Selling Your Pottery Online – A Step-by-Step Starters Guide
So you’re at the point in your pottery journey where your creations are good enough to sell. Great – what now?
While selling pottery sounds like a complicated process, don’t worry – it isn’t. We’ve broken the process down into an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide:
- Create storefronts on the most popular online Crafts platforms.
- Take professional photos of your pottery.
- List your pottery on your online stores.
- Optimize your online presence.
- Properly package and ship the products you sell.
- Market your pottery business.
The rest of this article will dive in-depth into each step of the pottery-selling process.
Affiliate Disclaimer: We are ambassadors or affiliates for many of the brands we reference on the website. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Step 1: Create Stores on the Most Popular Online Platforms
The first step is to create online stores on the most popular craft-selling platforms. If you don’t know code or graphic design, don’t worry; you won’t need to learn either. The only requirement is the will to succeed.
Etsy is probably the best-known platform for the third-party marketplace industry, allowing creatives a place to sell unique products. With Etsy, you can easily create an online store and sell goods and services exclusively online.
But you need to consider a few critical points since you want to create a successful store and not an also-ran.
- Do you want to go all-in and live off what you make selling pottery on Etsy?
- Or is it just another side project for you?
Whatever your goal, the following steps will help you get there:
Choose your niche
You’re free to make any type of pottery you want. However, if you want to build a reputation and a client base, you should specialize in a specific pottery niche. Niching is optional, but it can be helpful if you’re looking for quicker profits.
You should also research what other pottery sellers on Etsy are doing:
- What kind of language do they use?
- How do they keep their content attractive?
- What makes their pottery unique?
Many shop owners on Etsy suggest browsing shops with similar interests and talents to know what their success rate is. Dan Cordero, who owns Etsy shop Reclaiming Creativity, says you should have a passion for what you make and sell.
In your case, pottery is a passion. You can call it a home run if it intersects with market appeal and profit.
Now consider sourcing your pottery (or are you a master potter yourself?). Also, consider how you’ll package your pottery for shipping, where to purchase raw materials, and how to establish social media marketing and excellent customer service.
Register, create and stock your shop
You need an Etsy account to open a shop. Sign-up itself is free, but Etsy has several fees:
- Listing fees – 20 cents
- Transaction fees (also applies to cost of shipping) – 5%
- Payment processing – 3% plus 25 cents
With the basics in place, create your pottery shop and stock it with as many items of pottery as you can. You want to appear professional; offering only a few items could hurt your ratings.
Here are a few additional tips for optimizing your Etsy store:
- Add new items monthly
- Take quality photographs of your pottery
- Always write descriptions with great detail
- Be thoughtful about titles, tags, keywords, and SEO in general
While there’s a free option, Etsy’s Plus subscription is only $210 per month. You can customize your store with new banner templates, featured listing options, and highlight specific products. You can also have a custom .com or .store URL.
Other benefits of Plus include custom shipping boxes, business cards, and more marketing materials. A Premium subscription is also now available, but Plus is excellent if you’re testing the waters.
Folksy is the marketplace for UK designers, makers, and craftspeople to showcase their work. It’s currently one of the most popular websites for handmade gifts and craft supplies. Up to 250,000 buyers visit the site each month.
Folksy charges no start-up or administrative fees, and only accepts payment via secure PayPal transfer.
You can sell pottery on Folksy because it meets the two requirements:
- It is handmade.
- The items are original designs.
Before setting up shop on Folksy, decide on whether you want the Folksy Basic or Plus account. This decision usually comes down to how much you’ll be selling. Both accounts include 6% plus VAT sales commission, but there are notable differences. You can start with a Basic account and move to Plus down the road.
The Basic account is a pay-as-you-go program. It charges 15 pence (19 cents) plus VAT for every item listed. It is suitable if your pottery stock is low or will only sell seasonally.
The Plus account costs 58 dollars (45 pounds) per year (with VAT). The absence of listing fees means you can list as many items as you want. It’s ideal for sellers with items to sell frequently or stock a large number of craft items. A personalized Folksy shop page also allows you to promote your pottery collection with your URL.
Like on Etsy, you need quality images of your items. You also need to write product descriptions that connect with shoppers. Stories work best here, so consider immersing yourself in the online craft community for greater visibility.
