How I Revamped my Etsy Store - from Start to Finish

June 16, 2020

A little while ago, I set up an Etsy shop with the intention of selling some printable copies of my artwork and some printable bullet journal spreads, but I let it sit in the background of my online presence, so it never did particularly well. I've been taking time during lockdown to revamp my Etsy store; I've improved my listings, updated how my shop looks, and added more features than I had previously. I've learnt a lot during this process and I've honestly really enjoyed it, and I thought some people out there could maybe learn from my process as well. Today I'm sharing the steps I took before relaunching my store, and sharing some helpful tips that you can implement in your own Etsy shops.


1. New Logo

The first thing I wanted to change about my store was my logo. I didn't dislike the original design, but I thought I could create something that better reflected my style. I did a search on Etsy for the kind of items I sell to see how other stores branded themselves, which was a great source of inspiration and I came across some things I really liked. In my sketchbook, I tried out some different layouts and different design ideas, and then I began to paint the individual elements.

To start with, we have a circle of the shade 'Payne's Grey'. It's my all-time favourite colour to paint with, and I played a lot with the fluidity of the watercolour medium to create water bleeds and pools of pigment which create a really interesting background. Following that, I painted a yellow flower and some red toadstools, and used a black brush pen to write out the name of my store - 'Whoops It's Hannah'.

Using my home printer, I scanned the elements of my logo into my laptop, and used Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 to arrange it into the composition I wanted. Then I saved it as a JPEG (which leaves a white background), a PNG (which has a transparent background), and the original Photoshop file so I can go back and edit if I want to.

This was time consuming, but I'm very pleased with the result. The colours I used are some of my favourite colours, and the style of the flowers and toadstools are exactly the style of art you can expect to find in my store. I also think it adds a really personal touch to have my store's name handwritten by me.

Tips: -

- Keep the design reasonably simple. Too much visual clutter can overwhelm viewers.
- Try to make it relevant to your store. The toadstools and flowers in my logo are in my exact style of painting so people can see exactly the kind of thing they'll find.
- Add personal elements. My shop name is handwritten by me, and the whole logo is handpainted. Maybe you can incorporate your favourite colours into your design.

 

2. Shop Banner

I had previously tried to put a shop banner on my storefront, but I think there was a bug in the system or I had my dimensions incorrect, and I wasn't able to upload it. I'd given up on it so for a long time, my storefront had a logo alone and no banner, which is absolutely fine, but I did want to try again.
Again, I had a look at stores selling similar things to me, and I particularly was drawn to banners that showed something of the process, and weren't just an advertisement for the store.

I created a quick flatlay on my kitchen floor with some paintbrushes, some tubes of paint, my bullet journal, and some paintings I'd done, and laid them out in a composition which left a slight blank space in the middle where I could insert my newly-designed logo! I took the photo and edited it myself, then used Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 again to crop the image to the correct dimensions (for a big banner like I use, the dimensions are: 1200 x 300px) and to overlay my logo (the PNG file, so there was a transparent background).

When I first uploaded the image, I realised the size of my flatlay photo wasn't great, and it had come out slightly pixellated. To save myself having to recreate the composition and retake the photo, I went back to Photoshop and added a deliberate 'lens blur' filter to it. To begin with, this was just a solution to a problem, but I think it looks really good. You can still see what the individual elements in the photo are, but it makes my logo really pop, and it sort of softens the visual elements at the top of my storefront, making everything easier to take in. I'm really pleased with it!

Tips: -

- Make it relevant. My background photo is of paintbrushes and paints, and I sell copies of my paintings. There would be no point in putting up a photo of sewing supplies when I'm not selling sewn stuff!
- Include your logo or shop name. There's no harm in repeating who you are to your customers.
- Don't have too much writing. This may be personal preference, but I tuned out when people had too much writing. Instead of telling people what you're selling in writing, show them in the pictures you choose to include.

