It's safe to say that Etsy is growing like crazy.
As the opportunity becomes more and more popular, one of the biggest concerns that I see sellers sharing is their worry about increased competition.
I wanted to quickly put together a few different ways that you can avoid needing to worry about the competition on Etsy.
#1 Focus On One Niche
If you're serious about avoiding competition on Etsy, the first thing you'll need to do is focus on one niche for your store.
Although much of the advice you’ll see from Etsy “gurus” talk about following the trends when you’re trying to launch products, if you want to avoid competition and build a store that’s more than a flash in the pan, the niche-based approach makes way more sense.
What is a Niche?
At its core, a niche is simply a way to identify a single group of people that would be interested in all of the products you sell in your store.
I like to think of a niche as something people either say they “like” or something people identify as.
For example, you may hear someone say that they like tea (or call themselves a tea drinker).
If our store was built around creating products to serve that person, our store would be in the tea niche.
Additionally, if our store was built to sell products for people who like to fish, we would be in the fishing niche.
How Does a Niche Help Us To Avoid Competition?
There are two main ways staying niched down allows us to avoid competition.
The first way this helps is by being able to focus all of our time and effort on more evergreen products.
Rather than chasing whatever the latest trend is and competing with everybody else, we can make our efforts more intentional.
There's not only helps us rank our products more easily, but it also helps make sure the sales from our store stay more stable over time.
The second way we are more easily able to avoid competition is we are easier to find for our audience.
If we spend all of our time and effort chasing trendy products, every product we create serves a different potential market.
Although this may seem desirable from an overall traffic perspective (it's not), being spread out across many markets means our products are more difficult to find.
If, however, we create a bunch of different products for the same niche, there's a much higher likelihood of someone in that niche finding at least one of our products. No matter what they type into the Etsy search bar.
Although the demand for each product that we create might not be as high as whatever the trendiest product is. When you're reading this article, the combined demand and evergreen sales potential of a niche make it substantially more valuable over the long term.
How Can I Find My Niche?
If you're struggling to find your niche and don't know where to start, I'd like to suggest the touch list method.
To get a bunch of ideas for potential inches, you could simply write down everything that you touch over the next day or two.
Chances are that at least a handful of the things you touch over the next few days are unique to you and your interests.
Use this list as a jumping-off point for niche ideas.
As you're going through the niche selection process, you may also want to read through this article on the five biggest niche selection mistakes that we see people making.
#2 Create Multiple Products for One Customer
The second way to ensure you never have to worry about the competition on Etsy is by creating multiple products for the same customer.
Keep in mind that this approach only really works if you are in a niche-based store, which is yet another reason why we advocate for this approach.
There are two main reasons why this multiple-product approach works.
First, when we can sell multiple products to the same customer, it's substantially easier to increase the order value and lifetime value of that customer.
If we were in the fishing niche and had a bunch of different kinds of products that appeal to fishermen, it becomes very easy to sell them more than one thing.
On the other hand, if our entire story is built around funny mugs, even if a fisherman were to find our funny fishing mug, the chances of them finding another thing in our store that would catch their eye are very low.
If we're already doing all of the work of acquiring that customer from ads or them searching for the product on Etsy, we want to have the highest chance of them buying multiple things from us.
This is also true when we talk about customer lifetime value.
The hardest thing in marketing and sales is getting somebody to make their first purchase.
If our store is built around a niche, it becomes very simple to get those customers back in the door to purchase from us again.
Let's say You were going to buy a Father's Day gift for your dad who is really into fishing, chances are you'd probably return to the same store where you bought him his fishing-related Christmas gift that he hasn't stopped raving about since.
On the other hand, if you bought him a fishing mug from a random store that only sells mugs, You are unlikely to spend hours searching through their entire shop to try to find something else fishing-related.
Secondly, a niche-based approach makes creating products and new designs much easier.
Instead of having to chase trends and create the same product that everyone else is creating, we can simply rely on what our niche is interested in and give it to them.
People who are interested in something, like fishing, will almost always have a ton of different phrases or inside jokes related to the niche that we can use to create essentially a limitless supply of new product ideas.
#3 Building an Email List
The third thing you should be doing to avoid competition on Etsy is to focus your marketing efforts on building and growing an email list.
I know that It may seem a bit odd to be talking about email marketing in an article about avoiding competition on Etsy, but the simple fact is there's virtually no better way to market in e-commerce than with email.
