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Following the events of the past year, the way we shop and sell has changed fundamentally. This was highlighted by huge demands on e-commerce retailers throughout 2020, and notably over the festive period. Incredibly, since the first lockdown, a third of Brits (31%) have begun to shop online for the very first time. 

At STEAMhouse, we know the impact the pandemic has had on small businesses, with makers markets, stalls, small shops and even high street chains virtually shutting down during 2020. In a year of firsts, both customers and small business owners have been forced to quickly adapt to a new, competitive online world of buying and selling. 

In this new retail landscape, in which every business, from sole traders to global corporations, is shifting its focus to online sales, Etsy stands out as an established and well-respected platform that promises to ‘Keep Commerce Human’. It offers a home for creators of handmade craft items and sellers of vintage goods. Currently, it hosts almost 2 million active sellers selling approximately 45 million items, and sells to over 30 million buyers and rising. 

So, if you are a designer, maker or seller navigating the choppy, yet exciting waters of ecommerce, the creation of your very own successful Etsy shop could be a lifeline in this strange new world. 

How to grow your business with Etsy

Here are our four key building blocks for Etsy success: 

Pick a perfect shop name 

On Etsy, as on the high street, your shop name will become your brand. It should evoke the essence of your product or ethos, while being memorable enough for shoppers to type into the search bar. Don’t be crushed if your perfect name is not available – why not play around with adding your location, initials or the words ‘shop’, ‘store’ or ‘boutique’? Finally, make sure it’s easy to read and spell, and that when you search for the same or similar names on Google, you aren’t being confused with a competitor with a similar, or identical name.   

Tag, tag, tag! 

Regardless of platform, tagging has become a vital component of online content to make sure it reaches the right audience, and Etsy is no exception. In fact, Etsy’s algorithms rely on tags (comprising unpunctuated key words and phrases of up to 20 characters). It’s absolutely essential that you attach tags to each and every product or service you sell on Etsy, as they determine your product’s likelihood of selling. For example, a buyer typing in ‘handmade pottery’ into Etsy will get over 118,000 results, whereas a buyer typing in ‘handmade pottery uk’ will see the list whittled down to just over 2,000 results. Finally, a buyer searching ‘handmade pottery uk mug blue’ will produce just 68 results. Try to use your full allowance of 13 tags per product, to take you right to the top of shoppers’ results. Remember that multi-word phrases work really well, for example, ‘handmade blue mug’ is much stronger than ‘handmade’, ‘blue’ and ‘mug’.   

Use top-notch photos 

Behave on Etsy as you would in a bricks-and-mortar shop. Market your products in their best light, against good backgrounds, in situ and alongside related products. Take beautiful detail shots that show off your craftsmanship. Do not damage your brand by rushing and using low-resolution, poorly lit photos. Upload multiple images per product, and if possible, show the product or service in context, in action, or being modelled. 

Offer a range of payment options 

A very simple way to gain an edge in the market is to offer sellers a range of ways to pay. Set up your shop to receive payments by credit card, debit card, PayPal, Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits, Apple Pay, and finally, Google Pay. 

2021 is the time to establish yourself in the booming world of ecommerce. There is no better time than right now to get your Etsy shop set up and selling. 

If you need further support, STEAMhouse offers assistance, advice and workshops led by industry experts, and is ideal for turbo-charging your budding craft business, start-up or shop. Learn how it works, get in touch or apply to join today! Alternatively, join our mailing list to receive regular tips and advice. 

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