was not sure what to expect.

I received a few different and confusing responses that I posted in the following two articles:

Despite the humorous inconsistent responses I received from them, I assumed they ironed out the bugs in their system.  But, personally, I was no longer interested in dealing with them!!

It has always been my advice that, even if you have a store on Etsy, you should also have your own website.  I detail that in the following article:

If you had an Etsy Wholesale shop, please share your story with us.  And, by all means, set up your own wholesale website (or add wholesale to your current website) and see how to contact your buyers and potential Etsy buyers to refer them to your new site!

Building Your Own Website

Even if you have a successful business on Etsy, Ebay or Amazon (or another marketplace platform), you still need to build your own website!

If you follow my blog and/or articles, you have probably heard this before!!

Malcolm and I set up our wholesale and retail websites back in 2004 — before the Building Your Own Websiteexplosion of Etsy style marketplaces.  I admit, I watched and wondered …. and saw may people become successful using this type platform.  But, on the other hand, I also heard the horror stories from folks who lost their site and could do nothing about it!  (Check out my article:  Etsy Shop or Your Own Website).

Over the years, more and more experts are suggesting selling on both platforms, rather than the either-or mindset.

Cassie and Carrie from Hand Made Success also agree with this strategy:

Yes, creating your own website IS worth it

Here are a few reasons why…

I love Etsy and my business wouldn’t be where it is today without Etsy, but Etsy does have it’s downfalls. Etsy is an unstable marketplace that you do not have complete control over. Etsy features can happen one week causing an unmanageable influx of orders, get pulled 2 weeks later causing a dry spell when you just hired extra help, they change their SEO and format constantly, and their traffic can change with no warning or explanation. Zenned Out has been subject to each of these uncontrollables, with mixed results.

Need some more reasons?

  • A website is a more powerful extension of your brand
  • Customers and retail buyers (especially) will take you more seriously
  • You can have a blog
  • You can capture customer emails with proper opt-ins
  • You have COMPLETE control over everything. No one can change your website or suddenly change your traffic without your permission.
  • Oh, also, those pesky Etsy fees, you won’t have to pay those anymore! Side note, building a website might cost you some $ eventually, but in the long run you’ll be saving, why not start now?

Setting up your own website is not too difficult — even if you have limited knowledge with technology.

Building Your Own Website with 3DCartPersonally, we tried a few ecommerce platforms and hated most of them!!  That was until we found 3DCart!

NOTE:  If you are interested in my review of 3DCart, you can check it out here: Amazing E-Commerce Shopping Cart Software.

The important take-away here is to make sure you have your own personal website, even if your products are on Etsy (or other similar platforms)

More article on the subject:

 

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Selling on Your Personal Website

With the popularity of sites such as Ebay, Amazon and Etsy, many producers are forgetting the importance of developing their own website and ‘sales machine’.

Now, there is nothing wrong with posting your products on any of these Selling on Your Personal Website3-party websites.  Heck, we do it from time to time!  (And, of course, many of you know that I am a certified expert at Meylah!).  But nothing will substitute for having your own personal website.

A few years ago, I posted an article: Etsy Shop or Your Own Website?

Here is a summary of the reasons why I suggest having your own personal website:

  • You don’t own a shop on these platforms – the company does!
  • You don’t have much control over outside platforms – the company does!
  • You can get lost on outside platforms among all the other ‘stores’!
  • You cannot use your own URL on outside platforms!

Having said that, selling is selling … Whether you are using Ebay or your own website or the ole fashion way with catalogs or door-to-door sales!  Your website needs to sell your products!

