Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ever the scientist

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?

Market research.

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.

34 comments:

DancingFish said...

Crafts and data- my two favorite things! Local stores used to carry my moms' crafts and she is looking to get back into crafting more. We spent the weekend trying to come up with a good name for her soon-to-be-Etsy store. I will have to pass along the tips!

Anandi said...

Awesome! As a former scientist and fellow etsy seller I can also appreciate your study :D I'm also hopeless at stats so this is great!

Hyla Waldron said...

I enjoyed reading your blog!
Please check out my blog and vote for me!
http://myfairybabies.blogspot.com/
Hyla

Samantha said...

Wow, that's neat! I am one of those who obsesses over what strategies I should be taking. The math reminded me of this hyperbolic plane I started crocheting.... Could you add a link so people can get a feed to your blog? Maybe I can do that from Google Reader... hmmm.

http://beadery.blogspot.com

MadeByAmanda said...

Wow! Data - not my favorite thing, and I never took statistics (yay for creative writing major, I barely had to take math!). So it's cool that someone out there is looking at these things and then writing about them. Thanks!

AmandaMay said...

Wow, thanks for the scientific breakdown. I would like to learn how to do that properly, rather than just vaguely looking through and trying to come to conclusions.

chef jess said...

Great analysis! This data is so much more helpful than etsytools!

I know this is difficult to do, but does the analysis change if you take supplies out? Or if you take out the top sellers on etsy (who are generally selling supplies, and sell far more than the average sellers.)

Fantastic, though. :)

Field Notes said...

Great Q!

I used a small sample of the total artists on etsy and did not include any supplies sellers in the analysis.

Rachel said...

Aww, thanks so much for the comment on my blog! I'm glad you like me lil monster plushies :)

I promise I'll put up an Etsy mini as soon as I open a store, which will hopefully be SOON!!! :)

Your blog looks pretty cool- I'll read more soon.

S. Bordeaux said...

So hearts do mean something! and I have read many times how they are meaningless, the sales are what is important, sounds to me you need those hearts.
Thanks for sharing this, sounds like something I would do if I had the time, now I don't need to.


http://sebordeaux.blogspot.com/

~Stella said...

I loves me some good solid scientific research. And if it is in the name of crafting? All the better.

Cheers!
Stella

thefunkyfelter (a.k.a. Shalana) said...

thanks for the well calculated insight! I have found that as my shop hearts increase so do my sales. Honestly, I don't keep very close track of my views, but I'd be interested to see how that correlates to me personally. You have opened my eyes . . .

Michelle said...

thanks for sharing this! this is very helpful (I'm also a former scientist turned part-time crafter and law student). I use recycled paper items to make my cards.

http://chelleline.etsy.com

Jo-Ann said...

Thanks so much for your research and insight. I have been in business for three years but am new to etsy. Your scientific approach helped to demistify etsy for this mathematician!

And just to prove that your theories work, I LOVE your "not a sock monkey!" Off to heart it!

Jo-Ann
www.wishuponanecklace.com
wishupon.etsy.com

Miles Away In France said...

Thanks for the info, very interesting, I have just taken my etsy mini off of my blog because I thought that if people could see my items then they wouldn't bother to go to my store.
Perhaps I best put it back :)

Thanks again

Candice said...

This is AWESOME information! I can't believe you tallied all that info and put it into information we can all use, that is so great of you!

Alicia said...

Thank you for posting this info for all to make use of. I as others have also said am no good at figuring out statistics but I do love to read them. Thanks again and Hope to see more.
http://www.wyredonwire.etsy.com

miznyc said...

thank you for this research!
I've learned some things that I need to do more of and what I can do with out!

ingeniouslycreative said...

I started a thread on etsy and went to bed as it was late here in England. I woke up this morning, read the thread and came across your post with a link to your blog. My goodness! Thank you ever so much for doing this work to find out these statistics, you are self-less and very generous to share with the community. All the best to you, Kind Regards, Carol

pkfairaday said...

so informative! what a good melding of left and right brain!

Morgan Street said...

This is GREAT!!! I always said that I loved each and every one of my hearts and now I know why :)
Thank you and love your blog btw.

LizzyT said...

That is very interesting. I have been doing just about everything you say. I have just had a few sales so hopefully it does work, keeping my fingers crossed.

Tricia McKellar said...

Thanks so much for this info! Very interesting! :)llar

Judy said...

Glad I came to your blog from your forum post. Extremely interesting! Thanks for your research. Artsy Clay

letitiah said...

wow, this is absolutely data-rific. thank you so much for posting it to the forums. it confirms my suspicions!

LeaKarts said...

Oh my god, etsy should hire! These are absolutely the most useful statistics about etsy sales I have seen so far. Thank you!

knitting dragonfly said...

Thanks for the insightful post. I was looking for any info on how to boost Etsy sales, I have sold on Ebay and was hoping for better sales on Etsy.
Vicki
Great blog

DreamON said...

Thanks for posting the stats and thanks for doing the study. It's valuable information, and thank you for the link in forums to find your blog!

Monevor said...

Very interesting read, thank you for posting!
It gave me a new view on how to approach things on etsy & I sure do hope it'll be helpfull.
Regards,
Evana

Sky Girl Style said...

Thanks for your research on etsy. A great BIG THANKS for explaining the results in words a non-scientific person could grasp. I have noticed from my own experience that listing over time is the best way to go. I also try to list items that would appeal to different groups instead of all one type item.

Stockton said...

Came here form etsy, great post!

seemommysew said...

Very cool! Thanks for the info.

Prairie Primitives Folk Art said...

i was pretty sure there was more to etsy than just relisting over and over.

btw, i used to type statistics day after day in the ag. economics department at purdue university. i never learned to understand them though. lol! thanks for taking the time to do the research AND post the results in english!

TiLT said...

Yeah! More science geeks who craft! I was thinking of using that maja-whatever site to do some of the statistics stuff you were talking about at etsy...but thanks...saves me time with you doing some - AND gives me another blog to read...although that negates the time factor - oh well!