Sunday, May 15, 2011

Etsy Showcase Tips and Review

For those of you who don't know, Etsy Showcase if a form of advertising on Etsy. You purchase a 24-hour slot, choose which of your listings to promote, and your products will appear as "Sponsored" in certain locations on the Etsy website. For example, with a Jewelry Showcase, your products will appear at the top of the Jewelry page (for people shopping by category). Showcases are available for every main category and also for subcategories such as Earrings, Necklaces, etc.

When I opened my shop, I was very curious about how this works, so I did a lot of research. Almost every review I read said that it isn't worth it, that you might get more views and hearts, but no sales. I told myself I was going to try it anyway -- why not when it's only $7 a day? -- and decided to post about my experience in case it helps anyone.

Well, before I could test a showcase spot, I had to figure out how the heck you buy one! Etsy says they go on sale every day at midnight (ET), but whenever I checked, it always said 0 spots left. I wondered what I was doing wrong. I looked into it, and all the advice I found just said, "Be there right on time." How annoying and unhelpful when I was already doing that!

What they should have said is, "Be there at 11:45 and obsessively refresh the page." Yep, I sat there for 15 minutes, with one hand on the mouse and the other hitting ctrl + R every few seconds. I got lucky and refreshed the page the very second my computer clock hit 12:00 and finally I saw open spots! I clicked, saw the confirmation page, and immediately went back in case I wanted to purchase more in other categories. None left! The clock hadn't even hit 12:01. So if you think you're doing something wrong, nope. These spots just sell out in seconds.

If you're lucky enough to land a spot, you can then use the Promote page to organize your listings. Your showcase will only show one item at a time. It starts at the top of your list and items get replaced with the next in line if they sell. I'd already had a decent amount of shop activity (views and hearts - no sales) after being active in forums, so I ordered my products by most hearts. I think this was the key to my success, so if you're considering a showcase, wait until you have hearts on at least 5 different products. You may be surprised at what is most popular (some things I thought would do really well only have a few hearts).

EDIT: I think it also helped that I chose the main Jewelry showcase. (I figured if someone is shopping by category rather than searching, they're not looking for something specific, so they're more likely to browse a general category than a specific one.) I've since learned that many of the negative reviews I saw referred to subcategory showcases, so keep that in mind too.

I am happy to say that my experience was opposite everyone else's. I made my first sale the day of my showcase, along with two more! I sold my most popular item (I think it had about 250+ views and 20 hearts), my 2nd most popular, and a recreation of the 2nd one. Unfortunately I didn't get any extra hearts after that (and I don't keep track of views), but by then it was later in the day. I'm sure my other products just needed more time in the spotlight.

There are some cons to Etsy Showcase -- not everyone shops by category (I prefer to search), and your listing isn't always on the first category page (there are only 4 images spots but more showcased shops, so it rotates through them) -- but overall, I say it's worth a try. I made back my $7 easily, and plan to do more showcases in the future. I believe the key to making a sale is reaching as many people as possible until you find the one who's willing to buy, and Etsy Showcase helped me do that.

(Sorry for the text only post; wish I had some pics to include. Posts coming soon: more Etsy tips, including a photo tutorial for people with point-and-shoot cameras.)


  1. I posted this in an Etsy forum and someone commented, "I'm guessing some of the people that have said it was a waste of money maybe weren't promoting the correct item(s) from their shop. I had never thought of that." Here is my response, in case it helps anyone:

    "I didn't think of it going in either. I just hate setting prices, choosing what to renew, etc... It's hard to be objective with your own work. So when I had to order everything, I figured going by hearts would save me a lot of second-guessing myself. Then after things sold, I thought, Hmm...

    I think the other reason lots of views/hearts is important going in is because sometimes it can take A LOT of views before someone actually buys. I sometimes see things with 800 views, 50 hearts, and think, "Wow, no one's bought this yet?" But if you do the math...yes, lots of people have viewed it, but less than 10% of people heart it. I noticed similar numbers with my products. So if only 6% of people viewing my products are interested, it's going to take a lot more views before someone purchases.

    I'm sure there are other factors to showcase success too, like what day you pick. I bet weekday showcases (mine was on a Thursday) get more views than weekend ones.

    I think luck is involved too. The way I view it is that my products just happened to be displayed at the right time, in front of the right customers. I had no control over that aside from picking the day."

  2. Hey Michelle, found you through an Etsy thread. Our showcase is tomorrow, how many items do you think we should put in? I'm glad you had a positive experience.


  3. Hello,
    This is crazy i posted a question on an etsy forum asking about peoples experiences with the showcase and nonone had replied with any advice sooo you have literally answered my prayers lol. i have found it completely impossible to buy a main jewellery showcase so iv settled with an earring showcase and bracelet one so lets see how those go but as you said whats $7 ? its nothing.


  4. Excellent explaination of something I have been scared and confused by. Really good write up there. Cheers Michelle.

  5. Wonderful article! I didn't have any success through Showcase, but I'd like to try again in the future. I can't believe how hard it is to get into the jewelry category. I tried the glass category. That is awesome it worked for you! =D

  6. Thanks for your review on the showcase! I'm looking for ways to promote my shop, and it's great reading in depth descriptions on what has and hasn't worked for others.