Podcast Episode 95: 7 Reasons Etsy Shops Don’t Make Sales

etsy podcast Sep 21, 2023
Asian woman thinking while looking at her laptop screen. Text reading




Hey hey my friends! How are you doing on this fine September day? I cannot tell you how happy my heart is to be in Wisconsin for the color change this year. The air is so crisp, the nights are cold, and the colors on the trees are slowly changing.

It’s sheer perfection to be out of Texas right now where it is literally still almost 100 degrees. LOLLLLLL.

I once read a quote about fall that I’ll never forget because it’s so on point: It says “Autumn paints in colors that summer has never seen.” Does that just pierce anyone else’s soul? I love it! Gives me all the feels.

In other news, Lorelai is doing great in 3rd grade with her online school and I’m happier than ever that we made that jump. And for everyone who followed the story of her golden retriever puppy Olive who almost died multiple times the first few months we had her—she is doing GREAT. She is huge and happy and the sweetest thing. I should share more pics of her on my Insta stories because she’s so much fun. The hard part is getting her to stand still long enough for a cute picture.

Hunter just turned 11 months old which… hurts my brain frankly. No one told me it’s this much faster with the second one. So we have a 1 year birthday party to plan.

And otherwise I’ve just been burning the 2 AM oil getting the new course done and launched. The doors closed for early bird enrollment last week and I’m now just putting finishing touches on the website maintenance so several hundred of you wonderful people can get in there and start learning and blowing up your Etsy shop in time for the holidays. I’m so excited-- and the student Facebook group is already hoppin’!

So my intention for this episode is to keep it shorter than usual, but jam-packed with actionable value---- we’ll see if I follow through on the “shorter” part of that commitment. LOLLLLL

But before we get into the meat of it, I want to put feelers out there because I am looking for Etsy story guests! From now on I’m going to have a link to apply to be a guest in the shownotes of every episode but also on the podcast page of my website.

You do not have to be a full time or 6 figure Etsy seller to be a GREAT candidate! You guys went GAGA for the camping niche episode with Jenn Atkins last week. I got more notes about that single episode than I have on almost any other! And Jenn is just a few hundred sales in. She’s a couple of steps ahead of many of you—and that’s often the best kind of person to learn from.

So what’s the criteria? You need to have a unique Etsy story (such as the way you stumbled upon your product, or success sending your own traffic to your store, or really fast sales, or really slow sales with a breakthrough—anything that makes your experience different and/or interesting), you need to have at least 100 sales in the past 12 months, you need to have some wisdom to pass on to other Etsy sellers, and ideally you need to be in a niche or have a product that we haven’t talked about in at least 6 months.

If you’d like to apply, go to this link:

And I will let you know within 60 days of your submission. I promise to be very gentle if it’s a “not yet!”

Also--- if there is someone else’s shop that you just LOVE--- they have the most unique products or story—or way of promoting their shop, please feel free to DM me their shop as a suggestion and I’ll reach out to them!


With that bit of housekeeping out of the way --- let’s chat about today’s main topic, shall we? 7 Reasons Etsy Shops Don’t Make Sales.


Diving right into the thick of it:

Reason number 1 is that--

1) The niche could be too Saturated.

When you hear someone refer to a niche or Etsy or a market as being “saturated,” what they mean is that there is so much competition that it’s hard to come in as a new player and get a piece of the market.

A simpler way of saying it is-- if a niche is too saturated, there’s already too much competition for the customer demand.

Here’s the thing though—just because a niche has a lot of competition in it, doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing or that you can’t ever get in there. It just means you need to be more strategic and find a micro niche within it to get through. A micro-niche is a smaller niche within a niche.

So for example—the “Mom” niche is super saturated. Things like shirt for mom, gift for mom, anything just generally “for mom” can be realllllllly hard to get in front of shoppers because there hundreds of thousands if not millions of competing listings.

BUT the “4H mom” micro-niche isn’t so bad. Neither is the “bowling mom” micro-niche. Do they have as many searches each month as “Mom”—NO—not remotely close. But they also don’t have the intense competition either.

So in any space that is super crowded with competition, hunt for the less saturated micro-niches. The great news is, if you end up with a best-seller in a micro-niche, Etsy will start pushing your listing higher on the larger related niches too, because they know if your customers love it, others will too.  

The #1 most common issue when I’m coaching an Etsy seller is they’re trying to compete with keywords that are WAY too broad. So take a look at your keywords in your titles and tags and check how broad they are.

Sale Samurai is my FAVORITE 3rd party tool for finding micro-niches! I have a little tutorial on YouTube for them that I will link in the shownotes AND a 20% off coupon for the entire lifetime of your membership with them. So they’re worth a peek for what they can help you find. At the very least try their free trial.

Sale Samurai sneak peek:

𝗚𝗲𝘁 Sale Samurai

𝗣𝗟𝗨𝗦 use my 𝗗𝗜𝗦𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗧 𝗖𝗢𝗗𝗘 to get 𝟮𝟬% 𝗢𝗙𝗙! ▶ howtosellyourstuff (all in lowercase)


2) There’s no demand for your product.

Sometimes there isn’t (necessarily) something technically wrong with your listing, your product just isn’t in demand on Etsy.  

And when this happens, it’s usually because your product is not what people want for several possible reasons:

-It’s just not something that ever sells on Etsy (if you know it sells somewhere else, you can try driving your own traffic to it from Pinterest or TikTok)

-It’s out of season

-Your design isn’t good enough to compete

-It’s too eclectic—I see this when a seller only makes things “they” would really like rather than studying demand on Etsy

-And to add on to that – there will be no demand when a seller is not focused on understanding and serving their customer

As you can probably tell from this list—some of these reasons are really concrete—and others are more obscure. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize (or admit) that your product isn’t something that anyone wants to buy—I know I went through that! For several months nobody wanted my signs in the beginning!