 

3. Shop Information

Previously, I hadn't taken advantage of all of the things Etsy provides for you to share information with your customers. For example, underneath your shop's name, you have the option to have a 'shop title'. Before now, I'd just copied my shop name into the shop title, but in a Skillshare class, I learned that you should use those 55 characters to describe your shop. Maybe use a tagline, or I used it to describe what you can find in my store - "Watercolour Paintings and Bullet Journal Pages". Where previously, Google would display 'Whoops It's Hannah by Whoops It's Hannah', my store now is listed as 'Watercolour Paintings and Bullet Journal Pages by Whoops It's Hannah'. This gives two new key phrases that people can search in Google which stand a chance of bringing up my store.

Going through my shop's settings, I discovered that I'd never linked to my social media accounts, so I quickly resolved that issue. Now if people like my shop, they can easily follow me on social media, where I can promote my shop, which will circle them back around to it. I also linked my Pinterest account to my Etsy store properly, which now means that anything I pin from my store will automatically link back to it, and anything other people pin from my store do the same. Pinterest is a great source of traffic for my blog, so I don't know why I hadn't properly trusted it to be a great source of traffic for my store, but I won't be making that mistake again!

I spotted that you can add your returns and exchanges policy, as well as a privacy policy, which has the bonus of looking really professional, as well as being transparent and clear to customers. You can even add FAQs, which I'll be sure to do if any questions keep cropping up.

Tips: -

- Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Nothing will make you look unprofessional like a big fat typo in the middle of your shop description!
- Go through and look at every single thing you can possibly to add to your storefront. Granted, not everything will be massively relevant and therefore you can skip sections, but supplying your customers with relevant information about you and your shop can never be a bad thing. And you might miss things that make a really charming addition, like I did at first glance.


4. Workspace Photos and Information

Either this is a new feature or I'd just never scrolled down far enough when editing my store. Etsy gives you the option to upload up to five photos and one video of your workspace, your process, or anything else related to your shop, and the photos you add scroll along on a little carousel, which looks really professional  and aesthetically pleasing in my opinion.

For my photos, I took one of my desk, laid out with all of my painting and drawing tools. I took a photo of myself working on a watercolour piece, and a photo of myself drawing out a bullet journal spread. These photos show again the kind of things you can find here, and I made sure to include my hand so you can see that everything is done personally by me. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 to edit them to be bright and vibrant, as that's my personal style. I'd recommend editing them to suit your art style, such as making them dark and moody if that's how you paint, or light and dreamy if that's more your aesthetic. It just makes your store look more cohesive.

You can write a story of how your shop came to be, and in that you can include a description of what people can find there, so that once again the information is clear and customers know what they've stumbled upon. One tip I've seen shared online is that people go to Etsy for something they know is handmade by an actual human being, so make your story as personal as you'd like so potential customers feel a connection to you. Also be sure to add a story title, which makes it look like an article.

Tips: -

- Keep this relevant to your shop. We want to see where you work, your tools, your process, not a nice holiday snap from 2015.
- Make the story personal. People love getting an insight into who they're buying from, and it makes you seem much more trustworthy and accessible.


5. My Profile

I previously thought of my profile as a separate entity to my store, but both are important. Part of the joy of Etsy is knowing who you're buying from, so be sure to have a nice profile photo showing your face, share your name, and some information about who you are. It's also a really good idea to include a link to your shop from your 'about me' section, since it can be a bit tricky for potential customers to find where to click through from your profile to your shop.

On my public profile, I hid my favourite shops and favourite items, simply because I've liked an eclectic collection of things and I don't want my profile to disorientate people. 

From the shop editor, you can add team members. I largely ignored this, since my team is just little ol' me, but then I thought to add myself as the team member 'owner'. This means that once again, my picture is visible, as well as some information about myself, strengthening that personal connection that potential customers can feel.

Tips: -

- Create a link to your shop from your profile. Create a link to your shop from your profile. Create a link to your shop from your profile.
- Do NOT leave your profile photo as the default Etsy one. It makes you look like an impersonal ghost. No one wants to buy things from impersonal ghosts. Even if you don't want your own face on there, show your logo off, or your workspace, or your dogs. Anything but a default profile pic.

 

6. Listing Photos

The photos on my listings had previously been a bit lacklustre. I'd just taken some pictures of what I was selling and slapped them on the listings. This time around, I took a bit more time.

