Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to: Getting Started in the SASsy Critiques Forum

Every day we have a few new Etsy sellers apply to the SASsy Critiques team.  With all of these new users, we thought it might be helpful to write a little guide to the SASsy Critiques forum.

Who can join?
Anyone can apply to be a part of the team, but you have a little homework to do. First you need to read the Shop Critique Checklist, which is located right here.   Why?  This checklist answers many of the questions that new sellers have and it has lots of links to great information for the most frequently asked questions.  By going through the checklist, you might be able to answer many of your questions on your own.  After you have read the checklist, come back and apply to the team.

We also encourage all of the SASsy Mentors to be a part of the Critiques team.  These mentors are there to participate in the discussions as a voice of experience.  They should identify themselves as a "SASsy Mentor" in their comment, so you will know who they are.

How do you participate? 
Post a question.  
Once you have been accepted to the team, you can start a new thread with your question by clicking the "Create Thread" link at the top of the discussion list. Be sure you are asking a specific question like "I would like some help with my titles.  I don't think they are helping me get many views." or "Please critique my photos, I don't know if the background color is working for my items"

We cannot do a full shop critique, as it says in the forum guidelines.  If you post a question like "Please look at my shop and tell me what I am doing wrong.", we will probably ask for you to narrow it down and be more specific.

Be a part of the discussion.
Everyone is encouraged to be a part of the discussion to answer a question.  If you know the answer or have an opinion, please chime in.

What are the rules of the forum?
They are pretty simple.  First, please be respectful.  The forum is about helping each other and being constructive in your comments.

We won't critique your prices or your art technique.  Only the seller can know what is an appropriate price for an item based on costs, overhead and desired profit.

Your questions have to be about your shop.  We can't help you with critiques of Treasuries, Facebook pages, blogs etc.

No "critique me and I will critique you" games or promotional threads, please.

And you need to abide by Etsy's Terms of Use:

What if I want to talk to a mentor one-on-one and not have a discussion in the forum?
That's great!  That's why we have our Mentors List.  Sometimes you have a question about a difficult situation with a customer or you just want a little more personal conversation.  Look at the list, choose a mentor who specializes in the topic you are looking for and send them a "conversation". 

You don't need to be a member of any team or forum to contact one of our mentors.  If you have a question, please ask!

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Etsy Feature: Browse Pages

Earlier this week Etsy introduced new “browse pages” which have taken the spot of the Discover pages & the listing categories on the Etsy home page. 

You can read the announcements here:
& there is a basic help file here on how it all works:
Despite the admin announcements, there are still a lot of questions, & a lot of confused sellers. Here are some basic pointers that address some of the most common concerns:

How are those Browse pages created? How do I show up there?
To fill the browsing pages, Etsy does many smaller searches for related words, & then combines them & sorts the listings by relevancy.
“our system looks across the entire marketplace for items that are relevant to the themes of the particular browse section, and then it displays those items sorted by relevancy.”
For example, for the browsing page Jewelry -> Earrings -> Eco Friendly
Etsy does smaller searches including "eco friendly" & “upcycled”, then combines the results. This is why the browsing pages looks very different than if you searched “eco friendly earrings” – they contain different searches, & the browse page does not need to match the exact phrase as the relevancy search does. Some of the listings do not even have the words “eco friendly” anywhere, but they do have words that fit the “eco friendly” theme. 

Listing Categories & Browse Categories are different.
A lot of people are upset that the browsing pages do not match the listing categories, but that should not affect your placement, since the listing categories have little impact on where you show up in the browsing pages. So I can list a new necklace in Geekery -> Science -> Jewelry & it could show up on the browsing page for Jewelry -> Men -> Necklace, since it has the words “men” & ”necklace” in the title. It doesn’t matter that the categories we use to list new items do not include “men” under Jewelry; the most important part is that you tag & title using the words Etsy is using to search to fill that browsing page. (Unfortunately, Etsy is not going to tell you what those words are, so you will need to look through the pages & figure each one out for yourself. But if you tag & title using a diversity of strong keywords, you should eventually show up in these pages)

Playing favorites?
There have been a lot of complaints that too many listings from the same shops are showing up, & Etsy appears to be looking into that. They have also already made a few changes to which browse page some items show up on. It will likely take a few weeks for this to be ironed out, & expect it to change periodically, just as the relevancy search does. 

Recency still matters & shoppers behaviour influences the ranking.
Just like the regular relevancy search on Etsy, ranking on the browsing pages gives some weight to the most recently listed items, as well as to “aggregate shopping and browsing behaviour”. This means that what people do with your listing when they see it on Etsy matters to your ranking. 

I hope this clears up some questions! Please ask more in the comments if you have them. 
Guest Post by Cindy, SASsy Team Co-Captain

Monday, October 1, 2012

News you might have missed

 Seller Protection, Google Ads and Wholesale:  Etsy has made some pretty big announcements lately.  Just in case you have been busy and missed the big news

"Etsy’s new, comprehensive Seller Protection Program will ensure that our members have a safe and smooth experience buying and selling on Etsy. " 

"Google Product Search will soon be moving towards a paid-only model, but fret not — we’ve got your back."

"We’ll soon be launching Etsy Wholesale — a place for vendors and retailers to connect and discover unique products."