Thanks to Tina for the following guest post!
While the majority of Etsy sellers use the site to launch their new businesses, a growing number of people are using it to do just the opposite. They use Etsy’s large consumer base and top-notch selling tools as a way to grow an existing small business. While this may seem odd and even redundant, there are several excellent reasons why Etsy can benefit small business owners.
1. Expanded Online Presence
Instead of limiting customers to a small business’s sole website or social media pages, owners can branch out tremendously with an Etsy storefront. It is a great way to pick up drive-by traffic and convert them into regular customers. Alternatively, store owners who simply haven’t gotten around to building their own website can maintain a viable online presence with an Etsy shop, which only involves a matter of minutes to set up. Since it is free to create an account, maintaining an Etsy site is also a budget-friendly option that bypasses the costs and hassle of having to pay for hosting and domain fees, plus web designer services for a website and e-commerce store.
2. A Virtual Sandbox
Testing out new products or variations can be risky at the best of times. Through Etsy, small business owners can create a small amount of new stock to test how well it sells. The investment costs are minimal and the site’s impressive statistics and wish list tools make it easy to gauge the popularity of new additions. Since buyers and sellers are in direct contact through Etsy, small business owners can also ask for buyer feedback for test products.
3. Control Your Target Market
Many small businesses that specialize in hand-made items tend to stick to local selling. With an Etsy storefront, they have the option of remaining local or testing out various other markets by specifying with regions they sell to. This is a fantastic way of testing the waters slowly and methodically without taking on high amounts of risk and investment. In turn, this can give small business owners precious feedback on which areas may be more receptive to a physical storefront.
Etsy sellers can freely communicate with each other through the website. Instead of seeing all other sellers as competition, small business owners can team up and collaborate on new projects with some. The key is in finding other sellers who create a complementary product or service. Collaborating helps small business owners to meet other like-minded people. Working together can be a successful exercise in creativity, not to mention the opportunity to introduce the product to an entirely new market.
5. Get Advice
Etsy’s seller forums are a treasure trove of tips, advice, and resources. There are thousands of other sellers online who share some overlap in niche markets, industries, and trades. Often when one person has a question, chances are that others have already figured out a solution. The online message boards are a great place to find all types of helpful information, from reliable suppliers to new techniques, shipping services, taxation details and plenty more.
Tina S. is a veteran Etsy seller and small business owner based in Canada. When Tina is not contributing to university ranking and research sites like DegreeJungle.com, she blogs about online and offline marketing for small businesses.