Jul 29, 2010

Shop Critique: bstudio

One thing that most Etsy Help guides will tell you is that you’ve got to keep improving, growing and trying new things. A dynamic and exciting shop is the key to being found and followed by lots of loyal customers.

The Oh Canada Team hopes to help our members and readers to grow as Etsy sellers by offering in-depth shop critiques. Our very first examination was for Brenda of bstudio - a seller on Etsy since November, 2007.

Store Front

First Impressions

Your banner and avatar are really excellent. The banner shows your products without being too busy, and displays the name of your shop. It’s clear, crisp and easy to take in. The matching avatar is great - it shows a clear example of the wonderful things you have in your shop.

The tagline for your shop - Silk ribbon embroidery for you and your home - is also very good. This is the first thing that search engine crawlers will see when they are trying to categorize your pages. Your tagline explains exactly what your shop is about, and with good keywords!

bstudio.etsy.com Front Page

Announcement

The shop announcement is really good - it explains what you make and why I should choose your products, without being too pushy. It’s also short enough to allow your three featured items to show when the page first loads. Most people that land on your first page aren’t going to read your announcement right away, so you’re already WOWing them with your products!

My only suggestion would be to switch out some of your links. While your blog, Facebook and Flickr pages can help you make an ongoing connection with customers and fans, having the links in your storefront uses up really valuable space. Most people who truly want to follow you will know to check your Profile section for social networking links. And you can always include some of the information in your default ‘message to buyer’.

It’s often a good idea to write policies and descriptions as if the reader has never shopped online or visited Etsy before. This way, your shop is accessible to newcomers. If you move social links to your Profile, you can free up some room to link to the other shop sections that you mention in your announcement.

For example:

Please read my Shop Policies page before purchase: http://www.etsy.com/shop_policy.php?user_id=5435455


Featured Listings from bstudio.etsy.com

Listings

The first page of an Etsy shop is usually the place that gets the most views, except on days when a specific item is getting high traffic, perhaps from a Front Page treasury. It should be as beautiful as can you can make it!

Although creating a neat arrangement of your listings means having to redo it every time you list or renew, it can make browsing through your items much more pleasant for shoppers. I recommend treating your first page of listings just like a treasury! Use color, style, technique, or whatever works for you, and change it up occasionally to make things look fresh.

Sections

You have a lot of different types of products, so it’s great to see all of them in easy to understand categories. This makes shopping so much simpler! I do recommend organizing the section titles so that they have a flow. Right now you’ve got them grouped in pairs by style, which works. If you feel like experimenting, I might suggest sorting by function like this:

embroidered cards
pillows and pillow covers
ring pillows
wedding accessories
jewelry
jewelry boxes
sachets and home accessories
framed pieces

I didn’t include the custom order section, because you don’t really need one. It will always be empty, except when you’re waiting for someone to complete payment. Although it does indicate that you do custom work, if a visitor really wanted to know that, they would investigate your policies or send you a message. Even if a section was called “Nothing Here”, all customers would really see is the big zero.

Profile

Your profile is really excellent. You’ve got important news right at the top, followed by a little background on you and your work. The bio that you’ve given allows visitors to identify with you as an artist and a seller, but doesn’t reveal anything we don’t need to know about you. It’s friendly, but no too personal.

Your list of features and press is also great - it lets bloggers and editors know that you’re open to a little publicity, plus gives back to those who have featured you.

Shop Policies

Welcome

One thing that every welcome section needs is an alternative way to contact you. A casual visitor, magazine editor or other interested party might not want to start an Etsy account just to ask you a question. If you provide your email address, you can communicate with potential shoppers on their terms.

Payment

This section has all of the information that it needs, but as a fellow Etsian, it gives me the impression that you’ve had a lot of problems with scams and non-paying buyers. I would recommend writing your payment policy as if you’re talking to the nicest customer you’ve ever had.

Shipping

I love your shipping policies. It covers everything a buyer would want to know, and encourages communication with you. It’s also firm and unapologetic. Selling and shipping worldwide is tough for a one-person business, and you often see policies that sound like the seller was cringing when they wrote them. Yours gives buyers reassurance that you’ve got plenty of experience and will treat their order seriously.

Refunds and Exchanges

This section has the same confidence as above. The only thing I recommend is giving a clear time frame for lost orders. How long would you like customers to wait for packages before you will consider replacing their order?

A Great Listing Example from bstudio.etsy.com

Additional FAQs

This is a great place to explain your custom order process, which you have done. Excellent!

