Thursday , 23 March 2017
$20,000+ In Etsy Sales In Only 5 Months – Long List of Do’s and Don’ts

$20,000+ In Etsy Sales In Only 5 Months – Long List of Do’s and Don’ts

MyBeardedPigeon

Well, you are here on handmadeology.com for advice, and MyBeardedPigeon took some time away from making her outstanding pillows to talk about how she accomplished $20,000+ in sales in only 5 months.  Since that post 6 weeks ago, her sales are now over $30,000.  She is definitely an asset to the Etsy Success Team.

Here are the pointers straight from the pigeon’s mouth:  (original link here)

In the spirit of what Etsy is all about – sharing and community – I thought I would write about customer service and what I have learnt since I started selling on Etsy 3 years ago.  (I have another shop as well as this one.)  I have used everything I learnt in the last shop to avoid making the same mistakes as I did the first time. I started selling on My Bearded Pigeon in December 2010.

I often have people commenting on my customer service in their feedback, and I think it is such an important part of selling online. Many people who have bought from me have returned again and again and told their friends. I also have included some simple things you can also do as a buyer on Etsy too, as lots of us who are sellers and also buyers.

Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts that I think might be helpful.

  • DO answer convos politely and promptly.  I think it is great to add a bit of humour; be yourself … even if it is the tenth person that week asking if you would like to giveaway a cushion on their blog. You can say “No thank you” nicely. This includes being polite even when people ask you questions you have answered numerous times in your policies, listings and shop intro. For example: “Can I get the cushion without the insert?”
  • DO respond to treasuries – when someone puts you in one – go over to the treasury and at the very least say thank you! That is all you have to say – sometimes you can say more, but it is nice to acknowledge that some one has taken the time. This is how you get on the front page remember – by being in treasuries.
  • DO say thank you when someone orders something from your shop. As soon as I get an order I respond with a thank you and let them know when I plan to post – usually within a couple of days. I respond to the email from paypal as people new to etsy may not check etsy convos. I find it quite bad manners when people do not acknowledge your order. I am shocked at how often I get no response when I buy something.
  • DO be an active team member.  I am in quite a few teams and I try to participate when I can, but of course I am not perfect and cannot participate in everything.
  • DO always have your shop looking tip top! You never know when you will be featured in an etsyfinds email or on the front page or maybe even on a popular blog.  So if people are coming for the first time it may be the difference of them giving you a heart and returning later or not.
  • DO always have high res images ready (if you load pictures onto flickr that will help as you can download any sizes) for magazine editors or bloggers who may be interested in featuring you.
  • DO remember the customer is almost always usually mostly sometimes right!
  • DO follow Etsy’s rules.
  • DO price accordingly. Include Etsy fees, paypal fees, packaging and stationary, plus the time it takes to list the item, take photos etc, package it all up, take it to the post office plus the actual making of the item… what are you prepared to work for? Be realistic. Don’t worry so much about what other people are selling items in your category for. What do you need to make a profit? To make it worthwhile for you?
  • DO offer a discount for customers who buy several items. I have had many people buy over 5 cushions from me, in some instances 10+.  Reward their loyalty with free postage and / or a % discount.
  • DO have postage listed to lots of different places, and make sure it is accurate. Do not make money out of postage, put your prices up if you need to. There is nothing worse than receiving something that cost you $10 in postage to have it say $2.20 on the envelope.
  • DO be patient with postage. Often I get angry emails about postage times, I politely remind people I am in Australia so it may take a little longer. On that note, if something fails to reach you, please contact your post office first to see if it is there before you contact the seller.
  • DO look at your product.  Is it original? Do people get excited when they see it? Is it unique? Can you get it anywhere else? Does it appeal to a wide range of people? I am lucky that my products appeal to women and men and people also buy them for kids too – know who you are selling too and market accordingly.
  • And lastly DO take a really good look at your shop.  Look at it from a customer’s perspective.  Does it look neat and tidy with all the sections filled out and all the photos looking nice? Really does it?
  • DON’T tell the customer that you think something is a bad idea.  For example I had a necklace seller who when I asked if I could have the chain longer I was told ” the chain is long enough”.  Long enough for whom I thought… and they lost the sale.
  • DON’T spam your customers… don’t send them loads for convos/ emails one to say you received the order and have posted it is suffice.
  • DON’T feel like you need to have a facebook, twitter, blog, and flickr account before you can sell anything, although all of these things can be useful but they do take a lot of time
  • DON’T send really long emails – it puts people off – just cut to the chase or send links. If you want to ask someone to provide a product for a giveaway on their blog be mindful that they may have been asked 20 times that week!
  • DON’T ask people to donate to school fundraisers, yes it is a really nice idea but a little unfair I think….
  • DON’T put a bad photo on etsy, you may be tempted to quickly list something but it may be the difference between a heart and a future sale or nothing.
  • DON’T leave bad feedback without discussing it with the shop owner first. Be reasonable, this is someone’s business.
  • DON’T COPY!! I see people blatantly copying the work of sellers who do really well – original is best. Always.
  • DON’T obsess about the number of sales. Yes there are shops that have sold 10 000 items +++ but why worry about them? You cannot compare your shop with other shops that sell different products to yours, so don’t.