Attend a few craft fairs to test the appropriateness of pottery for the platform. You can build relationships with customers and fellow sellers. Keep your flyers and business cards handy.
A third viable option to begin your online pottery business is to create a store on eBay. Why? The Office of National Statistics (ONS) says up to 11 percent of all retail purchases happen online, peaking each year on Cyber Monday.
There are three store types you can open on eBay:
The most basic store type. It offers 200 fixed-price listings and a one-month minimum contract. You can have a custom URL to drive buyers (such as www.ebay.com/yourpotteryshopname) to your store.
The featured shop comes with 1,200 fixed-price listings and a dedicated customer care team. With Selling Manager Pro, you can improve, automate, and streamline high-volume sales.
You can also manage listings, inventory, sales, feedback, and customer emails in bulk. International listing rates come with a discount.
The anchor shop option comes with unlimited fixed-price listings that cost nothing extra. You’ll also get a dedicated customer care team, discounts on international shipping rates, and a no-cost trial of Storefeeder. Storefeeder is great for multi-channel listing, allowing you to perform all e-commerce tasks in one place.
There are four hurdles you need to cross to own your own eBay pottery store:
- A Basic Shop requires PayPal verification.
- You must maintain an average score not less than 4.4 for a 12-month average to open a Featured Shop.
- A Featured Shop needs an eBay business seller registration.
- You must maintain an average score not less than 4.6 for a 12-month average to open an Anchor Shop.
The store type you choose depends on a combination of several factors:
- Will you list more than 65 fixed price items a month? A Basic Shop is an easy and affordable solution for beginners.
- Are you a higher-volume seller doing more than 600 items monthly, a Featured Shop with Selling Manager Pro Plus might be a better fit.
- If you’ll be pushing more than 5,000 pottery items monthly, the Anchor Shop offers the best rates. You also get Selling Manager Pro Plus.
Step 2: Take Pictures of Your Pottery
One powerful element of a successful online store is excellent product photography. The tips here will show you the best way to take photographs that help your pottery sell fast.
Clean things up
Taking a moment to clean up an item might seem like something everyone would do naturally, but that’s not really the case. That said, fingerprints, crud, or dust can be unsightly in photos. Cleaning helps remove them.
Use window light
You’ll be surprised how ambient window lighting can improve your product photos. The soft, natural light will reduce harsh shadows and breathe some life into the object.
Also, turn off any indoor lights that may give a yellow cast to your image. It is possible to mimic window light using a single, diffused source of light.
A white card or reflector will tone things up
Taking pictures under a single source of diffused light creates a soft shadow on one side of the subject. To brighten up dark areas, place a reflector or white card on the shaded side of the image. It will help bounce light back into the shadows, making your lighting more uniform.
If you don’t have a white card or reflector, you may improvise using aluminum foil or sheets of printed paper.
Shoot from several angles
Presenting a piece of pottery from different angles will improve the confidence of the buyer concerning the product. Shoot the top, bottom, and sides of every pottery item you’re selling.
Close shots are better
Always zoom in to expose details in the item you’re selling. Highlight the craftsmanship in your pottery with close shots. A DSLR macro lens ups the ante in your product photographs. Some point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones also have in-built macro settings that let you shoot at close range.
Your pottery should sit in an uncluttered environment in product photos. Background elements should only enhance their beauty or utility. It makes you a more professional pottery seller.
Try depth of field too
Shooting with a variety of f-stops will allow you to see how it affects the depth of field in your photo. A low f-stop will help blur the background and make your subject stand out. It’s also vital to keep elements in focus.
Portrait mode on the iPhone X, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 8 Plus use two lenses to create a blurred background effect.
Show the item in use
Once shoppers can see your product as a decorative piece, for instance, it brings them closer to a buying decision. Be careful as you move the item around – pottery is fragile.
Consider getting a light tent
A light tent is an excellent tool to have if you’re taking pictures of multiple items. The translucent fabric walls include an opening to stick your lens through. Any item you place inside will have even lighting and mimic a tiny studio.
All the tent needs are potent lights. If the day is sufficiently bright, you can use it outside. It’ll ensure the object has light from all sides. Some tents also come with built-in lights, so you wouldn’t need extra lighting to help with them.
