“My sales are down xx% this year, Etsy’s algorithm must have changed! What happened??”
While it is true that Etsy adjusts their search algorithm regularly, other factors are more likely the reason your Etsy sales are down. You should be active in improving your search placement instead of crying into your handicrafts. More than likely, you just need an internal review of your shop.
Here are some of the reasons your shop sales might be down, and how you might correct the issue.
A Great Update
Etsy tells us they reward ‘active’ shops with better listing placement in the Etsy search. Shops that are adding or refreshing listings and making other updates to the shop are rewarded with better placement by Etsy. You could lose placement relative to a competitor if your shop has been mostly the same for many months or years.
Try adding new listings, or refreshing old listings with new content. If you have been selling dog underwear on the same ten listings for three years now, maybe it’s time to diversify into cat underwear, or add new designs of the old classics. Even updating your policies may signal to Etsy that you’re alive and well, but try to make an assortment of improvements to the shop.
Perhaps your competitors are now offering a new popular finish like rose gold or emerald green. What worked last year may not be what customers want to buy this year. Look carefully at what the competition is doing and make adjustments if needed. Porcupine-themed bath towels might recently be all the rage, and you’re missing out because you hadn’t noticed. Keep your finger on the pulse of the trends of your product category.
Focus On Photos
Look carefully at your competitors and inspect whether their photos might be superior to yours. Maybe you had one of the best hero photos of your product a year or two ago, but now new sellers have come into your space that have better images.
Recently, Etsy added a feature to add videos on your Etsy listings, which has been a big game changer for showing off products. Also, cellphone cameras have improved substantially in recent years. It might be that the photos you took with your ‘iToaster 4’ several years ago are no longer good enough. If you have a phone with the latest camera tech, consider taking yourself some new photos and some video content. Additionally, it may be time to enlist the help of a paid professional photographer. That said, when it comes to professional photographers; good photos are never cheap, and cheap photos are never good!
Reprising Your Advertising
Maybe you’re not keeping up with Etsy Ads. From your Etsy Ads home page you can review what listings are bringing in sales, which are performing and see what your return of investment is. If you pulled your ads in the past, it might be time to try advertising your bestsellers. Generally, if a product is already selling somewhat regularly, Etsy ads will perform well for you. Listings that already haven’t figured out the secret sauce are unlikely to be helped by Etsy’s ad platform. If you update your listing significantly, try advertising it again if it hadn’t worked for you in the past. I always advertise my brand-new products, and any listings with new photos.
Party Like It’s $19.99
Perhaps your prices are no longer competitive. Compare your prices to the immediate competition. For any number of reasons, the ideal retail price might have changed from before. If you raised prices at some point to keep up with higher costs of materials and shipping, it may have surpassed what buyers are willing to pay. Conversely, if your product is a lot cheaper than the competition, your listing might be ignored by buyers who assume your product is of inferior quality. Maybe the competition is offering free shipping options. Alternatively, a competitor might be accepting worse margins because they found a cheaper supplier, or can offer domestic shipping when you can’t. And honestly, sometimes sellers just haven’t taken the time to calculate profit margins for Etsy, and there is not much you can do about it. Those sellers could be trading dollars and not making anything.
The Customer Is Always A Moving Target
The demand for your product might just down across the board. Maybe your Glee-themed women’s flip-flops sold great in 2015, but the show is beyond canceled! Wedding, décor, and baby trends change all the time, and not just the most popular colors. Do your research to see what is selling in your retail bubble and update your offerings if needed. Google Trends is a free research tool that analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search over time. While Google Search is not Etsy, the results are a good indication of long term trends.
Cast A Wide Net
You may not be diversified enough. To build on the previous point, if you strive for overall sales consistency, you’ll need diversification. It may ultimately be nearly impossible to tell why your hand sewn Steve Buscemi boxer shorts aren’t selling this year. If you offered more diversification in your products, something else would be up while another product is down. You expose yourself to risk when all your eggs are in just one basket. Give some variations of your most popular products a try.
The SEO Status Quo Plateau
Maybe your keywords and tags need a refresh, or your product descriptions could use fleshing out. An example: ‘Bullet Journals’ weren’t really a thing just a few years ago, and now they’re a top keyword in their category. If you sell journals you may need to get on top of this, and maybe even adjust your products to include recently popularized features. Every product category has trends, and you’ll want your keywords, tags, and descriptions to be up-to-date with your offerings. You can search for new keywords on the eRank Keyword Explorer. Also, be sure to include your keywords in your improved Etsy product descriptions.
Every product category has trends, and you’ll want your keywords, tags, and descriptions to be up-to-date with your offerings.
Unlike your cat Bing Clawsby, Etsy didn’t wake up one morning and decide, for no reason, they think you’re a jerk now. You’ll have to work to gain Etsy’s search favor again, so you can get better placement in your categories. Understanding where you differ from your competition is fundamental to improving your listing sales.
Joshua Carlson is a proud Etsy policy nerd and Etsy seller with over 130,000 sales. Joshua’s new website is Mymento.com, which sells a wide variety of personalized gifts, and specializes in products like personalized engraved flasks