But if you spend time regularly building your brain cache--- which means you study the best sellers in your niche like crazy—you’d begin to train your brain to recognize demand.

Another more immediate thing you can do is you can find out how many times a keyword phrase is searched for monthly by using a tool, again, like Sale Samurai—or Everbee. I use them in tandem for all my 3rd party SEO research.

I’ll make sure to link Everbee too in case you would like to try them. The great thing about Everbee is with my link you can get a free account. I love that they have that option. I also have a quick YouTube tutorial for them:

Get a free Everbee account:

My Everbee youtube tutorial:

If you at least know whether or not something is being searched for, you can start to get your arms around demand.


 3) Your SEO is not accurate or strong enough.

If you’re not getting views or sales, that means customers aren’t even finding you. And if they’re not finding you, either your keywords or SEO is wrong, OR the niche is so saturated that you’re showing up really far back in the search results—and they’re never getting that far.

SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization.

Etsy is a search engine like Google or Pinterest which means that people on the site generally find what they’re looking for by typing words into the search bar.

So the words that a shopper types into the search bar when they’re looking for your product needs to correlate to the words you have in your titles and tags. That’s how Etsy will know to show your listings to that shopper.

You can find best selling SEO by studying listings that are already performing really well in your niche—like listings with the best seller badge.


 4) Your thumbnail photo/mockup isn’t good enough OR needs adjusting.

I think our thumbnails are one of those things that we really can benefit from someone else’s feedback on. I’ve just seen it so many times (and fallen victim to this myself) where the seller is so close to the project that they “see” their images differently than a shopper in the feed does.

Your primary photo or thumbnail has to be awesome. It just does. First it has to jump out in the search results for a shopper to even notice you.

Then, it has to communicate enough at first glance to look like a quality product, THEN it has to have enough emotional connection to the shopper for them to say “ooo! I like that one!” and start to consider the other factors in your listing.

So if you are getting lots of views but not getting sales, I would get some feedback on your photos. What do the best sellers in your niche use as their thumbnails? When you look at them side by side, can you tell what the shopper is preferring about theirs? How can you tweak yours?

I think it’s a good idea to test several thumbnails when I’m trying to figure out what the market loves. So I’ll copy my listing and create a duplicate and all I’ll change is that first thumbnail picture so I can isolate one thing to figure out if I can get my sales up.

I will also add, if you’re in the POD space and haven’t invested in mockups—it will be hard to make sales. The Printify mockup pictures will not cut it because they create no emotional connection.


5) Your pricing (including shipping) isn’t competitive in the marketplace.

If you are not already a best seller, independently famous, pushing your own traffic to your shop, the only seller in your niche, or making something in such demand that it will fly off the shelves no matter what—you need to be priced in the median of the market.


If you’re someone who can be easily discouraged, you might consider pricing a bit low for a short while so you start getting some sales, then once you have sales and reviews, bump it up a bit to the median of the market so you can turn a bit of a profit.


When you study the market’s pricing, make sure you consider shipping costs as well. There’s a real psychology about how much people will spend on shipping---- and it seems to depend upon the niche.


 6) Your turn-around time is too long.

With the exception of high end, super custom, handmade items like a wedding dress or piece of furniture, today’s shopper will not have much patience for a long turn around time.

Aim to ship within a few days—or if you’re making something custom from scratch—maybe a week to get your product in the mail.

Waiting is a huge deterrent to shoppers. ESPECIALLY if your competitors are doing it much faster.


 7) Your listing doesn’t answer a shopper’s questions.

This is one of the least talked about reasons why some shops don’t get sales. But it’s also SO easily corrected!

Most shoppers will not DM you if they have a question--- they just move on to the next competitor. It is a rare gift for someone to take the time to reach out—which is one reason why I harp on excellent and friendly customer service.

So your listing needs to answer all possible questions both in the photo gallery AND the listing description so that if someone has an FAQ, they can find their answer quickly and easily. I also recommend having the FAQ section of your shop completed to help you bring in sales.


And that is our 7 reasons Etsy shops don’t make sales. How did I do? We’re a bit shorter today than normal I think! LOL!

I hope you found this helpful and it got you thinking about ways to optimize your listings or research your niche to evaluate how you can compete better.

Thank you so much for spending this time with me today! I’m rooting for you this holiday season and SO excited to hear your breakthroughs in the months ahead!

Until next week--- please say a prayer or send some good vibes my way as I wrap up this course launch--- and as always, go make something awesome!



Do you have an Etsy shop but don’t get as many sales as you’d like? This week we’re talking about 7 of the most common reasons that sellers don’t make sales on Etsy. Listen in to learn insights and tips that will help get your shop bringing in the cha-chings.


**“How to Sell Your Stuff on Etsy” is not affiliated with or endorsed by



⭐Apply to be a Podcast Guest:


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𝗣𝗟𝗨𝗦 use my 𝗗𝗜𝗦𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗧 𝗖𝗢𝗗𝗘 to get 𝟮𝟬% 𝗢𝗙𝗙! ▶ howtosellyourstuff (all in lowercase)

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⭐Book an Etsy coaching session with Lizzie:


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Me! And the Resources section on my website. If you have questions specific to your personal niche on Etsy, you should definitely come check out my Resource page at where I will connect you with my favorite free and paid resources created by experts I have personally vetted. Whether you sell POD, digital products, printable, physical products and more—there’s info waiting for you to help you on your Etsy journey! 

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