So you’ve got yourself a pocket-money hobby; a side-hustle; a new or established career where you upcycle and refinish furniture. Welcome to the flourishing eco-orienteered occupation where you will meet the most giving, supporting, nurturing band of people for real or virtually.
To make your venture work, you need to know what will be a crowd pleaser and what will languish in your storage for an eternity. What is in demand and what will sell. Basically, what are your public searching for online and ultimately buying. There are many online tools to assist your research enabling you to establish what people want.
This is a general overview of just some of the tools available at your fingertips to help you flip that winning piece. All this information is out there if you want to take it further but this is my take on it and how I use it for my business. In this article we will look at how you can use analaytics tools to help work out what buyers are looking to buy.
- Google Trends
- Etsy Search
- Google Analytics
- Google My Business
“Explore what the world is searching”. Google Trends provides access to a sample of actual search requests made to Google. Examining what people search for provides a unique perspective on what they are currently interested in and curious about. Enter a search phrase such as “upcycled furniture” and it will return results over the specified timeframe showing the popularity of that particular search.
The above graph shows that the peak of popularity of that search throughout the UK was the second week in December 2020. All the other results are relative to this. At the time of writing, that search was just 36% of what is was at its peak.
Let’s delve a little deeper. I upcycle bureaus. I love them and have upcycled (and sold) over 55 to date. Working from home is an ongoing news item – use the news to assist with identifying trends – but are bureaus still as popular as, say sideboards?
This comparison shows that sideboards have won the popularity contest for the last 12 months but interest is waning. The search for “bureaus for sale” peaked in early February and is again on the rise whereas sideboards are on the wane.
Christmas is a-coming and fingers crossed homes will once again be open to friends and family. Entertaining in style and decadence is on the up showing cocktail cabinets as being popular in the first weeks of 2021 and then again early autumn. There has been a pretty robust demand, albeit it up-down-up-down, throughout the year.
Interestingly, Conscious Cubby have confirmed that cocktail cabinets are currently en vogue which reinforces the point.
I next threw bedside cabinets into the mix. They seem to be a pretty constant across the term.
Google Trends can give you some related topics and queries relating to your search. For example, “Upcycled Furniture for Sale” gives the following topics and queries:
For each search term, you see a percentage of the term’s growth compared to the previous time period. If you see “Breakout” instead of a percentage, it means that the search term grew by more than 5,000%. In the above example, “What is upcycling” is a breakout term whereas “Upcycled chest of drawers” was up 100% over the past 12 months. You can end up going round and round, clicking on different related searches, headlong into a labyrinth of related search terms. However, in doing so, you will stumble across popular searches such as “small coffee tables”, “teal” or “bedside tables” which subsequently show “Ercol” and “mahogany” as both being breakout searches. You can weave these search terms into your product titles or tags to help lead potential buyers to your upcycled item for sale.
To summarise, Google Trends shows you the results for specific search terms. It does not tell you what those popular search terms are (but if they do, I haven’t found it). In other words, it will not simply tell you what to go out and buy to upcycle.
Search analytics shows you how people find your shop in search on Etsy.com. You can see which search queries lead people to your listings, amongst other things.
→ Marketing → Search Data Analytics → Timeframe such as “this month”
My Etsy shop has a pretty full spectrum of upcycled furniture including bureaus, sideboards, dressing tables, coffee tables and cocktail cabinets. It is quite amazing what search terms lead people to my listings such as “black and gold drink cabinet” placed my G Plan cocktail cabinet in mighty position 4 yet “drink cabinet” placed the same cabinet in 405th position.
Etsy have a 40 min podcast, all about utilising Etsy Search to help get traffic to your shop and improve your shop SEO (search engine optimisation). But I’m not researching SEO tools here.
A quick sample of the top 100 searches within my shop show 33% as being bureau/desk related but as that’s my prevalent stock item, it’s not surprising. Cocktail cabinets at 3%, bedroom furniture 8% and drawers 7%. But this is pertinent to my listings and bureaus have been my most common listing. Carry out the same research into your own listings to see which are popular for you.
In the Etsy search bar, start typing and you’ll be presented with predictive search terms in the order of popularity. Type “Upcycle” and you’ll see furniture, sideboard, chair, chest of drawers, coffee table come up as popular searches. Painted sideboard is also a popular search confirming the Google Analytics results as seen earlier in this post.
Pinterest Audience Insights
Audience Insights reveal what your existing and potential customers are interested in, based on their behaviour on Pinterest. These insights are powered by the actions people take on Pinterest, such as searches and saves.
Your total audience → Analytics → Audience Insights → Categories and Interests → Home Décor
Affinity indicates the strength of your audience’s interest in a particular category compared to the average person on Pinterest. A high affinity indicates that this portion of your audience has a strong likelihood of engaging with content related to this interest.
My Pinterest account shows Living room décor and furniture as being the highest search by some way. Bedroom feature strongly yet strangely Home Office is way down the list.
Google Analytics provides statistics and basic analytical tools for SEO and marketing purposes. Google Analytics is used to track website performance and collect visitor insights. However this is way to complex (and time-consuming) for me to explain how to fully utilise this data to establish which upcycled items are trending.
Google my Business
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your local business appears across Google products, like Maps and Search. Google My Business can help people find you.
Assuming you already have already claimed your website and have a Google My Business account, you can see what searches were made which resulted in you being found. From the dashboard, click on insights and click on “See new profile performance”. (By the time you read this, this new report may already be embedded into your Insights).
Tweak the timeframe you wish to look at and the search terms are returned for your website in the results. Here are my top four searches for six months to October 2021. Although these are hardly surprising, scroll further in your own results and you will find many more search terms.
Instagram doesn’t publicize a list of trending hashtags. However, if you search for a hashtag on Instagram, you’ll see how many posts use that hashtag. You’ll also see a list of other popular Instagram hashtags using similar words, with post counts included too.
I have stumbled across a free site, brandmentions.com/hashtag-tracker/ which shows the popularity of a hashtag in real terms over the last 7 days. If you want a longer timeframe (which would be handy) or more than half dozen searches allowed each day, you’re going to gave to pay for it. The following are the results of #upcycledfurniture:
More specific searches showed #upcycledsideboard as having 356 interactions over the past 7 days whereas #upcycledbureau only 73. Whilst this does not really show which items of furniture are popular to upcycle, it can shed some light a little on what’s trending.
I have yet to establish how best to determine which items of furniture will be profitable to upcycle and which will be a waste of valuable time and storage unless you can magic them in front of the right person at the right time. My deduction is that for me, bureaus and desks continue to be my item of choice although cocktail cabinets and bedsides will continue to feature in my repertoire for some time to come. However, the star of this show has to be the upcycled painted sideboard!
Disclaimer: I am not an internet marketing expert. I have cribbed, nobbled and paraphrased much of the above from what I have discovered out there. I welcome any feedback and corrections if and where necessary.
If you have any hints and tips you wish to share, please do get in touch.
Thanks to Steve at Office Innovation for fact checking this post.