Demystifying the Sell on Etsy App

A few weeks ago, I suggested to my friend that she list her beautiful photography on Etsy after she knocked it out of the park at a recent art show. Her response was, “Why shouldn’t I just list them on eBay?”  That’s a legitimate concern, and a question that deserves to be demystified for all artists. There are some key advantages to participating in a socially-based e-commerce community website that only allows (or, is supposed to only allow) handmade arts and crafts that artists should consider once they decide that setting up an online storefront is right for them. First, your listing will stand out easier on Etsy than on a huge e-commerce site like eBay. Think of it as the difference between having a canoe on a small pond instead of a giant ocean. While eBay might draw from a larger pool of shoppers, Etsy hones in on just one type of shopper- the person who is specifically looking to buy handmade items (insert corny joke about sailing in the “Specific Ocean” here). It’s by no means an intimately-sized online marketplace, though: as of 2013, the Etsy community hit a cool 30 million members.

Disc Golf Love shirts printed by my husband. Will he be the next Etsy superstar? Not without me setting up an account for him!

Disc Golf Love shirts printed by my husband, Stu Kaplan. Will he be the next Etsy superstar? Not without me setting up an account for him!

track your inventory

Most artists and craftspeople are constantly setting up at art shows and craft fairs, selling their work, packing it up, creating more inventory and preparing for the next endeavor. Like any business, you’ll need to keep track of what sells, what doesn’t, and how many items you have in stock for the next event. This is the #1 reason why the “Sell Now” feature on the Sell on Etsy App is going to be your best friend if you are an on-the-go artist or craftswoman with work listed on Etsy. Are you going to hand write each and every sale in a ledger book at your event or type it into an Excel document in between customers? Doubtful, and if you are, you’re wasting valuable face time with potential customers.

“Sell Now” Feature

Art shows can get hectic and it seems like everyone wants to buy something all at once. “Sell Now” through Sell on Etsy is awesome for this reason, because it allows you to track your inventory on a real-time basis as you complete the sale, whether cash or credit. Screen shots below illustrate the simple, beautiful and easy to navigate app:

Menu for "Sell Now" feature on Sell on Etsy App for iPhone

Menu for “Sell Now” feature on Sell on Etsy App for iPhone

Screenshot from Quick Sale mode

Screenshot from Quick Sale mode

etsy6

Adding new sale items

If you’re on the road often or in between functioning computers, adding new sale items through the Sell on Etsy App is even faster and easier to use than listing through the website on a desktop computer. I often shoot photos of my work during the daytime, edit them later, and then can’t contain my excitement long enough to open my laptop…so I start adding my items on the phone app in between checking my Instagram and Pinterest feeds before I fall asleep.

Analytics

It’s like Christmas morning when you can wake up and check your Sell on Etsy app for your website’s analytics. While you’ll need to check the website from a computer for detailed analytics such as breakdown of web traffic visitors and search terms that landed shoppers on your page, you can view daily, weekly, and monthly visits, listing and shop favorites, reviews, and sale information on the Sell on Etsy app.

Etsy shop history screenshot from my shop

Etsy shop history screenshot from my shop

Screenshot of my shop. I sure would like to get these numbers higher

Screenshot of my shop traffic for last week

Growth of Mobile App Usage amongst shoppers

One of the reasons it is so important to choose a social media-based e-commerce site that offers a great user experience with their mobile app is because the use of apps on smartphones and tablets is exploding. 80% of the time consumers spend visiting a retail site on mobile is through an app, according to ComScore’s Gian Fulgoni. A September 2013 study proves that Etsy is hanging with the big boys in this category, with 29% of its 20 million unique visits coming from the mobile app. Etsy does a great job of providing visitor origin information and includes the mobile app data as well. Screen shots from my shop highlighting traffic from the Etsy app:

stats3

stats4

Screenshot of traffic for a specific listing from last week, including 13 of 36 visits coming from the Etsy app.

stats2

Traffic sources to my Etsy page, ranked.

Etsy isn’t for everybody, but it’s definitely right for me, my cousin, my aunt, and Snooki!

