Category Archives: Etsy

5 Tips for Crushing Your Competition on Online Marketplaces

Selling on Online Marketplaces
Crush Your Competition

Online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon are a boon for small business owners. Whether you are a startup with one room doubling as your office and your warehouse, or a physical store trying to reach new customers, online marketplaces are the place to be. Even niche product creators have platforms like Etsy to sell their goods online.

As businesses hop on to the online marketplace bandwagon, the competition continues to rise. If you want to find an audience in the competitive online marketplace arena, you need to stand out from the rest. Let us look at a few things you can do to overcome your competitors.

  1. Make sure your photos are of the highest quality.

This is probably the single most important thing you can do to immediately improve the quality of your listings. Taking great photos is absolutely crucial for impressing your customers. If you’ve visited Apple’s website, for example, you can see the impact that fantastic photography can have on brand image.

Products usually look better when they are photographed with white backgrounds. This isn’t a thumb rule though. If you find that a lot of your competitors are using similar photo styles, feel free to do something creative. Make sure your images look professional and share-worthy. Hire a professional to get your photo shoot done.

  1. Create an interesting story around your brand and the product you are selling.

Everyone loves a good story. Instead of beginning your product listing with a list of specifications, draw your viewers in by narrating the story of how the product came to be. Talk about why the product is better than the competition. Use emotive language.

Most e-commerce platforms allow businesses to have an “About Us” page. This is where you should talk about your own story and how your company came to be. Use videos and photos to create a more engaging narrative.

  1. Make your customers feel special.

Buyers love it when they feel appreciated for their purchase. You should always strive to add a personal touch to each of your shipments. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy – a simple thank-you note or a small accessory will do.

  1. Tap into the pulse of your market and get to know your buyers.

Companies that are able to form personal connections with their customers are more likely to succeed on online marketplaces. With social media, you have a platform to interact with your buyers on a more personal level. If your customers post photos of themselves using your products on Instagram, reach out to them and comment on their photos. If you find someone tweeting about your products, engage them in conversation. Communicate with influential people in your market and ask them to promote your products.

  1. Give your customers a solid guarantee.

Your customers need to know that they are in safe hands if they buy from you. On your product listing, mention the details of your shipping and return policies. Let your customers know where they can reach if you if they have any issues with their purchase. If you are perceived as a company with integrity, your sales will be much higher.

In summation, getting yourself noticed on Amazon, eBay or other online marketplaces can be tough. But if you follow the tips outlined above, you will have a much greater chance of success.

Etsy Shop

Five Tips For Running A Successful Etsy Shop

If you love vintage items or if you are a crafter, then the online store concept that Etsy offers might be an opportunity for you to sell your items.  Etsy is a website that helps you open your own “shop” and sell what you make or vintage items that you collect.  Etsy charges a small fee for each item you list and then another fee for when you sell an item.  If you are interested in opening your own shop, you should thoroughly explore the Etsy website and decide if you want to jump in and become a shop owner.  If you do decide to take that plunge, this article is intended to provide you with five initial tips that can help make your venture successful.

1)      Take the time to determine if the items you want to sell are unique or if hundreds of other Etsy shops are selling the same things you plan on offering.  It is better to compete with just a few stores than with hundreds who are all selling the same thing.  Keep in mind that you want to make an item that has your personal touch and does not look like it was mass produced.  If you are going to sell vintage items, make sure they are of  good quality and in very good to excellent condition.

2)      Select a name for your store that is original and that shows a side of your personality.  As you set up your store, there is a page for you to create your profile, and you should use that opportunity to tell your story and explain the name of your shop.  Buyers want a connection with the seller, and they will read your profile with interest.  Etsy also provides you with an “About” section where you can write a more in-depth description of yourself, your store and how you make or find your items; plus, you can include photos of yourself and your work areas.  People truly want to see the person who is behind the store and you will be more successful if you introduce yourself in a friendly, informative manner.

3)      You must take clear, well composed and engaging photographs of your items.  This is extremely important because people simply will not buy from your store if the photos are poorly presented and look amateurish.  There is too much competition on Etsy for you to skimp on this step.  Your photos are all the potential buyers have to go on as they can’t pick up and examine your items the way they would in a brick and mortar store.  However, if you aren’t a professional photographer, don’t despair.  Etsy provides many tutorials on how to compose and take good quality photos, and you simply need to set aside the time to study and practice the techniques.  Some people even take classes to learn the tricks of the trade, so that they can learn lighting and composition.  It is well worth the time.