Alchemy

You’ve got lots of information on your Alchemy page, which is super. Doing custom work is a great way to make sales on Etsy, and answering as many questions as you can, before they are asked, will give shoppers the confidence to start a dialogue with you.

I recommend giving a little more information about completion times, and your design process. For instance, will you help customers find the patterns, colors or embellishments they want? If you don’t have the correct materials on hand, how much time can it add to the order?

Listings

Titles

Your item titles are really good. They describe what the product is with lots of useful keywords, but are still easy for humans to read and understand.

Photos

All of the photos in your shop are really good. They are beautiful and functional. Each listing has a grabber of a first photo, plus plenty of angled shots to show buyers exactly what they are getting. My only suggestion would be to experiment with different amounts of light and assorted angles, and see what happens!

bstudio.etsy.com Sold Items

While browsing through your Sold section, I noticed that you use an avatar for custom and reserved listings. Once they are paid for, this makes your order section look great - the fact that you do custom work stands out. However, between the time that you list the item and when it is paid for, you may be missing out on a lot of clicks. Even if you use a picture of one of your products with a border or watermark, your custom listings can bring in a lot more lookers if you move the avatar to the last photo slot.

Descriptions

The flow of your item descriptions is great. You start with by telling visitors what it is and what it does, the color, materials and techniques, then give clear dimensions. You also provide measurements in Imperial and metric, which is much appreciated by international shoppers. The end of the description usually includes information about variations or custom orders - also excellent.

There is only one thing that your descriptions are missing, and it’s a big one. Every item should include a link back to your shop. Once a visitor clicks on one of your thumbnails, there are dozens of links that will take them away from your shop - possibly forever. Etsy is a big place, and it’s important to keep shoppers clicking in your own shop for as long as possible, to reduce your bounce rate. Even if they don’t make a purchase, they might enjoy the experience enough to heart, bookmark or even email your address to a friend.

A Back-linked Listing from bstudio.etsy.com

There are lots of different ways that you can include a back-link. Your shop main page, shop policies or Alchemy section are the basics. You can also link to a similar or coordinating item - which you sometimes do. You can even create a link to all of the items in your shop with the same color, flower, or fabric. Just do a search from your own main page and copy the URL from your browser.

Tags

I didn’t see any serious problems with your tags. They all seem to be within the Etsy tagging guidelines, and you have a good variety of search terms.

You’re also making great use of the materials section, which is just as important as tags. Savvy shoppers and serious treasury makers use Materials search all the time, so it’s good to be thorough. It also helps visitors learn more about the product they are viewing, which is important in a market that attracts many eco-conscious consumers.

Prices

Your prices seem really reasonable. Maybe even too reasonable. Even doubling some of your prices wouldn’t raise a lot of eyebrows. Not only are your products really exquisite, but you’ve been at it a long time, and you deserve to be paid for your experience. Depending on the pricing method that you use, it might be a good time to raise either your labor prices, or your markup. Believe it or not, raising your prices a bit can actually increase sales.

Overall

bstudio is the kind of shop that makes others proud to be an Etsy seller. It’s great example to us all of what we can accomplish if we stick to it, providing a great product and great service.

Keep up the great work!

Shop critiques are provided by request to our members and guests. This critique was written by Mortira, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Oh Canada and it’s members. All forms of Etsy advice and tips are given from a personal perspective. Before trying out a new method for your shop, we advise you to conduct your own research, and do what’s right for you.

Please also note that the shop featured here may have changed since this critique was published. While you are welcome to use any of the tips provided, we do not recommend making a comparison between the featured shop and your own.


Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and bstudio


6 comments:

bstudio said...

Thank you for such an amazing and thorough critique! this is the first one I have ever had and it was very useful and not at all painful!
I appreciate your insight and will be implementing these ideas.

Brenda

Littlebearsmom said...

Thanks to Brenda for being so brave! I've learned a lot and am going to try to institute some of these great suggestions before I go on vacation.

The Back Yard Bear said...

Great critique and I'll take some of the excellent adivce and work on my own shop!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Terrific critique, well done!

Leanne

soapstar said...

echoing the thank yous to Brenda & Mortira - there's some wonderful ideas/tips to take on board from you both! ☺

Andrea said...

This was a ton of work Mortira! I really enjoyed reading this and learned a lot. Thank-you for this, and maybe, after taking some of the advice given here, I will volunteer.

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