How To Shop Like A Pro Online This Christmas

Today I am sharing a few great tips for Christmas shopping online, with a focus on Etsy.

Before I get to the tips, be sure to get a head start on all  your Christmas shopping by stopping by my Etsy shops below.

ONCE UPON A HOME DESIGNS

READY SET CRAFT KITS

THE PARTY FETTI SHOP

PINWHEEL PRETTIES

How To Shop Like A Pro Online This Christmas

If you have not been thinking about Christmas gifts yet, it is not too early! Get online now and start using an app or Pinterest to at least pick out and save items you intend to purchase.  The first tip is to begin planning your purchases.  I like to use Pinterest and every year I set up a new “Christmas Gifts” board and pin items that I intend to purchase over the coming weeks.

Now is the time to start online Christmas shopping, especially if you are on a tight budget. Don’t wait until December to start your Christmas shopping. Think about it . . . if you need to buy several gifts for family and friends- if you start now, in October, you have roughly 12 weeks (or if you break it down to pay periods, you have about 6 or 7 paychecks) before Christmas.  By starting now and purchasing one or two gifts each week or every other week per pay period – you won’t break your pocketbook or go into credit card debt.  Plus, it’s less stressful since you will not have to deal with the insane retail store Christmas crowds or worse, attempt the Black Friday boxing match.

I love to shop on Etsy to find unique and handmade gifts of all kinds from jewelry, soap, candles, home decor and more for women and so many amazing original gifts like designer and funny tee shirts, shaving cream, tools, and beer accessories for men in my family.  The best reason to shop on Etsy, you don’t have to leave home and every amazing gift arrives right on your doorstep.

Additionally, most shops on Etsy will offer gift wrap service with a small fee (some shops even offer it free)– and your gifts will arrive ready to put directly under the tree! Now that entirely takes the stress out of Christmas shopping, so you can sit back and enjoy your egg nog or wine!

Now for the tips on how to shop like a pro on Etsy

First, know the online platform and know how to use it to your advantage.  Etsy is not at all like Ebay or Amazon, so there are a few differences you should know to help you search and find amazing gifts.

My second tip is DON’T RELY ON PHOTOS only when purchasing anything online.  Why? Photos can not show you an accurate size or other important details.  It is highly recommended that you go ahead and take a minute to READ the item details section of each listing.

Where are Item Details in Etsy?

It depends, if browsing on the phone or tablet app, you need to scroll all the way down under photos, past the line “Item Overview” further down and actually CLICK ON the words to get the Item Details box to pop out or open.

However, if shopping on a desktop or laptop, it is much easier to find just by scrolling down under the photos.  I actually prefer to shop on my laptop, since I can send emails and messages to Etsy sellers much easier.

My tip #3 is to ask questions before buying. If you did not find all the information in the item details to answer your questions about an item on Etsy, absolutely email or message the shop owner or seller by clicking on the button –  Ask a question

 

 

Most sellers want and love to connect with buyers. Etsy shop sellers want to hear from you BEFORE you purchase, especially if you have questions and they definitely want to ensure you know exactly what you are ordering, when it will arrive, and any other information you need to know.  Sellers want to complete all sales with 100% happy buyers.

A smart buyer shops like a pro and fully reads all the details or asks questions about the potential purchase so there is no misunderstanding about exactly what is being ordered.

 

Data research has shown that buyers that purchase on impulse without taking the time to fully read the details about items online generally exhibit regret or buyers remorse later, and that emotion is no fault of an online seller, on any platform.  After all, that Etsy seller did pour their blood, sweat, and maybe some tears into that amazing handmade gift you are about to purchase- so they want you to love it and to know exactly what you are going to receive before adding it to your cart and completing the sale.

Understanding Order Processing & Shipping Timelines

My tip #4 is recommending that you shop online early and understand order processing time needed plus consider the delivery time for either USPS, FedEx, or UPS, once a seller has shipped your order.  When buying handmade, it is crucial to allow Etsy sellers production time and order processing time to get your handmade item to you.  While many sellers have plenty of inventory ready to go, some still make your item after it is ordered.

 Personalized and custom orders do not magically appear.  Each seller must add that personalized request or design to your handmade item, so don’t assume you are going to receive your Etsy order two days after purchase, unless of course your paid for them to rush it and for Priority Express to have it overnighted to you.  Remember, Amazon Prime costs subscribers around $120.00 a year.  Most online shoppers can’t afford that fee just for the convenience of two day delivery, so consider that when buying elsewhere online.  Sellers online need time to get your order ready and in the mail to you. As much as sellers would love to have hundreds of employees working all night, its not happening, so be realistic about delivery times.

An online seller needs a day or two to get your item ready to ship and in the mail.  This is called order processing.  Etsy has been making this information more accessible to buyers on all the apps and desktop platforms- it now shows you approximately when an item will arrive at your location and it is located just next to the lower part of the photos. Be sure to note this important information before buying, especially if you have waiting until the last minute to order.  Definitely message the seller first to find out if they can meet your rush deadline.

How To Search To Find What You Want On Etsy

Finally, tip #5 is to use the search features in the left hand side of the screen when searching for specific items on Etsy. You can narrow down your searched selection of items shown to you by clicking in any of the boxes- 

Once you have selected a shop you like, you can also narrow down specific items while browsing in that shop too by clicking on their sections in the left hand side of the screen.

I hope these online Christmas shopping tips are helpful.  Be sure to stop by any of my Etsy shops below for your holiday gift giving, seasonal decorating, or holiday celebrations and to use these tips to optimize your online browsing and gift giving this holiday season!

ONCE UPON A HOME DESIGNS

READY SET CRAFT KITS

THE PARTY FETTI SHOP

PINWHEEL PRETTIES

Read more

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!

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