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! : )