How To Rank Higher and Sell More On Etsy – Data-Driven Insights From Real Buyers

By Chris Shaffer •  Updated: 08/21/23 •  14 min read

If you're an Etsy seller or someone interested in the dynamics of online shopping, you're in for a treat. 

We recently conducted an internal survey, gathering real data from actual Etsy buyers, and the findings were nothing short of enlightening.

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of an Etsy shopper? What factors influence their purchasing decisions? 

Do product images truly sway their choices, or is it the catchy titles that reel them in?

After all, understanding your audience is the key to success in any business. And when it comes to Etsy, it's all about tapping into the preferences, likes, and dislikes of the buyer.

Let's dive in and uncover the secrets of what makes an Etsy buyer click that coveted ‘Add to Cart' button and ACTUALLY complete the checkout process.

Decoding Etsy Myths: Assumptions vs. Reality

Before we get into the survey results, it's important to tackle some common myths about Etsy selling. Many sellers operate based on these assumptions, but are they accurate? Let's take a look at these myths and compare them to what real buyers have shared with us.

The Keyword-Loaded Product Title Myth

Assumption: To capture the attention of potential buyers and the Etsy search algorithm, your product title should be brimming with keywords.

Reality: While incorporating relevant keywords is essential, clarity trumps quantity. A title overloaded with keywords can be off-putting and confusing for potential buyers. 

In fact, our survey found that a whopping 68% of buyers always read the product title, emphasizing the need for titles that are both clear and descriptive.

2. The Keyword Repetition Myth

Assumption: To optimize for Etsy's search, you should repeat your primary keywords across the title, description, and tags.

Reality: Etsy's SEO algorithm doesn't require such repetition. As long as a keyword appears in any one of these sections, it's taken into account. So, rather than repeating the same keywords, focus on providing comprehensive information across all sections.

3. The Product Photo Myth

Assumption: While product photos are a nice touch, they aren't the main factor influencing a buyer's decision.

Reality: Think again! Product photos play a pivotal role in a buyer's journey on Etsy. 

Our survey revealed that on a scale of 1 to 10, buyers rated the importance of product photos at an impressive 9.23. 

Moreover, 96% of buyers always check out the product photos. This underscores the importance of investing in high-quality images that accurately represent your product.

The SEO vs. Product Presentation Myth

Assumption: To succeed on Etsy, you should pour most of your energy into perfecting keyword combinations.

Reality: While SEO is undeniably important, our data suggests that the visual presentation of your product, especially through images, holds significant weight. Instead of obsessing over the perfect keyword combination, consider spending more time enhancing your product's visual appeal.

The Power of Product Images on Etsy

In the digital marketplace of Etsy, visuals are paramount. Our survey highlighted the significant influence product images have on purchase decisions, with buyers rating them a substantial 9.2 out of 10. This underscores the importance of having high-quality and relevant images for every product listing. 

But the influence of images doesn't stop there. 

A staggering 96% of buyers indicated that they always check out product photos when considering a purchase. 

This behavior emphasizes the need for sellers to invest in quality visuals.

An innovative strategy that some sellers have adopted is incorporating reviews within product images. By showcasing snippets of positive reviews directly within an image, sellers can provide immediate social proof, building trust with potential buyers.

Do Videos Matter On Etsy?

While product videos might be a newer feature on Etsy, they're beginning to leave their mark. Buyers rated the importance of videos on their purchase decision at 4 out of 10. 

This might seem like it’s something you could ignore entirely, given the huge numbers associated with high-quality photos, but that would be a huge mistake.

You see, even though videos are currently outpaced by photos when it comes to driving the purchase before anyone can buy your product, they have to first click into your listing, typically from the search results on Etsy…this is where video really shines.

Given that videos autoplay within the Etsy search results, the inclusion of a video in the “supporting media” of your Etsy listing can go a long way to increasing the number of people you get to your listing, by grabbing their attention more than the static photos that are still used by most Etsy sellers.

Once on your listing, your supporting photos will get their chance to shine and turn that click into a customer.

