Preparing for the overhaul...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Etsy Showcase: Worth It?

As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm surrounded by the tools to make miniature bread.  Polymer clay food is just about the coolest thing on the planet.  Growing up, making it was always my favorite hobby.  Now, as an adult, I find I've somewhat lost my confidence.  So we shall see!  

At any rate, once I finish making my many mini loaves (or don't), I'll post them for sale to our Etsy shop.  We opened it at the beginning of February, and I'm still figuring everything out.  This last Monday, we bought space in one of Etsy's "showcases".  Basically, you pay 7.00 USD for 24 hours' worth of banner promotion on Etsy's site.  You can choose which sub-category sees your banner.  For example, since we sell dollhouse miniatures, we chose that one.

Etsy claims that, by purchasing a showcase, you'll gain two things:
  1. Short term exposure, in that you'll sell more items.
  2. Long term exposure, in that more people will learn about you, "heart" your shop (i.e. add it to their personal list of favorites) and, hopefully, buy from you in the future.
So was it worth it?  Well, it's too early, as yet, to see whether the second--and far more valuable--asset has been gained.  I can say with complete confidence, though, that we did sell a number of things during that 24 hour period.  A word of caution, though: the danger, here, is in spending more to promote your item than you'll make on selling it.  Etsy's fees are, generally, quite low--but, when amassed, can have the effect of drowning you under a ton of feathers.  Twenty cents here, another twenty cents there, and a 3.5% commission on everything you sell can add up.  Add to this an almost ten dollar surcharge, and it's doubtful whether, in certain circumstances, it would be worth it.

Everything we sold was small.  We, indeed, sold out of our cheaper items completely.  Nonesuch House, however, is still alone and sad.  The moral of this story: before purchasing a showcase, make sure you've got plenty of smaller items for sale.  I think we'll probably purchase another showcase after making some meaningful additions to our (as yet forthcoming) mini bakery.  A showcase would be, I think, a good way to debut new items, or new categories of items.

So there you have it, our review.  Etsy, like any other selling tool, has its ups and downs.  I've been making and selling miniatures off and on my entire life, starting when I was about ten, and I've found that, in this field, the personalities can sometimes be quite difficult.  I don't think filthy lucre brings out the best in anyone.  So, one advantage of selling online (apart from the obvious advantage of being able to reach so many people at once) is that the personalities are taken out of it.  Your items are judged on their individual quality, not on your individual ability to make a sale.

And, of course, compared to competing venues like eBay, Etsy is quite a bit more time and cost-effective.  You aren't reposting the same abysmally unpopular listing every ten days.  I also do like the "heart" feature.  I've "hearted" a number of items, myself.

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