Ready for Black Friday on Etsy?

Reading time: 6 minutes

Starla and Marc of Handmade Alphas here with a quick heads-up to brew some coffee: you are going to need it this year. Because we predict life on Etsy is about to get crazy!

Back in May, Etsy’s CEO announced that April 2020 was the highest sales month since Etsy went public and included two of its largest sales days of all time. Given that the US was preoccupied by the pandemic and lockdown, and given that historically April has been a slow month for most Etsy sellers, this was quite a surprise.

Yes, $133 million worth of fabric face masks were sold that month, but even non-mask sales were up 79%.

In recent months, Etsy has been investing a lot of money into advertising. We have been seeing TV ads and online, lots of off-Etsy marketing. Between these efforts and all that lockdown shopping: we’ve got new shoppers.

Maybe they only became aware of Etsy in the spring when they did a Google search for masks because they couldn’t find them in their local stores, and the only online source was Etsy (because back then, both Amazon and eBay banned handmade cloth masks from being sold on their sites).

Then maybe some of these new Etsy shoppers stuck around to pick up some self-care and care package items, and liked what they saw. We can tell by eRank’s Trend Buzz data that along with all those masks, customers have been searching Etsy for wall art, home decor, plants, Zoom backgrounds, Pokemon keycaps, craft kits, plushies – whatever they’ve been needing to make staying at home, working from home, kids stuck at home that much better.

Etsy has more visibility than it has ever had before, and continues to get more visible every single day.

And now with the holidays on the horizon, all these new customers are bound to start thinking, “Wow, this might be a really cool place to find Christmas gifts for Grandma.”

Black Friday

Now, if you don’t live in the US and where you are, Black Friday isn’t a thing: it’s a shopping day that traditionally takes place the day after Thanksgiving, which in the US is always the fourth Thursday in November. And even if you are not in the US, we highly recommend that you prepare for Black Friday. Because we in the US can assure you, it gets crazy.

Normally, we see shoppers camping out to queues all night and then crowding into big box stores where they jam-pack the aisles with lots of things piled high in their shopping carts.

But this year, many folks won’t want to be in such close quarters with other human beings, and possibly (depending on how things are by then) retail stores are either not going to be opening at all, or they’re going to have more restricted hours, or they’re going to have a reduced max capacity of people allowed inside, which means a lot of people are going to have to wait in long, long queues outside. And I don’t know about you guys, but I would much rather just sit on my couch in my pajamas with my laptop and do my shopping from home – and a lot of big stores know that as well.

What does that mean for you? Fewer people shopping in person, and more people shopping online. And depending on how things go, what brick-and-mortar retailers are open are likely to sell out of things quickly, which means that a lot of the bigger sellers on Etsy are going to see increased sales, and they’re also going to start selling out quickly as well, so visibility is going to be up even for the little guy.

It’s going to be more important this year than ever to have your stuff on point because people are going to be looking – more people than have ever been on Etsy before, I guarantee, so this means that even though it feels a little early for Christmas, now is the perfect time to start preparing.

What I recommend that you really focus on over the next few weeks is planning your Black Friday strategy. To help you guys out, I’ll link below my Black Friday Survival Guide. This is the exact checklist I use myself every year to get my own Etsy shop prepared for the holidays. And if you get that, you’ll also get to watch my Black Friday Double Dip Strategy video, which shows you the same strategy that I use myself every year to run my Etsy sales. (We usually make around $6,000 or more on Black Friday, just in that single 24-hour period).

And Black Friday isn’t the only big shopping day to look forward to: you also have Small Business Saturday and you have Cyber Monday. These don’t mean that you should skip out on Black Friday sales, though. On the contrary! Start with Black Friday sales, and if it’s looking good enough for you that you think you can continue on offering your sale prices, carry on for Small Business Saturday. Then reassess and if you can extend it out (especially if you’re a digital seller), go on through Cyber Monday.

If you’re worried about offering the same type of sale, just change it up: maybe for Black Friday, you do a Double Dip offer. Then, for Small Business Saturday, you do a percentage-off sale. And then maybe for Cyber Monday you offer a free gift with their order, or some other incentive. You don’t have to do this exact same thing of course, but I know that this is usually what’s easiest for me: just extend a sale that I already have taking place for Black Friday, and then if I choose, I extend it through Saturday, and maybe again through the weekend, and then maybe again through Monday.

Of course, Black Friday isn’t just good for your business as a seller. It can be just as good for your business as a buyer, too! Upgrade your office furniture (get that standing desk!). Upgrade your tech – label printers, laptops, screens, mice, keyboards, printers.

I would also be on the lookout for pre-Black Friday sales, especially at big tech companies – Amazon and Newegg and places like that. Because they do a lot of sales ahead of time, especially in the lead up to Black Friday. They’ll also do Black Friday sales, too, and we predict Cyber Monday is going to be huge, thanks in part to all this distance learning and WFH that folks are doing.

So, starting now, make sure you keep an eye out for anything around your business that you’ve considered upgrading. Another plus for those of you in the US: you know all those tech upgrades and home office purchases? Check with your accountant: you should be able to write them off on your taxes. You can both save money on purchases made around Black Friday, and you’ll also get a few extra receipts to write off for 2020.

Hope this helps you guys – see you again soon with more holiday prep tips!

Starla and Marc Moore

Handmade Alpha Academy


Starla’s Black Friday Survival Guide

This article in video form on Starla’s YouTube channel

Here on eRank, this blog post “Black Friday on Etsy, Amazon & eBay” analyzes search trend data on all three platforms after last year’s Black Friday