Etsy testing announcement - what new features is Etsy testing?

Etsy Announcement - Etsy new features testing.jpg

Etsy is testing new ways to inform shoppers of what’s popular and unique on Etsy. Here's some insight into what Etsy is testing, and new features you may notice:

Etsy is testing new ways of highlighting your products to shoppers and letting them know how popular an item is on Etsy. "We believe that giving shoppers more information about what’s trending on Etsy will help them discover and buy products they’ll love."

So what exactly is Etsy testing? The following information is a direct quote, straight from a forum post by an Etsy admin:

  • Telling buyers when an item is almost out of stock

Beginning this week, we’ll test a new way to let shoppers know that an item is close to selling out. We believe that notifying shoppers that an item is almost out of stock will allow them to complete their purchase before an item sells out. 

For listings with an item quantity of three or less, shoppers will see the information “3 left in stock,” “2 left in stock,” or “1 left in stock” as the items sell. The text will not display on one-of-a-kind or made-to-order listings. During this experiment, we’ll be showing this information to a percentage of all shoppers. 

  • Highlighting best-selling items in search

During this experiment, we’ll be showing buyers best-selling listings that match the terms they search for. A percentage of shoppers who search for popular phrases will see highlighted best-selling items on their search results page. We believe that knowing those items are popular with shoppers will help new buyers feel more confident making a purchase on Etsy. 

  • Best-seller badge

In addition to showcasing best-selling items in search, we’ll be testing a best-selling item badge. The badge will appear on items that are top sellers in their category and will be displayed on listings in search and on category pages. Badges will appear based on sales of that listing, so a shop may only have one listing with a badge even though they have many listings for that item.

  • New badges

Etsy is home to millions of one-of-a-kind and totally unique items and we want to make it easier for shoppers to discover these special items. In addition to testing a badge for best-selling items, we’ll be testing a badge for items that are totally unique. These badges will appear based on information we have about your listings. Shoppers will start to see both badges this week and we’ll let you know if and when they become permanent features. 

  • Highlighting items in search

We recently announced that’d we would be testing new ways to highlight best selling items in search. We’re exploring other ways of featuring items and shops on search pages that aren’t based on number of sales.

  • Telling buyers when an item is almost out of stock

We also told you about a test that shows shoppers when an item is almost out of stock. This experiment is currently running. We’ll update you if we make this change permanent. 

Which of my own listings have badges?

If ever you want to view your listings in search results as a shopper might, browse using 'incognito mode' or 'private browsing' (depending on your web browser) to replicate browsing externally. If you're signed in using your usual browser, Etsy's algorithm will recognise you and show results based on your browsing history and activity, which is different from what a potential shopper/individual would see as a 'guest' when not logged in.

Most of the features being tested will show in search results/listing pages, not in your storefront, so go 'incognito' and search for your items. Here's an example screenshot of one of my cards, found using the search 'funny anniversary cards'. My card listing has the only 1 left text underneath, and the card top left is an example of one with a bestseller badge.

Etsy bestseller and low stock badges - etsy testing 2017

How will these badges impact traffic and sales if they are made permanent?

It's too early to say. I do think the one-of-a-kind badge will give shoppers more incentive to buy as there's now an urgency (fear of missing out), along with having a unique item that nobody else has!

One of a kind Etsy stationery - Etsy testing badges

The same urgency applies to only one/two/three left. Hashtag FOMO! Will sellers stock fewer multiples of an item to have the badge of urgency shown?

I'm on the fence about the bestseller badge and search results leverage at the moment. Of course it's wonderful if your own item is slapped with a bestseller badge, and reigns supreme in popular search results, but I back the sellers that aren't at the top of page 1 in search results too. You'll find awesome products on page 100 that haven't had a chance to shine, and deserve to. I don't like to see all the attention put on the most popular, most featured shops when there are endless unique and lovingly-made items to choose from.

However, the announcement did state they are "exploring other ways of featuring items and shops on search pages that aren’t based on number of sales." The best thing you can do at the moment is to continue developing your listings/products/shop, and optimise your listings for search.

See my blog posts about Etsy seo for tips on optimising your shop and listings:

*EDIT
Update from Etsy as of 18/08/2017

"Thanks for your feedback on the best-seller and one-of-a-kind badge experiment. We’ve found that buyers are responding positively to seeing this kind of information on listings, but we hear and understand your concerns about the one-of-a-kind badge. We will no longer be showing the one-of-a-kind badge to shoppers. 

We want to help shoppers discover unique items on Etsy, so we’ll be updating the badge to say “only 1 available.” You can see what the new badge will look like here: etsy.me/2uYioh6

Because we’re seeing positive results from the best-seller badge experiment, we’re going to continue that experiment and evaluate the results after we’ve gathered more data. We’ll let you know if we decide to launch the best-seller or “only 1 available” badge to all buyers or if we test other ways of highlighting unique items to buyers." 