Want to set up your own Etsy shop? Here are 40 free product listings, from me to you!

If you’d hurt yourself with a glue gun but love to shop arts and crafts, here is $5 to spend on Etsy!

3 Philly Artists Who Rock Instagram

There are many social media outlets through which artists can showcase their work, but it is mind boggling for many to pick and choose which to use and which to forego. For instance, I keep bugging my amazingly talented graphic designer sister, Julie Rado, to get on Instagram. “I don’t want to have another reason to have my nose buried in my phone!” she said. Point taken. No one wants to be “that guy” who is so engulfed in posting, pinning, poking and tweeting that we lose touch with reality. However, social media is a powerful tool for artists that can help develop and show off your own personal style, as well as keeping abreast of what others in your field are doing.

Philly is home to a great number of artists, and many of them use social media to get their work out there. There are a few Philly artist Instagrammers who not only use the program exceptionally well, but are also trendsetters and totally ahead of the game. Here are 3 of my favorite Philly art peeps to follow (all profile descriptions are directly from their pages):

@StreetsDept : Conrad Benner

Born and raised in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Photojournalist. Lover of street art, graffiti, and urban exploration. http://streetsdept.com

@Beeenies shows us what "real art" looks like… #Philly #streetsdept #vscocam

A post shared by Conrad Benner (@streetsdept) on

All you have to do is look at the number of followers that StreetsDept has on Instagram (a quaint 93 thousand) to realize one thing: This guy KNOWS street art. You’ll also notice that Benner makes it a point to interact with his followers who comment, which has to be a challenge given his number of followers; he is genuinely interested in what you have to say and you will be noticed. I’ve picked up a few other important cues from Mr. Benner that I feel help me stay current as an artist, Instagrammer, and lover of all things Philadelphia. First off, he uses VSCO Cam with his pictures. According to Ellis Hamberger, “Instagram set[s] out to make your mobile photos look good, VSCO hopes to make them look real.” It’s the photographer’s photo app, so if you’re a film enthusiast, check out the VSCOCam app.

Another really cool thing that sets StreetsDept above the pack is that he often takes over the feed of Visit Philly as a “guest Instagrammer” (see below). This is a fascinating and lucrative career for an artist—if you have thousands of followers, that is!

@adam_wallacavage : Adam Wallacavage 

Photographer, Chandelier maker, Militant Ornamentalist. For chandelier inquiries, contact JonathanLeVineGallery.com or awallacavage@gmail http://WWW.ADAMWALLACAVAGE.COM

It looks weird in here but sounds normal.

A post shared by Adam Wallacavage (@adam_wallacavage) on

Adam’s original inspiration for creating these Octopus chandeliers was from the octopus on Wednesday’s bed (Addams Family comic books). He is also a photographer, which explains the amazing photo editing skills documenting his work, unbelievable travel adventures/parties, and his love of the Philly skateboarding scene. Not to mention all of the super creepy and fascinating details of his house, which I really have to see in person someday. Adam has totally mastered the video capability of Instagram, which not many people can say. Notice the underuse of hashtags and tagging other people, which is refreshing- but when you already have 48 thousand followers, using these sparingly is A-OK. Scrolling through his comments you can see how many people are interested in buying one of his chandeliers–he wisely provides that information right in his profile description.

Adam is a great example of a Philly artist who has mastered the art of documenting his work on Instagram.

@getupart : Get Up Art 

Owner/curator of @getitgallery For shirts and other clothing visit http://www.getup.us Email/booking: getupart@gmail.com http://www.facebook.com/getupgetup

There are a ton of street artists in Philly, but not all of them capitalize on their catchy spray-painted or wheat-pasted art. Get Up Art does just that, and he does it in a creative way. He first takes a spin on Philadelphia icons (Ben Franklin with a boombox, the Phillie Phanatic spray painting a wall) and creates a really cool multi-layer stencil:

Thanks to @tmoms for letting me paint

A post shared by Get Up (@getupart) on

and makes them into stuff you can buy, which is even cooler- and posts it on Instagram, referring you back to his storefront where you can purchase it.

