Nowadays, it’s harder than ever to stand out from the competition on Etsy. But with some friendly customer service and a little personal touch, you can make an unforgettable product for your customers and their loved ones. And offering custom Etsy orders is a great way to do just that.
Etsy is a marketplace known for its endless inventory of meaningful gifts for all occasions. And while this is great for shoppers, it comes with a downside for sellers. Unfortunately, this means there’s tons of competition in the gift-giving market.
Luckily, there’s one thing you can do to make your products stand out: and it’s customize them for whoever is buying.
When you personalize your listings, you’re making them especially for your customer. Which is something shoppers won’t find in most other stores. Making this one of the many benefits of shopping on Etsy in the first place.
However, there are some good things and bad things when with comes to custom Etsy orders. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Pros of custom orders on Etsy
Etsy is the place for gifts.
Like we mentioned before, Etsy is a place that many buyers turn to when they’re looking for a gift.
Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries – whatever the reason to give a gift, something on Etsy will do the job quite well.
Gifts are regularly customized, too. Think of baby clothing, for example. New parents often go out of their way to celebrate every month their kid has been around, often with something customized. The first few birthdays are generally laden with personalized gifts, too!
The point is this: customized gifts are ‘extra’ unique. Which is perfect since many buyers turn to Etsy as a place to buy unique gifts in the first place.
Custom Etsy orders offer a higher order value.
Customers are willing to spend more on a customized product as it means more. As a result, you can charge more for a product and make a more significant profit.
Etsy’s interface is prepared to help.
Etsy knows that many of the products sold on their marketplace are customized. Therefore, the backend, or ‘Seller Central’ is set up to make it easier for sellers like yourself to offer customization options.
There’s no need to create something super detailed. Instead, you can add one product with several variants and example photos.
On top of that, you can even encourage sellers to leave additional design requests in a private message.
Custom Etsy orders showcase your brand and skills.
Customizing a product isn’t always easy, but when done well, it can showcase your skills and the attention to detail of your brand.
They make for great marketing opportunities and user-generated content. As mentioned earlier, personalized products are usually given as gifts. And if the gift receiver is so blown away by their present, they may share that content on social media.
This little extra recognition can be great for your brand’s social media efforts and social proof.
Cons of custom orders on Etsy
Etsy customers with personal requests can sometime be difficult to work with.
We’ve all heard the customer is always right — and, well, the jury is always out as to whether or not that’s true.
What is true, though, is that products that can be customized are notorious for attracting some problematic people.
Related: I received a bad review on Etsy… now what?
No matter how detailed or vague their brief or guidelines might be, an Etsy customer that’s not 100% satisfied will make it very well known that they’re not satisfied. While they have every right to do that, be prepared for them to be clutching at straws with most of their reasoning, but also for Etsy’s dispute center lean toward the customer in most cases.
Custom Etsy orders add extra work to your flow.
Depending on the product, an extra level of work may be involved with customizing an order.
If you make each order from scratch, this is fine, as it’s probably not a lot of extra work. However, if you have to customize a product already on your shelves, it means double handling it. Sacrificing a stock item on the shelves and turning it into a personalized product lowers the number of items ready to send out.
There’s also the extra work involved in creating the customized listing on Etsy. While Etsy’s backend does make it easy, you’ll no doubt spend more time answering questions about the customization options, often with that inquiry not getting a response.
Personalization increases a chance for disputes.
An unhappy customer will undoubtedly contest what you’ve made for them by opening a dispute.
It’s not common for the seller to win the battle when a customer opens a dispute unless the evidence is circumstantial.
By selling customizable products, you increase the chances of more and more dispute cases being opened up against you and having to deal with them all.
Custom Etsy products that don’t sell cost you money.
In most cases of a dispute, you’ll get your product back and be out of pocket. Customized products are unlikely to be sold to the general public as they’re precisely that — customized.
It pays to have a plan for your customized items that can’t then be sold again well before you commit to selling customized products.
Why not offer both?
Etsy is a great marketplace to sell handmade, artisanal gifts. By offering customization services, you’re going above and beyond in selling something that’s a little extra special.
Consider setting up your Etsy shop to offer both stock and customized items. Upselling customers from your stock product to a customized product is a great way to generate a little extra revenue.
Etsy’s infrastructure makes it quite simple to offer custom products, so it’s worth giving it a shot!
Over to you
Trying new things and assessing what works for you and your business is vital to running a successful Etsy shop.
Offering customized products can be a great way to generate a little extra revenue and dominate your niche a little more. But not if every second custom order results in a dispute and a refund.
Measure, test, and assess what works for your business.
With that in mind, see how your Etsy customers approach your new customized products!