I’ve seen it TOO many times. You’re a successful Etsy seller: you’ve been selling for about 2-5 years. You’ve worked hard on your shop, grew steadily, and eventually, after a few years, started really having consistent success with some popular products. Just when you feel like you finally have things figured out… it all changes.
Suddenly, your sales start dropping off. Seemingly overnight, things start to change. But, there is not real reason, not as far as you can tell. And, I can bet you’ve been tearing your hair out trying to figure out exactly what is going on.
You have hit what I have dubbed The Etsy S.L.U.M.P. I know it, cause I lived it.
The bad news: Things are probably not going to get better for you on Etsy.
The good news: I made it though, and came out the other side. And you can, too.
Ok, so first things first - what is this Etsy S.L.U.M.P. you speak of? It is a point in time - THE point in time - when the perfect storm of conditions finally converge and suddenly what used to work, is now broken.
The Signs of the SLUMP are:
Losing your Audience
Before we can start to talk about how to fix The SLUMP, we first have to diagnose WHY it’s happening to your shop.
When you go onto Etsy and search your top keywords for your biggest selling products, I am going to bet that you now see a LOT of other, similar products. And I am also going to bet that it has not always been that way. But, let’s face it - people are smart and they have hitched their wagon to your successful little star. I honestly got to a point (back in 2017) where I was obsessively searching on Etsy every day, and getting myself SO worked up about all of the blatant rip-offs of my custom art. So, all of these similar products have created a lot more competition in a landscape that you once easily dominated. And, don’t even get me started on the fact that Etsy is now actively promoting these copycat shops to your prospective clients.
Losing your Audience
Every (good) brand has an audience that they know, and can connect with. And, when you started your shop on Etsy, your audience was there. But, Etsy has evolved into a very different beast over the last few years, and has slowly started to attract a very different type of audience. An audience that is searching for the best deal, and the fastest shipping instead of the perfect craftsmanship and an authentic maker experience. Because of this, your audience might not be nearly as present on Etsy as they once were. Don’t worry though, they are still out there (and you can find them).
You probably hear the sweet, sweet sound of an Etsy Cha-Ching not nearly as often as you once did. But wait - one day - you get a bunch! Could it be? I’m back, baby! But nope, just a weird “blip” followed by more weeks and months of dwindling sales. These unpredictable sales cycles have often been chalked-up to the “Etsy Off Switch” that many sellers (I am still on the fence on this one) believe operates behind the scenes. And honestly, whether it’s an off switch, or something else entirely, we do know for sure that Etsy is making it’s money from seller services now, so they are going to do whatever they can to incentivize sellers to spend all the dollars on their services. Add in Etsy’s new ads system, you have a recipe for a lot of money being spent with no real guarantee that you will see any sort of valuable return on your investment.
So, as we discussed in #1, there is definitely some competition out there now. And with competition, comes saturation. Not only are you now competing to get your buyers attention in a sea of similar products, but there is something else happening now too, something less obvious. When a marketplace reaches a high level of saturation of a specific product, it suddenly begins to lose its novelty. What was once something new and different seems a bit more “average.” Even if your product is not average, buyers perceive it that way because they are being inundated by it (and likely crappier versions of it).
You’ve priced your items fairly, and in a way that makes sense for both you, and buyer. So, what happens when copycats start undercutting your prices? Even though they might be offering an inferior product, the buyer perceives the market as a whole, and therefore sees your items as overpriced. Most likely they still want your items, but can’t justify the spend when there are so many other, lower-priced options. Simply by pricing correctly you are getting priced out.
Wondering how I know so much about your business? It’s cause that was me. That was my business. In late 2017 my Etsy sales dropped off SO significantly, I thought it had to be some sort of a glitch. After a few months of trying EVERYTHING, I decided that I had to bring in someone who could offer insight and guidance beyond my own resources. The coach I hired cost what seemed like SO much money (still does) and he had me do a lot of things that were way out of my comfort zone. Like doubling my prices, and putting all my efforts into my own website.
What happened next was awesome. Well, first it sucked. For a few months my sales kept dipping, and I wanted to give up. Like every day. And then one day, sales went up a bit. And they stayed up. And kept going up.
Customers were buying from my website. Customers were paying my new prices, and not batting an eye. Customers were SO happy with the service, experience, and product.
Leaving Etsy had forced me to look at my business in a new lens - not as “an Etsy shop” but as my own brand. I thought about how I wanted customers to experience my shop. How I wanted to communicate with them. How I wanted to market to them.
So, what can you, sitting in an Etsy SLUMP, do now?
You can start taking action! You must start taking action. Get your own website set up. Already have one? Make it better. Optimize every inch of it so that clients are surprised, and delighted, and compelled to purchase. Start putting all your marketing efforts towards your website. Dig deep into analytics and find out where your customers are, what they want, and how to get them.
I won’t sugar coat it, its a lot of hard work. It took me over a year (and over $65k in consulting and courses) to make it happen. Lucky for you, there is a shortcut. If you really want to make it work (and don’t have years to figure it out), you need to work with someone who has done it before you. EVERY single successful entrepreneur talks about the one or two key mentors or coaches they put their trust (and resources in). Mentorship is what separates the successful from the ones who don’t make it.
One of the best pieces of advice I give to my clients is, if something is not serving you, let it go. If Etsy is not serving you anymore (although it did, at one point), then it is time to start planning an exit. Find other sellers who have done it before you. Join my seller support group on Facebook. Surround yourself with people who have done what you need to, and absorb all you can.
Looking to supercharge your journey, let’s talk. Check out more on working with me and you can even set up a free 20 minute into call if you want to learn more.