10 Ways to Improve Your Shop and Make Use of the Slow Months on Etsy

10 ways to improve your etsy shop during the slow months

When January rolls around, it’s easy to feel a bit discouraged after the exciting wave of holiday sales. But the slower season is a valuable time of year for your business, too. With fewer sales to keep up with, you can work on the heart of your business to make it stronger and more fruitful. 

So instead of staring at your stats and wondering where the eager shoppers went, take advantage of the extra time to tackle some important behind-the-scenes shop tasks.

Get a head-start on 2017 with 10 ways to improve your Etsy store after the holiday rush.

1 | Revisit your listings.

When we’re busy making and listing items as fast as we can, it’s easy to overlook or put off writing product details. The first quarter of the new year is the perfect time to make sure each listing is up to par. Think of it as dusting the corners and giving your shop a polished finish.

If you have a large shop, it can be a bit looming to check each listing in detail, so conquer the feat in smaller parts by addressing one shop section at a time.

Head over to your listings manager, and look over the following for each item: titles, tags, photos, description, variations, shipping, prices, and links . . .

  • Are your titles and tags accurate? 
  • Are your photos captivating? 
  • Do your descriptions need revising? 
  • If you have item variations, are they listed accurately? 
  • Is your shipping information correct? 
  • Are your prices where they should be?
  • If you’ve included links, are they all accurate?

Critique your listings to make sure they aren’t missing anything. Fix errors and update where necessary; it’s well worth the time to make sure your shop is at its full potential and doesn’t have major--or minor--mistakes.

Tip: When you analyze your listings, take note of what you love and dislike about them and your shop as a whole; it will help with branding decisions and other changes you may want to address.

2 | Update your shop photos.

Are any of your photos begging for a face-lift? Fewer orders make it easier to photograph items before sending them out.

Focus on capturing photos that stand out among the vast grid of other sellers' items. Photos should draw shoppers in so they click your item to see more, and once they do, captivate them further with amazing shots that showcase your products to encourage sales.

Highlight different angles of your items, and demonstrate how they look while in use. Consider including lifestyle shots; they're a wonderful way to help buyers visualize your product in their lives. Think of ways to “model” your products even if they aren’t accessories. Ask, how is your item used? Then brainstorm photo possibilities accordingly.

Since photography has the power to make your items shine or look shabby, it’s a crucial component of your online business. The good news is that you can easily create stunning images yourself with just a few simple and inexpensive tools.

I have a helpful photography resource if you want to know my method for modeling and shooting accessories at the same time. Get my free checklist to learn what 5 basic tools I use to create photos for my shop and social media. You'll also be the first to know about a photography course I'm working on when you sign up below.

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Product Photography Checklist

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3 | Create or change your shop's banner photo.

Take advantage of the space above your shop to showcase your brand and greet customers who visit. While you don’t have to use one, Etsy currently has two options to choose from: a cover photo or a banner.

Cover photos are borderless, statement-making headers that show up on computers as well as mobile devices. Banners, however, are a smaller block-style headers that center over your shop and are only visible on computers.

Keep them in theme with the rest of your brand for a cohesive look. Try one wide photo, or use your favorite collage app to feature several at once. Have a creative brainstorm to conjure up ideas. You could feature . . .

  • your new logo
  • a welcoming hello
  • an important shop message
  • your newest item(s)
  • a collage of several product photos
  • behind the scenes images
  • a dramatic photo of your product(s) in action/being used
  • the current holiday’s theme
  • a combination of your logo and product photos
  • a coupon code so shoppers won’t miss your sale

Consider making a few to have on hand so you can quickly change the look of your shop when needed. If you have seasonal or holiday items, you can create headers for them ahead of time so you’ll be prepared.

4 | Create or update your shop’s About section.

If your shop’s About page isn’t already set up, make it a priority on your to-do list. Display the quality and care you put into your products by following through all the steps of setting up your shop. When it’s clear that you have carefully tended to all parts of your store, buyers are more likely to trust you. 

Your About section is a crucial component of your shop, and if it’s missing, potential customers might wonder what else you are skipping or forgetting and may move on to the next shop.

Your About page is also one of the best ways to connect with customers and encourage sales because it gives them a chance to get to know the person and products they will be spending their hard-earned money on.

To get started, take a few behind the scenes photos of you and your process. Add a headline for each photo, and write an engaging paragraph or two about how you got started or what you love most about what you do. It’s that simple. Tip: horizontal photos work best.

If you already have your About section filled out, give it a read-through to see if it needs any edits. You can also consider changing it seasonally depending on what you offer.

If social media is your main source of sales, it can be tempting to put less importance on your About page. But go the extra mile to make your shop as professional as possible.

For a quick solution, re-purpose several photos from your Instagram or favorite social media. And if you've already written about your shop's story or your process, simply copy and paste it. Even simpler.

5 | Revisit your shop Policies

While it may be the most boring part of running an Etsy store, filling out your shop policies is one of the most important tasks you can do for you business.

