I have been selling on Etsy for quite some time now... I'm sure you have heard about sellers complaining about how their view + sales have declined in 2018 and let me tell you, from my point of view, Etsy has implemented some big changes.
As with any business you are always going to have to research your keywords + SEO + your competition + your market. Etsy has grown SO large with so many new shops that is also making it harder for your listings to be 1. Seen + 2. Have the listings that are seen to convert into sales.
For example, my first birthday cake topper... while it's still a bestseller on Etsy and still a top-seller for my shop... my sales have declined tremendously for this item and believe it or not, the search terms + keywords that Etsy shoppers used in 2017 are STILL TRENDING 2018. So that leaves me even more with the question... what is going on? I wish I had all of the magical answers but I don't.
In case you didn't know yet either... Etsy is ranking listings higher in search results for listings that ship free! I have tested this theory within my shop and have found that while some buyers, yes, DO love free shipping... my target market does not mind paying for shipping. And, this is just for my shop... it may not be the same for your shop. How did I figure this out? I ran a test on three of my same exact listings for my same exact top selling cake topper that all ranked within the first page of search results on Etsy. I found that for item that has the Bestseller icon on Etsy... offering free shipping, took that badge away from the search results page which led to less sales. YES! Potential buyers love seeing the bestseller badge... that creates a sense of instant trust for your item + shop. When I added the shipping costs into my item pricing... sales declined (I'm convinced it has a lot to do with my bestseller badge being gone)! And, when I divided the shipping cost by 50% and added that into the price of my item... that was where I was golden! Etsy says that items that ship for free rank higher in search results... well, so do items that have LOW cost shipping. You just have to do some research and find out what your target market is looking for, this is unique to your shop.
But... this is why I am SO big on not putting all of your eggs into Etsy's basket! If the trending keywords are the same from 2017 to 2018 that means that certain shops + items are ranking higher due to Etsy's new algorithm now add in all of the new shops, year to date, and you can see just how competitive of a market selling on Etsy is.
You NEED your own website! YOU are in direct control of your sales. And, generating sales from your own website is cheaper than selling on Etsy which = more profit for you + your biz. Etsy is great tool to gain exposure for your brand when you are starting up but... PLEASE... make it a top priority to create your own website + domain, you owe it to yourself!
I am still putting the finishing touches on my Biz Training program coming Early 2019 + I cannot wait to launch and help you all but one thing I can tell y'all right now... now is the time to start brainstorming for your own website... I believe in you... you CAN DO IT, you were made for this!