What does an unemployed social science researcher do with her morning when she's bored and looking for ways to boost sales of her hobby art?
I sat with a pen and paper this morning and collected data on variables that might be correlated with sales on etsy. I chose 5 variables I could get quantifiable numbers for:
* number of items for sale
* number of items sold
* number of people who identify they like the items in the shop (i.e. number of hearts)
* average price of items in the store
* average number of views for each item in the store
I spent about 2.5 hours collecting the data, 10 minutes setting up the SPSS spreadsheet, and 10 seconds analyzing it. Hmmm. Looks a lot like the time budget break down for doing dissertation research.
I just wanted to see whether any interesting correlations turn up that might help me decide where to allocate my efforts - i.e. Do I need to concentrate on getting more things into my store? Do I need to get more people to view the items, or do I need to get more people to know about my store and "heart" it? Maybe I need to offer less expensive items. Who knows, thus, the market research.
Here's what I found out:
If you can't read SPSS output correlation tables, this is what I found out in plain English:
The number of items sold is very strongly associated with the number of people who "heart" your store, and that is associated with the average number of views your items get. Also, the more items you have for sale in your store, the more sold items you end up with. Price doesn't matter at all. And interestingly, just because you have a lot of items in your store, that doesn't mean you're going to get more people taking a look. There was a big fat zero correlation between number of items in a store and the number of views.
All of this tells me I shouldn't waste money willy-nilly listing a ton of items until I figure out how to get more views and especially hearts.
If I can't make money teaching or doing research for this academic year, then I am at least going to try to make the art thing a paid endeavor.
As far as I can tell, greater visibility on etsy can be achieved if you:
* post to etsy forums: What generated a lot of views for me was to open a discussion with a simple question about "are my prices too high?" Price point is something everyone worries about to some degree so it's a good conversation starter. And, people have to go to your store in order to answer the question.
* list items over the span of hours & days: Each time you list a new item, a photo of it gets put on the etsy homepage where it gets some visibility. If you list everything at once, people who scan etsy's homepage, but not during the 4 minutes you posted, will miss you.
* get involved in arts & crafts blog circles: Do this in the same way you would to attract fellow bloggers to your blog - leaving comments on their blogs. Don't just leave throw away comments like "You are so right!" or anything that doesn't make people think you have something unique to offer. You've got to leave thoughtful, insightful comments that make people want to click on your profile to see what you have to say on your own blog.
* put up etsy mini on your blog: It takes a minute and any traffic to your blog will see what you have on offer at your store.
These simple things can add up to greater visibility.