Having said all this, Etsy is merely testing ideas at the moment and nothing is set in stone. Keep an eye on the forums (and my social media posts) for updates! What are your thoughts on the tests? How do you think they might impact your shop?

Share your thoughts: copywriting - words you would retire from product descriptions?

Copywriting for product descriptions

Copywriting product descriptions can be a tricky yet essential part of running your own business. Could it be time to refresh some overused, tired, filler words, and brainstorm words/phrases that are more imaginative and fresh?

Once upon a time I worked in the office of a major online fashion retailer in London. I worked next to the copywriting team, and at the time didn't realise quite how valuable an experience that would prove to be for writing my own product copy in future. 

On the wall beside the team was a whiteboard with seemingly random words scrawled upon it - but upon closer inspection, these were lists of words they had retired and must not use. Tired words, overused words, boring words, gimmicky words, cringeworthy words. Phrases like 'on trend' and 'this season's must have'.

Having these restrictions in mind later aided my self-critical approach to writing copy for Etsy's social media posts. 

This is a post to get you thinking about the words you may choose, or have already used that should probably be retired. From the point of view of shoppers, have they seen it all already e.g. when browsing Etsy? Which words could be replaced to make your product descriptions imaginative and fresh? Make a list (& share in the comments!)

My copy bugbears (only my opinion of course) that immediately spring to mind are:

  • Quirky: overused for crafts/design, and whimsical - in an old fashioned sense. 'Unusual' is much better.
  • Funky: I see this word as how an older person describes something 'hip' and 'cool'. Having said that, young people roll their eyes at me when I say 'cool' because I'm in my late 30s, thus apparently 'old'.
  • Perfect for/perfect gift for: we're all guilty of it, but it's so overused it hurts! The entire sentence could be turned around to accommodate a similar intent e.g. 'X-person will find it useful because...', 'kids love the way it...', 'X-product complements modern furnishings', 'X-person finds it helps them..', 'it will fit in effortlessly with a contemporary theme', etc.

Think about incorporating the benefits and features of the product while telling a story.

Now brainstorm alternative words to replace your redundant ones. The thesaurus is your friend! I'd be interested to see your 'retired words' list - share your thoughts in the comments below!

Want more tips for making the most out of your products? Click here for my post about getting your products featured in gift guides!

The Ultimate 2017 SEO Checklist for Small Businesses - Guest post by Victoria Greene.

The Ultimate 2017 SEO Checklist for Small Businesses

Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer Victoria Greene of Victoria Ecommerce shares her SEO expertise in this article for small business owners and Digibloom readers! Read on for 'The Ultimate 2017 SEO Checklist for Small Businesses', and do let us know what you think in the comments!

The Ultimate 2017 SEO Checklist for Small Businesses

Every small business with an online presence needs an SEO strategy, regardless of what you do, sell, or provide. It doesn’t need to be expensive or over-engineered, but it does need to be consistent and varied to give you the best chance of visibility. For some, the concept of SEO can feel daunting, and if that applies to you, start by reading this beginner’s guide: How to Explain SEO to Your Mom.

Others may already have a working knowledge, and what you’re seeking now is a plan to get you started. In previous posts, Digibloom has covered how to optimise your Etsy shop; now we will look at how to optimise your own independent business website or online store to ensure that you are discovered by the right people online. Small businesses: here is your ultimate SEO checklist for 2017.

Start with research

As with so many things in business, good SEO starts with thorough research. Don’t rush through this stage, as it’s what will form the basis of your strategy. Your initial research should include:

  • Market research – discovering what’s happening in your industry and uncovering popular trends and untapped requirements
  • Niche research – taking your market sector and filtering it down into the subsection who will really go crazy for your products or services
  • Keyword research – finding out what your target audience wants to know, and what they are searching for online
  • Competitor research – figuring out who your primary competitors are and observing their own strategies online
  • Data gathering – collating all of your data in one place to help you spot any trends and see where your own business currently fits in

This is also a good time to conduct an audit of your existing website (if you have one) to see where quick fixes and improvements can be made.

Set up your Google Analytics account

Get started with Google Analytics as soon as possible so you can start keeping track of your data. To get set up you will already need a website and a Google account. Google will ask you to confirm that you are the legitimate webmaster of your domain. You will then receive your tracking ID, which will enable you to attain all of your website’s data, such as site visits, bounce rate, and average time on site.

Refine your on-page content

Content is one of Google’s most important ranking factors and should form a central part of your online marketing strategy. Consider this a long-term process; one that will stand you in good stead for the future. Here are some simple adjustments you can make to your existing copy that will improve its ranking potential:

  • Ensure that your name, address and phone number are clearly visible on every page. You should also include this information on your social media pages
  • Give each page a unique meta-title and meta-description containing localised keywords
  • Add relevant meta-data, headings and subheadings containing your key search phrases
  • Upload and optimise images using alt-text, which enables Google to ‘read’ them

Invest in content marketing

Providing consistent, fresh content is one of the best ways to rank for your top keywords and keyword phrases. A good way to start is by attempting to answer frequently asked questions about your business and your industry. You should have a list of top questions from your keyword research – if not, try using Answer The Public.

