10 reasons you’re not making sales on Etsy (+ how to fix that!)

Making sales on Etsy is no walk in the park-- it takes a lot of work, discipline, and a keen eye to see what changes need to be made to increase sales. If you've stared at your shop until your eyes burned, maybe it's time to step back and figure out where your problem is. In this blog post, I'm tackling 10 of the most common mistakes I see Etsy shop owners make + giving you the tools to fix them ASAP (like, yesterday.) Click through to read more and start selling your product like crazy! >>

I’m a firm believer that ANYONE can be successful on Etsy. It’s not just for those “lucky few” and it’s certainly not just for certain products. If there's a market--or you have a desire to create the market-- then you absolutely CAN be successful on Etsy. Honestly.

Today I'm exploring 10 of the most common mistakes I see with Etsy shops + offering actionable tips to troubleshoot these problems today. As in right now. Today.

You got this!

10 Reasons You're Not Making Sales on Etsy


1 | You Just Opened Shop

Unless you’re some sort of business mogul, you’re probably going to start out a lot like the rest of us—slow, slow, slow.

Here’s the deal: You cannot have your Etsy shop open for just a couple of weeks and then be moping on the forums because you haven’t made any sales. Those ridiculously successful Etsy shops you’ve read about? Yeah, they’ve been hustling their butts off for months—sometimes years—to see those kinds of numbers. I promise.

You’re going to have to do the same.

Selling on Etsy isn’t easy work—but it isn’t impossible either! If you’re just getting started and sales are slower than slow, take that time to learn more more about selling on the Etsy platform—and then implement what you learn (And if you’re up for jump-starting your sales, check out my FREE e-course here!)

FIX IT: Growth on Etsy takes time--so don't give up! Use these slow times to optimize your SEO, work on your photography, and start experimenting with marketing strategies.  You'll soon notice that the harder you work, the luckier your get!


2 | You don’t have enough product in your shop

It’s hard (trust me, I know!) to fill your shop with product when you’re first starting out. You probably feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water as it is.

But if you want to make consistent sales, you HAVE to have a filled shop. It's easy to see the reasons why—more items = more chances for people to stumble upon your shop while browsing on Etsy. I strongly recommend a minimum of 50 item/shop to start seeing consistent sales. It’s when things really picked up for me a lot of other people I know.

Not only that—but a shop with only a few items in it looks neglected and less trustworthy than a fully-stocked shop. If you want people to take you seriously as a business, you need to make sure you are acting like a business. No more putting off adding in new products—you need to do it now!

FIX IT: If the idea of creating a bunch of new product overwhelms you, consider bundling groups of your product together. Not only will this give you more listings, but it will also encourage your customers to purchase larger quantities from your shop :)


3 | You haven’t added new items in a long time.

Like we mentioned in THIS POST, you need to consistently add new items if you want to maintain a presence on Etsy. Etsy doesn’t like shops that are stale and stagnant, and you’ll start to notice a drop in views as your listings become more and more outdated. 

Adding new items is a fantastic way—the best way, in fact—to get repeat customers into your shop. Think about it—have you ever received an email from one of your favorite shops announcing that they just added their new fall/winter line? Even if you had no intention of purchasing anything, did you click over to take a look at it? And maybe even started to entertain the idea of just buying a few things. And then ultimately purchased that thing you had no intention of buying in the first place (basically I’m just describing my personal experience with every single email I get from West Elm ;).

Also—and something that Etsy shop owners don’t always think about—trends change. Just because something was selling like crazy last year doesn’t mean that it’s going to make the same sales this year. Take, for example, this headband set:

When I first opened shop, this was one of my first listings and it seriously sold like hotcakes. I’d say around 60% of my daily sales came from this one item.

Nowadays though? Arrows are out (#harshbuttrue). Yes, I still sell 1-2 of that listing daily, but I’m finding a lot more success with these sets:

No headband style is necessarily better than the other, but because florals are on trend, they're selling A LOT better than any of my other styles.

A lot of Etsy shop owners are anti-trends. And here’s the thing: I’m not asking you to be a sell-out—I’m just encouraging you to take a look at what’s trending/popular right now (Checking out the “popular” section on Pinterest is a great way to get an idea) and see if your items are reflective of that. If you’re still holding onto styles from a couple years past, think about adding in some new products with updated styles/designs.

FIX IT: Take a leaf out of the big retailers notebooks-- create a product launch calendar and stick to it! Plan on introducing new items every 3 months (at least) and work hard to keep your shop fresh. Research current trends and figure out how to incorporate those popular search terms into your product line.


4 | You’re ignoring Etsy updates.

I don’t know about you, but whenever Etsy rolls out a new algorithm change in their search, my gut reaction is to ignore it and hope it goes away (hint: don’t do this at home, kids).

Behind every successful Etsy shop is a biz owner who is consistently testing and tweaking their shop to stay on top of their game. As an Etsy shop owner, you absolutely HAVE to be flexible. You cannot stop changes from happening (new tests are rolled out every. Single. Holiday season.), but you can choose what you’re going to do about them.

Adapt. Adapt. Adapt. It’s the only way to stay at the top of the game.

Stop hopping onto the Etsy forums to commiserate with other unhappy shop owners—you are wasting your time and nothing you have to say on there will make you more sales.

FIX IT: Start hustlin' on your Etsy shop-- learn everything you can about the changes (you can usually view these changes in the Etsy Seller Handbook) and then work to optimize your shop around them.


5 | Your SEO is all over the place.

This tip is directed at the shop that gets a lot of daily views from Etsy search, but hardly any sales. Want to know your problem? You're SEO is targeting all the wrong customers.

