Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Madness - The Etsy BNR as a Marketing Tool

Get Dad this handsome bracelet...
About a year ago, I first encountered the concept of a BNR on Etsy.  I was excited at first, but felt like they were often run by a little group of sellers who continually bought from each other.  Sellers new to the BNR would jump in and buy something so their shop would be featured (BNR = Buy and Replace).  Unfortunately, it was pretty common for those newcomers to get no sales for themselves as they watched the "in group" people buying from each other over and over.  If they did get a sale, it was usually for a minimal amount and they would lose their spot in the BNR treasury.

Recently, I noticed a new abbreviation - BNS.  What is a BNS?
  • It's almost identical to a BNR, but BNS stands for Buy and Stay instead of Buy and Replace.  
  • The curator sets up the BNS with 20 featured shops.  
  • Those shops stay featured during the entire time the BNS is open.  
  • When you make a purchase from one of the featured shops (following the minimum purchase guidelines of the BNS), you post the transaction link in the BNS treasury and then the Curator adds your shop to the list for the next BNS.  
  • Some curators keep the BNS open for a certain period of time (24 hours), while others keep it open until all 20 slots have been filled for the next BNS.
  • This means that individual shops may have multiple sales without getting replaced in the treasury.

 Hannah, another Etsy seller, shared her experience on BNRs and BNSs with me:
I started Hannah Creates in January 2011. My first month and a half I had 7 sales and then nothing. I would still get occasional views and likes, but didn’t have any sales for about a month and a half. I tried to get my site out there by posting on several blogs each week with little success. I felt like I was floundering trying to figure out what to do.

In April I tried joining some teams to help increase sales in my shop. One of those teams decided to have a BNR. I had never heard of BNRs and was curious, so I joined in to check it out. I got 2 sales that day. I was shocked and hooked. The next day I bought into a BNR and nothing happened. I was disappointed, but I was carried over with that BNR and did get a sale on another day. I joined a few more with mixed results, but saw my views increased, occasional sales, and started getting to know other sellers and being added to circles (I had to figure out what circles were).

In about 3 weeks, my sales went from 7 to 20. My husband and I felt that this was not a way to make money, but a way to market myself, increase exposure, and build my stats on Etsy so I would be a more desirable seller. The week of May 23rd, my sales went from 20 to 74 as I saw a lot of success in BNRs that also carried over to other non BNR sales and several repeat customers. Traffic to my site has increased greatly over this time as well.

Through this process I have learned many things.
  1. BNRs are a great way to interact with other sellers and a great way to increase overall exposure. One of the best parts of BNRs is talking with others while the BNR is open.
  2. If you manage your money, you can make money while helping out yourself and other sellers. Set limits for yourself on how much money you are willing to spend each week or how many buy-ins you allow yourself so you do not lose money.
  3. To be the most successful, have items in your shop that are low priced to attract BNR buyers as well as your regular items. The majority of my sales are from my hair accessories with the occasional BNR sales being my higher priced items. Most buyers look for low price items they can buy in with so they do not have to risk a lot of money on the chance of success.
  4. Be patient and just have fun.
I didn't get a sale out of every BNR I joined, but in some I had tremendous success. It was all worth it though as a way to build relationships and exposure.
When you view a BNR or BNS this way - as a marketing tool - it does make it a little easier to tolerate spending the money to buy in.  Because more people are promoting that BNR/BNS, there are more people promoting your shop as well.  I've also found that I learn a lot by looking through other sellers' shops. Ideas for product photos, shop organization, and product descriptions start popping into my head.  Feel free to share your own experiences with BNRs and BNS treasuries.

8 mad comments:

TrueSelfStudio said...

This was a most timely article...at least for me! I too originally found the same problem with a small group of sellers buying from each other. What I have since found is that there are a few like that, recognize them and move on - the rest are truly willing to help each other out. I also had an issue with spending the money and not selling anything. But you are right, if used as a marketing tool it makes more sense. I have much better luck with BNR's instead of BNS's. I stay on those lists forever! LOL. Well, off to see where I can buy in!

Thanks - Dotti

Hannah said...

Thanks so much for including me in this post! It turned out great!

Steampunk Funk said...

This is great info! I had no idea what a BNR was.

doublebrush said...

Thank you so much for this info. I got a convo inviting me but I had no idea what I was being invited to! I think my most inexpensive item is my hand rolled beeswax sushi candle favor at under 3.00

Charmed by Grace said...

Hi, thanks for this informative blog of yours....I'm a newbie on ETSY and dont know what BNR or BNS means, yours have great explanation...:)

Bramalfie said...

Thank you for this post - finally I know what a BNR/BNS is!!!

Giftbearer said...

I really enjoy BNRs and BNSs, although I would love to see them used to buy more than inexpensive items. I think if more sellers with high-end items participated it might become no different than any other way of searching for items. As a buyer I try to use them that way and if I get featured in the process of buying something I'm looking for (and I have the money for something really impressive at the time) it's still a win/win!

Gregory Segura said...

Just wondering when some artists have time to create when you spend all your time playing games. This article helped me out because I was invited to join a team that did this BNR and BNS games as they called it and had no idea what it was. I sell higher end jewelry and see no sales coming from something like this. Between my Etsy site, website, studio sales and retailers I'm kept pretty busy and I don't see this as the right marketing tool for higher end artisans but I wish all the success to those that try this. Good luck and good sales.

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