Wasn’t that a wonderful list?  Now go do it or stop doing it.  Whatever it is you need to do, go!  : )

For a further insight into the mind and social responsibility of MyBeardedPigeon, click this way.

how to sell on etsy

 

how to sell on etsy

  

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62 comments

  1. Some excellent advice, particularly about convoing customers. I always send messages to confirm that I receive and send orders, which quite often starts friendly dialogue between myself and the customer, which of course has lead to a few repeat sales down the line. Politeness is very important as you will always get the odd person sending a one line message, without any sort of greeting/opening, talking to you like they have forgotten you’re a human being. Yet, just a friendly message can easily break the ice and in turn gives a great impression for your shop and handmade artisans in general :) Excellent tips!

    Best of success to you!

  2. Sage advice from one of my favorite bloggers/Etsy sellers! Thanks, Cath…
    xo,
    w

  3. Very good advice. Thank you.

    Susana

  4. Great advice thanks so much always wonderful to get such great tips from an experienced Etsy seller.

  5. This was a great list, very motivating!

  6. Great advice – love the sense of humour too :D

  7. Lots of great tips and some that I have not heard before! I think the main idea is to do your own thing, be original and don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing.

    Thanks!

  8. Bobbi helms. Fatdogbeads

    Great tips. And i might add: take care with packaging. It’s another “first impression” of yiu and your shop. Always include some kind of thank you note. I include a business card offering a discount on their next purchase.

  9. Good advice. I appreciate your willingness to share what you have learned from your experience. Your pillows are great also.

  10. Thank You for all the great reminders, and new things to think about!

  11. Great advice – thanks so much for sharing to those who are new, and reminding those of us who can always use a reminder!

  12. I agree with everything you said! I lost a sale once because I was asked if I accepted checks. I don’t, but then added the money order option. I contacted the potential buyer and told her of my new addition, but I must have really pissed her off, because I never heard from her again. Oops. Live and learn! But, it did open my eyes to another possibility for payment, and the money order option has been great!

  13. Cath of MyBeardedPigeon wanted me to let everyone know that she is taking a small break from her blog and her shop critiques in order to dedicate her time to creating her wonderful pillows. But her blog has lots of great stuff to troll through in the mean time. http://www.chunkychooky.blogspot.com

  14. Great tips, thanks for sharing knowledge :-)

  15. Great tips. I agree that customer service is of paramount importance – a friendly and funny email from the seller is part of what makes buying handmade such a memorable experience. Your items will have so much more meaning to your customers when they feel like they have a personal connection with you.

  16. Great advice!

    It always shocks me too when I do not receive any acknowledgement that I ordered from someone :(

  17. Hi! I just stumbled upon this! And was happy to see you again (i recently did a feature of your shop mybeardedpigeon.etsy.com on my blog). Love it. I am so happy to read this because when I started my first etsy store, I was always sending out a thank you and also another email to say that their item had shipped. But when I went to buy things off of Etsy myself, I found so many people didn’t respond at all, which my gut said was rude, but my insecurities said maybe I was being over zealous! Now, I have opened my new pillow shop (plumed.etsy.com – which is doing great so far! 5 sales in 9 days, woohoo!) I am going to take this advice, which was my instinct, and resume being a communicative and appreciative shop owner! I truly do appreciate every sale and I want to say so! Thanks for the validation and reminder : ) Also, I would add, I think my pillow shop is doing well because I actually LOVE making pillows. I am now a firm believer in doing what you love, it truly makes a difference.

  18. Great advice- very open and honest! good luck to you and your future biz!

  19. What a great article. Wonderful advices. Thank you.

    Chantal

  20. Wow great tips and very insightful! Thanks for sharing these with us so we can be successful as well!

    ~Blessings!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing, Great Do’s and Don’t's!!! fantastic advice!! Thank you again!!

  22. Not obsessing over the # of sales is a good way to be. It seems like it’s when I’m not stressing over a lack of sales that i get one? Funny how that works. :-)

  23. Wow, the one about replying to them via the email on their PayPal account is great. So many of my buyers are new to Etsy, and I never thought of that! They may have gotten the item and love it, but if they didn’t get my convo, they may not be impressed with my customer service/communication. (and they may never let me know they like it, either, without my email to reply to) THANKS!!

  24. Your pointers will greatly help me focus and fine tune. Thank you for being an ETSY successful seller who doesn’t mind sharing your knowledge. I wish you continued success !!

  25. Excellent advice! Sometime what seems second nature to Etsy sellers is a boink on the head for newbies or when you have been on for a while and still have a struggle.

