Etsy Selling Tips

ETSY SELLING TIPS

Today I want to share three crucial tips and advice, as well as, seven years of experience as a successful Etsy seller.

I may not be a top 10% Etsy seller (most of these top sellers are only selling beads and supplies to other Etsy sellers making jewelry and their own handmade items), but after doing this for many years, I feel I can offer some solid tips and helpful advice.

There are tons of blogs, ebooks, and other online resources about selling.  You should NEVER pay for any of this . . . EVER!  The best advice is found right on Etsy’s website.  They have lots of resources in the forums or on their selling blog that is completely free.  Other sellers are always eager to offer helpful advice and answer questions.  No author or blogger can make you a top successful seller, if you purchase their book or ebook.  Your success is up to you! Now, if you are just starting out, as a new seller on Etsy- read as much free blog advice. . . like mine in this blog topic, before launching your new Etsy shop.  Read as much as you can and become educated about selling on Etsy.

 Information on SEO is going to be the most crucial; definitely educate yourself in this area.

Don’t be discouraged by the nay-sayers.  There are many out there that will tell you success on Etsy is only possible if you have been selling for many years and have over 200 or more items listed in your shop.  Not true. There are many helpful bloggers and experienced sellers who can offer positive and helpful suggestions and tips.   Focus on those resources.

Before getting into the tips, I want to have an honest discussion about shopping online and how it differs from buying off the shelf at a retailer.  Remember you, as a buyer, can see that item up close, touch it physically, smell it, and confirm it’s size and tactile qualities in your hand when shopping live in a retail setting.  This is not at all possible when shopping online.  I mention this because all transactions on Etsy (or ebay, amazon or any online website) have a two party responsibility.

All seller’s have responsibilities and these are set policies by Etsy that you should fully read and expect to abide by them to keep your business and shop in good standing.

Buyers on Etsy (or any website) also have a responsibility to read the full details when purchasing online and so often this is completely ignored or overlooked.

It’s certainly not done intentionally- most shoppers are browsing from their app on a cell phone or tablet and it can sometimes be difficult to find the full written description. Still, I myself, have rarely purchased something online without reading the full written details about a product, handmade or not.  However, that is me and I pay close attention to the written information- not every buyer will read the item details of your listing.  Many online shoppers buy on impulse. They saw the photo and loved it but didn’t realize that not all items displayed in your photo, such as background props, or other items next to it to show scale or the product in what I call “situ” (situation/situated for display) are not included in the sale or purchase.

All online and Etsy seller’s want to provide excellent customer service and we strive to do so, but if a buyer fails to READ a full written description, communicate with a seller before or after a sale with specific questions – they have not meet the seller in the middle and have set the customer service bar so high that it makes it difficult for both parties to have a positive experience.  So if you are a seller- know what you need to do to communicate with buyers and keep them happy.

Consider this fair warning- there will be instances where a buyer does not read your item details and due to no fault of yours, there may be negative feedback left due to ‘buyer’s remorse’. Be prepared to address these situations individually and know that you can make 99% of customers happy 99% of the time – but there will always be that one customer occasionally that can not be made satisified now matter how many hoops you jump through, in an effort to do so.  Do your best, do what’s right,  and be responsive to complaints- even if you know it is not your fault at all.

However, if you are shopping on Etsy as a buyer, do your due diligence to READ the full “Item Details”  (the section found in every Etsy listing that you can click on or click the small arrow next to it if shopping from an cell phone or tablet app) and contact the seller with questions BEFORE your purchase.  Sellers welcome questions and want a buyer to know exactly what they are purchasing.

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 NOW FOR THE TOP ADVICE FOR ETSY SELLERS 

First, we can all agree that customer service is tremendously important.

No matter how great your product is or how talented you are, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company.

So how do you provide excellent customer service?

Here are the three top tips (taken from the Etsy website) according to Etsy’s top sellers:

1. Time

Answer all questions buyers send you as soon as you can, immediately if possible.  Use the Etsy selling app on your smart cell phone and answer questions as soon as you are notified.  Customers really appreciate that!  Although buyer’s need to give handmade Etsy seller’s a reasonable window to respond- let’s face it, we live in an age of instant information at the reach of our cell phones with a Google search.  So be mindful of this.  That Etsy buyer may have sent the same email to several Etsy shops selling similar items.  If you wait a day or two to answer an email, yes- even on weekends, you will most likely have lost that sale to another Etsy shop that responded immediately.

2. Shipping

Always ship by your stated shipping timelines in your shop.  If for some unforeseen reason that you can not ship by your stated shipping date- contact that buyer right away and let them know.  Most are fine will a small shipping delay, as long as they have been notified and can approve it with you in writing.  Professional stickers or labels on your items and packaged well to arrive in perfect condition are key to a making a buyer happy.

