A few weeks ago, I posed this question on twitter:
I was in the midst of cleaning up my shop, and realized that a) I had grown emotionally attached to designs that just weren't making it big and b) I was spending a lot of money renewing these items and it didn't seem to make sense to do so anymore.
My questions led to a lot of response from many Etsy sellers in my handmade community-- a very mixed response. Some suggested that I keep renewing until I sold the card. Some said I needed to let go and just let it expire. And others felt that I should keep renewing items simply to have more outlets for customers to enter my shop-- in other words, that I should think of it as advertising.
As I work toward streamlining and making my business stronger, renewing items on Etsy is a legitimate concern. I realized that I had no system in place in terms of keeping track of how many times a card was selling and how many times I was renewing a card with or without sales in between. For me, not having a system to keep track of these things seemed like a possible source of losing income and spending money that didn't need to be spent.
Selling a card for $4 when I had renewed it 5 times, suddenly meant that I had already cut $1 off from the price of the sale. For this reason, it just doesn't seem to make sense to keep renewing cards for sale if they don't sell. Additionally, I don't know that I could justify renewing a card's listing simply from a traffic standpoint when there are other ways that you can advertise that are much more cost effective.
That meant only one thing-- I would have to let go. While there are some cards that I love, they just might not be popular or they may never sell. And it simply doesn't seem to be good business practice to spend money simply because a design is near and dear to my heart. In turn, I've been starting to develop ways of keeping track of these things, and I've set limits for myself. If I've renewed a card a couple times and it just hasn't taken off, or it has never sold, it has to go.
In addition, focusing on the more popular designs has helped me to get a better idea of what sorts of inventory I should take with me to craft fairs. It has also sparked my creativity in terms of building a focus for new designs. I spend more time thinking about which ideas are truly great ideas. I'm less quick to make a card with just any old thing that pops into my head. And to honest, it's been freeing! I see the number of available designs in my shop dwindle, but at the same time, I know that what I am producing is truly something I am proud of and am completely satisfied with sharing with others.
I'm learning. Slowly, but surely, I'm figuring out this whole running a business thing. I still have a lot to soak up, but at least I'm making small steps of progress here and there.
What do you think? How do you decide whether or not to renew expired listings? Do you have a way to keep track of these statistics for your inventory? I'd love to hear your point of view!