I created a preview photo for all of my printables. This is a low resolution image of what the file you can download looks like, and I made sure to watermark it with low opacity 'preview's written on it, as well as stamping my logo in the corner. This way people can clearly see exactly what they're going to be getting, but my artwork isn't usable without purchasing the non-watermarked version.

The thumbnail is the first image that people see when your listing comes up on your store or in search. You need to make it really clear what you're selling. I created a base 'thumbnail' in Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018, which has my logo, and a strip of that same Payne's Grey background in the corner. At the moment, all of my listings are printables, so I used that strip to write 'printable' over in a pretty font. Then I adjusted the opacity so a bit of the background would be visible behind these elements, and saved that as a Photoshop file so it can be easily edited. When creating a new listing, I use the image of my artwork I create to make a background for the thumbnail. This shows customers exactly what the file looks like, clearly says that it's a 'printable' piece, and features my logo so people know where it came from!

I also have images in my listings of my artwork displayed in an aesthetically pleasing way, similar to how I present it on my Instagram profile. I also show pictures of how the printable is intended to be used, such as filling out a bullet journal spread, or sticking down a watercolour cat to a greetings card.

The photos on my listings all feature my logo, so if the image ends up somewhere else people can still search for my shop, they show my artwork clearly so buyers know exactly what they're getting, and they're all edited in a way that I think looks really appealling visually. Every listing has a thumbnail photo, photos clearly showing each individual art piece, and a preview photo of the documents that can be downloaded following purchase. I hope that my revamped listing photos will create a much nicer user experience.

Tips: -

- Take photos from all different angles, and take at least one of your item in use. This lets people see not only what it looks like, but also lets them imagine using it.
- Having uniform thumbnails in your shop will look way more professional than random pictures of your items. Be sure to set your thumbnail as the first picture in your listing so that it's the picture shown in your shop and in search results.
- Consider picking up some photography techniques online. Smartphones take great pictures, so don't worry about needing a camera, but understanding things like lighting, exposure, and focal lengths can really elevate your photos.

 

 

7. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is a term I've heard of and I think I understand, but honestly it's a bit of an enigma. It's basically using key words so that you turn up towards the top of search engine results, and not at the bottom of a 120-page slog.

Etsy does seem to make it easy enough. In your listings, you've got your title. You've got 140 characters to try and use keywords that you think a customer would use to try to find your listing. For example, I could just use the title 'Watercolour Cats Printable'. That's what I'd search for to bring up my listing. But what if someone is specifically looking for a 'ginger cat' art piece, or just 'decoration for journal'. I use my titles to include as many relevant keywords as I can without looking like I'm on Wish, so my title is 'Watercolour Cats Printable - ginger, tabby, tortie, tortoiseshell cat pet paintings - digital download - for journal and decoration'. This way I can come up in a range of searches.

The keywords that you see there, for example 'Watercolour', are then repeated in my description, particularly towards the beginning. I describe in the listing desccription that you're going to get a printable file of some watercolour cat paintings, and there's four different kinds of cats. The first few lines of your description give more weight than the last few, and by repeating your keywords you're telling search engines that they are definitely what can be found on that page.

Etsy also offers you 13 tags and 13 materials. Repeat your keywords again. Spell things different ways - Americans will be searching for 'Watercolor Cats', not 'Watercolour Cats', and we want to reach them too! Use your tags to describe the subject, colours, uses, etc. and the 'materials' to describe what it's made from, and repeat that it's digital if you're not shipping something out. And be sure to use all 13 of both to maximise their usefulness.

Tips: -

- Think like a customer; what would they search if they were looking for your listing?
- Repeat the important information over and over again in different areas of your listing.
- When your listing is published, promote it across your socials, and ask your friends to share it to. It is believed that the more reputable places your page is linked from, the higher up the ranking in search results it goes.


I sincerely hope you've enjoyed this post, and found some useful tips along the way. In no way do I claim to be an expert, but these are steps that I genuinely took to improve my store, following the advice of Etsy sellers with lots of experience. If you have any other helpful pieces of advice, please share them in the comments, and let me know if you implement any of the suggestions shared here!

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