Show some scale
The size of your pottery may be hard to tell from photos alone. But including familiar objects within a composition to act as reference points. You can use an apple or ruler, anything that gives an idea of the size of your pottery product.
Set the scene
Using related items in your photographs is the perfect way to get creative with your product photography. Instead of just shooting against a plain background, infuse life in the picture to excite the appetite of the customer. It may take a while, but it’ll surely catch the buyer’s attention.
Tell the truth
Make it your goal to keep customers happy. You’ll also be unhappy to issue a refund on an item you’ve sold. Mention any flaws in your pottery and clearly show them in your photographs. Who knows, they might enhance the artistic value of the piece of pottery.
Step 3: List Your Pottery on Your Online Platforms
Creating a listing is the first step to showing customers you have pottery available for sale. Etsy, Folksy, and eBay all have tools and options to ensure every listing results in a sale.
So, how do you list on these platforms?
How to List Your Pottery on Etsy
These are the steps to list pottery on Etsy:
- Visit the Etsy website and click the “Your Account” icon. Then click “Shop Manager.”
- Click “Listings” to add a listing. On the mobile app, use the plus icon.
- Add hi-res photographs of your pottery. Images should be no less than 2000 pixels wide and use at least five images.
- Choose a thumbnail image – this is usually the photo in the first slot.
- Add listing details.
- Describe the pottery.
- Add the inventory and price.
- Set up shipping options.
- Publish or save your listing.
How to List Your Pottery on Folksy
Folksy is clear upfront about what you need to list your pottery on the platform:
- A title and item description
- Up to 5 great product photos
- A price
- Shipping costs
Then you can follow these steps to list your items:
- Log into the Folksy site and select “Your Shop” before selecting “Add new listing” from the menu on top of the page.
- Fill the available form, keeping photos less than 2 MB and in JPG or PNG format. Also, include any variations of the pottery.
- After filling in the pottery details, click “Preview Listing” at the bottom of the page to see the look and feel of your listing.
- Then click on “LIST ITEM” to publish the Pottery listing in your shop.
Listings last around four months – 120 days – before they expire. This rule applies to both Plus and Basic accounts, and you may renew items once per day at any time.
Renewal resets to 120 days from the date of the re-list. Basic accounts pay another listing fee to renew, while re-listing is free on Plus accounts.
How to List Your Pottery on eBay
eBay offers a quick listing tool for casual sellers. It provides the core features you need to start selling. It takes you through the steps of the listing process.
To see more options in the quick listing tool, you can enable them by:
- Selecting “Change listing preferences” from the top of the listing form
- Checking the “Enable more options” box and “Save.”
- Selecting “More options.”
You can use the Advanced listing form if you’re frequently selling in bulk quantities, or as a business. It offers more listing options. These include buyer requirements, combined shipping discounts, subtitles, and other options.
The advanced listing form makes it easier to create a listing and manage high-volume sellers, bulk sellers, and business owners. The form is available in “My eBay” or “Seller Hub.”
Unique features of the advanced listing form include:
- Buyer requirements to filter buyers you don’t wish to do business with
- Subtitle to display information about items in search results
- Listing designer to appear professional without using HTML
- Templates to save up to 10 listings to use as templates for the future
- Combined shipping discounts to create rules for shipping discounts when your customers combine pottery items
- Lots to sell multiple items to one buyer in one listing
- Visitor counter to know how much interest a pottery listing is getting
Some advanced listing features attract additional fees. The fees are available in the tool and in the “Review your fees” section. Of course, you’ll also upload images and descriptions as with Etsy and Folky.
Step 4: Optimize Your Stores
After listing your pottery on the platform, you need to optimize your store for success. A good product listing is visible among relevant search results and tells shoppers all they need to buy.
Shoppers are always thronging to purchase unique items like your pottery. Other sellers know this. The way to make it easy for potential customers to find you is by optimizing your shop and listings for each platform’s search.
How to optimize your Etsy store
There are many factors in the Etsy search ranking, but you control the critical ones.
These are Etsy’s top tips for creating more opportunities to match your items with shoppers’ searches.
They also ensure you rank high enough to increase your chances of making sales.