Product Descriptions: The Unsung Hero

When shopping online, especially on platforms like Etsy, customers don't have the luxury of physically examining a product. They can't pick up that handmade cup, feel the fabric of a T-shirt, or inspect the intricate details of a piece of jewelry. 

This is where the product description steps in, acting as a bridge between the seller and the potential buyer. It provides essential information about what the product is, what it's made of, and what it isn't….but does anyone actually look at them?

Titles and tags often get the spotlight when discussing Etsy SEO, but product descriptions hold their own weight. In terms of influencing purchase decisions, buyers rated product descriptions at 8.5 out of 10. 

This high rating indicates that buyers are keen to understand the product in detail before making a purchase.

However, a common mistake many Etsy sellers make is treating the product description as a mere space for SEO, stuffing it with as many keywords as possible. This approach can be counterproductive. 

The product description is vital to buyers, and it's often overlooked in favor of other elements. 

Our survey revealed that a significant 68% of buyers always read the product description, while 32% said they sometimes do. 

Interestingly, while some respondents mentioned occasionally skipping product photos, none said they entirely ignore the product description. 

This indicates that virtually every buyer, at some point, refers to the description, making it a key space to pay attention to if you’re serious about optimizing your conversions (and boosting your “SEO”).

Writing A Better Product Description

Given the importance buyers seem to place on this area of the listing, we wanted to give you a few quick tips on how to write descriptions that actually give potential buyers the information they need to complete their purchase.

Start with a Catchy Sentence

While it's crucial to provide all the necessary details, starting the description with a catchy sentence can grab the reader's attention. 

For example, “Enjoy your morning brew with our Halloween mug” is a fun and engaging way to introduce a product.

Benefits Not Features

While it's essential to list product features, such as the material or size, the emphasis should be on the benefits these features provide. 

For instance, instead of just mentioning that a t-shirt is made of a particular material, explain why that material is beneficial. Is it moisture-wicking? Is it soft and comfortable? 

Highlighting these benefits can make a product more appealing to potential buyers.

The Role of Product Reviews

Product reviews are a staple in the e-commerce world. They provide social proof, build trust, and can significantly influence purchase decisions. On platforms like Amazon, many buyers rely heavily on reviews, often prioritizing them over product descriptions. However, Etsy presents a different scenario.

Our survey showed that while product reviews are important, they don't overshadow product descriptions. 

Buyers rated the importance of reviews at 7.69 out of 10. 

While this is a high score, it's interesting to note that product descriptions still ranked higher in terms of influencing purchase decisions.

Breaking down the numbers further, 59% of buyers always read reviews, while 41% only sometimes do. This data suggests that while reviews are crucial, they aren't the sole deciding factor for Etsy shoppers.

One common question that arises, especially for new sellers, is whether they should promote a listing that doesn't have reviews yet. 

The data suggests that while reviews are influential, they aren't the be-all and end-all. 

New sellers can still attract buyers through other means, such as competitive pricing, high-quality images, and well-crafted product descriptions. Over time, as sales increase, reviews will naturally accumulate.

Shipping Costs and Their Impact on Buying Behavior

Shipping costs have always been a topic of debate in the e-commerce world. Do they deter buyers? Should sellers offer free shipping by incorporating the cost into the product price? The survey results provided some clarity on this.

On average, buyers rated their likelihood to purchase a product even if they had to pay for shipping at 6.3 out of 10. 

This suggests a moderate impact of shipping costs on purchase decisions. 

However, a deeper dive into the data revealed that many buyers rated this factor at a neutral score of five, indicating that their decision “depends on the product.”

This data suggests that while free shipping can be an attractive proposition, it's not always a deal-breaker. 

If the product is unique, high-quality, or fits the buyer's needs perfectly, they might be willing to overlook the shipping costs.

However, there's a catch. Buyers don't like surprises. 

If they see a product listed at $13 and then find a $48 shipping fee at checkout, it can lead to cart abandonment. 

