Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to Critique Your Own ETSY Shop


Are you your own worst Critic? You should be, and here's how! Eleanor of Egilpatr was kind enough to let me post her great tips on self critiquing your own Etsy Shop. Have you seen Eleanor's shop yet? She has certainly done her own Self Critique, as her shop is amazing!Eleanor is a professional fine art painter. Infatuated with the way the world looks, she calls herself a "realist painter", and believes her greatest strengths are my use of color and composition.Eleanor never sell prints; you always get an original. She has had quite an impressive resume as a professor and author, but her first love is painting.


But back to business, YOU CAN CRITIQUE YOUR OWN SHOP!
I especially found Eleanor's tips on improving your images quite helpful. I hope you find Eleanor's tips useful. I did! Here's what she has to say:
Avatar
Look at your avatar. Is it an attractive piece from the shop? Is the color bright? Is the Image easy to make out? Is the image cropped enough so nothing is wasted on background?

Banner
Look at your banner. Is it color coordinated with the avatar? If there are words, are they useful; easy to read? Does the banner suggest the products sold or contain some of them? Even the avatar.

Images
Look at your images of the items being sold. Are the thumbnails bright, easy to make out, and is the color good? The thumbnail is the first thing the viewer sees.

Is the main image the best one of the item? Do all the other ones add information?

Here is advice on how to deal with the problem of thumbnails that do not show off the actual image well because the thumbnail is a square crop. It comes up in two situations.

First, an artist does not always paint or draw square pictures, but would like the thumbnail to show the whole painting or drawing. Second, for people who have photographed crafted items for sale and want an image that will have an attractive thumbnail (which means cropping away unneeded background), but the original image will not crop square and still show the whole item.

a. Be sure to crop the original image to make it as square and tight as possible first, because if there is too much background to start, that issue will not be solved, and a close look at the item is lost. (This does not apply to images of 2-D art that are usually cropped to the exact image of the piece; no background.)

b. Take the original image (or the cropped image). If it is not square, go to Photoshop Elements or a similar program and open the image. Click on RESIZE IMAGE, and then click CANVAS SIZE. That opens a page where the width and height is given. Make them both the same size, always using the higher number (or else the image is cut).

c. Then go back to RESIZE IMAGE and select IMAGE SIZE. Make it 1000 x 1000. (The resolution can be up to 300.)

d. The result will be a thumbnail with the entire image, and white where the program filled in to make the image square.

Descriptions
Look at your item descriptions. Do they fully describe the item in terms of materials, dimensions, and any special information?

Section Names
Look at your section names. Do they reflect what you sell in language that anyonecould understand? Do they include sections for anything special that you might want to show together?Do they cover everything? Remember that an item can go into only one section.

Featured Items
Are you using the option to have three items featured on your home page? They get to appear twice, and give you a chance to represent pieces that are seasonal, or best, or represent three of your sections.

Shop Announcement, Bio & Shipping Profile
Look at your Shop Announcement, Bio, and Shipping Profile (found at the bottom of each item). I suggest you reorganize these so that the followingis covered in the Shop Announcement and the Bio. in roughly the order below.

Read through to see where there is repetition, defensiveness, too much intimate information, or any self-deprecation. Edit to remove these, without making the parts read as totally impersonal.
SUGGESTED SHOP ANNOUNCEMENT
Say hello and/or welcome the reader into the shop. Use the first person I or we if there is more than one person. Tell the reader what is for sale and if there is anything special in the way you make it, or what it is for, or what it is made of---that makes it stand out--say that right away. Here is where to stress hand-made as a special characteristic, and whether made in a smoke free, or pet free environment.

Do not say the shop is new, unless you want to revise when it is not so new. How long are you able to claim you are new, anyway? Same goes for naming holidays.

You can say you hope they enjoy the shop or like what they see.

Make a statement about whether you take requests or customize the items and perhaps encourage the viewer to convo with you to get them just what they want.

IF YOU HAVE FREE SHIPPING, LIST THIS IN THE SHOP ANNOUNCEMENT--PROMINENTLY. Otherwise wait to get to the BIO for shipping issues.

Tell the viewer to click on your profile (the link on the right) to read more about you and to see your store policies. Thank them again for coming by; if you add new things often, tell that, and encourage the viewer to come by again to see new things.

If you have a website, blog, or other store, give the links here,but not to sites where you sell outside of Etsy.

SUGGESTED BIO
Here you can be more personal about what you do, what led you to do it, how you feel about the work, or how you make it. I do not advise telling how your spouse or sister is an inspiration or details on your pets or children. What do you want to know from a seller when you buy?

STORE POLICIES
What Payment Is Accepted?

What does shipping cost?

Where do you ship to?

Who do you use for shipping?

Put in the prices found at the bottom of your item descriptions. That includes multiple item prices.

You can offer alternative, faster shipping and prices.You can mention insurance and make a disclaimer about responsibility for damage in transit.

Add anything about International orders. This might be where you indicate you ship customs, checking "other."(People ask for "Gift" but this IS a purchase.).

You can give information on when you ship. I suggest you use this, adjusted for what payment you accept.

I ship within ___ days after I have been notified of receipt of payment by Paypal or when the check or money order has been cleared and deposited into my account.

You can say how items are packaged and how you send gifts, if you wish.

State your policy on acceptable reasons for returns, how they are treated, who pays for shipping, and anything on repair or exchange, as appropriate. Invite the reader to contact you with ANY questions.
That's all she wrote! Now get to work!

8 comments:

Derek said...

Thanks for the great tips! Your paintings are beautiful :)

ingermaaike said...

Great tips!

lskcrochet said...

I know I have told you this before but you blog ROCKS!

http://lskcrochet.blogspot.com/

Ribbon Wand Maker said...

Great list of very useful tips!

Waterrose said...

Great Info...thanks for adding this to your blog!

Little Pods Clothing said...

This was so helpful!!

Little Pods Clothing said...

This was so helpful!!

Erika Obscura said...

This is so great thank you for posting this!