Etsy Jam

Etsy Seller Tips from a Shopper’s Perspective with Carly from PendantPlaceStore

They say you can get a good look at a T-bone steak by….oh never mind. But you CAN get a good look at a shop by experiencing it from a customer’s perspective. And that’s exactly what our guest Carly from PendantPlaceStore did this last holiday season. Stick around to hear some great Etsy seller tips, things she loved about shopping at other Etsy shops and the things she…well…didn’t love as much!

Why she did it 

Last week we briefly covered why Carly decided to do all her Holiday shopping this past year on Etsy. She decided to do this because November had been a fantastic month for her. This made Carly start to wonder how she could generate more traffic to her shop. Why not play with the algorithm a little and buy all her Christmas presents on Etsy?! She ended up doing 80-90% of her Christmas shopping from Etsy. Doing this was a great way to also notify Etsy that not only was Carly a seller, she was also a shopper. She was hoping that by doing this Etsy might push buyers in the direction of her store.

Carly says she’s not positive that this is something Etsy does. She definitely noticed when she would buy something or have something in her cart, traffic to her own shop would increase. Carly thinks it impacts traffic a little bit. She wouldn’t say a ton, but enough that it’s worth giving it a shot!

All the kids’ toys 

Carly noticed something interesting while she was shopping for her four and six-year-old niece and nephew. There were lots of 5 yrs and under toys, but when she really started looking for 5-10yr old toys, there really wasn’t a lot going on! So if you’re a seller who is selling something geared toward kiddos, Carly’s Etsy seller tips for you are to jump into this age range and target kids that are too old for stuffed animals and want something a little more. She ended up purchasing archery sets that her niece and nephew loved.

Taking on the buyer’s perspective 

Carly said there were a couple different things that were really interesting to her as a buyer on Etsy. She’s always wondered why her customers have expressed how fast she is at answering their messages. Carly up to this point has thought to herself, well yeah, you asked me a question, of course I’m gonna get right back to you. Once she started purchasing on Etsy she realized that getting a fast reply really isn’t that common! She says there were only one or two sellers that answered her within an hour of writing them. All the other sellers she purchased from took between twelve hours and two days to reply to her questions.

Not the time for snail mail

This was a huge eye-opener for Carly! She’s heard other sellers talk about how important it is to write back to their customers. Now she understands the other side of the situation. It really is important to get back to a buyer in a reasonable amount of time. Even if you’re just writing them back to let them know that you might be super busy at the moment but will write them back in the evening. This can be a huge game changer as far as your relationship with your buyers goes. Carly says she often writes buyers back letting them know that she’s babysitting or dog sitting and will get back to them in the evening.

Cobwebs are not your friend!

A couple shops she purchased from didn’t send her a shipping notification for a couple days. Along with writing back in a timely manner, another Etsy seller tip would be to do your shop updates. Carly tries to stay on top of this in her own shop and as a buyer, seeing shop updates made her confident that the seller was active and paying attention to their shop. A couple other shops she purchased from she had to write and find out if they were still actively selling. Why? Because there were no shop updates, no new listings and the last reviews were from March or before.

It’s all about balance

Carly also had an experience where she purchased something from a shop and three days went by with no word from the seller. She finally wrote and asked if her purchase had been sent yet and the seller eventually responded that they were on the way to the post office right then. Carly said it all turned out just fine, but the delay was a little unsettling. She knows from the seller’s perspective that Etsy has to fit in around your life. You won’t always be able to get right back to someone. However, it’s still important when you know you have customers to be conscious of them. Don’t just leave your buyers hanging.

If you need to, schedule in time to hop on Etsy and check your messages. Maybe this is first thing in the morning before the kids get up or in the afternoon while they’re napping. If you have other jobs you’re juggling, try checking your messages every 4-5 hours if possible, just to say you’ll get back with whomever. When you write back quickly and keep your shop active you’ll be more likely to get a sale.

It costs how much?! 

Another Etsy seller tip Carly has to offer is this: DO NOT overcharge for shipping. For example: if you’re selling a mug and the cost is $15.00 don’t charge $15.00 for shipping, making the mug a whopping total of $30.00. Even a buyer who has never been a seller is going to know it shouldn’t cost that much to ship something of that weight. If you want to build in a flat $5.00 shipping rate, that’s absolutely fine and acceptable. Carly says she heavily disagrees with making your shipping rates outrageous when you’re selling a small product. From a customer perspective, this feels deceptive.

You live where?! 

Something Carly put in while she was shopping on Etsy was that she only wanted to order from sellers in the United States. The main reason she did this was that it was the holiday season and she didn’t want to run the risk of a gift not arriving on time. Carly was on the hunt for a bracelet for her Grandmother. She found the perfect bracelet from a seller who was listed as being in New Jersey and ended up spending over $60.00 in the shop. After she’d made the purchase she received a message from the seller stating they were actually in Canada and did Carly still want the bracelet? Carly, of course, asked why the shop said the seller was in New Jersey? The seller replied that it was because Etsy was in New Jersey….say whaaat?!