4)      Describe your items by using accurate, lively nouns and adjectives and provide product details with accurate measurements.  Brainstorm and don’t leave out information.  Tell them what materials you used to make the product.  Again, people can’t actually touch and look at your items, so you have to give them the information they need to buy your creation.  For each item you list,  Etsy gives you thirteen “tags” to use to describe your item.  Make good use of those tags, as that is how the search engines direct searches to your shop.  Spend time looking at items in other stores that are of the same general type as your items and see what tags they are using.  Do not skimp on the time it takes to think up tags, and never leave a tag unused.

5)      Work up to having at least 100 items in your store.  This doesn’t mean that you have to start with 100 items, but it is the lowest goal that you should strive for and always remember that more is better.  Your shop will get more hits as you add items, and more hits means more sales.  Many of the successful shops often have well over 200 items on display.

These are five beginner, but very important, steps to take towards making your Etsy shop a success.  What starts out as a hobby or a part-time venture on Etsy can turn into a full-time business if you are passionate and serious about making it work.  Just think, you could work full-time at doing something you love in the comfort of your own home.

What to Sell – Arm Candy: Spring 2014 Handbags

The top hand bag trends for spring 2014 are the cross-body bags, totes, backpacks, and clutches. From easy-going hobos to stunning, sophisticated satchels, this season’s hand bags are sure to be showstoppers.

Cross-Body Carryalls

Sleek, structured cross-body hand bags are great additions to any woman’s collection as they display beautiful craftsmanship and are sure to hold their value for years to come. Leather (calfskin, lambskin and goatskin), suede, embossed snakeskin, polished multi-tonal hardware (chrome, brass and gold), zippers, magnetic closures, and removable straps all grace these bags this Spring. Cross-body hand bags make it easy to go hands-free and to keep everything close to the vest, so-to-speak.

Some cross-body hand bags feature highly innovative features like expandable zip sides, zip-top fold-over flaps, and hidden mirrors in their removable zip-trimmed shoulder straps. Designs in woven calfskin with smooth leather trim reflect the current multi-textural trend. Other cross-body styles are adorned in high-gloss crocodile, or feature flap top accordion styles with multiple interior pockets, tonal lining, and hidden push-lock clasps.

Totes & Satchels

Tote bags are being toted in every shape and size imaginable, from small hand bags to more spacious over-sized carryalls … then, there are the trapeze totes; they make for a practical purchase when shopping for a new hand bag this season that transition well from work to evening.

Made of canvas, leather and crocodile in soft neutrals, or bold bright hues that pop (hot pink, electric neon and cobalt), they add a needed shock to the season’s otherwise delicate pastel and neutral color palette. This season’s canvas totes highlight leather piping, mixing hard leather and soft suede to reflect this season’s multi-textural, and dual tonal trends, playing on the union of masculine and feminine qualities.

Tote bags have open tops for easy access to all of the essentials that the modern, multi-tasking woman carries with her, or drawstring, snap or zippered closures to ensure that everything stays in place. Either way, their roomy, spacious interiors are sure to hold everything but the kitchen sink.

Elegant, ladylike satchels in soft, supple leather don studded embellishments, gilded hardware, and cracked leather for a sweet, but tough juxtaposition. These roomy bags have easy to carry double and rolled top handles along with adjustable, removable shoulder straps to sling over the shoulder and go.

Shoulder Bags

Spring 2014 shoulder bags range from slouchy hobos and messenger bags to boxy, structured bags.  This season’s shoulder bags come in solid neutrals, bold saturated colors (cobalt, fuchsia and tangerine), and monochromatic motifs. With their more laid back sensibility, slouchy hobos are great for errand running during the day.

Structured canvas and supple calfskin leather combinations exhibit this season’s multi-textural trend and color blocking and dual toned bags make for great contrasting pieces. Structured shoulder bags have optional straps that can easily be removed to carry by hand, transitioning seamlessly from day to night. Portable-sized bags are small enough to carry around all day. Design trends include fold-over flaps, flap buckles, chain straps, top stitching and gunmetal studding. Envelope styles, python-embossing and expandable bottom bags are other fashion-forward shoulder bag options to choose from.


