raise your hand if you hate junk mail! *my hand reaches to the sky*
but there is one piece of “junk mail” (that i’ll call ad mail for this reference) that I actively registered for and get excited to see in my inbox on a daily basis. and that’s the Etsy newsletter, called Etsy Finds.
you could say that i like Etsy, but that would be an understatement. i really appreciate all of the creativity, community, ingenuity, and all of the shopping opportunities that it brings! it opens the doors for creative people to offer up their products to the world. it’s sorta like eBay, but for handmade, carefully crafted items by people who pour their whole selves into their craft.
this past september, Etsy hosted its first ever conference called Hello Etsy. i was a really happy when one of the organizers and i started talking, and when she offered to bring me to Berlin to speak at the event i got suuuuuper excited!
in my previous post about our trip to europe, i mentioned that there was a pretty crazy schedule that led to a whirlwind of travel. but man was it ever fun!
first of all, the second I walked into the room where i’d be presenting, my jaw dropped. i couldn’t believe my eyes. it felt like i was in a vintage military vehicle or something.
it turns out that this whole building used to be an electrical plant back in the day, and i was standing in the control room. it was one of the most unique rooms i’ve ever seen, where I had to look past rusty knobs and levers as i made eye contact with the audience!
my talk was about product and promotional photography. it was my hope that i would be able to help shop owners communicate their message with the world more effectively through the use of imagery. for anyone that has ever gone to Etsy’s website, you’ll notice that the entire site is dominated by photographs. with hundreds of thousands of Etsy shops out there, it takes a lot of creativity to stand out.
but it’s not just about taking different kinds of images of your products, it’s about communicating what you’re all about. as you know, our team is all about storytelling. for us, it’s about digging deeper than the aesthetics and finding the message underneath. along with some tips on the nitty-gritty of photography, like adjusting your aperture and how that affects your image in different ways, we talked a lot about making sure you know which message you want to put out there, and how to use the tools you have to do it.
months before the actual conference, when i started thinking about what i wanted to talk about, i found out that one of our previous brides has an Etsy shop. i got in touch with her to see whether she would like my idea…
…that we track her statistics for the next few months, then we get together, redo all of her photography, and see what her statistics do for the next few months following the change.
and thus our journey started.
i found out all about the shop, why it started, why the products that exist exist, and a whole bunch of other characteristics that would inform things like color, lens choice, and the general approach that we would take with the photography. here are some of the things that changed:
her avatar: went from being an image that didn’t communicate much about her personality, products, or store (left image above), went to one that is quirky (much like her), and is consistent with the other new images on the store’s site (right image above).
her thumbnails: became more consistent with the colours of her “brand” and the feel of the site in general. the photography was balanced in such a way that you could clearly see the details of each product even before enlarging. before=left // after=right.
her page: started coming together in a cohesive way that simplified the viewing experience of the shopper. with fewer “distractions”, it’s easier to zero in on what really matters – the product you’d love to hold in your hand. before=left // after=right.
we tracked the stats from may until august, changed all the photos, and tracked the stats up until the conference in mid september. yes, i expected the statistics to improve with the change of images, but I never thought the difference would be so stark.
remember, that all we did was change the photos. well, we changed her banner as well. but that’s it. no extra advertising, no more networking than usual. we tried to keep everything else constant so our results would be as reliable as possible. here are some things we found.
within the first 1o minutes of having uploaded all the photos to her shop, one of her items was already selected to be listed in a recommended treasury. this had only happened a handful of times in the previous 8 months that the shop existed.
within the first 30 minutes, she already had 9 of her items “favoured” by Etsy shoppers.
that day she had 238 visitors to her shop, compared with the 48 she had on the same weekday one week prior.
on the third day, she received an email from a major canadian wedding magazine, weddingbells, wanting to feature her and her shop. the issue comes out in december.
but that’s just the beginning. let’s take a look at the numbers…
between P1 and P2 (the periods before the photo change and after, respectively) there was a huge jump in her store’s visitors. basically, after the new photos were posted, her average number of visitors per day QUADRUPLED.
as an Etsy shopper, you can “favour” items by clicking “add to favourites”. this archives the item in your personal list of favourite listings that you might want to revisit. in P2, about 50% more items were favoured than in P1. note that P2 is a shorter time-frame than P1 too.
after the photos were changed, the number of sales didn’t change all that much. yes, there were 4 more sales in P2 which supported our prediction, but compared with the other two findings, it wasn’t really drastic. but…
look what happened to the average sale! what was happening was that shoppers weren’t only buying the pricier items, but they were adding more things to their cart per order! what does that mean for overall revenue?
her shop made her over double the revenue in less time.
these results got a lot of people at the seminar thinking, not just about their photography, but about their shops in general. were they communicating the right message? were the colors right? what was their avatar saying about them and who they are? a lot of things came into question. those who know me know that i’m big on the question “why”. this is an incredibly powerful question that can strongly affect pretty much every aspect of life, in my opinion anyway. but now i’m getting a little philosophical here… :)
the organizers had some videographers film the presenters in berlin, so people who couldn’t fly to europe would still be able to take part and be able to move forward with the things they wanted to accomplish. if you’re interested in seeing my talk, i’ll be posting a link here as soon as it’s sent to me.
i had such an amazing time, and judging from the e-mails i got from attendees afterwards, it seems that people were able to come away with something valuable.
for those who are interested in checking out the shop, Love & Found that i worked with, click here. and for a peek at her wedding, take a look here for their SDE and here for photos. it’ll probably be familiar to some of you.
hey, and if you happen to buy something from her, you’ll help bring those orange arrows up even higher! :p