Depending on the study that you look at, the return on investment for email marketing and e-commerce is anywhere from 36 to 1:00 to over 70 to 1.
Meaning for every dollar that we invest in growing our email marketing, we can expect to make $36 or more in return.
Additionally, the vast majority of Etsy shops rely solely on Etsy's organic search to drive traffic and sales for their store.
With just a little bit of effort, we can be less reliant on auntie's organic search and be able to create traffic and sales essentially on demand.
Building an Internal Email List On Etsy
Even if you've never done any email marketing and don't have any sort of advertising budget, you can build an email list with Etsy.
The easiest way to get started is by taking advantage of Etsy's direct integration with Aweber.
This simple integration allows you to use the free plan from Aweber to get the email addresses of anyone who has bought from you on Etsy.
Once they agree to receive emails from you, You can email them at any point to let them know about the new products or discounts you may have on your shop.
If you are using a niche-based approach, like we have advocated for in this article, it becomes very easy to lead these people back to your Etsy shop and get them to buy from us again, because we know they are interested in all of the different products that we sell and they didn't just buy a mug from us because it made them laugh.
In addition to this built-in email integration, if you're serious about avoiding competition within the Etsy ecosystem, you may want to consider building an email list outside of Etsy as well.
Building an External Email List With Etsy
As I mentioned above, the return on investment for email marketing in the e-commerce world is crazy.
Although having all of our Etsy customers on a list is a great way to boost additional sales, until our store gets to a place where we're getting tens or hundreds of orders per day, we may want to also add potential customers to our email list.
Since we already have our email list set up to collect all of our customers from Etsy, we can use the same email platform to bring in people who might also be interested in the products we sell.
While there are a bunch of different ways to attract potential customers to join our email list, the easiest and most reliable is using the giveaway method.
Typically, we will put together a bundle of products that would be interesting to people in our niche (the ultimate fisherman's bundle, for example) and then we run ads to put the bundle in front of those people, offering them a chance to win in exchange for their email address.
This method is extremely powerful because it will only attract people who are interested in our niche and ultimately our products, and it's an extremely inexpensive way to build a large list of these people very quickly.
If you want the full roadmap for exactly how we build our email lists (both internally and externally), you can grab that here.
#4 Have Stellar Customer Service/Support
The fourth way to avoid competition on Etsy is to have stellar customer service and support.
Whether you simply respond to customer messages promptly or you go above and beyond when an order is lost or shipped incorrectly (it will happen eventually!), Spending the extra few minutes to make sure your customers have an excellent experience will go a long way.
Not only does creating a good service environment for your customers lead to positive word of mouth, they're more likely to tell their friends and family about the great experience that they had with you, but it also can lead directly to more sales.
After all, if your customer has a positive experience with you, they are likely to return to your store again versus avoiding you like the plague if they had a negative one.
In addition, to more repeat customers and better word of mouth, creating a positive customer experience within the Etsy platform can lead to you obtaining the star seller badge.
Although Etsy doesn't necessarily use this badge to determine where you rank in the organic search results, they've recently included a filter to only show the star sellers in the results.
When you combine this with the fact that they are already showing badges for star sellers on the search results, meaning your listing is more likely to be clicked on if you have it than if you don't, It starts to become obvious why having this badge can be an advantage.
The requirements for earning the status are very straightforward and only require essentially the bare minimum of customer service.
If your goal is to create a positive customer experience for every person who buys from you, it will be very easy for you to get the star seller badge and the side benefits of positive word of mouth and more repeat customers without even having to think about it.
#5 Play The Long Game
The last way to avoid competition on Etsy is by focusing on the long game.
If You're considering selling on Etsy because you want to make quick cash and never have to think about it again, you are doing it wrong.
The real focus should be on creating evergreen assets like products, that will sell day in and day out for years to come.
If you are doing the other four things that I talked about in this article including focusing on a niche, creating a stellar customer service environment, building your list, and creating a ton of different products for the people in your niche, you are well on your way to playing the long game.
Don't let yourself get distracted, stay focused on serving your customers today and well into the future!
If you want to know how to avoid competition inside Etsy, you should be focused on niche domination.
By following the five steps laid out in this article, you cannot only isolate yourself completely from the competition but set yourself up to dominate in your niche.
By focusing on serving only one type of customer, creating as many products as you can think of which that type of customer would want to buy, creating a fantastic customer experience, and inviting them to come back to purchase from you, again and again, Using email marketing, you'll never have to worry about competition again.