Your content must be unique (you shouldn’t plagiarise from other websites) and it should offer some value to your readers. User-generated content is very valuable, if you can get it. Running a blog on your business website is the ideal way to get pieces of content that rank individually for your primary keywords and naturally accumulate backlinks from other websites.

Set up your local listings

It’s not just about your own website – plenty of people still look to find local businesses through directories such as Yahoo, Yelp, Foursquare and Angie’s List. Go through each of the online directories that are popularly used in your area and add your business to their listings, being sure to include your business name and address, your phone number, and your opening hours (if applicable). This will help to give you a boost in local search results, which comprise just under half of all online searches.

The Ultimate 2017 SEO Checklist for Small Businesses

Start building links

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to a page on your own website. Each link acts as a vote of trust from that website and helps search engines to figure out what you do and whether you are a good source of information. A website with a strong backlink profile will have a higher domain authority, which is a score developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank. The higher your domain authority, the better.

It’s important to go after organic links by promoting your website to influencers in your niche and making sure that you share high-quality, relevant content that others will naturally want to link to.

Optimise your ecommerce listings

If you run an ecommerce business, it’s important to ensure that your products are unique, correctly categorised, and free of duplicate content. You should also aim to make all customer reviews visible to other website visitors, as this builds trust.

Look at the URL structure of your products – what you want is for the focus keyword to also form that focal point of the URL structure, like so: www.domain.com/shop/keyword. As a rule, every product should be accessible from the homepage in no more than three clicks. If it takes more than that, then your navigational structure is likely too convoluted. (Store builders allow you to quickly tweak your URLs, so take advantage of this).

Check out this guide to writing ecommerce product descriptions.

Solicit reviews

Customer reviews can work wonders for your local SEO. Many businesses curate their own online testimonials, but of course, all visitors are aware that this is a biased process. No business in its right mind would include negative testimonials.

Reviews from websites like Trustpilot boost your recognition and (as the name implies) are more trusted by users. Try asking your best customers to leave you a review next time they shop with you – and offer incentives if need be. Negative reviews, if they occur, should also be embraced as an opportunity to show your dedication to good customer service.

Have an email marketing strategy

Regular newsletters, whether weekly, fortnightly or monthly – are a great way to keep your business in the forefront of your customers’ minds. Programs like MailChimp work wonders for automated email marketing campaigns, and some ecommerce builders have their own inbuilt email marketing tools.

Email marketing can help to boost your website’s SEO by increasing on-site engagement, promoting your best content and potentially generating inbound links. It’s also an ideal tool for building brand recognition, especially when you’re just starting out.

Make sure you’re mobile-friendly

Have a mobile-friendly (or responsive) website is key if you hope to make it as an online business. The majority of today’s consumers are multiplatform –  they may even be multi-screening as they access your website. Therefore, a consistent experience is crucial.

When a query pops up in a user’s mind, it is often to mobile that they first go. If your website isn’t fast, responsive and easy to navigate, then even with the best SEO in the world, your visitors are not going to hang around. To help your local SEO, make sure your contact details are clearly visible in the top right corner of every page. It’s also worth making yourself aware of Google’s guidelines for mobile to avoid being penalised for providing bad UX – or you could find yourself losing traffic.

Which of these items have you already ticked and which have you yet to check off? As a new business, it can sometimes feel like there’s an endless amount to do and never enough time to do it. Take things step-by-step and you will soon start to notice the results. What’s worked well for you?

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer. I work with new ecommerce businesses and entrepreneurs to create targeted content marketing strategies that yield strong results. I am always happy to share some of my SEO knowledge with others to help them get their startups seen.

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer.

I work with new ecommerce businesses and entrepreneurs to create targeted content marketing strategies that yield strong results. I am always happy to share some of my SEO knowledge with others to help them get their startups seen.

NOTHS Summer Sale guide 2017: gifts, treats and experiences from Not On The High Street partners with amazing savings!

Notonthehighstreet.com

Shop small with Not On The High Street's big Summer Sale and support designers and small businesses! NOTHS sale is on now, and here are some of my favourite finds.

Click through the images for more info and/or to shop small from Not On The High Street partners.

Shop jewellery

Shop accessories

Shop home

Shop experiences

Explore the entire sale section on NOTHS and discover even more discounted treasures in a variety of different categories.
Looking for gift ideas? Check out all my curated gift guides here.

Do you have a favourite item in the NOTHS sale? Let us know in the comments below!

This post contains wee affiliate links so I can keep my tea jar topped up at no extra cost to you. You can read my affiliate policy here.