Mckenna Hallett published an article outlining some of the basics of selling on your own personal website.  Here are the tips she outlines:

Why not drive traffic to your own site instead of a 3rd party site?…

  • You need to look professional. You need to have great visuals like graphics, logo, photos of your product and so forth….That full page ad in the newspaper (I know… what is a newspaper?) needs excellent photos and graphic design. So. Do. You!
  • You need to have compelling copy. You need to move people to want to “learn more” and move from just learning about you and your product or service to actually considering doing business with you. You need to move them into the decision stage. How do they make that choice to spend money with you?…
  • You want people to “act now”. As an analogy, if you put out a postcard advertising a sale, you would make it an immediately exciting offer. If you are posting big news or special offers in an email, on Social Media, or splashed across your home page leading them to a squeeze page, you always need them to act now. You need Selling Words on that page and a path your customer will follow until they say, “yes”.
  • You need to have a way that people can actually “act now” and do business with you immediately (think door-to-door sales). What would work in a mail piece? …  When you get offers from any source and you begin to think about spending money, what was working? What made you consider doing business with them? How can that apply to you, your product, or service? How can you apply this to a website page?

Take a look at your website or your website plan.  Are you looking at all the points and options Mckenna outlined?  Does your site look professional?  Do you have compelling copy and photos? Do you have offers or calls-to-action on your site?  And do you have a shopping cart of a way for buyers to buy now?

Business Tips from Etsy Empire

A series of Business Tips from the book:Etsy Empire

Etsy Empire: Proven Tactics for Your Etsy Business Success, Including Etsy SEO, Etsy Shop Building, Social Media for Etsy and Etsy Pricing Tips (Almost Free Money) (Volume 7)

By Eric Michael

Etsy.com describes itself as “the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace”. Currently, it hosts a very active community of over 30 million buyers and sellers of hand-made crafts, vintage collectibles and clothing and original creations that can be found nowhere else.
– Eric Michael

I have little experience or knowledge on the actual workings and effectiveness of Etsy.  Although I know lots of folks who feature their unique products on this platform, I have no first hand experience selling on Etsy.

So in order to learn with you, I am featuring the ‘Etsy Empire’ this week to learn more about the tips and techniques for obtaining success on Etsy!

If you are totally unfamiliar with Etsy (and I am not saying you live under a rock), know that it is probably the largest marketing platform for handmade producers.  I am aware they have recently changed their policies to include products other than handmade, but I am sure it is still the top market for buyers and sellers to meet.

So let’s dive into Eric’s book and find out how Etsy can work for you!

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Success is not going to happen overnight for 99% of Etsy sellers.
— Eric Michael

You probably already know that Etsy, just like any other marketing endeavors, does not produce overnight success.  You need to work at it.

Here are three of Michael’s tips that will optimize your success when you set up your Etsy store:

  • Make your business attractive to women
  • Sell goods that people already want to buy
  • Include a number of popular search terms in your store description, which will bring you instant traffic from the Etsy search engine.

Now, just so his tips are not misunderstood, men will buy products on Etsy, but not at the level that women will buy — which is why he suggests making the business attractive to women.

And selling goods that people want to buy does not mean you cannot add your own unique creations.  Having something that is popular — that consumers will want to buy — will bring traffic to your site and get exposure for your unique items.

Tomorrow we will talk a bit about the nuts-n-bolts of getting your shop set up.

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Once you decide on a name, you will not want to change it. Your shop name will be on your professionally designed banner and your past customers will be searching for your original shop name in Etsy and Google search engines.
— Eric Michael

According to Eric, your Etsy shop name is one of the most important component of your shop.  He suggests taking time to think it through before coming up with your final name.

Since your shop name is also your URL, he suggests, like with any URL, make it easy to remember, easy to spell, and keyword rich.

Other shop name tips from Eric:

  • Incorporate a high-ranking Google and Etsy search engine keyword phrase from your research for additional traffic to your shop!
  • Don’t make your shop name more than three words.
  • Check Google to make sure that your potential shop name is not copyrighted or trademarked.
  • Check Etsy to ensure that your potential shop name is not already used by another seller.
  • Consider your target market and come up with a name that will resonate with them.
  • Your shop name will be featured in your shop banner and also may be used on your website and/ or social media headers.
  • Don’t try to sound cool or alienate any user groups with your shop name.
  • Alliteration or rhyming can help customers remember your shop name.
  • Your shop name has to be one word, so use capital letters to separate words so that they are readable.

Now that you have come up with a GREAT shop name, it is time to think about designing a banner.  Since your banner will be one of the first things a buyer will see when checking out your store, you might want to hire a graphic designer to help you develop the perfect banner for your shop.