If your SEO isn’t 150% describing each of your items, it needs to change. Like, yesterday. Yes, the keyword phrase “gifts for her” gets A LOT of searches, but is it accurately describing the toddler leggings t-shirts you sell? Probably not.

NEVER use keywords just because they are popular. NEVER. Your keywords absolutely have to describe your item or you’ll never get your views to convert into sales. Plus, the Etsy algorithm pays close attention to keyword conversions—and if your items aren’t selling with certain keywords, you better believe they’re going to lower your search placement.

FIX IT: Take a look at your “top keyword” section in your shop stats and take inventory of the top keywords you are ranking for. Do they describe your items 150%? Are there better keywords that you’d like to rank for (Marmalead.com can help you here!)? Make a list and then switch them out


6 | You aren’t paying attention to where your views are coming from.

Are you trying to do #allthethings on social media in the hopes of driving more traffic to your shop?


It’s time to take a step back and look at your stats (“Your Shop,” --> “Quick Links,” --> “Stats”) and see exactly where those views are coming from. This is going to help you hone in on the most effective way to promote your Etsy shop.

If you’re spending time on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+, you’re probably a bit burned-out at the moment (hey, there’s a reason I only recommend 2 platforms at a time!). And guess what? I bet if you take a closer look at your Etsy stats, you’ll probably see that only one or two of those platforms you’re promoting on is actually driving traffic (and making sales) for you.

The top-performing platforms? THOSE ARE THE ONES YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON.

Social media is supposed to help you bring in more customers—not stress you out even more! If your tactics just aren’t working on certain platforms, then STOP FOCUSING YOUR ENERGY ON THEM. Instead, funnel your energy into what is working—and then watch your sales skyrocket like crazy!  

FIX IT: Take a look at your shop stats and determine your top 5 traffic sources. Brainstorm new ways to utilize these traffic sources to drive even MORE traffic to your shop-- and then implement those tactics!


7 | You forgot to include dimensions + details

Have you ever clicked through to an item in a shop because it looks ah-mazing, only to discover…..well, nothing, because they forgot to include those important details.

Adding the dimensions is critical to closing the sale on your items. Because people can’t physically see or touch your products, you need to provide as much information as you can—through your photos and your copy—about the items you’re selling.

Some details you should be including:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Material
  • Car Instructions
  • Measurements

Apart from your photos, your product description is what ultimately SELLS YOUR PRODUCT. Make sure you are including details from your most commonly asked questions-- you'll thank yourself by saving time responding to conversations-- because the answers will already be written out :)

FIX IT: Include dimensions and product details at the end of every product listing in your shop. No ifs, ans, or buts. These are details that your customers NEED to see in order to convince them to purchase.


8 | You don’t have a cohesive product line.

Your Etsy shop is a boutique shopping experience and you need to start treating it like one. You are not on Ebay—and shouldn’t be offering a roundup of mismatched items like a garage sale.

Your products need to share a common thread—like a basic design or aesthetic—and work together in a collection. This is absolutely CRUCIAL to your Etsy success. If your items can’t be grouped together around a common theme, you are never going to reach your sales goals.

Etsy buyers come onto Etsy to get that boutique-shopping experience. And if they can’t get it in your shop, I promise you they will look elsewhere. There are plenty of other shops on Etsy—don’t give your customers a reason to leave yours!

FIX IT: Are all the items in your shop working together for your brand? You should have (1) flagship collection (your main product) and possibly up to 2 additional lines that complement your product (I go over this in more detail in lesson 2 in my free email course). If it doesn't fall under one of these two categories (flagship + complementary), then GET RID OF IT :)


9 | You aren’t listening to your customers

When I first started out my shop, I was convinced that I was going to be my own boss and do everything exactly the way I wanted it to be done. This was awesome for getting motivated + getting product out there (since I didn’t have to do any market research because I assumed I knew best anyways, ha ha!), but in hindsight, it definitely wasn’t the smartest way to go about things.

Case study: Some of my first listings were these sets of 3 baby headbands. I was convinced that if you liked one of the styles, you’d love the rest. They were packaged together for a good reason-- their colors all complemented one another.

And then I got an inquiry asking if someone could mix + match styles within the sets of three. I really didn’t want to go there (for obvious reasons-- inventory was (still is) a nightmare with a mix + match listing), but I decided to give it a go. A week later, I’d created a specific mix + match listing for anyone else that might inquire, and I sold 3 or 4 that day. To this day, it is my #1 best seller-- and to think, I wouldn’t have even thought of creating it if a customer hadn’t asked!

So keep this in mind-- if someone is asking for it today, there are probably at least 3-4 other people wanting the same exact thing.

Fix it: Are you getting the same inquiries from your fans over and over again? Even if the idea doesn’t immediately appeal to you, take a closer look at what they’re asking and see if there’s a way to incorporate their idea(s) into your shop selection.

10 | You’re trying to be too professional

The grand majority of shoppers come to Etsy to experience the personal attention that comes from shopping for handmade items. Yes, they want a professional shopping experience, but they probably also want to get to know the person behind the company—that’s you!

Adding some of your personality sprinkled throughout your shop can do wonders to humanize your brand + provide that one-of-a-kind shopping experience for your customers. Let them get to know the face behind the product—it will help them form an emotional connection to your brand and keep them coming back for more.

Be real-- BE YOU! Your audience will thank you for it :)

Fix it: Add a little bit of your brand’s personality into each aspect of your shop—some clever wording in your product descriptions, unexpected pops of color in your photos, and even a personal photo or two can go a long way in gaining trust and credibility with your customers.

My challenge to you today: Pick ONE item above and work to improve it TODAY (because, let's face it-- we all have something on the list above that we can work on--myself definitely included!). Don't stress over everything-- just focus on the one item and OWN IT. Your sales will thank you ;)