Monday, June 13, 2011

Learning from others

Inspire motivational banner by Studio1621
Let's face it- no one lives in a vacuum. Except maybe my Uncle Ricky, who doesn't have a computer, television or newspaper subscription. ;) The rest of us can't help but be influenced subconsciously by the trends, seasons, colors and styles we're bombarded with on a regular basis. But what about intentional inspiration? How often do you scroll through the pages of Etsy to see what your competitors are doing- and especially to take a critical look at what they might be doing better than you are?

A fundamental component of successful sales is understanding what the competitive market is all about. So start checking out what other people are doing in the categories you list your items in when it comes to general browsing. How are their photos- which do they use for their main image, and how are the remaining 4 photos utilized? Do they use props? Are the images super close-up are in a scene? What about the titles, tags, item descriptions? Try browsing in both list and gallery format to see if photos pop out more in different display modes.

Dyeing Fun with Children eBook by Syrendell
Find a few shops that you find yourself being curious about or clicking on several products for, and take some notes to determine what it is about them that you like. Why did you click on this shop? Whatever reasons you can name are probably going to be the same kinds of reasons potential buyers would give. People who buy handmade are usually interested in the maker behind the product more than your average shopper, so consider including bits of your personality in the information you provide, like team member Syrendell does with family photos.

Next pick a shop selling similar items to yours, open a new browser window, and do a side-by-side comparison. Dig in and observe details; what are this shop's policies and profile like compared to your own? What are their prices like? What kind of special information about shipping, packing, item care, materials, uses, etc. are listed in their descriptions versus your own? Try it with more than one shop to look for patterns. You aren't trying to find examples that are great for copying; rather you want to look at your shop in the same light a new shopper would so you can experience it from a new point of view. Maybe there are additional details you will notice elsewhere that you could start to include, like measurements in centimeters, props that indicate the scale of an item or information about purchasing your goods as gifts.
Positive Energy Cupcake Soaps by PitterPatternDesigns

Try to look at the situation in a dispassionate mode. The goal is not to get yourself worked up or to activate the defensive voice in your head. Believe me- I've been lured into that too. "How is it this shop has sold so many more prints than me when mine are similarly priced and so much more colorful?!" Take a deep breath, sip some iced tea, and make notes. Odds are you will discover more about your shop and come up with some changes you're interested in trying. Good luck!


Jennie @ Studio 1621 said...

Great read! I get I totally can relate to comparing sales. Then I remember God is giving me all that I can handle for the moment. :) Thank you for sharing my Inspire banner!

foothill fibers n' photo said...

Great tips...I'll have to keep a notepad handy next time I do some etsy browsing :)

Heather Spiva said...

Well said!Thanks for the great article.