    I do have to disagree somewhat with the advice of Facebook. Like any social networking it takes time to buildup – but friending all your high school friends and family is a great jumpstart. If you integrate promoting and personal stuff BEFORE you set up a business page I find you get massive support from people you know. I sold (At least) 50 to 1 from Facebook to Etsy AND have gotten many sales for friends featuring my Etsy shop friends on my Facebook page. When Etsy was slow I thanked my stars for Facebook.

    Thank you for taking the time to give out this advice that was a huge trial and error and priceless labor involved to compile.

    Happy Holidays!! Much success for all in th New Year :)

    :)
    Anna Pereira

  26. Really great article! I’ve heard most of this stuff before but a couple things were new and really stood out to me. Definitely worth the read!

  27. Thanks so much, that explains why I never hear back from some of my customers when I contact them via Etsy!

  28. Good information. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Thanks for all the useful & inspiring info! congratulations!

  30. Thank you for the great info again.
    Anita
    AnitaSperoDesign

  31. Thank YOU for all the wonderful information. It definitely will be helpful when I get to set up my ETSY page soon.

  32. I had a problem with shipping, i am in Greece, and it took a very long time, more than a month to go to the US, it stuck on USA customs. The buyer contact me, and I contact the US post office, the greek post office, and I call the buyer as well, I make all the work to make sure that the product weren;t lost. The buyer was satisfied even though it took forever to go to her. I even told her I will refund her money in worst case.

  33. Hi all thanks Cathy,i am new on etsy and i find this information valuable.
    i sell african crafts & jewellery,and i believe my crafts are beautiful and unique.
    kindly check out my shop on etsy.
    thanks

  34. Amazing advice! Great tips!

    Thank you so much!

    gn

  35. This is fantastic! I am starting my Etsy shop in a few weeks time and this is my leading philosophy, great advise.

  36. Fantastic article, thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your advice. Love your work :)

  37. Thank you so much for all of this invaluable information!!!

    Karen from Knitpeddler

  38. I really enjoyed this article. Nice reality check and I am pleased to say that pretty much all of both the do’s and dont’s I am doing. Happy to read this.

  39. The biggest thing I’ve learned about customer service is- when someone is rude to you in a convo- don’t respond immediately! Wait a day to simmer down & respond as a detached professional. Once I learned to do this, asking the customer to “take a deep breath and remember it’s just a doormat” it got much less stressful to reply to cranky convos. She thanked me & told me some of the high stress events happening in her life. Your Etsy shop feels personal, but it is also a business. For every 100 overwhelmingly happy messages, there will be one person who can’t be pleased. Try to focus on the positive!
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/DamnGoodDoormats

  40. All great advice. I have to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my customers they are the best ever! I do quite a few custom pieces and I love working with them. They have such unique ideas and mostly know what they want, but they are all also open to my suggestions, which makes for such a great two way conversation. The first two on your list are my faves. It is all about communication and your fellow Etisians. Treasuries are a great tool, and once you find the right group for you, support them, it means so much to everyone, including you.

    Thanks so much for such a great list!
    Sharon Orella
    SharonOrellaDesigns.com
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/SOArtStudio

  41. Wonderful! Love all this informative information~~~~customer service is so important
    I have posted this article on my Local Team Etsy F/B
    Thank you

  42. Great advice and tips.

    Thank you for such a great post and congrats on your success!

  43. Thank you so much. Sometimes we all need a, refresher course. Thanks for taking the time!

  44. This is a wonderful article with a lot of great advice, but it seems to be from 2011. So much has changed with Etsy. Is there any new advice My Beared Pigeon might like to add to this list?

  45. Great advice! Thank you!!!

  46. She really is a wonderful gal too! Have seen her around the forums Congrats on the feature, and great advice!

    Untamed rose

  47. thank you for some wonderful tips -

  48. This is such a great list of Do’s and Don’ts for Etsy shop owners! I love the shop too!

    Tania

  49. Great advice. Thank you for writing this. Quick question about postage, if the postage is $2.20 but the box/envelope is another $2 or so. Is it ok to charge $4.20? Thanks!

    • Hi Pamela! In that situation what I do is add the cost the to ITEM, and leave the postage alone. That way you are still recouping your cost, but the customer doesn’t think they’re being overcharged for postage ;)

  50. doing some research and refreshing my skills as i just hit my 100th sale, it took a year, but i am reminded of the basics here. as i read, “always send a thank you message when you receive an order” i blushed a little as i realized i’ve completely stopped doing that. i promptly sent out a thank you to my most recent order and he responded right away, and just like that we’re on a first name basis! thank you for the sweet reminders to make a handmade business in every way possible. wishing you well! jenn

  51. Wonderful guest post! Thank you so much!

  52. Excellent! This was definitely a good read!

  53. Thanks for sharing, I just started my Etsy business and I look forward to using all of these great tips!

  54. There is some amazing advice on this blog. I am working on improving my customer service and overall presentation of the business/package. I have had a lot of mixed luck with social media. I still do not see it as necessary as some are saying, but I am trying to be active and keep it up to date.

    Thanks for the pointers!

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