A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Attention-Getting Product Listings

The following excerpt is from the Staff at Entrepreneur Media Inc. and Jason R. Rich’s book Start Your Own Etsy Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound

One of the core steps in establishing your Etsy® shop is adding the product listings for the items you plan to sell. You compose and create product listings one at a time, using Etsy®’s “Add a New Listing” tool, which walks you through the process of composing and publishing, and then organizing, each listing. As you’re about to discover, Etsy® divides this process into five steps.

Step 1: Product Photography

The first step in creating a product listing involves uploading between one and five digital photos for each listing. Be sure to choose photos that best showcase your products from different angles or perspectives. Mix and match traditional product shots with lifestyle shots.

A product shot should depict just your item in the photo, typically with a white or solid color (or very simple) background. The primary focus should be on the product and should show as much product detail as possible. A lifestyle shot captures your product being worn or used in the real world. For example, if you sell necklaces, a lifestyle shot could show a model wearing the necklace in conjunction with different outfits.

Step 2: Listing Details

One of the very first things visitors see when they view your products is the product listing’s title. This title must be short, descriptive, attention-getting, accurate, and contain keywords you believe customers will use to search for your items. As always, target it specifically to your core audience.

The “About This Listing” section includes three separate pull-down menus: “Who Made It?,” “What Is It?,” and “When Was It Made?” For each listing, select the most appropriate option based on what you’re selling.

You’ll also need to choose an applicable category for the product and fill in the price. The price should be pre-calculated to take into account your cost of materials, time/labor, business overhead expenses, and marketing/advertising expenses, as well as the profit you want to earn. It shouldn’t include shipping and handling fees or sales tax.

The “Description“ field is where you can describe your product using your own words. Use as many relevant search words or phrases as you can because this text will be searchable by your potential customers.

Finally, if you’re selling multiple items that fit into clearly definable categories, such as specific types of products, products priced similarly, or products best for certain holidays, consider using sections to sort your items and make them easier to find within your shop.

Step 3: Variations

On Etsy®, a single product listing for an individual item can have multiple (optional) variations. For example, the “Handmade Wool Sweater” you’re selling could have one listing, and using the “Add a Variation” tool, the listing could offer the sweater in multiple colors and/or sizes that you choose to offer.

The Variation option(s) that the customer selects will be displayed on your Sold Orders, Receipts, and Transaction emails, so you’ll know exactly what item(s) to send based on the customer’s choices.

Once you select a variation, customize what options your customers will be given based on the type of variation you select. With each variation you select, you have the option of adding a separate price and displaying whether that particular variation option is currently in stock.

Step 4: Shipping Details

This section requires you to provide details about the size and weight of your item and where it will be shipping from; select the shipping options you want to offer to your customers; and disclose the processing time needed to fill each order. You’ll also need to provide the origin zip code for the location you’ll be shipping your orders from.

As a general rule, offer the fastest processing time possible. You should also select which countries you’ll ship to.

Based on the shipping option(s) you choose and the option the customer selects when placing an order, Etsy® will calculate the shipping/postage fee based on current rates. In addition to shipping charges, you can add a handling fee, which will be automatically added to the customer’s shipping total and won’t be listed separately. If you choose to add one, keep it low and be able to justify it.

Next, provide the item weight for the item after it’s been packaged as well as the length, width, and height of the package. Based on the various shipping options you’ve selected, in the Preview Shipping Costs field, Etsy® will display what your customers will be charged for shipping and handling when placing an order.

Step 5: Add Search Terms

The final step in the product listing process is a list of words you add to the Tags field to help customers find your shop and product listing when searching. These tags should accurately describe your item in the most detailed way possible.

The Materials field is another optional tool you can use to provide a collection of search words you think potential customers might use. For example, if you’re selling a handmade sweater, your materials list might include words such as “wool,” “yarn,” “all-natural,” “organic,” “died,” “handspun,” “synthetic,” “Scottish,” “Merino,” “sheep,” “alpaca,” “cashmere,” and/or “natural.”

Once you’ve completed a product listing, click the Preview button and carefully review each listing. Fix any mistakes, then click the Save and continue button to store and publish the listing in your shop.

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