The key is transparency. If sellers can combine the product price and shipping cost into one clear price, it reduces the chances of buyers feeling cheated or surprised.

Price Points: Do They Matter on Etsy?

Price is undeniably a crucial factor in any purchase decision. But how significant is it for Etsy buyers? The survey results were enlightening. A vast majority, 82%, stated that while price is a consideration, it's only one of many factors they consider. Only about 14% of respondents felt that price was the most crucial factor, while a small 3.5% felt it wasn't a consideration at all.

This data underscores the idea that Etsy, as a platform, attracts buyers looking for unique, handcrafted, or specialized items. For such products, buyers are often willing to pay a premium, understanding the craftsmanship, effort, and uniqueness involved.

Understanding the Dynamics of Pricing on Etsy

When it comes to online shopping, price is undeniably a significant factor. However, on platforms like Etsy, the dynamics of pricing play out a bit differently. It's not just about the lowest price; it's about perceived value. For instance, consider a scenario where a buyer is looking at two sweatshirts. 

One is priced at $29.99, and the other at $39.99. The natural assumption for many would be that the more expensive sweatshirt offers better quality. 

This perception is often rooted in our shopping experiences, where we equate higher prices with better quality.

Interestingly, this psychological trick is something many sellers might overlook. 

A higher price point can often be perceived as a marker of higher quality. If this perception is backed by high-quality product photos, a well-written description, and a clear title, then the price becomes just one of the many factors influencing a purchase decision.

Does Your Shop Matter?

A common question among Etsy sellers is the significance of their shop page. Does it influence purchase decisions? 

While some believe that buyers rarely visit the shop page, others argue for its importance, so we asked buyers a few questions to figure it out once and for all.

Does Your Shop Page Matter On Etsy?

The shop page on Etsy is more than just a digital storefront. It's a reflection of the seller, their brand, and the story behind their products. But how often do buyers actually visit this page? And does it influence their purchase decisions?

How Likely Are Etsy Buyers To Visit A Shop Page?

When a buyer is interested in a product, how likely are they to visit the seller's shop page? The answer might surprise many sellers, especially given the ever-present myth that buyers don’t care at all about what you sell.

A significant 73% of buyers said they would visit a seller's shop page. This means that for every ten buyers, seven are likely to click through and explore the seller's shop. 

This statistic underscores the importance of having a well-curated and cohesive shop page. It's not just about individual listings; the overall brand presentation matters.

Reading the ‘About the Seller' Section

A common section on the shop page is the ‘About the Seller' or ‘About Us' section. It provides a glimpse into the seller's journey, their passion for their craft, and the story behind their brand. However, the data suggests that this section might not be as influential as one might think.

While these numbers might seem discouraging, it's essential to understand the context. The ‘About' section is somewhat buried, making it less accessible to buyers.

This is why we advocate for using the shop announcement section to let buyers know who we are and what our brand is all about. 

It's more visible and can capture the buyer's attention more effectively.

Repeat Purchases: Do Etsy Buyers Come Back?

One of the most revealing pieces of data from the discussion was the likelihood of buyers making repeat purchases from the same shop.

A staggering 85% of buyers said they were extremely likely to buy again from a shop they had previously purchased from. 

This loyalty was even more pronounced among frequent Etsy shoppers, with 96% of the most active buyers indicating they would revisit shops they had bought from in the past.

This data has two significant implications:

It appears that although individual product listings are crucial, the overall shop presentation plays a pivotal role in influencing buyer behavior. 

Sellers should invest time and effort into curating their shop page, telling their story, and building a brand that resonates with their target audience.

A Quick Recap

Navigating the world of Etsy can be both exciting and challenging. With a plethora of sellers and products, standing out and making an impact requires a blend of strategy, creativity, and understanding of buyer behavior. Based on the insights we've delved into, here's a quick recap of the key takeaways:

In essence, success on Etsy is a blend of art and science. By understanding buyer preferences, optimizing listings, and building a cohesive brand, sellers can not only thrive but also create lasting impressions that bring buyers back time and again.

Chris Shaffer

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.