 One of my favorite things about packing up an order is to write a handwritten thank you note on include a small printed Thank You tag and then strategically place it in their shipment so they see it and know I appreciate them!  I can’t always do this – especially if I am shipping many packages every few days.  I definitely do this for all rush orders that paid extra.  Think about it.  They paid more for the speedy rush to get an item handmade and delivered quickly but also for a personal touch, a handmade item. Also my regular repeat event planners always get a handwritten note – why else would they come back! They appreciate the extra time to provide excellent customer service in their shipment.

3. Empathy

Think like a customer!  Understand how they want to be treated as a customer.   If you can, offer a little free surprise in every order.  Free items should not be junk though.  It should be relevant to your shop and the buyer’s order.  Be appreciative of your customers that is why you are in business!

Above all, always be courteous and professional.

I hope this advice has helped if you are currently an Etsy seller or thinking about opening an Etsy shop as a new seller.

Come back and visit my blog for more helpful tips and advice and party inspiration!

Fall Decorating & Clearance Sale

FALL DECORATING & CLEARANCE SALE

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Are you ready for fall? While I am hoping for cooler temperatures for our move soon (although fingers crossed for no rain on our moving day), I am not wishing summer away by any means.  Although, with the purchase of our new home (sneak peek below) –

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 I’ll admit, I am now dreaming of decorating the new house with fall decor and can’t wait to get in it to start adding my personal touch in the colors and textures of autumn.  If all goes well, we will be moving at the end of September, just in time for the seasonal change to fall.

Don’t forget, with my move coming soon, I am still running the 50% off CLEARANCE SALE in all my Etsy shops!

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Visit any of my shops by clicking the links below-

Pinwheel Pretties

The Party Fetti Shop

I DO Wedding & Bridal Designs

Once Upon A Home Designs

Ready Set Craft Kits

Jill Signature

SMALL BUSINESS HELP

HELPFUL WEBSITES FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

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Today I am going off topic from parties and weddings and sharing some helpful web resources if you are running your own business from home, like myself.
Scroll down below for the links to some great resources to help you get started if you are thinking of working from home or if you already are a small business but want more helpful resources.

Before we get to the small business help,  I want to share some tips and advice from my own experience.

Also, I am wondering if any other small home based handmade to sell businesses are tired of the label “crafting” or “crafter”?

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 Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think of this as a derogatory description, it is just limiting.  I think of myself as an artisan or maker and a business entrepreneur, who just happens to work at home.

In jest, this probably sums up everyone else’s view of what we, makers, do –

Yes, of course ‘crafting’ is what I do, everyday, in fact.  It is essentially what I sell.  Handmade party and wedding designs. However, I consider what I actually do- so much more than just “crafting”.   Keep in mind that running a business from home means that there are no paid sick days, no paid vacations or personal time off, and usually no full weekend breaks!

 Running your own business means that you only get paid. . . when you work.  I like getting paid, so  I work all the time!  My day generally starts at 7:00 am at my desktop and ends later in the evening, often as late as 8:00pm in order to keep up on my custom orders and making wonderful party and wedding designs by hand.

While it allows me to stay home and run my own business and not have to join the rat race of society. . . I sometimes do miss working in an office.  But only for about a minute and then I rejoice in the advantages of a home based business!

Yes, I LOVE IT! And yes, working from home offers many perks that other employees don’t get to take advantage of on a daily basis: no commute to work, working in my PJ’s (yep, I am guilty of this!) but on the flipside, I am often truly never off from my business and work.  I answer emails from my phone late in the evening and on the go on the weekends and often work very late in my studio on rush orders.

So forgive me, if I think of the terms, “crafter” and “crafting” as more of a hobby – someone who crafts, on the side of a full-time job or in retirement – for fun.  A crafter who enjoys the hobby and loves to make handmade stuff to give a greeting card or knitted scarf to friends and relatives at Christmas.  That to me is crafting – not at all what I do full-time.  “Crafting” is not a bad description; it’s just that I do so much more than that to keep my business going, to keep sales coming in, to drive traffic to my Etsy shops.

And Etsy is not my sole source of business.  Oh no!

No way could I pay the car payment and bills with only my Etsy sales.  My direct orders from my regular event planners are what keep me in business. Thank you. . . to all my wonderful event and wedding planners who order from me on a regular and repeat basis!

So, if you are thinking of giving it a go as a full-time gig, at home, hand making something – you should first know that you really should be darn good at it, whatever it is you make. You have to compete now with hundreds of thousands of other makers and artisans online now, especially if you start out on Etsy.  And launching your own website will require much research, social media marketing, and hard work.  So let’s get you to jump off the launch pad . . . or your mouse pad and start by visiting these websites below for more helpful small business resources.

First, I recommend taking the time to read this very honest article (click to read it)-

STARTING AN ARTS & CRAFTS BUSINESS

Next, check out this website for a whole list of resources (click to access resources)-

THE WORK AT HOME WOMAN

Thanks for stopping by and as always, if you are not a maker yourself – visit any of my Etsy shops below for some wonderful party and wedding designs- made by me!

Jill Signature