Backpacks are no longer just for grade school kids but rather for the modern woman. Updated backpack styles may be carried as hand or shoulder bags or as a backpack. They come in soft leather bucket bag shapes with drawstring closures, as well as grained leather, boxy, flap top styles. Vegan-friendly options are available in faux deerskin (polyester) and lightweight nylon. Backpack detailing includes whip stitching, metallics, curb-chain trim and slim straps. They come in pretty pastels like mint green, multi-tonal prints, and bold, bright shades like strawberry.

Envelope & Fold-Over-Flap Clutches

Envelope clutches (resembling envelopes) are also statement-making pieces to sell this season. They are easy to carry, and some even have front straps to clutch onto. Designed in two-tone, color blocked, and pretty pastel shades, rich buttery or high-gloss patent leather, super soft suede, and snakeskin (python), these bags can really hold their own. Top design trends seen on these bags this Spring include perforations, lattice work, laser cutouts, and intricately woven leather.

While some clutches stick with the minimalism trend, others feature sparkly faceted Swarovski crystals, mirrored palettes, and/or gilded hardware (studs, clasps and chains) embellishments that add high fashion glamour to any outfit. These eye-catching bejeweled clutches complement any simple, sophisticated dress or jumpsuit for a stylish night out on the town. With so much bling in one sleek piece, other jewelry can be kept minimal.

Some clutches are small enough to be carried in tote bags for the day and brought out at night, while others are large enough to hold a tablet; some of them even resemble brief cases with due to their fold over flaps. Over-sized clutches are carryalls for everything today’s women need to have on hand. More compact designs with wrist straps (wristlets) allow for a hands-free evening while keeping all necessities (ID, compact, lipstick, and cell phone) close at hand. In the season’s most popular prints from floral, camouflage, tropical prints, water colors, graphic graffiti, art-inspired, sharp metallic, and safari (leopard), these bags are very “clutch.”

Spring 2014 is all about having the latest “It” bags in stock, whether you choose to sell a more relaxed silhouette like the hobo bag or a super structured, more proper satchel. Beautiful materials and detailing make these bags eye-catching pieces to highlight the season’s hottest trends in shopping carts.

Apps for Shopping

5 Apps to Make You Rethink How You Shop

Browse.  Browse. Point. Click.  That’s usually what you think of when you think of online shopping.  That’s nice.   It’s pretty easy…except that after a while your eyes start to hurt because you keep seeing the same stuff over and over again.  The apps you are about to see prove that shopping can be a lot more engaging, interactive and fun when it’s done online.  Dare I say, even social?

You thought you were cool when you got the eBay app or maybe when you downloaded the Amazon app.  Just when you thought you had browsed all you could, here come five IOS apps that are ready to take on shopping and the fashion world.

  1. TagSale and Rumgr: are yard sale apps.  Need to sell something?  Wanna buy something?  Check out your neighborhood to see what’s available.  You browse through pictures of unique finds, and great prices, all in a “Instagram-like” type of way.

It’s easy!  Take a picture.  Add-on a price tag.  Post.  If you’re shopping, type in your zip code, type in your city and start discovering cool stuff, without spending all the gas you normally would by going to yard sales.  Don’t worry.  These apps have precautions built-in to protect your privacy.  It’s not like any random person can instantly see where you live or anything.

  1. Etsy:  If you’ve never heard of Etsy, you need to check it out.  Etsy has a warm fuzzy place in my heart because it’s all handmade by artists of all backgrounds.  The products are reasonably priced and you can literally type in any word and something of that word will be for sale.  I bought a lot of my Christmas presents with them this year.  There’s t-shirts, wall art, geekery, cups, clothes, jewelry…everything.  Also because everything is hand crafted, you can easily request for your orders to be engraved or somehow personalized.  Never give a default, lame gift card gift again.
  1. Nifty: “Oooooohhh!  Ahhhhh!”  How about you don’t spend any money?  Give stuff to your friends with this app.  Have old baby clothes you want to give away?  This app lets your friends call dibs on anything you took a picture of.  So now you know that all your things are going to a good home.  What a cool way to get new stuff without spending a dime!
  1. Birchbox:  I think this one is my favorite.  Have you ever heard of “subscription boxes”?  They have them now for beauty products, bicycling products (, and clothes.  Birchbox is a subscription service and a shopping experience all in one.  Once a month you get a box filled with beauty goodies.  You know, beauty stuff.  You box comes loaded with perfumes, lotions, creams, body washes.  All sample size.  It’s like a new present every month.  Best of all it’s super cheap. ($10-$20).
  1. Threadless:  This app offers some super cool, original T’s.  Seriously, the greatest selection of graphic arts t-shirts you’ve ever seen.  Artists put up their art.  You put it on a shirt.  Vote for your favorite artists.  It’s their art on your shirts.  Now you can tell someone, “You are a walking piece of art.”  Not bad huh?

Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  I said five apps and you really got six.  Consider it a freebie.  I just hope that you help me in one of my life’s missions: to end the giving of lame and impersonal gifts and gift cards.  So now that you know about all these cool apps and services, go put them to use!  Be chic.  Be smart. Have fun!

Buying or Selling Art on Etsy

Buying and Selling Art on Etsy

Buying and selling creative works of art, from paintings to handmade cards to decorative vases to stunning jewelry, cannot be easier when you use Etsy. Similar to eBay in design and ease, buying and selling art on Etsy will leave you excited and anxious to use it time and time again.

Etsy opened its virtual doors in 2005, and millions of people from all around the globe visit the auction site to purchase a wide variety of goods. Buying arts and crafts from Etsy is very simple, as is selling your own creative projects.

Buying art on Etsy:

The creators of Etsy wanted a fun and easy-to-navigate site for people to view a wide variety of products and that’s what happened. The platform is similar to eBay in design, with items being placed under an assortment of categories. Browsing these categories is very simple and fast.

There is a search box at the top of the page. So, if you are looking for a glass vase, simply type in ‘glass vase’ in the search box and click on search. You will get a list of items which match your description. Then you can click on the item and decide if you want to purchase it or not. Simple.

Using Geolocator, you can search for art sellers who live close to your own location. This is very handy if you are purchasing bigger items such as decorative screens, paintings or even sculptures as it would save you a fortune in shipping and handling costs. Plus, you may even be able to meet the artist themselves.

The Etsy Time Machine is a handy tool which allows you to see recently added items to the site, progressing to older items. This could be very useful if you are interested in seeing what new items are being uploaded before everybody else gets there.

Connections is where you can view what other people are interested in. When you save something as your favorite, it can be saved in the Connections section. This allows people then to browse items that you like, gaining inspiration for gift ideas.

Once you have decided that you wish to purchase an item, all you need to do is register a free account on Etsy. Go back to the relevant page and simply order it. If you need to ask the seller any questions or perhaps ask a special request, then you can initiate a ‘conversation’ with them. These messages are kept in your inbox until you delete them. Follow the payment instructions and the seller will ship your item to you. Upon receiving it, you should leave feedback on the seller’s profile and they will do the same for you. Other people view this feedback to determine whether you are a trustworthy buyer/seller.

Selling art on Etsy:

Selling art on Etsy is a little more complex than buying art on the site, but even then it is a simple enough process which reaches millions of people all over the world. Etsy itself is not a shop, but rather an online marketplace where vendors come together and sell their goods, just like your local market.

You should note, however, that there are two small fees to pay out when you sell your art on Etsy. You need to pay a small listing fee when you upload products to your shop, and you also have to pay a small transaction fee when a customer purchases an item from you.

In order to sell art on Etsy, you begin by setting up a seller’s account and then open a shop. This will require a credit card to do. Fill out the profile page and the shop description. This is a great way to advertise how unique you and your items are.

Then you need to list your items you wish to sell. Add a good quality photograph of the item, tags and a detailed description of the object. Also, make sure you include clear shipping costs and information, especially if you are willing to ship overseas.

The next step is to advertise your shop (through social media like Facebook or Twitter for example) and wait until an item is sold. Once the payment has cleared, you need to package the item and then ship it to the purchaser. Once your customer has received the item, leave feedback on their profile. They should leave feedback on your profile; this is important as other potential customers will read your feedback in order to determine whether you are a reliable seller.

Etsy has gained a trustworthy reputation as a reliable online marketplace for anything arty and creative. Buying and selling art on Etsy is fun, easy to do and very profitable, making it a popular venue for artists and customers alike.