December 2022 was a very slow month for our new print-on-demand Etsy business. In fact, we had zero sales. And that’s totally my fault.
I let the people in my social media groups scare me. Yes, they scared me into thinking that I would get a bad review because a customer would order a Christmas present and not get it in time. We cannot afford any bad press at this stage, so I put the shop on ‘vacation mode’.
Etsy Vacation Mode
Was I rational in believing the people in those groups?
I don’t know, I didn’t try to stay open, I didn’t test it. On December 13th I put our shop on ‘vacation mode’ basically taking it out of service. I turned-off ‘vacation mode’ today.
As you may know from reading my last post, we are still very new and not making money yet. And that may be prolonged as I’ve read that ‘vacation mode’ sometimes postpones sales while the algorithm re-indexes listings. Some say sales are postponed as long as a couple of weeks.
Others say ‘vacation mode’ has no negative effect. I tend to believe the latter since an item was favorited within 2 hours of turning off vacation mode. If the items need to re-index, that person would not have been able to find my item to favorite it.
Something I’m considering for the upcoming year is niching down.
What is niching down?
Niching down means that I would choose one interest in which to create products. It’s a segment where everyone in that segment has an interest in the same thing.
A general store has all kinds of niches –
A niched down store sells only products that are of interest to just one of those categories. In fact, it’s probably better to niche down even further than the broad categories above.
For example with fishing, it would be better to appeal only to fly fishermen or deep sea fishermen.
Right now our store is like a general store, we have items that appeal to multiple interests. In the beginning I thought that was a good idea because we would have items for more people, thus have a better chance of making a sale.
I’m finding that may have been a wrong assumption.
Why Niche Down?
The best reason I’ve heard to support niching down is getting repeat and referral business. People who have an interest usually associate with other people with the same interest. Because the selection is better for a niche shop, when people refer others or want to buy again, they are more likely to visit the same shop again.
Back to the fly fishing reference, if someone is wearing a cool fly fishing t-shirt and another fly fisherman (who they probably ran into at the river) asks them where they got the cool tee, that person would send them to where they purchased it. If that new referral got to the shop and found a bunch of other stuff like car racing and baseball tees, they would lose interest quickly and move on.
But… if they only found fly fishing stuff, they would be more inclined to look longer and even favorite your shop since the items pertain to their interest. And they would be more likely to visit again when they wanted a new fly fishing item because they know they can find a great selection of fly fishing stuff.
Just think about social media. If you’re a fly fisherman and saw an ad for a cool t-shirt, you’d scroll right by. But, if that t-shirt was a fly fishing tee, you just might click.
It’s much easier to find your ideal customer when you know specifically who they are.
Status of Our Print-On-Demand Business
I don’t have much to report this month since the sales numbers are the same as last month. Our number of listings dropped significantly because I deactivated 45 Christmas items. I didn’t see a need to keep them up, especially since they basically had no views during the season.
Here are our numbers as of today, December 27, 2022.
Active listings: 130
Sales to date: 3
Total revenue: $96.60
Total Etsy fees: $46.56
Total Etsy ad fees: $33.72
Total Printify Cost of Goods: $65.08
Gross Profit/Loss: <$48.76>
Mock ups: $47.09
Keyword tools: $25.96
Net Profit/Loss: <$121.81>
Until next time~