Etsy has an increasing amount of drop-shippers and resellers in the marketplace. Because their products are likely to be mass-produced, they are able to sell at a lower price compared to handmade sellers.
They often marked their products as handmade, which creates confusion to the customers who are looking for genuine handmade products. Although Etsy has rules and guidelines to combat this, it’s impossible to enforce it for all mass-produced goods because there are so many of them.
Understandably, a lot of Etsy sellers are frustrated by the situation. Although there may not be much that you can do to push Etsy to further combat this problem, there are ways that handmade sellers can actively do to differentiate themselves from drop-shippers and resellers.
Read and implement these 13 tips to see your ranking and sales go up on Etsy.
One of the best ways to stand out from mass-produced products is to showcase your creative process.
A good amount of shoppers on Etsy value handmade products (that’s why they are on Etsy and not Amazon and eBay). And they want to know that they are supporting a shop that’s actually handmade.
Showing your process can help you achieve that. Here are a few ways you can do that:
All of these let shoppers know your products don’t just come from a factory, instead, they are made by a creative individual.
Most of the time, reseller or drop-shipper use stock photos provided by the manufacturers, which often makes the shop looks inconsistent and generic. A shop like this is likely a dropshipper:
That’s why using the a consistent styling for your product photos can help you stand out. They can have similar background, props, editing style, etc.
Keep your product photos clean, bright, with your product as the focus. Try using a simple backdrop that is not distracting.
Good product photos also help you stand out on Etsy search page, where most of your shop traffic will likely come from. You can learn more about Etsy product photography in this guide.
A compelling brand story can help you be more memorable in shoppers’ minds. And it’s something that shops selling mass-produced goods can’t easily replicate.
If you are like me, you are a creative and passionate maker. Tell your potential customers how and why you started your shop. Focus on the problem you wanted to solve in the beginning, how you started making your products to solve that problem, and the happiness it brought you to know that your product works.
Make sure your story is authentic and genuine. Show that you care about improving your customer’s lives, and you have the passion doing so.
You can then put your brand story in the about section and product description.
Providing excellent customer service gives the impression that you care about them. You want to give them the best experience when they browse your shop.
One way to provide good customer service as a handmade business is to provide speedy replies when they have a question. Sometimes the quickest shop that answer the question satisfactorily gets the sale. Good customer service can help you make a sale and keep your customers happy.
You are also more familiar with your products than a dropshipper would because you actually made the products. You should be able to answer customers more thoroughly and gives more relevant information.
Also, if your customers has had a good experience from your shop, they are more likely to come back, and spread the word to their friends and family.
Listing video is a relatively new feature to your Etsy listings. It is a great opportunity to show your products in ways that your photos can’t.
Here are a few things you can show in your listing videos (keep the video between 5-15 seconds):
Most Etsy shops selling mass-produced products have more negative reviews than shops selling genuinely handmade products.
Go to your competitor’s shop and read the customer reviews. Pay close attention to reviews that are 2-4 stars. They usually contain complaints about the product.
They present opportunities for you to jump in and offer a product that better satisfies your target customers. Because drop-shippers are restricted by what their suppliers can offer, they may not be able to make those changes to the product.
Consistent branding is important to help you stand out on Etsy. It can also help you to build trust in your customers and grow your business.
An important aspect of branding is the visual elements like brand colour and fonts. Only using 1-2 colours and fonts can help your listings and shop look more cohesive. The same applies to your marketing materials like social media posts and Etsy shop banner.
Another way to stand out in customers’ mind with branding is to have a clear brand voice and message. Focus on what makes your products unique, whether it’s all natural ingredients or a traditional crafting method, reiterate that throughout your shop when it’s relevant.
Review is one of the most powerful forms of marketing on Etsy. They build trust for your products and your brand. They also serve as social proof and make people more likely to buy from you.
The more shoppers trust your shop, the more likely that they will take the chance and buy from you.
One trick that you can implement is to handpick 3-5 best reviews you’ve received and highlight them in your product photos and description. Those reviews would be best if they also align with your unique selling points and brand message.
After-sale care is a great way to show appreciation to customers, but it’s also one of the most ignored aspects by Etsy sellers.
Good after-sale care can help set your shop apart from dropshippers because they are unlikely to provide any.
A successful business is built on return customers. Giving a long-lasting impression with after-sale care is one of the best ways to ensure customers remember your brand and come back repeatedly.
Some ways you can improve the after-sale experience of customers:
In order to stand out on Etsy, offering different products than what’s available is a way to do that. It doesn’t have to be completely different; sometimes just a different colour or style can stand out.
The key idea for this strategy is to offer products that are hard to find elsewhere. It can be hard for customers to find what they are looking for if they want something unique. They may not be able to find it on the internet or in a store near them. This is where you come in and provide them with exactly what they need.
As drop-shippers relies on their suppliers for the product variety, it’s unlikely that they will be able to compete with you, at least for a period of time.
Etsy shops selling mass-produced products are unlikely to offer customisations and personalisations. This is a great opportunity for you to jump in and differentiate your products.
One of the most popular ways is to put the customer’s name on your product, either by engraving a metal plate, stamping the name on the product or other methods.
Be mindful to not spread yourself too thin. Make the customisation options limited and easy for you to create.
Competing with mass-produced stuff on low price is impossible. Products made in a factory will always be cheaper than what you can make yourself.
That’s why I usually recommend sellers experiment with a slightly higher price point. A premium, higher-priced offer gives shoppers the impression of higher perceived value.
Another benefit is that you have higher profit margin, and more room for running promotions when you need to (like Black Friday sale).
But be sure that you can convince shoppers that your product is worth the higher price. A few ways to increase the perceived value include:
For more on pricing, read this guide on pricing your handmade products.
For Etsy sellers, if you are featured in a magazine or by a famous blogger, mention it in your listing. This is a good way to set your products apart from dropshippers and build trust for your customers.
You can mention your accomplishments in the product photos, description, about section, shop announcement and more.