Saturday, June 16, 2012


Yesterday, in Etsy's forum an interesting topic turned up, one that I had already been pondering on for some time. The topic was concerning the amount of views vs the amount of likes and the resulting amount of sales. In marketing terms this is called the Conversion rate.

The first few posts, all showed similar conversion rates of, between 100 and 250 views per sale (with around 20-30 likes per sale), but later more and more posts popped up where the views per sale ratio ended up between 500-2000.
Of course I quickly calculated my own and ended up on an average 650 views per sale, so well within the second tier.

Now, finding out those numbers is interesting, but the key question of course is how to INFLUENCE these numbers and in order to be able to do that, we need to know the cause.

There is where it becomes a bit tough. I don't have the time to make a scientific research on this, but a few observations could be made.

To people saying that external marketing (outside of Etsy) would be the cause: I don't think so. That would increase the amount of views, but not necessarily the view/sale ratio. In fact, it could be debated that it would reduce the ratio, since more views will dilute the sales made ratio (increasing sales but not in the same amount as the amount of views).

Of course a difference could be that the tagging of items was more specific, resulting in possible less views, but a higher conversion rate per view (ie more sales per view). That is to be investigated.

An other difference that caught my eye has to do with location. It quickly struck me that many of the shops with low conversion ratios (so high number of views per sale) were located outside of the US.
A quick look on Ebay shows that many stores don't even consider selling international. Its considered "a hassle", dangerous or just unneccesary. Whether that is a valid idea remains to be seen. However, I believe that the vast majority of Etsy buyers are US based. And I can immagine they would prefer to buy from US based stores, either because they are apprehensive of buying from non-US stores, they feel the shipping charges are too high or just for patriotic reasons.
Is there much that non-US sellers can do about this? Hardly. Just keep the shipping rates as low as possible (don't inflate), communicate in a timely and kind manner, and maybe in the stores policy or "about me" mention that many international orders have not caused any problems.
But that aside, I strongly believe Etsy can do something too: Increase they brand awareness outside of the US.
Maybe its a good idea to discuss this with your local Etsy representative?

Your views are highly appreciated.


  1. Good post.... and probably right on target. I would lay money that the number one reason for the smaller conversion rate for non-U.S. shops is the shipping cost.

    I have many international clients, and frankly, I am often amazed at the shipping rates that they are willing to pay; indeed, I often cringe myself when I have to set an international rate :)

    I discussed this with an Australian client once, and she simply said that she was "used to" paying high shipping rates. She told me that very often she could not find what she needed/wanted in her home country and so she purchased internationally quite regularly. To her, high shipping prices were simply the norm. My guess is that many non-U.S. shoppers feel the same way.

    Alternatively, U.S. shoppers are not similarly inured to high shipping rates, and are easily deterred from making a purchase if the shipping cost is deemed "too high". In fact, a U.S. shopper that senses that a shop is taking a margin on the shipping is very likely to cross that shop right off the list.

  2. Thanks for your comment SayYourPiece. As you can see, I have done a small analysis on the feedback I got on a post concerning this issue. As you already pointed out, indeed shipping costs are a major factor, but equaly important seem to be the shipping times! In the blog above you can see the results.