Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Two E's. Etsy and eBay. I'm going for it!

A while back I tried giving it a shot at using these two services instead of selling beads and jewelry from our website.  Back in the year 2000, acutally on New Year's Eve 1999-2000, we listed our first eBay auction.  After learning the ropes and building a good customer base, we actually sold Scott's beads on eBay full time and did ok at it!  Not a huge income, but definitely decent.  We rode that for a while and later we focused on doing more shows and ultimately opening a retail gallery/studio.  eBay started to taper off as more and more artists flooded the pages and China also began flooding the market with pretty decent basic beads.  Then eBay ditched the feature of being able to Feature something.  It would cost about $20-$25 or so and then you'd have a featured listing that would stay among the front pages until it ended.  I loved it.  I would list a heap of auctions and then feature something to let my buyers know that we were there.  Once eBay stopped doing that and did not offer a comparable alternative, our sales on eBay went down and our focus was going elsewhere. 
  Since then I gave it a shot here and there on eBay and wasn't too thrilled with the results.   Our buyers were either not there anymore or we were just too lost in the sea of pages and not being seen.  After a couple times of paying hefty eBay fees and not seeing anything come from it, obviously I put my efforts into other avenues.  HOWEVER, now eBay has stopped having a listing fee (I think for the first 50 items per month).  That has suddenly made it more attractive to me, and I'm sure many others, to go for it again since most of the cost will come now only if the item sells.  They take a cut on shipping now though, so keep that in mind. 
  I had a lightbulb moment the other day that I need to go for Etsy (mostly for my jewelry) and eBay (mostly for the beads), but to once again put a full time effort into it.  I had tried Etsy a while back and I'm sure I gave up too easily and quickly.  I weighed selling from my site to selling our work on these two sites. 
Pros:  eBay and Etsy - I don't have to resize and rename my photos or create thumbnails.  (huge time saver) AND I can easily show multiple angles (many photos) which I can't do on my site without tremendous effort and chaos on the screen.  I can have way better SEO with reaching my customers.  Cool Apps to help keep customers informed and good Analytics to see how things are going.   Each site has online forums which help to learn more and "get out there".  The fees are now more easy to swallow if things don't sell. 
Cons:  I'll miss my website shopping cart which enables people to use Visa/MC/Discover/Amex OR Paypal.  Maybe most people in the world have a Paypal account by now, but I wonder if I will lose or annoy customers by now ONLY taking Paypal.  I think I saw on eBay that you can take cards separately of Paypal, but I need to look more into that. 
Basically, I want our work to be found "out there" and I think using these two sites will now perform better than my website has been.  There are such good options to tag and use keywords and reach people that I would not have been able to otherwise.  It's time to try to find more customers since we haven't done shows in forever!  The kids are old enough now that I think we can get back on the ciruit hopefully next year.  Even if you practically break even at a show, the chance to pass out that many business cards often has translated to "being found" and the chance to run into editors of magazines was also a great benefit. 
  Ok, so you're in my brain now.  You know my thinking.  I will be vistiting tips, hints, videos, forums and getting back up to date as to how to make these sites work for me.  Yes, things have changed.  I also need to regain my Power Seller status on eBay which will likely take a year.  Oh well, better get started now then.  After reading extensively in the forums on each site and on Lampwork Etc., I have found that it can easily take 5-6 months of not much selling to finally getting a good customer base going and getting found.  I think it was two months at each site when I had tried on other occasions and got fed up.  I will keep it steady this time and not give up no matter what.  It just takes that and I'm going to do that!  Oh and I also learned that one should try to have over 100 items up on Etsy.  I don't think I was near that before.  I have enough inventory to do that and will list it all over time so I can have new items show daily in the Newly Listed pages. 
Here's to going for it!!  May my efforts to build our customer base and keep our work "out there" perform well and catch on.  I can see it.
By the way I only have one item up on each at the moment as I spent all day creating templates, adding preferences, etc.  I will add daily as I plan to schedule a weeks worth at at time.

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