Ever so often I'll get questions from people about my tips for starting an Etsy/Online store, and I figured that some of this information could benefit you! For the sake of convenience, I will refer to an Etsy shop for most of this post, but know that you can apply most of these principles to any small shop you want to start. Also know that my Etsy shop is far from perfect, but I've learned quite a bit in my short time with my shop, and figure it could help you out too :)
The most important rule of thumb I have discovered is, you could have the most amazing, wonderful product in the whole world to sell, but nothing compares to the DESIGN and marketing you have on your page. I think we can all relate to the fact that a cute, well designed store front is much more appealing that one that looks out dated, or not put together. Most people are more likely to visit those kind of stores, even if the products are sub par. This is because this store put a lot of effort into it's marketing and design. I've come to the conclusion that only a few minor improvements in one's shop can make a world of a difference. I'll share one of the most important marketing skills to have, and that's the product photography you use on your listings. Here's a couple tips I've scavenged from the web:
The product photos you post are the FIRST THING many people who are searching through Etsy see. It's your first impression, and a lot of times is what draws potential customers in, in the first place. Your product photos say, "This is what I'm all about as a shop owner". There's a HUGE problem on Etsy with the fact that 90% of the time the market is so saturated. If you were to list a watercolor picture of a giraffe, there are over 3,431 results on Etsy. The trick is to make your photo stand out, so people will notice your painting, and want to visit your page.
Any photography class you will ever take will teach you two of the most important attributes of a photo are lighting and composition.
Lighting: You will notice that successful Etsy shops usually have a very consistent way they use light in their photos. Some chose to use light and bright colors, while others use rich, dark colors with moody tones. Take photos with natural light, and if you're using a DSLR, you can even over expose your photo by a half a stop or so to increase the light in your photo. If you're not using one,Ilove the app "A Color Story" that I use almost every time to make my photos brighter. (Just remember, you don't have to have a DSLR to create quality content. Most phone cameras will do the trick).
If you're not blessed with photography skills, or lots of natural light in your home, say heeeellllooo to MOCK UPS.
Mock ups are an industry secret to creating good displays for your products. Not all of us have studio lighting, backdrops, and countless hours to take pictures. There are many mock ups you can buy online that are fairly cheap, or you can find free ones on google! www.freepik.com also has some great free mock ups that you can use with attribution. Mostly they're good to use if you have a painting or a graphic element you're selling, but you can use your little Photoshop skills and Photoshop your product into some of the table top photos there are out there. Mock ups are great to add a sense of what the product will look like in someone's home with adding a frame, wall in the background, and cute flowers, or trinkets on the sides.
Composition: Composition is key to creating an aesthetically pleasing photo. I've seen countless pictures that are just the product thrown on the ground with a bunch of stuff behind it, or just the product laid down on the floor with ugly flooring behind it. My suggestion is using white walls, poster board, or whatever behind your photo to help minimize backgrounds. Also, make sure the photo represents your product well, and helps to show what you're selling. There's nothing worse than a photo listing that has the product barely in frame, and mostly background. You're selling the product, not the background.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you to create product photography that will help visitors discover your shop, as well as create an aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye. Keep up on trends, and look how other shops similar to yours market themselves, and create product photography. If you have any questions, feel free to message me! :) Good Luck!