Soon

A post shared by Get Up (@getupart) on

Street art has a history of being controversial, as it can be considered illegal and under the same umbrella as graffiti, vandalism, and defacing property. That’s why it’s so interesting and ballsy to see it being sold, as sometimes the artists prefer to stay anonymous. Well-known street artists like Shepard Fairey do have merchandise for fans, although that is sometimes controversial too…but if that jawn wasn’t making people mad, it wouldn’t be any fun, now would it?

The Zero Dollar Art Show: Utilizing Social Media and Alternative Space to Sell Your Work

Curating your own DIY art show doesn’t have to be complicated OR expensive. In fact, you might be surprised at how easy it is display and sell your artwork for no cost to a solid audience of art lovers. Finding an alternative space to display and sell your work (and your friends’ work!) and using social media to promote the event are the two key ingredients you need to maximize profit at your Zero Dollar Art Show. 

CONNECT WITH A LOCAL BUSINESS 

Do you have a friend that works at an independent coffee shop, restaurant or bar? Talk to them about hanging your work and having a have a show opening. You can also check with the owners of businesses you are a patron of. For example, I had already built a mutually beneficial relationship with the owners of the nearby bar by painting seasonal artwork onto their windows in exchange for some of their goods (ok, ok, a few free beers). They were happy to host my event and run drink specials for the evening! Whether you can offer graphic design or photography, your artistic talent is sure to be a valuable resource for your business partner.

 PRE-PROMOTION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

Create a Facebook Event. This is what really gets the bodies through the door. You’ll want to do this about 2-3 weeks in advance. Make sure the event is public, and that the page has an attractive custom photo for the background. Be sure to include links to the artists’ websites and online storefronts. Be specific about the date, time, location; food or drink specials; anything that makes the night unique. All participants should invite their friends and share the event on Facebook. You can make sure the invitees see your event pop up in their feed after the initial invitation is sent by having the participating artists post photos of their works in progress onto the event page. This generates excitement in the days leading up to the show. Unless someone has turned off notifications for the event, this will pop up in the feed of everyone who has been invited so they don’t forget. Check back every day, and you’ll see that RSVP YES number inch upwards every time someone posts!

photo 1(1)

Encourage your participants to post pictures of what they’re working on to the Facebook event in the days leading up to the event. This generates excitement and reminds people of the show

Post on Instagram. Because art shows rely heavily on visuals, this is super important for artists to use to pre-promote the show. Pick a short, memorable, yet unique hashtag for your event that you and your fellow participants can use when they put up pictures of projects they are working on or of artwork they are going to display. People will be able to find your event easier before, during, and after the show with this. Make sure to include it on any graphics promoting the show info as the “official” hashtag, and include it in your Facebook event and/or blog post. Tag people on these photos that you think would enjoy your show, and tag the artists participating as well. Not everyone is going to comment or like, but just know that they are definitely looking.

Post on Twitter. Use the same hashtag across social media sites for continuity, and use it every time you talk about the event. You can tweet links to your artist’s websites, and pictures before and during the event to ramp up interest with your followers. You will also want to “mention” (@) local community, news, or art accounts. If they think your event is cool, chances are they’ll retweet it for you. Share the Facebook event link on Twitter and watch your “going” number grow even higher.

OTHER TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL ZERO-DOLLAR ART SHOW: 

-Try a group show first. This will maximize your number of visitors.
-Partner with a local print shop. Ask them to print posters and postcards for free in exchange for their logo or a coupon on the flyer, and mentions on your social media accounts.
-Get your friends involved. A friend in the beginning stages of a food or music career might want to set up at your event as well. They can entertain or feed people, and make a few bucks too. Anything that adds spice to the event is always a plus!
-Have realistic price points. It’s great to have some bigger pieces to showcase your talent, but smaller, functional, less expensive work tends to sell easier depending on your audience.
Let the Bodies Fill the Room!

Let the Bodies Fill the Room! #artistsofthekeep

Need help planning your art event? Feel free to reach out to me!