Once you believe you have the basics of running your Etsy business mastered, or you’re at least comfortable handling the day-to-day responsibilities required of you, this is when you should consider growing or expanding your business. It’s typically best to take a slow and steady approach that involves minimal financial risk.
Based on the amount of profit you’re consistently earning, you have a handful of options related to how you can expand or grow your operation. These include:
- Expanding your product line and introducing new products or new product variations (such as colors, sizes or styles) that will allow you to gain more customers
- Increasing your marketing and advertising efforts so you can attract more customers and generate more sales for your existing products
- Brainstorming new ideas for products that are unrelated to your current offerings and opening a second or even a third Etsy shop that you’ll operate simultaneously with your original one.
- Hiring one or more part-time employees if you’re maxed out on your personal resources and don’t have the time to create new products, manage your shop and fulfil orders on your own
- Quitting your “real-world” job to dedicate all your time and effort to the operation of your Etsy shop
To help maintain a steady flow of visitors to your shop and increase your chances of earning repeat business, you should refresh your shop every few months. This might mean updating all your text content and updating your product photography, tweaking the color scheme and overall visual appearance of the shop and/or revising your product offerings. At the very least, it could mean using the Shop Updates feature of the Sell on Etsy mobile app to add more product photography and product lifestyle shots to your shop on a regular basis.
Every three to four months (basically every season), carefully evaluate your sales from the previous quarter or season and determine which were your bestselling products and which items were the least popular. Seriously consider removing the least popular items from your shop altogether and putting more focus on items that are consistently popular or introduce new products.
You should also consider introducing seasonal items or items that are only available around specific holidays, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day or Christmas. In conjunction with popular holidays, consider updating the overall appearance of your shop, including themed graphics, photos, and text that focuses on the upcoming holiday.
Holidays are also a great time to launch special sales or promotions. For example, during the Christmas holiday season, you could offer 10 to 25 percent off or free shipping. Perhaps a “buy two and get a third free” offer would appeal to your audience. You could also bundle groups of related products together and offer the bundle for a limited time at a discounted price in conjunction with a specific holiday.
Hosting sales or promotions is a quick, easy and proven strategy for quickly boosting business, provided you’re offering a good deal that your customers will appreciate. Be creative when planning sales or promotions, but don’t make them too confusing.
The key to growing your business over the long term is to understand that your shop should be continuously evolving and not remain stagnant for more than a month. Ideally, you should continuously update or tweak content, such as product listings and product photos, even if the actual products you’re selling remain constant for an entire season or longer.
Moving forward, don’t ever make changes to your shop haphazardly. Develop an organized approach or plan for your shop and product line updates, and then stick to it. Before making any change, determine why you’re making it, what impact you want it to have, what your goals are and what impact the changes will have on your shop’s visitors. Remember to consider your target audience and anticipate how they’ll react to the changes.
7 ways to expand your business
Here are some more proven ways you can grow your business when you’re ready:
- Increase the number of items you offer by adding more product listings to your shop. But be sure to keep your product offerings somewhat related. For example, if you already sell bracelets, necklaces and earrings, consider adding a line of rings. Or introduce a higher-end or premium selection of related products that are sold at a higher price point. For example, if you already sell silver jewelry, consider offering the same designs in 24k gold. Don’t offer random, unrelated products that won’t appeal to your core audience.
- Improve the quality of your product photography. In addition to making the photos look better, consider adjusting your use of traditional product shots and lifestyle shots to better showcase each of your items.
- Consider expanding your target audience. While you continue to market to your core audience, pinpoint a secondary target audience and begin separate marketing and advertising efforts to reach this new or broader group of people.
- If you haven’t already done so, open your shop to international customers and be willing to ship internationally (assuming what you’re selling will have international appeal).
- Increase the amount of money you’re investing in online paid advertising, and consider trying additional advertising opportunities. At the same time, boost your social media presence.
- Consider sales opportunities beyond Etsy. Once you’ve developed a proven and strong market, consider participating in craft fairs, for example, or expanding to sell your products through mainstream retail stores, boutiques, specialty shops, consignment shops and/or other online services. Keep in mind, however, that retailers will need to buy products from you at wholesale prices (which are typically half your retail price), so make sure doing this will allow your business to remain profitable. You might also consider expanding your online presence by starting a similar storefront on one or more of the services that competes with Etsy, such as Amazon Handmade, to potentially reach a broader audience. Or you could create your own, standalone ecommerce website, which gives you the ability to fully customize everything having to do with your online store.
- As the need arises for you to create your product(s) in larger quantities, develop faster or more efficient ways to save time in the creation or manufacturing process. This might mean making an investment in better tools, for example. At the same time, try to lower your cost for acquiring your raw materials/supplies. For example, buy your materials/supplies from a wholesaler or directly from the manufacturer in larger quantities to receive a bigger discount.