Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

5 Ways to Translate In-Person Events Into Online Sales

Harness face-to-face interactions this season to boost your sales and improve your SEO, with a worksheet for gathering DIY data on your target market.

By Cheyne Little Nov 12, 2013
Photo by Little Canoe

It's here and it's happening — the hustle and bustle of the holidays is undoubtedly upon us. Whether you’re gearing up for your first in-person event this season or your 50th, there’s always something to learn from seeing shoppers interact with your products firsthand. The insights you collect from craft fairs or markets and various events can help you increase your sales long after you’ve folded up your table and headed home.

If you’re new to the realm of in-person sales, get started with What to Bring to a Craft Fair. Once you’ve got the basics down, take your show strategies to the next level by leveraging the tips below. Read on to learn more about how to improve your show sales and foster online traffic that continues after the event is over.

1. Build Your Dream Booth

At a show, your display booth is a part of your product. Since your display is like your own little boutique, it's often the difference between a mediocre selling experience and breakthrough sales success. Designing and executing a display that is inviting to shoppers, delivers your brand message and shows off your products takes time and planning. Get inspired with ideas from exceptional booth displays, compiled by the professionals at Renegade Craft Fair.

Pro tip: Don’t wait until the day of the event to see what your booth really looks like. Always conduct a test run to see where your eye is drawn — is it towards your brand signage, or to that random display piece that doesn’t quite fit in? Pay attention to how your shopper-self interacts with  products and make adjustments accordingly.

2. Go Viral

With the popularity of mobile devices on the rise, think outside the business-card-box to make the most of promotional opportunities and build buzz for your shop online. Create signage and offer incentives that invite shoppers to check-in to your booth, increasing your visibility to their followers. Plan for photo opportunities and ask shoppers to tag your business on social media. Give shoppers a reason to snap a photo with your business name clearly in the shot; when they’re swiping through their photos at home, they’ll remember to check your online shop.

Pro tip: Reconsider flipping that Vacation Mode switch. You’ve designed the best booth on the planet, and shoppers are sharing photos of your products with their hundreds of followers. You don't want to miss out on a huge opportunity if they click through to find an empty Etsy shop! Plan ahead with your inventory to ensure you can can keep up with demand for on- and offline shoppers.

3. Cater to the Locals

Etsy Local, helps sellers connect potential buyers with their local selling events. To add your own event, click the Create Event button at the top of the page and provide a little more information about the event. You can also join existing events by clicking Join Event on the individual event page. Don’t forget to include your message to shoppers, letting them know what you’ll be offering at the event.

4. Get to Know Your Shoppers

While you’re chatting up your customers and telling them all about your fantastic wares, don’t miss the chance to conduct your own market research. The immediate feedback you receive from shoppers during events is worth it’s weight in gold. Ask shoppers about themselves and make observations to better understand how to cater your products to your customers.

Throughout the event, take note of common questions from buyers. Which items do shoppers pick up and touch? How do shoppers react when they read your price tags? Study their personal style, and find out if they’re shopping for themselves or for gifts. For easy note taking, print out our DIY Market Research worksheet.

5. Translate Your Takeaways Into Sales

Once you’ve made it through the actual show day, it’s time to haul in the nets you so thoughtfully cast and attract new customers to your online retail space. Each of the strategies you implemented above will set you up for long-term sales success. It’s simply a matter of pulling out valuable insights that might otherwise be obscured by achy feet and preparation for the next big event.

Once a show is over, there are undoubtedly would-be customers kicking themselves for not buying that one really awesome item from your shop. Hopefully, they snagged a business card and will hop online to place an order. Showcase your most-loved items from the show in the featured items section of your shop so folks can spot them right away.

Next, take some time to review and consolidate the notes you made about your customers to create a snapshot of your target customer. Remember all those questions buyers had while they were scoping your items? Reflect on what details they noticed; were there any adjectives on the tips of their tongues when they saw something they liked? By putting your buyer’s feedback to work in your item descriptions, titles and keywords, you ensure that customers can find your items based on the search terms they’re most likely to use.

The next time you’re thinking about taking new photos of your items, review your notes on your shoppers’ taste and demographics. Maybe you observed quite a few teachers purchasing your posters; how can you appeal to them in your styling? Or perhaps you saw a ton of men shopping at your booth for the ladies in their lives; consider ways to usher them into your shop with strategic marketing.

Last but not least, make sure you have fun. Think about your event as a learning experience. Shows can be stressful or a highlight of the season depending on how you approach them. Give yourself time to meet your booth neighbors and talk shop.


Cheyne Little

Cheyne Little is Senior Product Educator at Etsy. Before joining Etsy as an Admin in 2011, she worked full-time on her accessory line and on the leadership team of her local Etsy Team in Texas.


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