Aug 23, 2011

New Excuses or New Solutions?

Many of us sellers have been discussing the lack of sales recently. We can blame it on the economic ups and downs, the time of year and the website we choose to sell through. I've used this excuse frequently throughout the years. "It's June, everyone is at weddings & graduations..." 

Rhinestone Hair Comb offered by OhFaro

But that's not solid reasoning. There are millions upon millions of web users in the world, all unique individuals. Some shop while at work, at home, in the library after class, during class, while waiting for flights, to alleviate boredom & to distract from life. Hundreds if not thousands of reasons to buy exist for all these individuals. 

Nippon Handpainted Dish offered by jenscloset

Yes, the economy is bumpy. In my state of California, unemployment hovers around 12% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's bad news. But let's look at this a new way. If you were told you had a life threatening disease, how would you feel if the doctor looked you in the eye and said you only had 88% chance of survival? I'd be over the moon with joy! 

John Deere Territories Map offered by 10karri

I am an optimist. I find that helps me get through times such as this and enables me to see through the mental clutter that fills the airwaves. 88% of the California population is employed! Those are all potential customers. Rather than bemoan lack of sales, let's figure out how to reach them. As many have mentioned, people are buying on eBay. If that's true, then we know people are buying-just not where we want them to. The question is, how can we get them to Etsy? 

Vintage Parking Meter offered by YesterdaysSilhouette

Facebook. I know it's a bad word for some folks, but try to remain open minded. Because if you're willing to sell on eBay and pay between 10-15%, you should consider Facebook. I pay for an ad on there. I have it capped at $3 a day. I pay for each click to my Nachokitty Facebook page-around .30 a customer. That's a lot cheaper and it provides me with a captive audience to advertise to that loves vintage. (You do need to update your page often, and not just with sales pitches) 

Students Reference Books 1911 offered by treasurehuntvintage

Expand your Audience. Are you selling Internationally? Is EACH of your ads explicit by outlining shipping to individual countries? Imagine a buyer sitting in Ireland browsing Etsy. She finds a mid century piece she adores and looks at the shipping to see this: 

Shipping info found on every Etsy sellers page

It's intimidating. It doesn't say Ireland. What does Everywhere Else really mean? She doesn't want to be stuck buying the item and then dealing with getting the money back if the seller won't ship to her. She decides to surf to the next shop. I am shipping over 1/2 of my items out of the country: China, Japan, Luxembourg, Austria, South Korea, Australia, Russia etc. I've never had a problem, but caution should be exercised. Common sense is always a good idea. 

Vintage Dutch Carvings offered by thecreekhouse

Use other websites to your advanage. I just recently set up a new shop on eBay. On my ME page, I link directly to my Etsy profile page. I put a few very desirable high end items on the site and waited. Within 12 hours two people had come over to my Etsy shop and purchased things. For the 10 days those items were listed I received 49 visits from my ME page and 12 sales. One for over $1800. (Which is significant when you consider what it would have cost to sell that on eBay vs Etsy) Yes, a few things sold on eBay too, but the big winner was the Etsy shop. 

I've been told there may be issues with this on eBay. I'm not linking directly to my shop, so I feel fine with it. Use your own judgement.

Pharmacy Mortar & Pestle offered by jenzee09

Are you blogging? Promote it. Reach out to other blogs. Yes, it takes time, but it's free. Find a voice for your blog and  start being consistent. Then promote it on your Facebook page. Take your camera with you everywhere. Give your opinions about items you find or see. Be an active blogger and you will get found. It takes a little time, but when combined with your Facebook page it'll be quicker than you expect. 

Irish Round Tablecloth offered by HouseofLinens

Customers are out there. Millions of them. We just need to think outside the box and find new ways to reach them. Look at your shop objectively. Make it user friendly, promote it, promote your brand, promote your items and stay involved. I always thought June was a terrible month. This year it was busy for me. Go figure! 


Terry said...

As always, you are an inspiration! I always feel that when times are hard is when people most need a little something to boost their spirits, and I try to help with this by offering good value for their money.

