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4 Strategies to create 3D Printed Etsy Bestseller Listings

I've been selling 3d printed products on Etsy for the last 4 years and its my full time gig. Over the coarse of that journey, I've experimented a ton with different strategies to create Esty Bestseller listings. Thought I'd share the 4 things that have had the biggest impact.


#1: Is there demand for your product?


As 3D modelers, we tend to create products that we like and then try to sell them. This isn’t a bad strategy, but it should really be your starting point. Before you even create the listing, take pictures, and do all that exciting stuff, you need to rationally look to see if there is any demand for your product. If there is ever a time you need to be honest with yourself, it's now. It won’t do you any good to ignore this step if it means you do all the work to create a great listing for a product that no one actually wants. Nothing causes burnout faster than putting in a ton of work over and over again for no results. Set yourself up for success and do your research ahead of time. There a bunch of good tools to determine if the demand for your product is there.


#2: Give Etsy What It Wants


When creating your listing, keep the idea of “gifts” in mind. In case you missed it, Etsy is leaning hard into the idea of being the place for gifts. They developed a whole new search system all centered around gifts, so I believe it's in your best interest to lean into this. If your product makes for a good gift, let Etsy know. If your product makes a good Child's birthday gift, in the title add “Unique Child Birthday Gift”. Follow it up by reserving a few of your keywords to focus on the idea of it being a gift. I have a few rules I follow with my Etsy Shop, and this one is pretty simple.


"If Etsy is into it, I’m into it."

Etsy wants to be the place for gifts, so although I don’t know this for sure, I don’t think it's a stretch that if your listings communicate that they make great gifts, by default, you could see some increase in listing rank.


#3: Don't Waste Your Honeymoon


When Etsy is “ranking” your new listing, there are several factors that go into it. However, the biggest thing is just sales. Etsy is in the fee business, and they only get that fee when a sale is made. So, it’s in their best interest to promote and push listings that sell. New listings are being created every day and the 3d printing space is become more and more competitive. So, Etsy needs to make an early determination on if these new listings are going to be best sellers.


It's been widely reported that to help aid in this, they give all new listings a “Honeymoon” or “Halo” period. Essentially, they give new listings a boost for a certain period of time to see if they convert shoppers to sales. So, as Etsy sellers, we have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this window and use it to our advantage in an effort to show Etsy that our product will sell.


I do this in two ways.


  1. I run a very hefty sale on the new listing. There is a term in retail called the “loss leader.” The idea is that you sell a product at a loss in order to attract customers and stimulate other profitable sales. What we are doing isn’t quite that, but it’s close. For the first few weeks of posting, I calculate a discount rate where I’m not losing money but nearly breaking even on the sale. The idea is to price it so attractively that people purchase it shortly after listing it, which communicates to Etsy that it is a listing that converts.

  2. You need to advertise along side these discounts. I know there are a lot of opinions about Etsy Ads. However, for this “discount” price strategy to work, running ads is a must.

There is so much noise on Etsy, and our “Honeymoon” period only lasts so long. So, we have to cut through that noise and get our listing shown. If you just list and wait, it can take weeks or even months for your listing to rank or even be indexed by Etsy and Google. By the time they do that, your honeymoon period could be over, and you could have missed your window.


There is one more benefit to running this discount stragey that you get besides just ranking with Etsy. People love buying products other people are buying. This is why getting the Etsy “Best Seller” badge or the “12 people bought this in the last 24 hours” is so important. What’s great about those badges is that you can earn them when you are offering your product at a discount. You keep them even after you remove the discount. So, the series of events play out like this:


  1. List the product and offer a large discount (while advertising).

  2. Get sales at the discounted rate, you make little to no money.

  3. Earn a “12 people have bought in the last 24 hours” or “Bestseller” tag.

  4. Turn off the sale and list at full price.

New buyers see the listing, see the full price, see the “12 people have bought” or bestseller tag, and it instantly communicates to them that your product is worth the price and increases buyer confidence. Which is a must to generate consistent sales. They don’t know and don’t need to know that all the previous sales happened at a large discount.


One thing I want to make clear, though. I’m not encouraging you to price gouge your customers. Your non-discounted rate should be a fair price for your product. When you put it on discount, it should be an exceptionally good deal to encourage buyers. This strategy isn’t going to be of any benefit if you increase your price so that you still make your full profit even when you run the early "sale". The play here is short-term sacrifice for long-term benefit.


#4: Duplicate New Listings


Every time I list a new product, I take that new listing and I make 2 more identical versions of it. Now, why would I do that? I’ve learned something on my journey to a top 3D Printing Etsy Seller. We can do all the things, optimize keywords, create great titles, write catchy descriptions, and spend a bunch of time on our pictures.


We can and we should do all those things; it would be foolish not to put our best foot forward. At the end of the day, though, Etsy is a numbers game, and there is an element of luck as to which listing Etsy chooses to promote and rank in their search.


So, by duplicating the listing and only changing the thumbnail image for each duplicate listing, I’m essentially running A/B/C test on 3 different listings. What I noticed is that when I did this, almost every time one of the 3 listings would rank with Etsy and perform well, while the other 2 would do nothing.


We need to look at Etsy like a funnel. We drop all of our listings into the wide top, but then only a couple make it out the bottom as our Etsy Best Sellers. So, by duplicating every listing, you are essentially tripling the number of listings you are dropping into the funnel and 3xing the potential of best sellers coming out. While also getting the knowledge of what thumbnails work better for future listings.


Here is an example that I recently did. I designed and released these wall planters. I created 3 identical listings, with only the thumbnail being different. We can see here in the last 30 days, one of the listings has $0 in sales. While the second one has $67.48 in sales. However, the third listing has over $1,000 in sales just in the last 30 days from that one listing.




You are already making the one listing; how hard is it to duplicate it and change the thumbnail? Give it a try and let me know if it works.


I honestly do all the things I just laid out on all my new 3d printed products that I decide to list on Etsy. It’s been a game-changer for my Etsy Shop.

4 comments

4 Comments


Hey Sam, I actually really appreciate this content, it helps a lot with feeling like I'm not just wandering around aimlessly trying to figure everything out. For number 1, what if you're trying to aim for a niche? If you've done your research and you know that no one else is selling that product, but there doesn't seem like an obvious way to gauge how popular it will be, what should your market research look like? What tools do you recommend to use with finding any sort of market related to this presumably new product?

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I use Everbee (https://www.everbee.io/?via=3DDB) the most for looking at potential markets for Etsy. However if truly no one is selling a version of the product yet and its brand new I think you have a few options:


  1. Just list it and see what happens.

  2. Post about it on twitter or reddit and get feedback and see what people say about it. Probably hard to do if you don't have much of a following though.

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Sam I have decided to start selling 3d prints and your content has been invaluable to me. Keep up the great work and thank you for your guidance and sharing your knowledge with us all. You da best.

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Thanks for the appreciation, it means a lot!

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