{Business Tips} Two Hours to a Holiday Ready Etsy Shop

A couple months ago, Etsy kicked off their annual Holiday Boot Camp aimed at getting shop owners organized and prepared for the holidays.  For those who have been participating in the program, you are set and ready for the quickly approaching Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days.  For those who consider participating or are waiting for the right time to “get started”….TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

I know everyone is strapped for time trying to juggle many priorities – making new items, posting listings, fulfilling orders, not to mention keeping some semblance of work/life balance.  So, the goal of this post is to help you focus for just two hours and make significant progress towards getting your shop holiday shopping ready.  Just like the advent calendar by EcoMonster above, the days until the holidays are counting down.  The key is not to wait – find two hours today and make some great strides.


TheAbbeyStillRoom Organic Chai

First, you need to gather your “supplies”.  Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Computer with internet access

1 Quiet Space without interruptions from TV, Radio, Family, etc.

1 Notebook

2 Writing Utensils – Different Colors

1 Clock or Stopwatch to time each activity and ensure you don’t go over 2 hours

Rules to Follow

The intent of this exercise is to do as much as you can in a short amount of time.  However, as you go along you may realize things that you want to do that will exceed the time limit of the activity.  This is where the notebook and writing utensil comes into play.  As you think of “to-do’s”, write them down in the notebook.  Also, if you don’t complete an item in the allotted time, jot that down as a to-do in the notebook.

Use the clock or stopwatch to keep you on track.  Sometimes the pressure of less time to think and more time to do will produce some of the best ideas!  At the end of the two hours, I can guarantee you will be proud of all that you have accomplished.

#1 Overall Shop Look – Commit:  10 Minutes (Total – 10 min)

Start your holiday update with a 10 minute scan of the overall look of your shop.  Check out your home page, profile, and shop sections through your customer’s eyes.  Determine if there are elements that visually need adjusting.  What do you notice first when you arrive at the site?  Are you happy with the four items you have selected for the top positions?  Does your banner need an update?  Do the items on the page need rearranging to provide a more cohesive look?

If you still have time, take a quick glance at some of your items.  Make sure that the lead image for each of the products is the strongest photo you have.  If not, switch it out.  Remember, that image you select will be the customer’s first impression.

#2 – Welcome Message – Commit:  5 Minutes (Total – 15 min)

Sign by Rustic Carvings

The welcome message right under your banner is the first text that customers see when they arrive at your shop.  Is there a way to update this note and provide more of a “holiday shopping” feel?  Are there things you want shoppers to know about your holiday policies?  This section is a great place to capture any headlines you would like someone to see when they arrive at the shop.

In addition to the welcome message, Etsy has added the capability to put Facebook and Twitter links at the top of your page with the welcome.  For those who use Facebook and Twitter, this is a great opportunity to get fans and followers.  If you have not yet activated them, the process takes just a minute (you have time!).  Go to your shop “Info and Appearance” and scroll down to links.

#3 – Review Your Profile – Commit:  5 Minutes (Total – 20 min)

The profile page of your shop is probably one you don’t visit too often.  However, many potential customers go there to learn more about the artist behind the work.  When you read your description, is it accurate?  Do you find it interesting?  If you need a bit of inspiration, check out the post “Your Profile Tells Your Story”.  While you may not get a new profile completely written in the short five minutes allocated, you can make a bit of headway and add some specific tasks to your to-do list.

#4 – Update Policies and Logistics – Commit:  10 Minutes (Total – 30 min)

During the holidays your policies and logistics are more important to your customers than ever.  They want to know the last possible day to order to ensure the gifts will arrive on time without expedited shipping.  If the timing does require fast turnaround, what are your policies and associated costs?  What about custom orders – when is the last date you can accommodate to ensure they arrive on time?  Answering these types of questions right in your policies and possibly even in your listing descriptions will save time for customers in the last minute hustle and bustle.

#5 – Identify Five Focus Products – Commit:  5 Minutes (Total – 35 min)

Gift Certificate by OffTheHooks

When you consider all the items in your shop, which five are the ones that fit a holiday shopping list the best?  Spend five minutes figuring out what those items would be.  Moving forward, those five products should take priority.  Make sure everything about the listings are perfect.  Leverage them as the feature in all your marketing materials.  Creating focus can help you make a stronger impact.

In addition to your focus products, have you considered offering holiday gift certificates?  While not right for all businesses, these do offer customers less pressure in picking the “perfect” item for the recipient. If you think the gift certificates are right for you, add them to your to do list.