Bevy said...

thanks for all the ideas and inspiration! I needed that.....!!

Recycled Wares said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas with us. I really appreciate it.

art deco dame said...

thanks for the tips!I'm using tomorrow as my reshoot day to take better photos of some listings I'm less than proud of.Like you said,don't want excuses instead I'm going to come up with solutions to kick these slow sales!

11karri said...

This is a excellent Post !

Sarah said...

Excellent info as usual. I, personally, often feel a very large "knowledge gap" between selling online & how to draw those customers in. I hear what to do, follow the directions, but fall short on the interaction between them all. Your post gave some clarity. Who knew FB advertising was affordable & effective??? Love the Ebay idea even better! Thanks again!

Susan from The T-Cozy said...

Great advice! Like you, I am an optimistic, glass-half-full kinda gal!

jenscloset said...

Excellent information! I've wondered about the facebook advertising, and might just give it a try~! Very interesting about the Etsy idea! Thanks for including my Nippon!

cindy-the vintage hat shop said...

Great article. Now I am going to commit myself to blogging daily and updating my Facebook page. You lit a fire under me. Needed it!

AddVintage said...

VERY motivational! Thank you so's timely and well written.

nora - treasurehuntvintage said...

My Ebay store continues to do well, while I admit I could do more to promote it. But, "time is money" and I need time to create and treasure hunt. LOL!

I only have Canada and "everywhere else" listed in my Etsy shop....but I get TONS of International sales. My last 3 sales: AU, Brazil, and UK.

Best of luck to EVERYONE!!!

OhFaro said...

I really MUST get my Facebook page more active. I have a kind of love-hate relationship there and I waffle about keeping it or not, but I know I get hits from there and must be more dedicated to keep it tidy!

I also sell on ebay, have since 1999, but now it's mostly jewelry lots and findings/supplies. I have toyed with the notion of opening store there, I had one for many years - until I came to etsy. It may be time to go back regularly, just for the added exposure.

This is a great kick-in-the-pants article. Thanks for sharing it with us, Heidi, and for the nice shout-out to my little shop!

ImSoVintage said...

Great article. I have been contemplating opening an Ebay shop. I will now have to give it more serious thought. I blog consistently and that is a lot of work, but i am really building up my followers, there and on Facebook. I love the interaction with new friends. My motto is just keep plugging away.

wonderdiva said...

Excellent advice! I've found in so many aspects of life that sometimes when you're plugging along, trying to make the best of things, you run into some unexpected gems that bring great rewards.

Jenzee09's 201*Treasures and The Vintage Reader Etsy Shops said...

As always, a super informative and interesting post. You are awesome!
Thank you!

Laurie said...

Very excellent points here. Thanks!! I needed a "kick". This was it. :)

Jeanne-stuart road vintage said...

Thanks for all the great ideas Heidi!
I still sell on Ebay occasionally but have never thought of linking to Etsy. How do you know that the people who bought your items came from there specifically?
That's what's always confused me!
BTW-please visit my blog everyone!
It's listed on the side bar of this blog.
Also-don't forget the Etsy forums-especially the promotion ones! I get some action from there every time even if it's just a heart. Laurie said...

Wow, what an excellent post! Thanks so much. I, too have found that my Etsy sales have plummeted since the flip of the "relevance" switch. I don't want to go back to "Fee-Bay" but the etsy link is a great idea. With all the $ I'm spending on renewing, ebay might just be a bargain. Some really great ideas here - thank you :)

Jenny said...

What a helpful post. Is there an efficient way to calculate and list shipping to each individual country? It is such a thoughtful thing to do, but I'm thinking it would take forever?
Thanks so much for the feature, Heidi! ~ Jenny

Sell your house fast in the UK said...

Love this blog, keep up the great work wish you all the best.....

Sell your house fast in the UK

cherrylippedroses said...

I REALLY enjoyed reading this. I work full time as an ophthalmological tech and sometimes I am too tired to even read these blogs...OR...take care of my shop...and, I LOVE my shop. You gave me sound advice. You made it feel DOable. Thanks so much for the kick-up. Kathryn