Plus, it’s less painful than you might think: Etsy makes it easy and fast to input your policies. In past years, sellers had to write all the details out, but now you can add your information without having to write a single sentence. All you have to do is click check boxes and choose from drop-down menus. Not bad, eh? Note: You can still use your previous policies if you prefer.

Policy topics to cover include your . . .

  • Processing and shipping times
  • Payment options
  • Returns, exchanges, and cancellations 
  • Privacy policy

Take a bit of time and utilize this tool to set your rules ahead of time and prevent confused and unhappy customers. Then if a problem arises, you can refer customers to your shop policies, which they agreed to abide by when they purchased from you. Additionally, most customers are more comfortable buying from a shop when the policies are clearly stated. It’s a safety net for both shop owner and buyer alike. 

6 | Fill out your FAQ section

Are there certain questions that customers always seem to ask? Create a FAQ section for your shop. FAQ's currently show up under your shop Policies on Etsy, making it easy for customers to learn more details about your shop before they message you. AKA, a great time-saver. It helps make sure all your bases are covered in addition to what you included in your Policies. You can use the FAQ area to highlight policies that are extra important, too.

Etsy currently includes the following built-in categories:

  • Custom and personalized orders. Let customers know if you are open to creating customized or one-of-a-kind pieces.
  • Sizing details. Are you able to create custom sizes that might not be listed on your items?
  • Care instructions. Will your item fall apart in the washing machine, or is it indestructible? 
  • Gift wrapping and packaging. Do your items come gift-ready, or is fancy packaging only upon request?
  • Wholesale availability. Do you offer wholesale prices? Write a blurb to let retailers know how to get more details.

Etsy also allows custom questions. Is there any unique information to include about your shop or process? Consider adding them to your FAQ section.

7 | Stock up on inventory or create a Ready-to-Ship section.

Do you have fewer orders this month? Keep making items to stock your shop. It will help you transition into the busy season more easily, and you’ll feel more prepared. 

Make a list of items to stock up on. Be strategic, and start with your most popular pieces. Or focus on making more of your upcoming seasonal or holiday line if you already have a sense of which items will sell out faster.

Then, create a Ready to Ship section in your shop for customers who are in need of a quick gift. Include a note in your Shop Announcement to let shoppers know you have pre-made items so they know they won’t have to wait long.

8 | Streamline your packaging and shipping process.

Work on your packaging design or just get ahead of the game: complete your stamping, cutting, and labeling so when the orders start coming in, you’ll be set for speedy shipping. Customers always love a fast delivery.

Try utilizing these helpful tools . . .

  • Use Etsy shipping labels for discounted postage rates.
  • Consider investing in a scale; knowing how much items weigh prevents overestimated postage costs.
  • Pro tip: Utilize Etsy shipping sections for a faster process and more accurate rates. To create a shipping section, simply calculate and save packaging costs for each box size you use. Then, when you assign a listing to it, include the weight of the item plus the packaging, and Etsy will automatically calculate the cost depending on the buyer's destination. This is one of my favorite features!

When you streamline your packaging and shipping process, it saves so much time (and some money), giving you more time to create items and generate ideas.

9 | Experiment with new ideas.

Do you have new ideas you couldn’t get to during the busy holiday sales? Well, now is your chance to squeak them in. 

It’s the perfect time of year to set aside a few hours, or a day, to finally design that new accessory, write up that new pattern, or flesh out the details for that newest addition to your skirt line. Use the slower sales season to work on what you’ve been dreaming about. Get your make on, and add those new designs to your brand.

Don't forget: as creatives, we’re great at generating new ideas, which makes it easy to stray from the path at times. So first, take a look at your business goals and plans to be sure your newest ventures fit in. Going back to your goals periodically will help you stay on track throughout the creative process.

10 | Create stock images for social media.

Have you ever struggled to find time to nicely style your creations for a social media post? I've been there. Or have you ever wanted to take a photo for Instagram when it’s too cloudy or dark? Yeah, me, too, especially during the wintry month of January, February, and often times, March.

Solve these dilemmas with a social media photo shoot to stock up on photos. 

Brainstorm photos you want to capture to best represent your brand. Make a list of products to include and styles of photography to use. Will you share behind-the-scenes shots? Product photos? Do you have a neat workspace to share? Consider your audience and what they would enjoy seeing.

Then, set aside some time to photograph a bunch of planned shots from your list. Choose a day with some sun (avoid a dark, rainy day), gather any props, and figure out your setting for even-lighting to prevent bright spots.

Once you have a stock of images to use, posting to Instagram will be less time consuming, and you’ll be able to plan your photos better. You can also use them for shop updates on Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter. You name it.

Check out my photography resource here to learn what I use to create product photos. It’s a handy checklist to help you get started if you model and shoot products yourself. Get a copy below when you subscribe to TwigBerryStudio Insider: a creative Newsletter delivered each Monday to inspire your week.

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Product Photography Checklist

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Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found these 10 ideas helpful for making use of slower shopping months on Etsy. What ways do you make the most of extra time when you have less sales for your shop?

What other topics would you like to see me write about on the TwigBerryStudio Blog? Comment, Share, and Like the post below!