Learning from Your Competition

Even though the sales and revenue in my Etsy store have grown a little each year since I opened in 2012, I want to be doing better. A lot better. So I realized it was time to look at my competition–those sellers who are running more successful Etsy vintage stores. What could learn from their stores, blogs, vlogs and social media (Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)?

  • What are they selling?
  • How are they pricing things?
  • What is the quality of their listing photos?
  • What tags/keywords are they using for searches?
  • How robust are the item descriptions?
  • Do they allow returns?
  • What social media are they tapping into?
  • Do they do paid promotions?
  • Do they run sales?
  • How often do they list new items?
  • How many items do they have?
  • Etc!!!

Three Competitors

Store #1 focuses on one type of antique and vintage stuffFrench. Her niche store has less than 200 items, some quite expensive, but all exquisite. Her photos are nicely staged using her beautiful home as a backdrop. She doesn’t allow returns and is strident that “ALL SALES ARE FINAL.” She occasionally puts some items 50% off. She has a blog and uses four types of social media to support her business. Her Instagram account has almost 15,000 followers and is active. (I used to love reading her blog but she now has a lot of disruptive Mediavine ads breaking up the content.)

store1

This is listed for $185, plus $15.95 shipping.

Store #2 focuses on the “cheap and cheerful.” Her main store (she has three) has almost 700 items. She sells a wide variety of things with knickknacks leading the forefront. Most are listed for $15 or less. Her photographs could use improvement, but she accepts returns.

store2

This is listed for $10 plus $5.13 shipping.

Store #3 is only two years old (with already more sales than me in my six years) and did leaps and bounds better than me in June. He has over 600 items. He sells a wide range of items, in a wide range of prices. His photos are consistently bright and he tends to use the same background for a nice, branded effect. His descriptions are robust. He allows returns, except on sale items. His business is supported by a vlog. And he offers free shipping on everything! (Of course, the shipping isn’t really free, but factored into the cost of the item.)

store3-b

This is listed for $38, with free shipping.

Of the three stores, store #3 is the most similar to mine and the biggest difference between us is the free shipping. Store #2 does a brisk business in the lower-priced stuff (she reported her Q2 numbers in a social media forum and they were much stronger than mine), but her volume requires a lot of packing and shipping to make a decent profit. Not the direction I want to go in. Store #1 (with over 6000 sales in seven years!) is the type of store I would love to have. Fewer items. All interesting, high quality and desirable with likely many return customers.


Takeaways

  • Start offering free shipping on some items–mostly those that ship First Class and Media Mail.
  • Give more attention to my new Instagram account.
  • Use my blog more to promote my items.
  • Look at ways to encourage repeat business.

Etsy “Solds” for the Three Competitors

Also as part of my Etsy competitor review I took a look at what they’ve sold recently. (While Etsy does not reveal the “sold” price, you can look it up using FlipperTools. Just paste in the item’s URL.) I discovered, much to my chagrin, that one of my competitors just sold the exact 1960s coffee carafe that I have in my store!

Why did his sell and not mine?

Answer: He had his priced $10 cheaper, but I also noticed in my listing I had misspelled “Pyrex,” my photos are darn crappy and I barely used any search tags. Oh boy! How embarrassing. It’s no wonder mine hasn’t sold. I quickly fixed the spelling, added more search tags and adjusted my price (based on similar listings). Later I’ll retake the photos.


Takeaways

  • Take time to revisit older listings and see if any changes need to be made.
  • Work at improving photos…always! (To this end I have ordered a light box cube that I hope will help me take more professional photos, particularly of crystal and sterling silver items that tend to be problematic.)

So I’ll be making some incremental changes and see what happens. I’ll also keep listing like crazy!

As always, happy hunting,

Karen

6 Comments

  1. good on you- a robust analysis and useful takeaways; keep on keeping on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Edwina. 🙂

      Like

  2. Shari Harniss

    Shining a light on ways to improve yourself, in any area, is so needed. Not always easy, but worth it. I love finding ways, usually small ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ ways, to reach a goal, etc.
    Everyone has something to teach us. We just have to let them.
    Thank you again, for educating me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Shari. I definitely need to improve some areas! It will be worth it in the end. 😉 Karen

      Like

  3. Debbie

    I always say, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Sounds like you are definitely trying to grow. Not only your business but yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Debbie. Starting to make small changes. We’ll see if they make a difference. 😉 – Karen

      Like

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