This is branded content.
With eCommerce becoming a ubiquitous term and more people embracing the world of online shopping than ever before, there have never been as many options available for people to carve out a niche in the world of buying and selling.
However, for many, this change has become somewhat of a double-edged sword, making it easier to form a small business online but far more complicated to create a growth roadmap past that point. This has led many small creators and sellers across the various sales platforms online, such as Etsy, to put considerable thought into how they can push their passion projects forward into full-scale businesses.
So, is this possible? Whilst your success is never going to be entirely certain, that doesn't mean an Etsy store can't be turned into a thriving enterprise. However, to give yourself the best chance at success, you need to ensure that you are setting up your growth plan correctly. Let's get into it.
As with any business, growth for growth's sake is going to be a difficult sell for your potential audience. In other words, your audience isn't going to be interested in you just because you're interested in growing, so you need to provide an excellent service early on to catch the interest of those in your niche.
From wholesale tumbled stones for homemade jewellery to card and paper varieties for prints and art, you need to be doing what you can to provide your audience with the highest quality materials that you can muster without going over your budget. So, it pays to spend time looking around and finding the right providers to ensure that you're not just coming off as another drop shipper or cheap distributor looking for easy payment.
For anyone that's looking to use their Etsy store as a stepping stone rather than a destination, developing a following is everything. Having a distinct brand that will stick in the minds of regular shoppers will make the difficult transition from one platform to another far smoother, as you will hopefully be able to develop some kind of audience that will be willing to follow you wherever you end up going.
However, that type of loyalty isn't easy to create and is difficult to maintain, especially through periods of change.
So, when you're planning out your product lists, try to keep things consistent, and make sure that you put time, energy, and even a little money into your branding to ensure people remember who you are and what you do.
People need something they can attach themselves to if they're going to recognise your brand in a different context. So, craft an image, craft a tone, and build your Etsy store into something that can potentially stand out in people's minds. Just remember when doing so that there is such a thing as standing out in a bad way, so try to avoid obnoxious branding tactics. It may get you attention, but it's not the kind of attention that's likely to follow and support you.
Transitioning over to any other platform or expanding your offerings is always going to be a tough logistical process, so why make it too difficult for yourself? If you're someone who has relatively little experience in the field of building up a business, it's best to allow yourself the time to grow sustainably, rather than taking big risks that may not have a chance of paying off.
This is an issue for people who try to immediately go from niche online stores to retail stores. The demographic is different, word of mouth works differently, and it's easy to forget just how much having a specific physical location you're working from changes your reach and scope.
If you're looking to dip your proverbial toe into expansion, start by developing your own website/eCommerce site outside of the Etsy ecosystem. A website will be far easier to make decisions on due to it being a standalone system dedicated solely to your products, rather than a store on a larger platform with a particular niche of shoppers.
From here, you can flesh out the branding you've begun to form on your website, and grow your ideas in a way that simply isn't possible when trying to work within the confines of someone else's system.
Is it possible to grow your Etsy store into a thriving business? Yes absolutely, but it takes a lot of time and effort to do it correctly. That said, if managing your own business is a dream of yours and you want to pursue it, then focusing on your branding is an excellent starting point. Good luck!