#6 – Consider Categories – Commit:  10 Minutes (Total – 45 min)

Most of our shops leverage categories to organize our listings and make it easier for shoppers to find things quickly.  For the holidays, you might want to consider some “holiday themed” categories.  Grouping items in sections like “Stocking Stuffers”, “Gifts for Teachers”, “Hostess Gifts”, or “Gifts Under $25” could be just what is needed to inspire a purchase the shopper wasn’t considering when they arrived.  For example, a shopper comes to your shop to buy a gift for her girlfriend, she sees the “Gifts for Teacher” category and remembers she hasn’t bought a teacher gift yet, she checks out the category of choices and ends up buying two items instead of one!

#7 – Brainstorm Search Terms – Commit:  10 Minutes (Total – 55 min)

Over the last several months here on EcoEtsy we have focused on content to help improve the likelihood of your shop topping the list in search.  We reviewed using keywords and their importance in the new relevancy search.  Those keywords continue to be important during the big search of the holiday shopping season.  Update the tags to reflect what buyers may be looking for this time of year.  Consider things like “stocking stuffers”, “gifts for pets”, etc.  Make sure you have ideas to fill all of the possible positions – leaving out even one of the word slots could be a missed customer view and sale.

#8 – Update Listings – Commit:  35 Minutes (Total – 90 min)

Start with your five focus products and spend the next half hour making those listings as strong as they can be.  Here are the listing elements to consider:

  • Photography – Do any of the photos need updating?  Have you used all 5 positions?  Have you included a photo of your holiday gift wrapping?
  • Item Description – Read the description as if you were on the site shopping for a holiday gift.  What improvements could you make to create a stronger connection with your shopper.  Etsy has a great blog post for reference focused on Writing Customer Friendly Descriptions.
  • Tags – This is such an important part of your shop strategy.  Take a look at the list you created in the last activity and ensure you are covering the key words and ideas in your listings.

If you finish early, move on to other items in your shop.  Get through as many as you can in the time available.  If you can’t squeeze everything you want to do into the allotted time, add new items to your “to-do” list.

#9 – Create a Marketing Plan – Commit:  20 Minutes (Total – 110 min)

During the holidays, there are a ton of marketing options.  Here are just a couple to get your thoughts started:

  • Sales CampaignEtsy has tags for sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Check out the details and see if these sales opportunities are right for your shop.  The November post from Etsy’s Merchandising Desk is full of ideas!
  • Search Ads – Maybe this is the time for you to try an Etsy search campaign to increase awareness and bring more traffic to your site during this important shopping month.
  • Loyalty Discounts – This is a great time of year to thank loyal customers with a shopping discount.
  • Treasuries – The holiday provide lots of inspiration for treasuries surrounding different themes.  They can drive interest in your shop while highlighting great artists.  Etsy will be looking to feature gift guides with different themes throughout the shopping season.  If you create one of these treasuries, Etsy suggests adding “gift guide” as one of your tags.
  • Facebook – Do you have a posting plan for the next 6 weeks?  Maybe you could do some special promotions for fans.
  • email – For those with an e-mail list, the holidays are a great time to send notes to loyal customers.

#10 – Prioritize “To-do’s” and add Deadlines – Commit:  10 Minutes (Total – 2 hrs)

Stocking by Mandinka

With the last 10 minutes of your two hours, take a look at all the items you wrote on your “to-do” list.  Now, pick up your 2nd pen color and start ranking priorities.  Which item is most important?  Label it with a “1”, estimate the time it will take to accomplish, and set a completion date.

Continue this process with the next important item on the list until all the to-dos have a number, estimated time, and completion date.  By putting the most important items at the top of the list, you will ensure those are completed quickest.  If you don’t end up getting to the entire list, at least the items you deem most important will have been accomplished.


Hopefully, spending these two focused hours and a bit of time with follow-up items will get your shop in shape before Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive.  Even if you don’t get to all the items on your to-do list you will still have made great strides in getting holiday ready.  For those who take the two hour challenge, share your experience below.  If you have other tips for the team on how to get ready quickly, let us know!  Good luck!!

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  1. This was a GREAT post. Exactly what I needed right now. Thanks!

  2. Lori;

    Great Post! I do this at least on a quarterly basis and find that its of great help. It gives me time to figure out what sells what should be discontinued and what new products I could offer.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. You Rock!