- Use every tag. There are 13 of these tags you can combine in natural ways.
- Use specific categories.
- Free shipping always wins customers.
- Add relevant attributes.
- Use short, attention-grabbing titles.
- Put your best product photographs first.
- Have information in your About section.
- Add clear shop policies.
- Use tags and titles in your shop language.
- Experiment and tweak your strategy.
How to Optimize Your Folksy Store
For products such as pottery, the fine folks at Folksy also provide essential tips to swing things your way:
- Tell the story of your product, engagingly.
- Make a shop tagline.
- Write your “Inspiration” section for effect
- Write your “Description” and “Inspiration” to suit the product and your audience.
- Use appropriate image sizes and formats.
- Use proper tags and the importance of Theme of the Day tags.
- Choose the right categories.
- Promote your listing appropriately.
- Work on publicity for your products by using influencers and hashtags.
How to Optimize Your eBay Store
eBay realizes the challenge in selling your kind of inventory elsewhere, so they find ways to make it work smoothly on eBay. Your pottery could quickly become collector’s items if you position it correctly.
- Use the keywords that entice buyers. “Limited Edition” (LE), “Firing limit,” “Annual edition,” “Open edition,” and “No longer available” (NLA) are a few terms. Others include “New in box” (NIB), “New with tags” (NWT), and “New without tags” (NWOT).
- Research your pottery properly to allow you to give an “expert” opinion on them.
- Display pottery using great photos. Again, the right background, vital angles, proper lighting, and a gallery.
- Offer no-reserve listings at a low price to increase sales.
General Store Optimization Advice
There are two other store optimization methods you can use for your pottery store regardless of the platform.
Ask customers for reviews
Customer reviews are a testament to your overall quality of service. They build confidence in customers.
Though it’s awkward to request reviews. You can get a soft landing if you do it by:
- Ask for it when a customer praises your work
- Creating such opportunities by initiating conversations
- Ask a customer you just helped over the phone
- Asking from those on your email list(s)
- Ask via Thank You Pages
- Asking other vendors to endorse your B2B pottery services
- Ask for it with the Perch app
Improve your store’s copywriting
You can also improve your store’s copywriting to enhance your store optimization efforts. Many will not want to go through this hard work, so you’ll be in the winning minority.
- Use detailed product descriptions. Talk materials, accurate measurements, and dimensions. Then, format the copy believing the reader is in a hurry.
- Let every product description first inform, then persuade.
- Use precise language targeting the prospect’s specific desire or frustration.
- Let your writing target one person, not a crowd.
- Describe how it feels for them to buy pottery from you.
- Keep your tone consistent with your brand.
- Leverage their emotions. Make the customer feel something.
- Link pottery features to benefits, such as improved aesthetics, space management, and so forth.
- Avoid clichés or empty phrases.
- Use sensory or sticky words that arouse the consumer’s perceptions.
- Trigger a sense of urgency in them.
- Always use social proof.
Step 4: Safely Pack and Ship What You Sell
When a customer has secured their order, you need to ship their product to them.
The following steps will help you through this process:
- Gather the item you’re shipping and all shipping materials you’ll be using.
- “Freeze” your pot. (not move in any direction in your box)
- Pack pottery in a not-too-large box
- When packing multiple pottery pieces, use two-inch “sleeves” of solid packing material between pots. This technique minimizes pots breaking due to knocking against each other as well as the outside of the box.
- Once the packing is complete, carefully seal the box and look over every side. Place your label to the right on top of the box to leave room for shipping labels. Remove old shipping labels and barcodes.
Step 5: Begin Marketing Your Pottery
Once you have a good inventory of pottery pieces, you’ll need a robust marketing strategy to help you sell everything. Social media marketing techniques will help a lot since this is an online business. Facebook ads and Instagram ads are two effective ways to do this.
Use Facebook ads to market your pottery
You need a dedicated Facebook page for your online pottery business. Get as many friends as possible to Like it, and leverage the power of Facebook groups to tell more about it.
Many groups like “handmade,” “handcrafted,” and “craft” are great for pottery. The posts need to be useful to attract significant attention.
But Facebook places limitations on how far posts can go. That’s where Facebook ads come in. They offer mileage to the pottery ads you sponsor. With Facebook ads, micro-targeting gives you more control over who sees your sponsored (paid) posts and the exact demographic.
