I’ve posted about this on Instagram before, and it always seems to ignite a little fire. No one cares about your Etsy sales number besides you.
Etsy is not a perfect platform, but it is a damn good one. We believe it is the best marketplace handmade business owners have right now.
Sellers (and some buyers) often gripe about Etsy changes, but for me I find this one UNCHANGED thing is my biggest grips: displaying the seller’s sales number on the homepage of the Etsy shop. It’s been this way since day one and hasn’t changed.
(Side story: I think people would complain a lot more if Etsy NEVER changed. However, this is a story for another day.)
The fact that Etsy publicly displays your sales number has ALWAYS seemed ridiculous to me.
How Etsy Sellers Interpret Their Sales Number
For years, I have heard so many sellers express discomfort with this number on display so publicly.
Etsy sellers take it to mean something about them and their product or as an indicator of success or failure. It’s not.
We get emails and DMs regularly from people who do exactly what we know people do when they see the sales number in an Etsy shop.
“I saw XYZ person’s shop and they have XXXX sales and their shop is no better than mine…” or, “their shop is comparable to mine, why do they have so many sales and I have so few sales?”
We hear from sellers that they feel their shop sales number holds them back and they feel awkward about how low it is compared to the years they’ve been open.
Those are just a couple of presentations of how people use the information they infer from Etsy sales numbers.
There are so many concerns surrounding this number! This number causes a lot of useless worrying.
Why Your Etsy Sales Number Doesn’t Matter
What matters is your experience, not your sales number.
Your Etsy sales number is merely a tale based on a true story. It doesn’t provide a full account of what actually matters in your business to you OR your customers.
The things that matter aren’t apparent in that number, and no one really cares about it as much as you do – particularly not in the way you think they do. If you currently care a lot about this number and feel some kind of way about it that you’d prefer not to, I think you’d care a lot less about it if you understood it better. Don’t make it mean something about you or your product because it literally doesn’t.
I don’t want to discredit the reality that SINCE IT IS THERE, yes, it does feel nice to see that number get bigger. Just like most numbers displayed publicly, we tend to prefer they are larger. If it wasn’t there though, you wouldn’t even think of it. You can already see those numbers for yourself. But because Etsy has put it there, we put meaning on it. This is normal but detrimental.
It’s a vanity metric more than anything.
It doesn’t accurately account for the things I KNOW you care about as a seller and business owner.
Some Etsy Sales number examples:
I could have 1 sale that totaled $5000 but no one would know it.
Another seller could have 300 sales that totaled $5000.
Both situations are awesome, but my shop would say ‘1 sale’, and the other would say 300. People make judgments on that.
Maybe you had NO sales but you were contacted for a licensing deal that made you a lot of money or you got invited to a show where you sold out of a product. AWESOME! No one knows it based on your Etsy sales number, but that is your experience and that experience matters.
Maybe you’re normal and had a few days with no sales and a few days with several sales, and it’s all fine.
Maybe you had five visitors and four sales. That’s incredible. But “4 sales” looks a lot less exciting than an 80% conversion rate. I bet you care A LOT about an 80% conversion rate.
So you can see how it leaves out quite a bit of the picture. We should get rid of it.
Your Etsy sales number is just the number of transactions your shop has completed. That’s it.
It doesn’t matter how many sales you or anyone else has. What matters is the quality of those transactions, the quality of the work and relationship, how you got those sales, and what those sales did for you. Also, as business owners, most of us would agree that internally, revenue and profit would matter more than the number of sales displayed on Etsy.
The amount of sales reflected in that number is irrelevant.
It’s important to note that the Etsy sales number only counts transactions, not items. Suppose you buy a quantity of five items from one listing (something pretty standard in my shop), that is considered ‘1 sale’, not five. So it’s not accurately representing how much you’ve made in terms of items created or revenue.
It is not a complete picture at all – it’s not even a meaningful picture of someone’s business. The number of sales recorded in your Etsy shop number does NOT matter to anyone except you.
I know you are thinking, “But Danielle, that’s how people make judgments and decisions about my shop.” Well, that my friend, is precisely why I think we should get rid of it!
The judgments people are making based on that number are likely inaccurate because that number is inaccurate. That number makes it SO easy to make these generalizations and judgments – of ourselves as sellers and as buyers of other sellers. If we took the number away, people would look deeper for more meaningful indicators.
There is no relevant information that we can derive solely from that number. We could get some useful information elsewhere – and frankly, we survive without this number on most websites that we purchase from.
Buyers care about the number as much as we think they do. If we were to ask a buyer, ‘why do you care about that number?’ I think they would say, ‘well, it tells me how much experience a seller has’ or, ‘it shows me some history of the business.’
There are other, often better ways to present all of that same information that buyers want to know and care about.
It’s not the number they care about. It’s what buyers THINK that number tells them (but doesn’t actually) but that something else could indicate to them with more accuracy.
So if you feel discouraged about your sales number, you shouldn’t. As a business owner, you should care about revenue and profit and quality of interaction and product.
If you feel PROUD of that number, you would still feel proud of that number even if it wasn’t publicly displayed.
It seems that it would benefit sellers to get rid of the number and it wouldn’t hurt anyone in the process.
I know there are mixed opinions on this. We don’t have to agree. But I hope this helps reframe the reality for sellers who de feel an inadequacy or concern about that number! If you know a seller who feels an inadequacy about this number, please share it with them!