If you're looking for a quick answer to this question, here it is: maybe.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, for the month of August, I challenged myself to list five items (either renew expired or sold out items or list new ones) a day. It's now October and I'm sharing my results.
The Numbers ... and Success!
In August, I listed 24 new items, renewed 46 expired items, and renewed 53 sold out items. I also had 56 items auto-renewed; those were items that had multiple quantities, so if one sold, another would automatically relist without me doing anything. That's 179 total items, more than the 155 that was my goal.
As you may know, Etsy charges 20 cents per item to list, so for you number crunchers, this experiment cost me $35.80 to run.
I didn't do anything differently (other than list consistently) than I normally do. I didn't do any advertising or promotion through Etsy teams or paid ads. I didn't blast Facebook or Twitter with my new listings. I didn't launch any new product lines that were significantly different than what I normally sell. I just listed and listed and listed.
I had 31% more orders this August than last August and my gross dollar amount was up 58%. So it worked, right?
Wait ... Not So Fast!
Here are some of the reasons it's hard to make a firm conclusion about the necessity of listing every day on Etsy:
- Etsy experiments heavily with their website layout and functionality. It's possible that one or more of their changes influenced the results. I'll never know for sure since they keep those experiments heavily guarded.
- I had one item go crazy with views when someone posted it on Instagram during the month of August. It was a sold out item, but it's possible that it brought in traffic that resulted in more sales of other items. That's the kind of variable that is impossible to control.
- It would make a stronger case if I had some data on months with no listing activity at all for comparison, but I'm not willing to do that at this point.
- I looked at my numbers for July and September, the months before and after my experiment. For both those months, it was "business as usual" which meant that I renewed and relisted on a random basis. Here's what I found:
- In July, the number of sales were up 44% and the gross dollar amount was up 34% over last July.
- In September, the number of sales went down 3% but the gross dollar amount was up 48% over last September.
- In July and September, I listed fewer items than I did in August.
- By just looking at the number of sales, August (the experimental month) was my biggest month of the three, but I actually earned more money in September.
What I Learned
I'm still glad I did this experiment, even if the results were inconclusive. Here's what I learned:
- Give yourself a daily quota. Five items was definitely ambitious. Some days it was very hard to get to that number. Five is not a sustainable number for me (especially with the deadlines for the two books I'm editing), but it did prove to me that posting one or two items a day is doable. Having a firm quota to meet can be helpful. Sometimes with an online shop you feel like you are never finished working on it. A listing quota gave me a way to focus without being overwhelmed.
- Make yourself accountable. You helped me meet my quota on difficult days. Yes, you! Even if you're a reader who never comments, I still thought about how I would let you down if I didn't meet my goal for a very good reason. (Just saying that I felt lazy wouldn't cut it!) If you want to try a similar experiment, I'd recommend that you tell as many people as possible.
- Change up your routine if needed. Normally I use the "draft" listing mode on Etsy quite heavily. I like to do a bunch of tagging all at once or work on photos for several listings. I rarely work on a single listing from start to finish at one go, but I did it a few times in August in order to meet my quota. I'm not sure if it was better or worse for me, but it was different.
- Results are not instant. The first three days that I tried this experiment I had no sales at all. This made me feel a little panicked and I almost gave up the experiment. It was a good reminder that you can't expect instant results when you make a change.
- Newness doesn't matter. The number of sales (or lack of sales) didn't seem to relate to whether I was listing a completely new item or whether I was renewing something that had sold out or expired. (I never renewed items that were currently active, by the way.) There seemed to be no correlation between the two that I could find.
- More listings, more sales? My highest sales days (between 8-9 sales a day) were on days when I had listed between 6-11 items that day (more than my normal quota). That's interesting, but maybe not conclusive. There were other days that I listed 6 items where I had one sale. Still, it makes me wonder what might happen if I tried upping my listing count. If I listed ten items a day instead of five, would my results be significantly different?
- Track patterns. One of the most important things I got from this experiment was just writing down the number of sales on my paper calendar every day. Looking at it, I can see that there are definitely trends to more sales on certain days of the week and fewer on other days. I'm sure if I mapped out several months, I'd also see patterns for sales occurring at certain times of the month.