Facebook ads also allow you to use a combination of text, videos, and images so you can create more exciting ads. You may also use the new video poll ads, which feature an interactive component. So far, they can raise brand awareness in a more effective way than regular video ads.
As a pottery seller, you may also use carousel ads to show several images or videos of your pots. This technique is similar to including variations in your store listings. This format also helps highlight the different benefits of one pottery product or several. In fact, the photos together can create one large panorama image.
To keep things simple yet moving, Facebook’s slideshow ads can display several of your pots in one ad using stills, videos, or text.
Ads Manager has stock photos for you to use if you don’t have appropriate images. The significant advantage of slideshow ads is that they use less bandwidth (five times less), and load well in parts of the world where internet connections are slow.
The idea behind ads is to help clients reach a buying decision quickly. Collection ads help them buy your pottery by showcasing five of your products. When paired with Instant Experiences, people can buy your pottery without leaving Facebook. It makes shopping easy on the go and when the internet is poor.
Other kinds of Facebook ads include:
- Lead ads
- Dynamic ads
- Messenger ads
- Stories ads
- Stories augmented reality ads
- Playable ads
How to advertise on Facebook
Once you have a Facebook page, you can use either Facebook Ads Manager or Business Manager to create your campaign. The following steps are for Ads Manager:
1. Choose your objective.
Facebook’s marketing objectives include:
- Brand awareness
- App installs
- Video installs
- Lead generation
- Catalog sales
- Store traffic
2. Give your campaign a name
Scroll your Facebook ad campaign and choose if you want to set up an A/B split test. You can also turn on budget optimization here. This process is useful if you’re using multiple ad sets
Then there’s the Engagements objective, where you choose if you’ll focus on post engagement, page likes, or event responses.
3. Target your audience
This point is where you select the page to promote. You’ll create custom audiences, using location, age, gender, and language. You can even tell your potential ad reach from these.
4. Select your Facebook ad placements
You can choose device type, platform, placements, specific mobile devices, and operating systems.
5. Set up your budget and schedule
You can customize your ad campaign based on your budget and when you want people to see the ads. It’s best to start with a small budget and increase it when you find something that works.
6. Create your ad
Last – but most certainly not least – is creating your ad. This can be as simple as adding a picture of your pottery with some text to something as complicated as shooting a video.
Using Instagram ads to market your pottery
More than a billion people use Instagram monthly.
Engagement numbers are higher than for both Facebook and Twitter. 75% of users take action on Instagram ads, and 35% of American adults use Instagram.
The average cost-per-click of Instagram ads is around $0.70 – $0.80. Yours might vary. The time of the year also determines the cost to a great extent.
These are the types of ads on Instagram:
- Stories ads
- Photos ads
- Video ads
- Carousel ads
- Collection ads
Each format is blended into user’s Feeds and Stories to provide a seamless user experience. Each ad format has several CTA (Call-to-Action) buttons such as “Call Now, “Contact Us,” and “Learn More.”
Video ads offer a 3.7x return on advertising spend and the click-through rate is two times higher than ads on other platforms.
Choosing the best Instagram ad format begins with knowing your goal. As a pottery seller, you can use a combination of Collection ads (to directly sell products) and a photo or video ad that sends traffic to your store. This approach will also increase awareness of your brand.
How to advertise on Instagram
To advertise on Instagram, you’ll need to use Facebook Ads Manager. Here are the steps:
- Link your Instagram account to your Facebook Business profile
- Choose your objective using “Guided Creation” or “Quick Creation.”
- Identify your audience
- Select your ad placements
- Choose budget and schedule
- Create your ad
You have the option of using hashtags when advertising on Instagram. Whatever you do, use text wisely, and keep your content captivating.
Also, you should always test your ads for effectiveness and measure performance often.
Instagram analytics is available to help you optimize and tweak your ads for better results.
As an online Pottery seller, you have your work cut out. Still, you can make a name for your brand and make profits too.
It is essential to be deliberate about every aspect of your business, as this is the only way to guarantee success. While there may be other pottery sellers online, you can remain relevant by bringing inventiveness, creativity, and innovation to your business.