Growing a Seller profile on Etsy is both rewarding and demanding. The basic steps are to choose a niche that you want to tap into, create attractive products, and activate your listings to attract potential buyers. But if you’re looking to evolve and advance in the space, there are also a ton of other details to think about.
For example, as it turns out, inventory size truly matters on Etsy. In fact, it may be precisely the factor that’s preventing you from reaching the sales volumes that you’re after.
Let’s discuss this further.
Etsy inventory is the number of active listings or products that you are selling to potential buyers. As you are well aware, the Etsy marketplace is full of diverse, authentic, and creative products. There are a myriad of different niches, product categories, and buyer segments. Naturally, inventory sizes will vary, depending on the niche or category you’re in.
For example, let’s take the tailor-made clothing niche. We used Sale Samurai to perform research on some of the bestsellers from the space. What we found is that some of the bigger Etsy shops in this niche consist of more than 400 active products. Let’s look at an example.
The FLAMINGOKIDS Etsy shop currently has an inventory of 449 different products. The Seller specializes in tailor-made and exclusive formal wear for kids. The shop stands out with a large volume of sales and receives sufficient attention from buyers. On the contrary, there are other shops from the space, which only have an inventory of 7 products. You may be wondering “so what?”.
The key difference is in the number of sales landed by both shops. Naturally, the shop with more active listings outperforms the smaller shop with a difference in thousands of sales. By observing other product categories, we can conclude that a shop with more than 200 items is considered one with a large inventory.
However, there is also a minimum that you should aim to exceed. The unwritten rule is to have at least 20 items in your Etsy shop. This way, you’ll be able to fill up your front page and create the feeling that you are an experienced and diverse Seller.
But what does a large inventory mean for your Seller performance?
There are a few game-changing advantages of having more items for sale in your Etsy shop.
Let’s be honest here. No matter how well you research your niche and how high-quality your products are, there is always a risk of scoring poorly on sales. Perhaps the competition is stronger than before. Maybe the prices have changed and you haven’t reacted on time. Or, let’s say your product is amazing but the timing is not right.
By maintaining a large and diverse inventory, you can escape the trap of having all of your eggs in one basket. For example, you can create different products, which are attractive for different seasons. This way, while some of your listings start dropping in conversions, others will thrive. As a result, your profits will be stable, despite external factors negatively influencing a portion of your inventory.
Etsy is incredibly rich in audiences. The surest way to attract a specific audience’s attention is via the use of keywords. Keywords or tags are used in listing titles and product descriptions. They enable Sellers to rank in search results for particular searches performed by a Seller.
For example, let’s go back to the tailor-made clothing example. Some of the keywords that shoppers are actively searching for include “tailored dresses”, “tailored suit”, “tailor shirt”, and others. It’s impossible to satisfy all of this demand with a single listing. It’s essential to create separate listings to target each of these profitable audiences.
By targeting a wider range of keywords with your Etsy shop, you are increasing your chances of getting recognized by a larger pool of buyers. This will ultimately result in more traffic. The golden rule for any type of eCommerce is that more traffic increases the chances of conversions.
If a larger inventory on Etsy means lower risk, surely that also means that you have more room to experiment with different products. For example, say that you’ve been selling jewelry. You’ve so far focused entirely on wooden earrings. However, you now feel that it’s time to see how wooden rings would perform. If you have a diverse enough inventory that can score you sales while you are testing new products, there is no reason to hold back.
Your overall performance won’t be influenced as there will be listings that will be doing the hard work while you are trying out different strategies with other listings.
Imagine entering a physical store with 20 products. Now image entering one with 200. We don’t need to convince you that the store with 200 products will always be more attractive to buyers. And best of all, it will be attractive to more buyers. The 20 products store example could be enticing for an extremely niche product set with loyal customers. As great as this strategy is for staying competitive, it can also have its drawbacks.
It enables you to communicate with only a limited set of customers. That is – unless you’re willing to diversify your product portfolio or inventory.
The most important advantage of a large inventory base is higher profitability. Earlier, we looked at an example of two tailor-made clothing shops. One of them was FLAMINGOKIDS, which has an inventory of 445 items, and ONEtwoONECo with 7 listings. The first shop generated a total of 5,824 sales. The second one has only landed 67 sales.
That is not to say that inventory size is not the only reason behind sales. There are also things like listing optimization, product quality, brand awareness, and more.
However, a diverse inventory undoubtedly contributes to higher profitability. Plus, by having more products to offer, there is a higher chance that the same customer will end up buying different items. This further boosts your shop’s sales and stabilizes your profits.
If you’ve read any of our previous blog posts, you’ll know that we always strive to present both sides of the coin. Although having a rich inventory on Etsy is advantageous in many ways, there are also a few drawbacks.
First, a larger inventory requires a bigger investment. Second, you’ll need to consider the Etsy fee for activating or reactivating a listing. Currently, the fee is $0.20. Even if you have a shop with 450 listings, it will cost you $90 to activate all of them. Considering the amount of money you could potentially make, this isn’t an investment that should worry you.
However, there are extra costs associated with selling more products on Etsy. For example, you’ll need to purchase the materials and create the product. You’ll also need to think about your shipping costs. Furthermore, there are transaction fees for every sale that your shop lands. In other words, running a diverse and successful Etsy shop does come with a certain price.
The second disadvantage of a larger inventory on Etsy is related to organization and management. If you’re running your Etsy shop alone, it could be difficult to successfully manage an inventory of 400 products. For example, you could forget to reactivate a listing, optimize existing listings, or make necessary changes in pricing or descriptions. In addition, you could forget to stock up on extra volumes for a product that’s running low on quantity.
To solve this problem, you can rely on Sale Samurai. This business intelligence software enables you to quickly audit your Etsy store, find missing gaps, and fix them with a few clicks of a button.
The size of your inventory impacts certain parts of your strategy. Here’s how.
Promoting your listings via paid advertisements is the quickest way to receive more traffic and boost your sales. The rule of thumb in Etsy advertising is to promote all of your listings when you first activate them. This will give you a head start and make your listing more competitive. However, imagine promoting 300 listings. The investment will be significant.
Your inventory size is directly linked to your listing promotion strategy. Rather than sponsoring all of your listings, you can create different strategies to minimize the costs. For example, you could boost listings that are performing very poorly. If you still don’t see any results, perhaps you should think of ways to optimize the listing to improve it. Sometimes, it may be best to drop the listing and deactivate it. This will allow you to focus more time and money on other, fruitful listings.
Another way that inventory size influences your strategy is through pricing. Remember, in order to maintain a large set of products, you’ll need to stock up. To do so, you’ll need to have available money to pay for materials and other expenses.
This could have a direct impact on your prices. For example, if you’ve already gained enough experience in a certain niche or product, you could afford to increase the price. This will allow you to enjoy higher profits and have the necessary funds to reinvest in your business to support your diverse inventory.
Inventory size is a crucial part of your Seller strategy. For beginner Sellers, it may not be of utmost importance. This is because your focus is likely to be getting to know how listings attract buyers, testing new strategies, and gaining experience.
However, as you advance, the choice of inventory for your Etsy shop can make or break your performance.