Hello! My name is Alexa, Spoonflower’s Maker Community Manager, and I’m excited to bring you the first post in our 3-part Etsy Success Series. I’m a big believer in the power of storytelling – when you’re a maker or small business owner, telling your brand story and doing it well is absolutely critical to the success of your business! And while it shouldn’t be overly complicated and strenuous, it’s no easy feat. It takes a lot of planning and attention to detail. When it’s done well, it gives you a better chance of standing out from the crowd and reaching your ideal client.

Want to meet someone who tells their brand story incredibly well through the visuals their brand produces? Etsy shop owner and Small Business Grantee, Katie Jacoby of Chelsea and Marbles. Katie knows what her brand is all about and it informs every visual decision she makes. The result is a clear, visually appealing online shopping experience that sets Katie’s Etsy shop apart. Join us as Katie walks us through her 3 tips for designing an Etsy storefront that stands out. Along the way, look out for valuable advice from Isabella Diaz, Etsy’s Community Education Manager.

Katie: Making your small shop stand out in a sea of talented creators today can be a huge challenge, but one of the biggest assets you have to stand out against the crowd is your brand story and identity. After revamping my Etsy shop several times over the last five years, I’ve learned some tips along the way that will give your online storefront a clear identity, make it easier to shop, and most importantly, keep those sales coming in!

Top 3 Tips to Design an Etsy Storefront That Stands Out

1. Make Your Photo Editing Consistent

Product photos and lifestyle imagery are probably the most important factors in turning onlookers who just landed on your shop page into potential buyers. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste with inconsistent, bad, or lazy editing.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to ensure that your photos look consistent is to apply the same filter to all of them. Filters can instantly change the mood of a photo and give your brand an identity. For instance, maybe your shop sells handmade beauty and wellness products for holistic self-care, and you want to have light, bright, and airy brand imagery for a clean, minimalistic look. 

My shop, Chelsea and Marbles, focuses on natural and organic materials for modern baby goods, so I like to apply a slightly darker, moodier filter, especially to lifestyle images, that tends to resonate with my target bohemian-style mama.

Before Filter

After Filter

The other way I like to ensure a consistent and cohesive look amongst my product listings is to shoot them at the same angles and with the same styling. Don’t overthink it. Too much styling can be distracting and you don’t need to get fancy or artistic with the photography. Less is more with product photography. 

Find a couple of shots of one product that showcase the important details a buyer would want to know, then take all your photos the same way for all your other products. For example, with my rattles, I like to have one image of them in my hand because it shows the scale of the object without any additional clutter.

Bonus Tip: Your shop’s About section is where you can share your business’s story with photos and video. Many sellers like to give shoppers a behind-the-scenes look at their creative process, the story behind their products, and introduce teammates or collaborators that they work with. 

-Isabella Diaz, Etsy Community Education Manager

What’s the secret to finding the best light for your photos? Spoonflower’s resident photographer, Alex, shares some of his helpful tips!

2. Think ‘Big Picture’ For Visual Formatting

When you walk into a physical retail shop, isn’t the shopping experience a lot more enjoyable when similar items are displayed together and there’s an intentional flow to the merchandising? Having an online shop is the same way! Think about which items would be “merchandised” together if they were in a brick-and-mortar store. Maximize the visual impact by utilizing larger lifestyle imagery in banners and featured items that look compelling, help to tell your brand story, and draw that buyer in.

Imagine you’re online shopping for a super cute dog bandana for your furry bestie and a quick search brings you to an Etsy shop that offers lots of great-looking accessories for dogs and humans alike. The problem is they aren’t organized in any specific way. There’s a 4th of July Dog Bandana next to a Christmas-themed headband for a little girl…You just don’t have time to sift through all the listings, so onto the next shop it is!

Wouldn’t it be easier to see all the dog accessories next to each other? Fortunately, the function to rearrange the listings in your shop exists for shop owners so you can customize the layout of your shop exactly how you want it, and it only takes a few minutes, so don’t overlook that step!

Personally, I like to group Collections together by colors and theme, as opposed to product function, because that’s what looks best and makes the most sense for my shop, but I encourage you to experiment with rearranging your listings and finding a layout that’s intentional and makes you more sales. This is an opportunity to give newcomers to your shop a quick snapshot of what you offer and what your brand is about through visual merchandising.

Bonus Tip: Listing videos can also help buyers feel more excited and confident about making a purchase. Video can be a great way to address common questions, show off your products in use, any special detail, as well as your process and unboxing experience. We’ve also seen on our end that shoppers are more likely to purchase an item if the listing includes a video.*

-Isabella Diaz, Etsy Community Education Manager

*Based on a July 2020 analysis of over 5 million buyers, comparing the purchasing behavior of those who were shown listing videos to those who were not.

3. Keep It Fresh!

Don’t let your brand and shop imagery get stale! I recommend updating your shop’s lifestyle images and/or banner and featured listings at least once a season, and across every platform for consistency. This is especially important before big shopping seasons, such as Christmas. (Or if you’re a bridal shop, before the wedding season, if you’re a swimwear designer, before summer, and so on…) 

Refreshing your shop look from time to time will inject some new energy and keep shoppers excited to see what’s new. If your shop looks the same every time someone comes back to land on your page, they will eventually get bored and assume you never have new products.

In addition, getting new seasonal images will give you more content for your social media channels, your email newsletter, and any other marketing efforts you are undertaking. It helps to keep your audience engaged and yet again, reinforce that brand story that you’re always telling!

Bonus Tip: Your banner is situated at the top of your homepage and is the most prominent graphic that buyers see when visiting your shop. This is a great spot to show your products in use; feature a styled shot that highlights your collection as a whole; or demonstrate how your products fit into seasonal changes, gift-giving holidays, milestones, and upcoming special occasions. I like to think of shop banners as a virtual window display!

-Isabella Diaz, Etsy Community Education Manager

Want to dive deeper into designing a compelling brand story and identity? Learn from other creative entrepreneurs like Katie through our Small Business Handbook.

The Spoonflower Small Business Handbook | Spoonflower Blog
The Spoonflower Small Business Handbook | Spoonflower Blog
The Spoonflower Small Business Handbook | Spoonflower Blog

About the Author

Katie Jacoby is a soon-to-be mom of 2 little humans and a former NYC fashion designer. After leaving her career in fashion and relocating to Upstate New York in 2017 to start a family, she turned her hobby of selling cute handmade things on Etsy into a full-time endeavor of designing and selling baby toys, swaddles, and accessories. Her company, Chelsea and Marbles, is now carried in over 60 retail shops worldwide and continuing to grow! You can follow along on Instagram @chelseaandmarbles