Would you believe me if I told you that Etsy’s most successful seller buys wholesale goods from Alibaba?
Like many other Etsy browsers, you likely associate the marketplace with all things handmade, vintage, and entirely unordinary. After all it is (probably) the only marketplace where shoppers can find handmade soaps shaped like a Popsicle, pills filled with glitter, and a prayer candle with none other than Bill Murray as the featured saint. However, with Etsy’s loosened restrictions regarding manufactured items, the market has been opened up to shop owners who wish to sell items they didn’t hand stitch themselves.
Etsy Success Story
Alicia Shaffer of Three Bird Nest opened her Etsy shop after the recession forced her to close the San Francisco Bay boutique she and her husband owned. Initially, Shaffer would have been content to make a couple hundred bucks a month, just enough to pay for her daughter’s dance lessons.
She supplied her store both with handcrafted items she made herself, and products she would buy wholesale from Alibaba’s eBay-esque AliExpress. Ordering items wholesale from India, stitching some personalization on them or even keeping them as-is, and then listing them on Etsy at marked-up prices created huge profit margins. To date, the mother of three makes just under a million per year on Etsy, and brings in roughly $65,000 a month from her Etsy shop and website combined.
Diversifying your product selection may be the golden ticket you’ve been searching for. Some people aren’t fans of Etsy’s move to support sellers who sometimes outsource their goods. Some think allowing wholesale, manufactured goods on the marketplace shifts Etsy too far from the indie craft fair vibe it began with. However, not all Etsy sellers consider their shop to be their full-time job. If you’re a part-time seller, you may be more open to bargaining some of the creative process for pre-made products with swollen profit margins. In the meantime, here are a few great steps to become more successful on Etsy.
Etsy Tips and Tricks
Post High Quality Pictures.
When displaying your products, the photo you choose needs to make a good first impression. If your competition has a better picture posted, they’re most likely to going to receive more traffic. Make sure your photographs have good lighting and clearly show the product you want to sell.
Follow Alicia’s footsteps and diversify your products. Sourcing from AliExpress or similar wholesaler can give you a leg up on your competition. You can also test new products to see how your audience likes them. From there, you can manufacture your own products once you know there is a demand for it. What we’re trying to tell you is to not spend a ton of time creating new products that may not sell and hurt your bottom line. Utilize your resources to sell smarter.
Perfect Your Delivery Process.
With manufacturers selling in bulk, attempting to compete with their prices is unrealistic. Instead, focus on selling good quality products and having a reliable delivery process. Plan out your delivery ahead of time in order to ensure the package arrives on time and intact. You could even create a unique thank you card to put in every package that encourages customers to return. Another great item to add to your box is a free sample or a coupon off their next purchase.
Optimize Your Listing.
Having a unique title will help set you apart from the competition only if your target audience can find your listing. Optimizing your product title and description for the search engines (SEO) is detrimental to getting your products noticed. Just remember your audience – they aren’t Google robots. You want to create storytelling with your product descriptions.
Pick a Side
Which camp are you in – are you an Etsy purist or totally cool with a little bit of wholesale? Once you’ve decided your path, take control of your marketing and get your product listings in front of your audience.
Check out this story from another successful Etsy shop owner with advice on how to rock your Etsy site (whether or not your products are all handmade or have some manufactured goodies).