Setting up Shop (Pt.2): Listing

Next it’s time to do the scary stuff:  List your items for sale!  Well, maybe it’s exciting for you.  For me it’s near ’bout terrifying.  I’m not terribly happy with my current photos of items because when I took them I was only taking them casually, to show friends and family what I’d made.  It wasn’t with the intention of being professional and asking folks to purchase them!  In fact, when I decided to open a shop, I very VERY seriously considered purchasing a dress form or some more professional gear on which to model or otherwise photograph the items I’m trying to sell.  We all know that Etsy is a website, not an in-person experience.  Photos and descriptions are all your customers have to go on.  They can only see color, texture, and softness to a degree.  So you’ve got to get the best photos possible and put your best foot forward.  But as I’m just getting started, I’m using what I’ve got.  Dress forms and the like, as it turns out, are kind of pricey for my starter budget.  Maybe one day soon I’ll invest in something a little more helpful with my photography.  For now:

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About Your Product

Each listing gets 5 photos.  I’ve been reading up on this for a while now, and everyone says to absolutely use up all 5 photos if you can.  The more you can display your item, the more information you’re providing to your customers.

The next thing is to name your listing.  For a long time I never gave this much thought.  While using Ravelry, I typically have named my projects by combining the pattern name and the colorway name of my yarn.  This formula is NOT going to work with Etsy. :-p  Etsy listings, so I’ve learned, should be more descriptive of the actual finished product so as to make them easier to find while searching.  I suppose there’s a certain level of marketing involved with this if you really want to kill it on Etsy.  I feel like I’m decent at describing things, but there’s nothing like naming a listing to zap you of all descriptive confidence.

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So now we’re going to add details to the listing.

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A lot of these are pretty self-explanatory.  Obviously, I made this item myself, so…

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…and the thing I made is a finished product.  Now if I were selling hand-spun or hand-dyed yarn, I might choose the supply/tool option, but since I’m not…

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I love that Etsy isn’t quizzing me on exactly when I completed something.  I’ve only been crocheting since 2012, but that doesn’t mean I remember when I made each thing.  A range to choose from is super helpful.

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I’ve read some things about not confining yourself to a category, but since there are little stars by these things, and I like to be thorough, I figured why not?

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This particular item, as a scarf and hat set, obviously falls under “Accessories,” but as hats and scarves are two different sub-categories and you can only choose one, I just stuck with none.

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I’m not going to go into the monster that is pricing items… but here’s where you enter that information.  I chose to go with manual renewal because that’s just how I am.  I like control over my stuff, especially when it comes to money.  The description is where more of that already-tapped brain of mine struggles to find ways to “sell” the item I’m listing.  At the moment, my general rule of thumb is to list the materials and care, and find some way to let the potential customer know more about the item that they’re unable to touch and experience for themselves because we’re separated by miles and computer screens.

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Shipping

Now the shipping is an area I’m still trying to familiarize myself with.  As far as processing goes, I don’t ever intend to list something that isn’t already finished.  But I know that life sometimes gets in the way and also that I have the world’s worst memory sometimes.  So I’m giving myself a little grace.  If the product is finished, and someone orders it, then I know whenever I see that it’s been ordered, I have a day or two to get my act together.  Get the item, package it nicely, and get by my post office before it closes at 4PM (or 10AM on Saturdays!).

This is where I plan to do a little more research.  I haven’t quite got the grip I want to have on how I want to ship yet.  At the moment, it’s post office.  But I really want to ask around with other sellers and find out how they are shipping.  The pros/cons of the postal service vs. other companies, the best deal for my money, etc.  Whenever I get that figured out, I’ll share about it here.

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Etsy also lets you decide how much you want to charge for shipping.  In a previous business, I found myself having to mail out stuff to people and the typical cost for it was around $6, (depending on size and weight, of course).  I haven’t yet priced the cost of shipping for the stuff I intend to sell now in my shop, but I decided to go with a middle ground of $3 to start with, and if you purchase additional products, they ship for $.50 more.  I may have to adjust that in the future.  I’ve even toyed with the idea of building the shipping cost into the price of the item and not charging an additional shipping charge.  However we ultimately decide to do this, we have to consider shipping charges into our pricing.  On the one hand it seems pretty arbitrary, but I’m such a planner that I need to figure this out soon.

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Finishing the Listing

You get 13 tags to aid in your product showing up in searches.  Everything I’ve read, (and it makes perfect sense), says to use ALL 13 of them.  You can see the kinds of tags I used.  Not perfect, by any means, and probably not optimized, but hey, I’m new to this.  I may figure out later that I need to tweak these, but in the mean time I used a lot of descriptive words that I think are true to my product.

You also get 13 spaces to fill in materials.  As my item is a crocheted scarf and hat set, the only things I can think of to put here are “yarn,” (which I think I went back and added after this screen shot was taken), and “acrylic,” which is what my yarn was made of.  I didn’t add anything in to this product, but if I’d put a button somewhere, I’d probably add whatever material the button was made of and “button.”  I feel like this section not only aids in searches, but also provides important information for people with allergies.

So we’ve filled everything in.  Now it’s time to take a deep breath and click the “Save and continue” button.

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Hooray!  We’ve listed our first product! 😀  Now that the first one is done, adding more is a breeze.  You can proceed after listing just one, but it’s good practice to go ahead and list a few so that you familiarize yourself with the process.

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At this point, your shop still is not viewable by the public, I don’t think.  But your listings are saved.  The next couple of steps will finalize things for your shop and after setting up those final steps, your shop will be open for business.  I didn’t realize this, and I intended to list more items and look into policies and shipping options more before opening up, so I put my shop in vacation mode until I can get a grip on those things.  The last thing I want is for people to decide to purchase something from me before I have everything worked out!  But I’m almost there!  In my next post, I’ll share more about the final steps of opening the shop and what I’ve learned about shipping and policies.

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