I thought I would post an analysis of my shop stats that might give hope to other sellers whose shops have not taken off like they might have liked. I thought about posting this in the Etsy forums, but when other sellers who have modest sales like mine post advice in the forums, the responses are often less than kind. Being the delicate flower that I am (I am!), I decided it would be better to post it here and then I can just delete the meanies. Okay where was I? Oh yes, right here:
Let's start with views. Etsy started tracking shop stats on June 28, 2011, almost exactly one month after I started adding items to my shop (my shop says it opened at the beginning of May, but I didn't have any items listed until Memorial Day weekend). As you can see, in July and August, my views were quite low, so I think we can safely disregard the last few days of May and all of June and still get a pretty accurate picture of what my stats look like.
Important to note: prior to August 10 2011, the default search on Etsy was recency, meaning if you renewed your items frequently, your items would appear at the top of a shopper's search results. As of August 10 2011, the default search was changed to relevancy, meaning items with titles and tags most relevant to a shopper's search now appear first in the search results. Duh, you say? Yep, duh, Etsy. My first 50 items' titles and tags were not optimized for relevancy when I uploaded them, so tweaking for SEO (search engine optimization) has been an ongoing process and has played a definite, but challenging to measure, role in increasing my views and sales.
Okay, let's talk about the trend of my views: they're going up! Okay, that's pretty obvious, but why? I think it's a combination of improved SEO and an increase in the number of items in my shop. I started with 50 items, and now I have almost 100 (94 to be exact). I added a total of 25 items (approximately) in August, September and October and you can see that my views started to creep up then. I added nothing in November or December and my views in November were almost exactly the same as my October views. I attribute the increase in views in December to Christmas shopping, though it didn't have any impact on my sales. Bummer.
My views started climbing a bit in the beginning of January and I really have no idea why (maybe just sticking around pays off?); my average views per day in January before adding any new items were 13.8. Low, but higher than what I was used to seeing (my views in October and November were just over 10 per day). Adding new items in January had a pretty dramatic effect on my views: I added 5 items between January 11 and January 15 and my average views per day rose to almost 27. Adding 26 additional total items on January 26 and 27 caused my views to rise to nearly 47 per day. Granted, 47 views doesn't sound like that much, but the entire point of this post is that my stats have gotten steadily better, and it's the overall trend that's important, not necessarily absolute numbers (IMO, anyway). Note: the number of items I started with plus the number of items added don't add up to the current number of items in my shop because I deactivated a few listings that weren't getting much love.
That's all well and good, I hear you saying, but what about SALES!?
The graph above shows the trend for orders: I've excluded the sales made to my mom (let's face it, she buys my stuff because she likes me :-)) and graphed both the number of orders and the number of items sold. Some ups and downs, but an obvious upward trend overall. Again, the absolute numbers aren't much, but it's the general trend I'm concerned about. I've also gotten two orders for a total of three items in the first two days of February, so the trend is looking pretty good.
Okay, one last graph:
Once again I subtracted the revenue from sales to my mom and re-drew the graph. More ups and downs but the same overall upward trend.
As of February 2, I've sold a total of 24 items to people who aren't my mom, and 11 of those have been in the last 33 days. To put it another way, it took almost 7 months to get the first half of my sales but ONLY 33 DAYS to get the second half (okay, not exactly half, but pretty close). I'm liking this trend. A lot.
So that's it. I hope this is encouraging to other sellers who didn't start off with a bang. Hang in there, give it time and don't give up. I knew that opening a shop on Etsy wouldn't be a "build it and they will come" experience. I fully expected it to be a very long-term process and I anticipate it will take several years to get to the point where this shop generates the kind of income I would like it to. I know I can make it happen, though, and you can too. Good luck!