Wednesday, May 23, 2012

News to Note: Weddings & Revised Fees

In case you haven't kept up with all of the latest news, here are a few highlights of some new things happening at Etsy.
  • Wedding Registry lists are now available!  You can check it out here at Wedding Registry and read all about how it works at the Seller's Handbook. Once a member has created a registry, they will see the “Add to Registry” button below “Add to Cart” across Etsy, allowing them to add any item from the Etsy marketplace.
  • Starting this week, there is a change to the listing fee for multiples of an item.  Now, sellers will only be charged $0.20 to list or renew an item, regardless of quantity.  For example, if you have listed a new item and you have 3 of them to sell, you will be charged $.20 when you list those 3.  Then it works like an auto-renew feature — when your item sells and you still have 2 left, your listing automatically renews for $0.20 and updates to say you have 2 available. If your listing sells out, the total fees are effectively the same. You can read more about the details here.
  • "Showcase" style advertising will be phased out starting May 29.  Etsy has learned that Search Ads seem to have better performance for sellers than Showcase spots, nearly three times more sales per click, so they have decided to discontinue the Showcase.
  • Etsy vocabulary is also getting more colourful and flavourful as they integrate British English spellings of words into the search engine mechanics.  So now if a buyer searches for "jewellery" or "jewelry", "colorful" or "colourful", all versions should work for buyers without you needing to tag your items with alternate spellings.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Words of Wisdom Series: Shipping Tips

In this new series, we ask the SASsy Mentors for their "words of wisdom" about a specific topic.  This month, we asked Celeste from CricketsCreations and Jessie from Modified for quick tips about shipping: time saving ideas or things they wished they knew when they were first starting out.

  • Buy your shipping supplies in bulk. Even though it may seem like 200 or 500 bubble envelopes is too many, they can be SO much cheaper this way in the long run.  Also, mailing an envelope is often less expensive and has shorter transit time than using a box.  Try the biodegradable, eco-friendly and recycled products in all different sizes offered by EcoEnclose.
  • Put your return address on a few dozen envelopes when you have a little bit of down time. This task may seem like it doesn't take much, but it will definitely save you time in the long run.  You could also get a return address stamp made, like these cute ones from lettergirl.
  • When establishing the cost for shipping, don't underestimate the actual costs. Keep in mind the cost of boxes, labels, envelopes, tape and any other supplies. It's important to make sure you're not losing money on shipping!
  • Shoppers love getting free or discounted shipping, even if you make the money back by charging a bit more for your actual items. Especially popular are, "The more you buy, the more you save," opportunities, such as combined shipping where additional items cost less or nothing to ship after the customer pays full shipping on the first item.   (Combined shipping is easy to set up in your shop!)
  • Afraid of losing money on international postage? One strategy is to charge the highest amount to "Everywhere Else" to make sure that you're covered, then you can refund any shipping overages back to the customer. An example of a country that's more expensive to ship to from the US is Australia, so you could base your "everywhere else" rates on USPS estimated Australia prices.  Make note of this in your shop policies.
  • For small lightweight items, invest in a small postal scale of your own.  You can weigh your packaged items at home; check the rate at; add postage stamps (which you can get in many denominations) and drop them in a drive through mailbox, skipping the trip to the post office.
  • Make yourself a "shipping station" with all of your supplies in one place so you don't have to spend 10 minutes trying to figure out where you put the tape.  This also helps you see when you are getting low on envelopes and other supplies at a glance so you can stock up before your busy seasons.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Polish Your Photos Series: Quick Tip #4 Macro Mode

Sometimes the way to fix your photos isn't with Photoshop, but the trick is to change a setting on your camera so that it is taking the right kinds of photos.  It is really important to have close up detail images of the work that you are trying to sell in your Etsy shop.  I often see that those close up shots are blurry and completely out of focus, but that can be easy to fix!

Take a look at the buttons on the back of your camera and see if you can find a picture of a tulip.
This tulip is the icon for "Macro Mode".  When I push that button on my camera, it lets me switch between regular and macro mode.

Try switching modes and taking your close up photos in "macro mode".  Macro mode tells the camera that you are trying to take a close up shot of something and it re-adjusts the way it focuses.  Here are a couple of examples.  These are basically exactly the same photo (same lighting, same distance, same camera settings) except one is in regular mode (left) and one is set to macro mode (right).  (Oops!  You can even see the dog hair in macro mode.)

Not every camera is going to have a macro mode, but it is a very common feature.  Sometimes you will find the tulip icon on a button or dial on the back or top of the camera.  Sometimes you might need to dig through the menus to find it.  If in doubt, check your owners manual.

After a brief hiatus, the Polish your Photos Series is back! Click here to see the rest of the series.  About the author: Becka is a geek for fiber art and technology.  She is the co-Captain of the SASsy mentors team.