Can Etsy sell your perfume?
It costs very little to find out
and you learn a lot along the way!

In my last message I wrote about a marketing test I was conducting on eBay, although I considered eBay an unlikely marketing platform for an unknown fragrance from a nearly unknown company. This week I've turned my attention to Etsy stores which, I believe, offer greater opportunities for the sale of handmade, homemade, and indie perfumes.

You can find a lot about using Etsy effectively through a simple Google search which will turn up a great many articles on Etsy. Like eBay, much depends on your keywords but Etsy's handbook gives an excellent explanation on how Etsy ranks stores in their search utility. This handbook is worth studying and the ranking system it reveals is not unlike that of Google and other platforms. Etsy search rankings start with keywords but are narrowed down by another group of factors including how active you have been on Etsy, historically how many sales you have made, how recently sales were made, and what Etsy calls "customer experience".

I opened my own Etsy store because you can't really understand how Etsy works until you take the plunge and do it. It's a bit like Facebook. You can't see what's going on until you join. With Etsy you can shop without any enrollment but to understand the complexities of the selling side you have to participate.

What is clear from the many helpful comments you find repeated both in the Etsy forums and elsewhere is that success on Etsy involves effort. To sell successfully on Etsy you must put in a good deal of time; you must read and re-read Etsy's advice to sellers; you must constantly be "improving" your Etsy store, interacting with customers and prospects and adding fresh products to your store. Etsy wants you to have at least ten items on your store and Etsy won't let you open a store without at least one item ready for sale. Thus, at present, you'll see my Etsy store with that one required item.

If you need marketing guidance, Etsy gives sellers good advice such as "offer items at different price points" because people might come to your store for your perfume but, finding it a bit expensive, they might try you out with a smaller order — a candle, soap, or perhaps a small solid perfume.

In general you have to keep in mind that Etsy is out to make money for Etsy. But to do that – since they take a cut of sales – they will boost the rankings of the "most likely to succeed" stores because this will make more money for Etsy.

Think of an Etsy store as a store because that's what each Etsy vendor has – a store, storefront and all. Think of what makes any store succeed – attractive merchandise, attractive prices, attractive customer service. A lot has to go into it. On eBay it's perfectly normal to sell a single item. Many eBay sellers post a single item and the are done. But, like Etsy, there are eBay stores and these are stocked and, in large part, depend on repeat sales from customers and word of mouth recommendations. It's difficult to be in any retail business selling a single item.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't give Etsy a try even if you have only one item – one perfume – to sell. A lot of "no-name-brand" perfume does get sold on Etsy. (You can see how many sales each store has made because it is posted by Etsy on their storefront.) But, with only one item you are less likely to attract traffic to your store.

As to me, now that I've opened a minimal Etsy store I'll develop it as time permits... to see what Etsy can do for me.

And I strongly suggest you read the Etsy search and Etsy ranking pages. Whether you decide to sell on Etsy or not, you'll get some important internet marketing guidance from these pages that can help you, regardless of where you decide to sell your perfume.


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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.