3 reasons why most Etsy stores fail

My first Etsy shop was a fail. I opened this shop back 2017, filled with hope and pretty certain that I was going to make money within the first few weeks. Well, turns out, it took me months of creating products after products to make my first sale. So what did I do wrong? Why most Etsy stores fail?

That’s exactly what I’m going to tell you in today’s article. We’re going to discuss the three main reasons why most Etsy sellers fail to generate a full-time income on the platform.

Etsy is a popular marketplace for handmade, vintage, and digital products, but despite its potential for success, many sellers struggle to make a sustainable income from their shops. By understanding common pitfalls, you can learn how to avoid them and increase your chances of success on Etsy.

Lack of Research

The first main reason why most Etsy sellers fail is a lack of market research.

Why is market research important for Etsy sellers?

Market research is a critical component of any successful business strategy, and this is no different for Etsy sellers. Without a clear understanding of their target market and the demand for their products, sellers are likely to struggle to attract buyers and generate sales.

There are a few reasons why market research is so important for Etsy sellers:

  1. Identify your target market: Market research helps you identify your ideal customer by understanding their preferences, demographics, and buying habits. This information helps you tailor your product offerings to meet their needs, and helps you craft marketing messages and product descriptions that resonate with them.
  2. Find the best-selling products: Researching your competition and identifying the best-selling products on Etsy can help you identify gaps in the market and create unique products that stand out from the crowd. It also helps you get a better understanding of the prices available on the platform and how you can position yourself in this market.
  3. Set realistic goals: By analyzing sales data and market trends, you can set realistic goals for your Etsy store. This helps you stay focused and motivated on an achievable objective, and ensures that you’re allocating your time and resources in the most effective way possible.
  4. Stay on top of the latest trends: Market research helps you stay on top of the latest trends in your niche, allowing you to adapt your products and marketing strategies to meet changing consumer preferences. This helps you stay ahead of the competition and ensures that you’re offering products that buyers actually want to buy.

How to conduct market research on Etsy? How to find best selling items on Etsy?

Now that we understand why market research is so important for Etsy sellers, let’s explore some effective methods for conducting research on the platform.

  • Check out your competition: One of the most effective way to conduct market research on Etsy is to check out your competition directly on the platform. Look for shops that sell similar products to yours, and pay attention to their pricing, product descriptions, and marketing strategies. This information can help you identify gaps in the market and create products that stand out from the crowd. By analyzing your competitors, you can also learn what works and what doesn’t work for your target market.
  • Use Etsy’s search bar: Etsy’s search bar is a powerful tool for conducting market research. Type in keywords related to your niche or product, and pay attention to the top search results. This can give you insight into which products are in high demand, and which keywords and phrases are being used by buyers to find products like yours.
  • Use third-party research tools: There are a number of third-party research tools that can help you conduct more comprehensive market research on Etsy. Some popular options include Sale Samurai, eRank, and Alura for example. These tools can help you identify popular search terms, analyze the competition, and stay on top of emerging trends in your niche. They can also provide you with valuable data such as the average price of products in your category, the average shipping time, and the number of sales for top sellers.
  • Analyze your own sales data: Finally one of the easiest ways to start conducting market research on Etsy is to analyze your own sales data. This includes looking at your order history and sales reports to identify patterns in your sales. You can use this information to understand which products are selling the most, what time of year your sales peak, and which marketing channels are driving the most traffic to your store. This information can help you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions about how to grow your business.

Altogether, market research is a critical component of any successful Etsy business. By understanding your target market, identifying the best-selling products, setting realistic goals, and staying on top of emerging trends, you can create a profitable Etsy store that resonates with your audience.

But remember, market research is an ongoing process, so continue to analyze your sales data, monitor your competition, and gather feedback from your target market to stay ahead of the game.

Inadequate Product Photography

Next common pitfall is product photography. Product photography is a critical component of any successful Etsy business. High-quality product photos are essential for creating a professional and engaging online store, and can make a significant impact on a buyer’s decision to make a purchase.

Inadequate product photography, on the other hand, can be detrimental to an Etsy seller’s success, leading to low sales and a lack of engagement from potential customers.

Why is High-Quality Product Photography so Important on Etsy?

  • First Impressions Matter: When it comes to online shopping, first impressions matter. Buyers on Etsy have a multitude of options when it comes to purchasing products, and a seller’s product photography is often the first thing a potential customer will see. A high-quality photo can make a product look more professional and attractive, while a low-quality photo can make it look unappealing and unprofessional. High-quality product photos can set a seller apart from their competition and make a buyer more likely to make a purchase.
  • Accurate Representation of Products: Product photos are not only important for making a product look appealing, but they also serve as an accurate representation of the product. Buyers rely on product photos to get an idea of what they will be receiving when they make a purchase. If a product photo is blurry, poorly lit, or does not show the product from multiple angles, a buyer may be hesitant to make a purchase. High-quality product photos can provide a clear and accurate representation of the product, giving buyers more confidence in their purchase.
  • Conveys Brand Image: Product photography can also convey a seller’s brand image. By using consistent lighting, backgrounds, and props, a seller can create a cohesive and professional-looking brand image. This can help buyers remember the seller’s brand and create a sense of trust and credibility.

