9.10.2010

Behind the Scenes: To Renew or Not To Renew in Etsy?



When I first opened Hint Jewelry, I felt like a fish out of water. Relisting (or more accurately called "renewing" an item currently for sale)? What's that? Why would I want to pay to refresh an item in my shop that I just listed yesterday? Like a confused little fishy stuck in a spinning whirlpool, I watched other busy shopkeepers, got advice from friends, read articles and then after much thought dove into the Etsy renewing game.

Here's the story of how I became an avid Etsy renewer, what experiments I did that changed my mind about the process, how many items I renew daily, and what I believe may be some visible results.

In the beginning, I renewed a couple items once a day during the morning hours. I was a casual renewer. Other shopkeepers informed me that they considered their renewal fees an overhead expense and put it in the category of advertising. This was an awesome idea to me, and when I calculated it in my head 3 items x $0.20 x 30 days = $18.00 per month seemed pretty inexpensive.

Later I became more adventurous, and as other shopkeepers have advised, I renewed multiple items at various times of the day. This was fun for while, and I never really got hung up on when I renewed or how many. I'm guessing that at this point I was spending perhaps $30 a month on renewing.

The turning point came for me when I read this blog post in Etsy called The Numbers Game: Ratios and Your Shop's Popularity. Basically if you read this article, and then calculate the ratios for your shop you will be able to fill in the following statements:

I need ______ people to heart my shop before I probably make my next sale.
On average, I will get a sale when _______ more people heart my shop.
Historically, for every ______ persons that hearts my shop, I will then get one sale.

The number I filled in at the time was 3 (currently the number is 1), and the smallness of this ratio blew me away. All I needed was three people to heart my shop, and then boom a sale. I decided to test out this article and began a strategic renewal program that varied between 10 to 20 items a day for about a month.

From this experiment, I learned a couple of interesting things. The more you renew the more people find your work to include in a Treasury, which then takes your item and exposes it to a larger audience. Potentially this Treasury could hit the Etsy front page and share your work with even more people...are you seeing the vast opportunities here? The more I renewed, the more Treasuries I became a part of, the more business connections I made, the more shopkeepers helped me sell my work (I just won an advocate of my work at a mere $0.20! Someone who is going to market my jewelry for me while my artwork helps them build their own following), and the more people learned about my shop. Bottom line, the more I renewed the bigger my Hint community grew.

I also noticed that as I renewed more often, I generated more sales, and then consequently paid a larger Etsy fee at the end of the month. Nevertheless, this Etsy fee (including commission) has stayed consistently at only 5-6% of my gross sales. According to the experts less then 5% spent on advertising is not bad for a small business. Since my sales to advertising ratio has stayed constant, then I've assumed my renewing has had a positive influence on my business.

One last tip that I discovered is that if you have items in your shop that fit a seasonal theme or niche market you want to reach (i.e., yoga fanatics), then it helps to renew those items most often so as to draw the right people into your shop. For instance, during July, I started renewing all my lion charms for people shopping for a special Leo gift. This fall I will renew more sugar skull, moon, owl, and acorn charms. Even if someone doesn't make a purchase or even click through to my shop, my photography may have caught their eye, and they will file it away in their memory for next time.

Keep in mind that all this information regarding renewing is based on selling charms as beading components, which are small ticket items. I'm not sure if this experience would hold true for selling a finished piece of jewelry or bigger priced work of art.

Here's my last two cents on this process. Many people including myself are resistant to the idea that Etsy may be generating unnecessary money out of me by renewing. However, I have definitely proven to myself that in order to generate more income I actually have to let more money flow out into the world through advertising and marketing so as to build a bigger audience.

15 comments:

  1. great post beth, thank you so much... i often ponder this question - and i now have a great answer!

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  2. This is really helpful...I am fairly new to Etsy and have done nothing in business there compared to a show...I am finding my customers don't venture too much into Etsy stores despite my encouragement. But I never thought to renew more often! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. thanks for this post..i'm a little green about selling online..i was just sitting here thinking about renewing some items,to or not to.
    this nicely explains the process and results..

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  4. thanks for this info, Beth! My Etsy business is so stagnant...I need to breathe life into it.

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  5. I was wondering why people renew items that haven't expied yet. Now I know. Thanks for a great article.
    Cenya

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  6. Thanks Beth! I have been contemplating putting some things on ETSY to sell and am encouraged by your knowledge and willingness to share. THANKS!

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  7. you are like my own personal shop guru beth! i still have to list more items but when i fill my shop with more i will experiment with this. thanks for sharing. enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  8. Great post! Really helpful information about Etsy!

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  9. Thanks so much for this information ... it's encouraged me to really dive in with regard to renewing.

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  10. Beth, I found something similar in the old days before Etsy let you rearrange your items. I would renew items to get them closer together, since at that time you couldn't move them, they stayed in the order you listed. It was a happy accident and I haven't been doing it since Etsy added the ability to "rearrange" the shop. This is a good reminder - THANKS!

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  11. This is so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I've been pondering opening a little shop online for a while, and wondering if Etsy would be the best option...I still don't have an answer to that, but concrete information from experienced user is always welcome and tremendously helpful.
    Thank you :)

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  12. Thanks Beth, I might try the experiment myself. It sure pays if you make it to the Front Page, I think I got 1000 visitors in one day from being on the FP and that was probably only up for an extremely short time.

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  13. So helpful! I had wondered it it would be worth the time and relatively small expense! You and your work are always so lovely! Thank you!

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  14. How wonderful that this post opened up some new ideas for people. I love this idea of experimenting and seeing what works best for each person, so I wish you all the best of luck on this.

    Congrats Nina and the FP and seeing how it bump up your visibility!

    Flo, the Etsy shop is quite a bit of work -- mainly related to photography and shipping :) So I think its a great idea to ponder it over for awhile.

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I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)