Your sales will be based on the appeal of your designs and pricing. I do a range of metals - 14 & 18kt YG, 14kt GF, 925, vermeil and bronze. I use some precious and semi precious stones.
Are your designs unique or are they similar to other shops product? I specialize in what I like to create and am always adding new designs to my shop. My work is mostly lost wax casting with hand carved waxes and some cast from life, but I do other types as well. I like to do cast In place gemstones, some hand setting. In my experience, nothing is predictable. I get multiple orders on specially flower earrings - mostly for weddings. If people see a ring they like, very often ends up being a custom order in another size and gemstone. I have two custom rings currently, both in Europe, one a repeat client. In the last couple of years, I have gotten more custom work than regular shop purchases. " I like those earrings, but can you create a custom necklace to go with it…?" " can you make those flowers in cuff links?"
My nice gold pieces sell, but that’s every couple of months. Pendants need chains or something to go on. I provide nice gold fill chains as a service.
If it’s easy for someone else to make the same design look out close to it, that’s a tough market to exploit. Alot of shops sell things CHEAP. I’m guessing that what they are selling is not the precious metal content they claim sometimes.
I have had my online shop for 6 years. It took a while to build up my stock. When you have in excess of 70-80 pieces, business seems to pick up considerably. I sell between 8 & 25 pieces a year… If you count a single client ordering 6 pairs of earrings. About 30% of my clients are overseas - mostly Europe & Australia. About 40% of my clients are men.
I regularly do research and compare my work to other shops pieces when I do my pricing. If I can squeeze a bit more out, I give it a shot. Most of my gold pieces (pendants) that sell are under $250 retail. I can get nearly half that or more for sterling. So gold is not necessarily a niche to chase. I mark my metal up about 4-5×. Looking at work on eBay and etsy, some shops mark up 8×+. That has not worked for me.
Social media depends on your own interests. I know that it has done linkage- but I have not seen the stats that directly prove of. I haven’t had too many direct clicks. I do however have more traffic that goes to my shop, without search terms. I’m guessing it’s a help. Personally, I’m primarily an Instagram junkie - and did lots of images that share my design process from start to finish. Videos seem to help over just still shots. I do some Pinterest as well.
All in all, do your most to differentiate your designs and fabricating talents to make your work stand alone if you can. Personally, I would rather sell fewer nice pieces for a little more, than a bunch of junk. Thank goodness that I have good, regular clients outside of my online shop.
I do charge for shipping - primarily USPS priority mail which too a degree is a hindrance to more sales. However, stuff disappears in shipping too often. Average sale is about $170. Best sale was 2k for custom gold earrings.
I have to laugh, things that I imagined would move quickly, sometimes never sell. Things I imagine will become stale, they sell for a high price and don’t become stale at all. The value of Etsy has been some money, a better sense of a larger market and creating pieces that will live on for a couple of generations. What I imagined my market to be when I started out in jewelry, does not exist as I envisioned it. Both my work and clientele have evolved. I can imagine that you will have a similar experience over time.