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Make shoppers feel welcome in your shop and excited to see your creations or goods. A brief introduction is fine and you can encourage buyers to contact you if they have any questions…
Well-written shop policies help to instill customer confidence. They also prevent negative feedbacks for your shop.
— Eric Michael

Actually, I have two tips today from Eric.

First, remember that you want visitors to feel at ease while browsing your shop.  An introduction to you and your products helps potential buyers to know that there is a person behind the website — which makes them at ease and more trusting.

Like with your website, you need an “About” section — which, if you didn’t already know, is usually the most read page on a website.  I would think the introduction Eric describes would do the same.

The best way to gain your customer’s confidence is in the second half of Eric’s tips:  Well thought-out and written policies are one of the things that makes you and your store credible.  And be generous with your guarantee and return policies.  Most people will not challenge them, but they can go a long way in developing trust with your customers.

Lastly, be open with your visitors.  List your contact information, including address.  Once again, this builds trust!

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Almost all successful shops have a large inventory with several price points. These shops also have professional-looking item listings that are consistent with the shop’s brand and build customer’s confidence before asking for the sale.
— Eric Michael

When you shop in a brick-n-mortar store, are all the items the same price range. Okay, they are in a Dollar Store, but most other stores have various price points.

Don’t be afraid to play around with your inventory price points.  You might want to check out other Etsy stores and see what other successful sellers are doing.

Eric also suggest…

…the first place that an Etsy seller should spend their money when they are building their business is to get everything that they need to photograph their items so that their listings look awesome on Etsy.

Since customers cannot see the actual product, good photos are the next best option.  Or, maybe it is better to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your products from several different angles to add to your store.

All in all, Eric suggestions for an Etsy store listing are the same tips for building your own website!  And, if you can build your Etsy site, you already have all the components for creating your own website (if you don’t already have one).

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The Makings of a Successful Website

Every crafter, producer, artisan …. or anyone who sells a product needs a good website. Websites are one venue of marketing your products — just like shows are a marketing venue.  Even if you have your products lists on Etsy, Artfire or Meylah, you still need your own website.

NOTE:  For more information on why you should have your own website, check out the following posts:

The Makings of a Successful WebsiteUnfortunately, the mantra … “Build it and they will come” … no longer works for the internet.  As you know, there is LOTS of competition on the web for sales and “eyes”.  Statistics tell us that the average internet browse will spend 10-15 seconds on your site before going on to another.  So, you have just a very short time to grab a potential buyers attention.

These are my tips for helping you build a success, eye catching website:

  1. Purchase a good ecommerce platform such as 3DCart.  Sure you can build a site on WordPress and use an simple shopping cart such as GetDPD, but your site will be much harder to build and not contain the important bells & whistles that will make it great!
  2. Hire a good graphic artist to help design a logo and header for your website.  Once again, if you have the ability to design your own, great!  But don’t skimp on this step as you header is the first thing ‘browsers’ will see when they come to your site.
  3. Make your navigation as simple as possible.  Don’t complicate your site with fancy revolving graphics or difficult menus.  Make it simple!
  4. Along that line, make buying as easy as possible.  Most ecommerce platforms have a streamline buying process already in place for you.
  5. Invest in some good photos of your products.  If you are not very good with a camera, hire a professional to take your pictures.  And leave out all the props and distracting backgrounds in your photos.
  6. Good images are great, but copy is important too.  Search engines work with text, so include your important keywords in various text boxes on the home page as well as on the product pages.
  7. Include a sign up box for prospective buyers to receive your newsletters or blog postings.  Keeping your customers inform about sales, upcoming shows and new products is not only good to promote sales, but it also drives traffic to your site.
  8. Take a good look at your site, keeping in mind that the copy/images ‘above the fold’ is your most important internet real estate.  This section should include the following:
    • Your company name and tag line describing your products or line
    • Your logo, if separate
    • Your main navigation
    • Your newsletter sign up box

Once you have the basics set up, you can always go back and tweak as you go along.  Websites are editable!  Over time, you will find some things work better than others, and you will want to change your website accordingly.