How can you Take High-Quality Product Photos on Etsy?

  • Use Natural Light: Well first recommendation, use natural light. Natural light is one of the most important factors in creating high-quality product photos. Avoid using flash, as it can create harsh shadows and distort the colors of the product. Instead, try to take photos near a window or outside in natural light though avoid direct sunlight, as it can create harsh shadows and overexposure.
  • Use a Tripod: Using a tripod can help ensure that your photos are sharp and in focus. It can also help you achieve consistent angles and framing. If you do not have a tripod, try using a stable surface such as a table or chair to keep your camera steady.
  • Choose the Right Background: Choosing the right background is important for creating a cohesive and professional-looking store. Consider using a white or neutral background to make the product stand out. Avoid using busy or distracting backgrounds that can take away from the product.
  • Use Multiple Angles: Using multiple angles can help provide a more accurate representation of the product. Consider taking photos from different angles, including close-ups of important details. This can help buyers get a better idea of what they will be receiving when they make a purchase.
  • Edit Your Photos: Editing your photos can help enhance their quality and make them more appealing to buyers. Consider using a photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Canva to adjust the brightness, contrast, and color of your photos. Be careful not to over-edit your photos, as this can create an unrealistic representation of the product.

Marketing & Promotion

Marketing and promotion are critical elements for any business to succeed, and Etsy sellers are no exception. Without adequate marketing and promotion, even the best products may not reach their target audience, resulting in low traffic, low sales, and, ultimately, low revenue.

Why should you focus your effort on marketing and promotion for your Etsy shop?

  1. Increased Visibility: One of the most significant benefits of marketing and promotion is increased visibility. By promoting their stores and products, Etsy sellers can reach a wider audience and get their products in front of potential buyers who might not have found them otherwise.
  2. Brand Recognition: Effective marketing and promotion can also help Etsy sellers build brand recognition and establish themselves as reputable and trustworthy businesses. By consistently promoting their products and creating a strong brand image, you can create a sense of familiarity and trust with your target audience, which can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.
  3. Competitive Advantage: Marketing and promotion can also give Etsy sellers a competitive advantage over their competitors. By promoting their unique selling points and highlighting the benefits of their products, Etsy sellers can differentiate themselves from the competition and position themselves as the go-to source for a particular niche or product category.

What are some tools and platforms that Etsy sellers can use to create an effective marketing strategy for your Etsy shop?

Here are some options:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is the practice of optimizing a website or product listing to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). For Etsy sellers, optimizing their product listings with relevant keywords, high-quality images, and detailed product descriptions can help improve their visibility and increase their chances of being found by potential buyers. You can start working on optimising your listings by checking your competitors’ listings and the keywords that they’re using. You can also use third party app like Sale Samurai or Alura to help you make this process easier and faster.

You can also read: Optimized Etsy Listings: How to do TITLES and TAGS for Etsy search – Etsy SEO Tips

  • Advertising: Etsy offers several advertising options for sellers, including promoted listings. Promoted listings are a pay-per-click advertising option that allows sellers to promote their products in search results and on category pages. You could also use Google Shopping Ads which allow sellers to promote their products on Google’s search engine results page, while social media ads can be used to reach potential buyers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  • Social Media: Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting Etsy stores and products. By creating social media profiles and sharing product images and updates, sellers can reach a wider audience and create a sense of community with their followers.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing is a cost-effective way for Etsy sellers to reach potential buyers and promote their products. By collecting email addresses from visitors to their stores or social media profiles, sellers can send targeted email campaigns that highlight their latest products, promotions, and sales. A free option to start email marketing could be Mailchimp as it is very easy to use and allow you to create automated email campaigns which can help with increasing sales in your Etsy shop.
  • Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing involves partnering with social media influencers or bloggers to promote products to their followers. By identifying influencers who have a similar target audience and partnering with them to promote their products, Etsy sellers can reach a wider audience and gain credibility and trust with potential buyers.

So, marketing and promotion are critical elements for Etsy sellers who want to succeed on the platform. By using the tools and platforms available to them, both free and paid, you can increase your visibility, build brand recognition, gain a competitive advantage, and ultimately increase your sales and revenue. It’s definitely important for you to experiment with different marketing strategies and measure your success and performance to determine what works best for your busines and target audience.


And here you go Etsy sellers, these are all the mistakes I have done when I opened my first Etsy shop and the reasons why I didn’t make a sale for months.

If you found this article useful and you’re looking for even more tips and advice to take your Etsy shop to the next level, download your to help you get consistent sales in your Etsy shop below.

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