Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Can Etsy sell your perfume? It costs very little to find out and you learn a lot along the way!

    In my last message I wrote about a marketing test I was conducting on eBay, although I considered eBay an unlikely marketing platform for an unknown fragrance from a nearly unknown company. This week I've turned my attention to Etsy stores which, I believe, offer greater opportunities for the sale of handmade, homemade, and indie perfumes.

    You can find a lot about using Etsy effectively through a simple Google search which will turn up a great many articles on Etsy. Like eBay, much depends on your keywords but Etsy's handbook gives an excellent explanation on how Etsy ranks stores in their search utility. This handbook is worth studying and the ranking system it reveals is not unlike that of Google and other platforms. Etsy search rankings start with keywords but are narrowed down by another group of factors including how active you have been on Etsy, historically how many sales you have made, how recently sales were made, and what Etsy calls "customer experience."

    I opened my own Etsy store because you can't really understand how Etsy works until you take the plunge and do it. It's a bit like Facebook. You can't see what's going on until you join. With Etsy you can shop without any enrollment but to understand the complexities of the selling side you have to participate.

    What is clear from the many helpful comments you find repeated both in the Etsy forums and elsewhere is that success on Etsy involves effort. To sell successfully on Etsy you must put in a good deal of time; you must read and re-read Etsy's advice to sellers; you must constantly be "improving" your Etsy store, interacting with customers and prospects and adding fresh products to your store. Etsy wants you to have at least ten items on your store and Etsy won't let you open a store without at least one item ready for sale. Thus, at present, you'll see my Etsy store with that one required item.

    If you need marketing guidance, Etsy gives sellers good advice such as "offer items at different price points" because people might come to your store for your perfume but, finding it a bit expensive, they might try you out with a smaller order -- a candle, soap, or perhaps a small solid perfume.

    In general you have to keep in mind that Etsy is out to make money for Etsy. But to do that -- since they take a cut of sales -- they will boost the rankings of the "most likely to succeed" stores because this will make more money for Etsy.

    Think of an Etsy store as a store because that's what each Etsy vendor has -- a store, storefront and all. Think of what makes any store succeed -- attractive merchandise, attractive prices, attractive customer service. A lot has to go into it. On eBay it's perfectly normal to sell a single item. Many eBay sellers post a single item and the are done. But, like Etsy, there are eBay stores and these are stocked and, in large part, depend on repeat sales from customers and word of mouth recommendations. It's difficult to be in any retail business selling a single item.

    This doesn't mean you shouldn't give Etsy a try even if you have only one item -- one perfume -- to sell. A lot of "no-name-brand" perfume does get sold on Etsy. (You can see how many sales each store has made because it is posted by Etsy on their storefront.) But, with only one item you are less likely to attract traffic to your store.

    As to me, now that I've opened a minimal Etsy store I'll develop it as time permits... to see what Etsy can do for me.

    And I strongly suggest you read the Etsy search and Etsy ranking pages. Whether you decide to sell on Etsy or not, you'll get some important internet marketing guidance from these pages that can help you, regardless of where you decide to sell your perfume.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Sell your perfume on eBay? This is how you might make it work for you

    If you are going to sell your perfume online, eBay is a platform to consider whether or not you have a website of your own. A listing on eBay costs no more than a few dollars. Budget $50 or $100 for eBay and you can run a number of advertising tests. The downside is that ALL of this money can be wasted without producing either sales or useful marketing data; but you won't know until you try.

    On eBay you face an amazing wall of competition. Search "perfume" and you'll come up with over 1/4 million results so your first challenge is to get people to find your listing. Once you've listed your perfume in the only logical eBay category for it -- health and beauty > fragrances > men's fragrances, women's fragrances, or unisex fragrances -- your tests will be your selections of keywords.

    Your keyword tests are important. If you can find productive keywords for eBay, keywords that will bring viewers to your listings, you can use those keywords on eBay for other fragrances you might develop. You can also use them on web pages, blogs, and elsewhere to generate appropriate traffic.

    In selecting keywords to test, drop all thought of hyperbole. "Fantastic," "Amazing," "New," won't help you. Nobody is searching for "amazing" products unless perhaps they are looking for superhero comic books. Think of how you might search if you wanted to discover a deliciously unique new fragrance from a company nobody you know has ever heard of; if you wanted to be the first among your friends to wear an outstanding but unknown scent.

    Possible search terms that seekers might really use are "handmade," "indie," "artisinal," and "niche." And don't forget to add the word "perfume," "cologne," or "fragrance" to these. This will be the most important word of all.

    Although it is not at all inevitable, you want to assume that some people will find your listing. This means you have a chance to give them a pitch for your fragrance. Beyond the basic listing outline eBay gives you, you can edit and add. EBay encourages you to write an extended description of your fragrance. You can use this opportunity not only to write about your fragrance but to introduce your company, lay our your credentials, expound on your creative philosophy, spell out your offer in detail, give your guarantee, tell whether returns will be accepted, and give a link to your website, blog, Facebook page or other internet presence you might have.

    One question eBay will ask you when you're making your lists is "how many do you have available?" This gives you the potential of using a single listing to sell more than one bottle of your perfume. You may not find your first experience with eBay productive but if, in time, you master the art of selling your fragrance on eBay, hypothetically you'll be able to sell many bottles from a single listing.

    When you specify your charge for shipping, eBay will, based on your location and method of shipping, calculate the approximate date a buyer can expect to receive their order. If you accept returns you can specify who will pay the return shipping; you or the buyer.

    Once your listing has been posted, you can check back to see how many people have viewed it. Your own views will be counted too so, if the number is small, it's likely it is your own views that are showing and, possibly, nobody has seen your offer.

    Here in the U.S. I can only ship by surface mail (which eBay translates as First Class, based on the small weight of a bottle of perfume.) If you are in a country other than the United States, you'll have to look up your local postal regulations and limit your offer to the areas to which you can make a shipment.

    Finally, since you are making an offer to sell perfume, you should be prepared to ship what you are selling -- a box, bubble wrap, and, when I ship perfume I like to place the bubble wrapped bottle inside a sealed baggie. It's bad if your bottle leaks. It's really bad if your bottle leaks and wets your box... and other people's mail.

    Will I get any activity from my offer on eBay? At this point I don't know. But eBay is too powerful a tool to blow off without testing.

    A final thought. At your blog, website or social media, you might mention that you fragrance or fragrances are available on eBay AND give a keyword that will lead people to your posted items.