Using apps and mobile technology to run an Etsy shop

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When I first started selling on Etsy, I was a purist for quite some time. I thought, "who needs all those apps, it's not that hard to run the shop without all those extras getting in the way". When one shop turned to two, then to three, and success started to flirt with our heels, my story changed a bit.

I started testing apps to use for auto-renewing, for tracking traffic and sales, for tracking profit and loss. Those that worked for us, I began to integrate into our shops. Outright.com for taxes as well as profit/loss tracking, Statsy's Clockbot for renewing, Craftopolis used for listing edits, just to name a few.

Most of those I tried during this time were free and were well worth exploring even if I didn't keep the majority of them in the end. And, as it turns out, apps aren't really in the way at all. Not if you utilize the ones that -fit- you and your business. Those I used served their purpose while I needed them, and those I keep still are the ones I've found long-term uses for.

Then, in November of last year, my business partner was ill and I was left shouldering the work for a bit by myself as well as assisting my sister in starting up and running her Etsy shop. Our holiday rush in our busiest shop starts around November 10th and usually lasts right around until December 20th. So I was left in the middle of our most profitable Christmas ever with no help at all. I struggled through the first two weeks feeling like I was drowning. Then, I got smart and started hunting for more apps to replace some of those that were sufficient when business was slow, but just weren't cutting it when things sped up.

This involved venturing into the realm of paid apps, of which I couldn't afford earlier, but as success has gone from flirting at our heels to actually nipping at them, we can now afford a few apps to help make running things a bit easier and smoother.

I replaced Statsy's Clockbot with EtsyOnSale.com's renewal agent which is very reasonably priced and functions on buying credits which you then use to pay for your usage as you use. This app saved me a lot of time since the set-up is easier and more extensive. You don't have to set each renew individually. When I had the time, Statsy's Clockbot worked great and was wonderfully useful and free. When I didn't have the time any longer, well EtsyOnSale took over and did it all for me after a few minutes of set-up.

I signed up for StitchLabs at the price of $12.00 per month. Now, granted. StitchLabs is actually an app primarily used for tracking one's inventory. Since a lot of our products are OOAK and we also sell on other venues which aren't currently supported on StitchLabs, that wasn't really useful for us. BUT, it did two specific things that I needed badly.

• With Stitch Labs you can set up specific items in your shop to relist automatically when they sell. Very useful for those non-OOAK items.

• I can track multiple shops. If you set up each shop on a different "channel" you can track as sales happen in each shop as they happen. They all show up together on a single spreadsheet in StitchLabs. Combined with the Firefox app "ReloadEvery", I was able to set up that spreadsheet to automatically update (automatically refresh) whatever time duration I wished so that all I needed to do was look in and could see any sales that came through on any of four shops (our three plus my sisters shop). During the holidays this was a huge time-saver for me, since I didn't have to keep logging in and out of each separate account to check for sales.

• A major plus but not one of my decision making factors that had me choose this service, I also hear that they are working on a mobile app which I'm eager to get my hands on.

Not to mention, StitchLabs has the most remarkable customer service I've come across online or offline. Always friendly, always helpful, always courteous and they always respond promptly

I integrated my iPod Touch and iPad for Etsy. This was done by setting up the Etsy's iPod/iPad/iPhone app on my iPod and iPad. I then set up an icon bookmark on the home screen of my mobile devices that would take me directly to my StitchLabs orders page with a single click. This way I could check all shops at once with a single click on my mobile device.