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How to Quickly Find the Best Stuff on EtsyPosted on 05/09/2011 by
There’s no question Etsy is a fantastic place to shop. It is essentially THE place to connect with artists and designers selling beautiful handcrafted items. You can find everything from baby furniture to decorative bowls to paintings to media centers.
In fact, over 800,000 active sellers can be found on Etsy, listing over 8.5 million products. Whew! But all that artisan goodness creates a challenging problem –wading through the muck to get to the good stuff.
Just imagine walking through a mall with 800,000 stores and you start to understand the vastness. Yes, of course you can use the search box on Etsy, but to really find the good stuff you need to leverage some specialty tools and tricks. We group these into:
1. Shopping tools – when you know what you want
2. Browsing tools – when you want to look around
3. Tracking tools – to follow the stores you like
Shopping tools are most useful when you have some idea of what you’re looking for and need to find a terrific item at the right price. Want an end table created from reclaimed wood? Looking for a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired chair?
· Special Google Query (very efficient) – the best shops on Etsy tend to get mentioned in the media and their shops get linked to by design bloggers, mentioned on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Google uses this information to rank the best Etsy stores. You can have Google do a special, yet simple, query to get what you want by entering the following at Google: “site:www.etsy.com/shop/ decorative pillow” (without the quotes). For other items, simply replace “decorative pillow” with whatever you’re shopping for. For example, try “wood bench,” or “French décor.”
o Bonus Tip – when the Google results appear, click once to the right of the listing (not on the listing) and a preview of the Etsy store will appear to the right. Then by hovering over the individual results you can quickly scan each Etsy store.
· Gift Ideas Using Facebook (nicely personal) – by importing your Facebook friends and their “likes” into Etsy, you can have Etsy be your personal shopper. For example, if your friend likes Norwegian sweaters or The Black Eyed Peas or Art Deco paintings, then you’ll see a listing of Etsy products for each of those. It really works and you might be surprised what by your friends like! Click on “Gift Ideas” from the “Ways to Shop” section on the home page.
· Google Product Search – most Etsy products are now also listed on a few other sites, such as Google’s product search. Simply enter a search query with Etsy at the beginning, such as “Etsy Barn Wood Table” (without the quotes). This is a good place to see Etsy store reviews.
· StylishHome Catalog – we showcase both artisan-made and vintage Etsy products in a wide variety of home décor categories such as rugs, bowls, and bookcases. Here you can shop for products from both Etsy sellers and traditional retailers at the same time. Etsy products are shown just below the new products in the catalog listings.
· Shop Local – there are 170,000 shops on Etsy with a local designation, usually a city name. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have a physical storefront in your town, but they might, and if they do then you can also visit them there. Browsing locally also increases your odds of finding a designer with a particular regional style. For example, a designer or photographer in Phoenix is more likely to produce Southwest décor and images than one in, say, Vermont. You might also utilize this method if you want to keep your dollars in your local economy or want to minimize shipping charges.
Browsing tools are best used when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for and could use a little inspiration. There are stunning items listed on Etsy and browsing through them can be very motivating, fun, and addictive.
· Treasuries (best eye candy) – these are the cream of Etsy. These curated lists are put together by talented member-volunteers who organize the products into thematic groups, usually containing a variety of products. Start by clicking on “Treasury” from the “Ways To Shop” section at the lower left of the home page. Once you are within Treasury you can add keywords to the search box to help narrow the list. When you find a curator with taste you admire you can click to see their other treasuries, often giving you many treasuries aligned with your style.
· Taste Test (really works) – a brilliant visual test. You click on a few items to express your taste and Etsy finds a variety of appealing products with similar style. An amazing tool that’s both powerful and fun. You won’t find links to it off the home page so click to the visual test here.
· Browse by Category in Gallery View – sellers list their items in categories such as “Furniture,” letting you see a wide variety of goods from an array of designers. The default setting is to sort the list by most recent in a detailed list format, however changing it to gallery view makes it more visually browsable. Once you are in a category, click the gallery button as shown here.
o Tags & Materials – once you’ve drilled down to a particular product, there are related tags (if you were in the “furniture” category you might get a tag for “side table” or material tags such as “maple” or “glass”). Be aware this isn’t a narrowing method, it will pull in any product on Etsy with that tag; in other words, anything made of glass and not just glass tables.
· Browse by Color – move your mouse over a color, click, and up pops a product of the same hue.
· Time Machine with Auto Scroll – view just-listed items. This is a handmade marketplace with many one-of-a-kind items, so getting a first look can be lucrative. You can also see items about to expire or just sold. Recently-sold items can sometimes lead you to a hot-selling store. You can also set the scroll speed to have items go by like a ticker tape.
· Pounce – similar to time machine, except this showcases products from new stores that haven’t had a sale yet. Can help you find hot new stuff.
· Email – subscribe to one of several Etsy newsletters. The Daily Etsy Finds delivers handpicked items similar to Treasury. There’s also a wedding newsletter and the Etsy Dudes newsletter for guys who like to shop.
OK, now that you’ve found some cool stores with great stuff, you’ll want to keep track of those designers. There are two very effective ways to do this.
· Activity Feed – add your favorite stores to your Etsy “circle.” The activity of the stores in your circles will now appear in your activity feed on Etsy, showcasing their new products, their new favorite products, their new favorite stores and other stores they’re adding to their circles.
· Follow Your Favorite Stores via RSS – each Etsy store has its own RSS feed, allowing you to follow their listings outside of Etsy using feed readers such as My Yahoo, Google Reader, iGoogle or even your web browser. The subscription links are on the bottom left side of each shop’s main shop page.
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