5 Biggest Mistakes I See Shoppers Make on Etsy
I’ve been selling on Etsy for 8 years so I’ve been through many Christmas shopping seasons, both as a seller and as a customer. The holiday season is a crazy time of year – many stores sell 1/4 to 1/3 their entire sales in these 6 weeks alone. It can get stressful for both the sellers and the customers who are shopping for the perfect gift.
Honestly, I want you to have an amazing experience shopping in my store. I’m here because it’s my passion and I really look forward to the holiday season. Besides, if you have a great experience, I’m hoping you remember my shop during the other 11 months, so it’s in my best interest to make sure you are happy with the gifts you are purchasing.
However, there are a number problems that can delay and sometimes cause a cancellation of your order. Since time is of the essence during the holidays, just following these simple guidelines will ensure that your order gets made and shipped to you quickly. Some of these suggestions will seem obvious, but I note them because they have all caused problems – many times. These are very common issues.
#1 – Use a valid e-mail address when registering on a shopping site
I know it’s tempting to use a ‘throw-away’ e-mail address for all the various internet accounts you sign up for. But if you are shopping on-line, it’s really important to check in with these e-mail accounts to make sure you don’t miss any important messages. I can’t count how many times I’ve had questions about an order and sent an e-mail that’s never been answered. This will delay your item being shipped, and in some cases, result in a cancellation of your order – all without you even knowing it happened. This is extremely frustrating for both buyer and seller. I want to get you your lovely jewelry gift to you as soon as possible and during the busy holiday season, sending multiple e-mails to try to get clarification on an order can delay shipment by days or weeks.
#2 – Double-check the mailing address
Etsy (and most other on-line shops) will default to either the address you have on file or the address that is connected to your payment method. During the holidays, I usually receive an e-mail every day or every other day from a buyer who completed the transaction with the wrong mailing address. Sometimes they catch it before I ship, sometimes not. I believe this is a bigger issue when purchasing on your mobile phone because you don’t see the default address as easily.
If I ship your jewelry to the wrong address, I can not send a replacement or refund until/if I receive the original shipment back. During the hectic holidays, USPS probably won’t return it to me until after the first of the year.
#3 – Fully read the item description before purchasing
Ok – this seems obvious, but it’s the number one problem I run up against all the time. Again, I think this is due to the increase of mobile devices being used for on-line purchases and Etsy could do a much better job making the description more visible on phones. When you shop using your phone, you have to select the description tab to see the full information. This should be the default, but it’s not. So a lot of people only look at the pictures. I’ve had customers send me e-mails after they’ve received their bangles and didn’t understand that it comes with no clasp even though I state very clearly that it is clasp-less and sizing is very important. I also get a lot of questions regarding sizes and color options that are already detailed in the description. During peak times, I’m not able to quickly respond to messages so this is a delay that usually can be avoided.
#4 – Fully read each shop’s policies
Each shop on Etsy is independent, so we all have different policies that we decide for ourselves and they can vary widely from shop to shop. Important items to consider before purchasing from individual shops are:
- Shipping and production times – Some shops (especially ones offering highly customized items) may have production times of up to 2 weeks.
- Refund and exchange policies – Many shops don’t allow returns for custom work. If you are in the market for a personalized gift, make sure you understand the return policies.
- Custom fees for international purchases – Custom fees and tariffs can be imposed by your country if you purchase from a shop that ships from another country. As sellers, we are not responsible for those fees (I’ve even read that it’s illegal for us to cover that cost). Be sure you know where the shop is located before purchasing.
- Accepted forms of payment – Most shops accept credit cards and Paypal. If you use Paypal and utilize the e-check option, there can be a delay of 3-5 days until Paypal clears the check.
- Restocking fees – I’m seeing more shops with restocking fees, especially for large and/or custom orders. If you are thinking of returning an item, you may not receive a full refund.
#5 – Ask questions before purchase
I will often receive a question in the ‘notes to seller’ after the purchase for changes to the product or shipping. These types of questions really need to be asked ahead of time since they may involve extra charges or are not possible with the item being purchased. This will also delay the turn-around time while I try to get clarification or need to send an invoice for additional charges that may apply.
Here are some common examples:
- Asking for an upgrade to Express shipping. I don’t offer this service because I don’t trust USPS to do it right (sorry, but true!). If you need your item overnight and you’ve already purchased it, this will cause a big problem because I can’t accommodate the request.
- Asking to substitute gold for silver (or vice versa). Depending on the jewelry, I may not have the item available in any other color than the one already listed.
- Adding additional charms or birthstone links. I can usually provide additional charms and birthstones, but there will be extra charges. Sending out a separate invoice, while simple enough, will cause a delay in processing the order.
I hope these suggestions are helpful. The holiday season can be hectic and communication is the key to getting your gifts shipped to you as fast as possible.
Please visit my shop at Theresa Rose Designs