Etsy loves fresh content and so do your customers. Plus new ideas keep your creative brain moving and shaking! So you know you need some new listings, but how do you decide what to try next? Designing new products, stocking inventory and creating new listings are a crap-ton of work. You don’t want to do all that work in exchange for zero results do you? So let’s apply a little strategy to the process of coming up with new products to sell on Etsy.
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Creating new listings is a vital part of keeping your content relevant and in front of customers eyes. It’s a great way to boost views and confirm to Etsy that your shop is active.
When you post new listings, all the people who have favourited your shop will see a notification. Curiosity might just get the better of them!
In my experience, I’ve had to strike a balance between making the things I love to make and making the things people actually want to buy. Unfortunately those 2 things are not alway the same.
I love being a maker, I love being an entrepreneur, and both those things requires a little sacrifice of the other. I’m primarily a maker, I just don’t always get to make the things I want. And that’s ok, I’m not a sell-out. I just also want to run a profitable business.
And I want you to run a profitable, balanced business too.
But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I will NEVER guarantee results. I will NEVER deign to think I can guarantee you’ll make lots of money. I offer practical tips, and the results may vary. It’s not pretty but it’s the truth. I’ve been burned too many times by “experts” promising a gazillion sales if I follow their teachings. I will never do that to you. It’s bullshirt.
So on this honesty train are several value-packed posts containing pretty much everything I know about running an Etsy shop. It’s not everything in the universe, but it’s everything I know. I designed a pretty pack of printable worksheets to go with this series, but they’re not free. I’m trying to diversify my income, (which I recommend you do also) so the packet is $7 cad and you can buy it here. 🙂 There’s a great worksheet (among 8 others) that accompanies this post to help you figure out some new product ideas for your shop.
There are also worksheets to accompany the other posts in this series, Pricing Handmade Items, How to Find Etsy Tags and How to Promote Your Etsy Shop. Next up in the series will be How to Read Etsy Stats and 32 Bonus Gift Ideas to Include in Orders.
Anyways, here are my tips for figuring out what new products to sell on Etsy for this, Part 4, of the Your Shop, Your Way series.
What’s Gonna Sell?
Well that’s the million dollar question isn’t it?! And if I had the answer I could have built my house out of solid gold.
Unfortunately, all any of us can do is make highly-educated guesses.
Here are a few things I’ve learned during my Etsy shop journey to help me avoid time-wasters.
- One of a kind items are not going to make you rich. (Unless they are really high ticket items.) Most of us mama-makers are producing low-medium ticket items, and one-of-a-kinds are just too much work to be profitable. You need a good selection of items that are easily duplicated instead.
- I’ve found that a combination of custom-made and ready-to-ship items is the best way to stock my shop.
- Keep your turn-around time as short as possible. People want items that will ship out asap.
- You need a minimum of 50 listings, the closer you can get to 100, the better.
The items I keep in stock that are ready-to-ship are quickly and easily duplicated. When the item sells, I just make a replacement and renew the listing. Easy peasy. I’ve only had to create a single listing that keeps getting re-used. It’s the best use of my time.
I make smaller items. So even if I’m making them custom I can generally get them shipped out in a couple of days. I’ve discovered that having short lead times is the best approach. Customers want their order asap. So when I’m designing new products to sell on Etsy, I keep in mind that they can’t take me too long to produce.
I create several listings for a single custom item. I just switch out the photos and keywords. It’s a great way to build up your number of listings without needing to keep 100 different items in stock.
Dreaming Up New Products to Sell on Etsy
Most of us got into this Etsy thing simply because we love to make things. We started with the making then fell into the business side of things too. Makers first, entrepreneurs second.
But to have a successful shop, we can’t just make whatever we want and hope for the best. There needs to be some strategy involved.
Gifting your creations to grateful family and friends is hugely different from convincing a customer to pay money for it.
You need to try to figure out what people are willing to pay money for.
Check Out Your Stats
Print out your worksheet and let’s get started!
Start by figuring out what’s already working in your shop. What items get the most sales?
(Read up on Part 5 of the series to learn how to get loads of useful info out of your stats.)
Look at your social media posts, what’s getting the most likes, shares and comments? What are people saying?
Can you make a variation on what’s already working? Different size, colours or purpose?
No need to re-invent the wheel if you’ve got listings that are performing well. Just build on them.
Personalization is a big deal on Etsy. Customers come to Etsy because they are looking for something special and unique. Something they can’t find in the big box stores or Amazon.
Often times, that thing is personalization or customization. They need specific colours to match an occasion or a thank you gift with the recipient’s name engraved on it.
Do you have items that could be personalized with names, initials or ages?
What about offering customization of size, shape or colour?
Sometimes your product might be just what the customer is looking for, only it’s the wrong colour. Giving customers some options can increase your chances of making a sale.
What are people suggesting you make? Any decent ideas there?
At the beginning of my business journey, I used to try making anything someone suggested. I figured if they wanted it, maybe other people did too. But it turns out a lot of the time people were just making conversation and had no real interest in purchasing said item.
But I do recommend keeping track of what crafty suggestions are put to you. Are you getting multiple requests for the same item? Who is making these suggestions to you? You neighbour’s grandmother or a trusted retailer who knows their customers? If the source is good, the idea might be good too.
What is this year’s avocado, pineapple or llama? Don’t ignore the trends! Even just walking around HomeSense can give you some ideas of what’s trending. See a lot of ice cream cones on notebooks and pillows? Mermaid tails on blankets and t-shirts? Maybe you can incorporate some trendy ideas into your own creations.
Keep track of what’s trending on Etsy too. What is Etsy sending out in e-mails or posting on the homepage? Etsy wants to make sales, so they are going to share the big-selling ideas. Pay attention.
From the Etsy homepage:
Are there any trendy catch-phrases making their way through FB memes or Pinterest? Can you capitalize on recent celebrity quotes or twitter nonsense?
In this technological age, you gotta keep up with the trends and appear as relevant as possible, lest the millennials roll their eyes at you. (ps. Someone please tell me what tik tok is?!)
But pretty pretty please beware of copyright infringement. Don’t put a slogan on your product unless you’re absolutely sure it’s free for your use. Do your research.
Make What You Love
Here’s the thing about making what you love: It shows. Your passion shines through your work and customers love authenticity.
So don’t neglect what your heart is telling you to create. Yes you need to make what customers want in order to be profitable. But you also need to make what you love in order to be happy. You gotta strike a balance or the business side of things will suck the joy right out of the creative side of things.
So what are you crushing on lately? What colours or themes or styles? Will it fit into the branding of your shop or should you just create a one-off as a giveaway item or gift?
When in Doubt, Test it Out!
You don’t have to go ahead and create a ton of inventory and prepare a big launch for a new product if you’re unsure of it’s success.
You can always just create one or two and post a cute pic on IG to gauge interest. Be transparent and just ask people what they think.
You can ask for advice in FB groups too. There are lots of Etsy-related Facebook groups full of crafty entrepreneurs just waiting to give you an opinion! 😛 Just be prepared for answers you might not like.
Those are all my best tips for trying to figure out what new products to sell on Etsy. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts in this series!