We all know and may have shopped at Etsy some time in their life. For those that are new, Etsy is an e-commerce platform (like eBay) where you can sell your own products.
I was very intrigued when I came across the platform. Shiny objects, creative work, colorful, everything I wanted to be a part of. It was a sign I got to kick start my own Boutique which I had been procrastinating about for some time now.
After several months of research, finding suppliers, product quality checks and more, I finally opened my shop MysticalBerries on 13th March 2017.
I was excited to see what was in store for me and started thinking of new ways to expand my horizon with another Online Boutique on my belt. (For those who don’t know, I was also running an eBay store then)
But my happiness and excitedness was only short lived when Etsy closed my store on 27th March, 2017. This came as a huge shock to me and I reached out to other members in Business communities on facebook to seek help. To my surprise so many people came forward with the same issue – Etsy shut down my store too.
It was an epic fail!
But nevertheless, I kept doing my research to find out what went wrong. Why did this happen and why are so many stores being shut down by Etsy? Did I do something wrong or was there something sellers weren’t aware of?
Here are a few lessons I learned from my short terms as Etsy seller, that I call as – My Epic Etsy Fail
Lesson 1 – Read the terms and conditions very carefully before getting started
When I started my store on eBay, I was learning as I was growing. I made mistakes, stumbled upon things but picked myself up and started again. NOT WITH ETSY. Etsy has a low tolerance policy for errors. They will not give you another chance if you made a mistake. Therefore, if you are a new seller or an old one, keep going back to the Etsy Handbook and brush up your knowledge. Read and re-read because you never know what more information you stumble upon or when they change the policies. Make notes & keep going back to them time and time again.
Lesson 2 – It’s a borrowed platform. Treat it like one
If you are new to the world of e-commerce or building Online Boutique, you have 2 options to get started with. (1) You can create your own website and learn and grow as you sell or (2) you can start selling on a marketplace platform like Etsy, eBay, Bonanza or more where there is a lot of footfall to leverage. These marketplace platforms give you an opportunity to learn how to interact with customers, how to deal with suppliers (if you have one) in case of damaged goods and much more. These platforms also help in driving traffic to your store and help build the initial footfall so you can start selling. But at the end of the day, they are a borrowed platform and you need to treat them like one. Don’t get too comfortable. If these platforms give you a right to sell, they can revoke it too anytime they want. Treat them like tutorials prepping you for your final exam (i.e. selling on your website).
Lesson 3 – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Sh*t happens, your selling rights can get evoked, you may not attract as many customers as you like or there might be no-one searching for your products on a certain platform. There are multiple things that can go wrong. Therefore it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Today people are shopping everywhere from eBay to Amazon, Google, Etsy and more. Not only that, there are numerous platforms that give you the liberty to sell on multiple platforms at the same time with less effort. Instead of focusing on one platform, leverage these software and have your products on multiple platforms. This not only helps you to reach more people but also get more eyeballs on your products. Someone shopping on eBay may never go check out your products on Etsy or vice versa. Why not set up your website as well so people shopping on marketplaces can find you and shop directly on your platform next time?
Lesson 4 – Have a backup plan
We’ve all heard of the quote, “If plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet”. Let’s get real for a moment. Sh*t happens. It might not have happened to you but it did happen to others. No, I’m not just talking about me, but multiple other sellers who got their Etsy store shut and till date have no idea what happened. Therefore, it’s only sensible to learn from their mistakes or mishaps and create a back up plan if the unthinkable happened to you.
Lesson 5 – Back Up your Store
Just like there are software that manage your store, there are software that can back up your existing store and listings as well. Backtsy (for etsy) is one that I came across & I’m sure there would be more out there that can help you back up your store from time to time. I’m in no way saying that it will happen to you but it’s always a good idea to back up your store from time to time as that’s what helps you earn and make a living.
This blog is not about what’s wrong or what’s right or why they even shut the store down! I was just starting out, didn’t know a few things and made mistakes. Everyone does that! And since I was only 10 days in, I wasn’t so disappointed. However, it did help me learn some very important lessons, one of them being – There is no such thing as failure. You either win or you learn & I learn my lesson.
Even though Etsy was an epic fail, I still went ahead, implemented the lessons I learned and started my Online Boutique – Mystical Berries – by creating my own website + selling on multiple platforms all tied up to one source.
Are you ready to start your Online Boutique? Grab the Online Boutique Launch Checklist, I made that has the step by step process I implemented for starting my online boutique.