It’s this kind of thing that’s really going to make a buyer question if they should even purchase from you. Again, a fantastic Etsy seller tip from Carly is to simply be honest. Really. Put the correct location on your shop. You don’t ever want to be the one sending a message to a customer after they’ve purchased from you asking if they still want the product or if they just want a refund. This doesn’t make you look professional whatsoever.

We ain’t best friends 

Another Etsy seller tip that’s fantastic is to keep your messages professional. Carly says it’s great to be friendly and warm with your customers. But, there is a line of professionalism that you want to keep as well. Getting a message like Carly received saying, “I’m from Canada what do you want me to do with this?” isn’t the professional message you want to send to a buyer. The ONE buyer that got back to Carly within an hour was not only quick to respond but was also friendly and professional. Carly felt so comfortable with this seller and was so impressed by their professionalism and the products they offered, she ended up purchasing not just one but FIVE items! This is a perfect example that what she’s saying and talking about as a buyer really can make a difference in your sales.

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling 

We’ve mentioned this before but Carly confirmed it as well: as the customer, she really didn’t want to scroll through anything past five pages. She could definitely see how Etsy would put the sellers with the nicer pictures up front and the further she scrolled the less nice they became. Also, the further back she scrolled she’d finally hit a point where the listings were definitely not what she’d put into the search. At this point as a buyer, you might think you’d put your search in wrong and go change it and start over.

Carly says she even tried starting at page ten of whatever her search was simply because she wanted to give sellers a chance to sell something whose shops were buried further in search! From the buyer’s perspective, however, she said it was hard to trust shops that were so far back with one or two sales and seemingly no movement in their shop. Again, this is where shop updates can be so important.

Packaging for the Holidays 

Another Etsy seller tip that Carly learned from being the shopper is how to package those holiday orders. One thing she recommends as a buyer is to not package your business card in your product. Often, buyers are purchasing and having their gift sent straight to the person they’re buying for. Leaving your business card in the package but outside the product is ideal. The reason Carly noticed this was because she didn’t want the person she was gifting to necessarily get the card and go online and check the price of what she bought. Of course, if someone loved their gift and wanted to purchase something from the seller Carly used, she would pass the information along at that point.

Overall, she was really pleased with the packaging of her purchases. She does prefer to have jewelry come in a box as opposed to a bag and I highly agree with her on this. Necklaces tend to get tangled in a bag and just like Carly, I will ALWAYS repackage jewelry I’ve bought on Etsy into a small box if it didn’t come this way. Mostly because I want to wrap the box before giving it to someone. And it’s nice to have it already come in a small jewelry box as opposed to trying to hunt one down if it doesn’t.

You’re not Santa

Carly said a lot of sellers would stop shipping after December 10th and some went until the 15th. She personally went until December 15th in her own shop and says this is something she regrets and will not be repeating. She says it’s important to remember that not everyone is giving their Christmas gift on December 25th. Some are giving them before at holiday parties and other events. This happens most often the week of Christmas. So Carly recommends making sure your products can make it to the buyer by December 20th at the latest. This ensures plenty of time for gift giving on the part of the buyer.

What goes around comes around 

It’s important to remember that buyers will return if their holiday purchase was an easy one. Returning messages quickly, answering questions thoroughly and making sure your shipping is on point will only breed loyalty in your customers. Often a flawless holiday purchase will turn into another purchase when a birthday or different holiday comes around again. As Gordon said in the Jam, a rising tide raises all ships, and this definitely applies to your Etsy shop. If you’re delivering a good experience to your customers, they’ll be more prone to come back to Etsy at the very least, if not your particular shop. Etsy is VERY aware that the sellers who are satisfying customers are the ones who bring more repeat business. And around 85% of sales on Etsy are repeat customers! Again, Etsy is SUPER aware of this. They track it and understand it. So the better experience you provide will increase traffic to Etsy which will funnel down to your shop as well.

Final thoughts

We absolutely loved learning more about Carly’s shopping experiment! It definitely helps us all to understand more of the shopper’s perspective as well and the seller’s. All of her Etsy seller tips were fantastic and we believe will be helpful to many sellers out there on Etsy. You can also check out Carly’s wonderful shop HERE. Carly is also offering a discount code to our listeners. The code is: SAVE15. So be sure and take advantage of that in her shop!!!

As always, make sure you listen to Carly’s Jam! There are extra details and stories there not captured on the blog and you won’t want to miss those. Also, make sure you’re listening to the Jam because you never know what fun little surprise you might find there;)

Happy selling, everyone!


They say you can get a good look at a T-bone steak by….oh never mind. But you CAN get a good look at a shop by experiencing it from a customer’s perspective. And that’s exactly what our guest Carly from PendantPlaceStore did this last holiday season. Stick around to hear some great Etsy seller tips, things she loved about shopping at other Etsy shops and the things she...well...didn’t love as much!

Etsy Jam Scoops

7 replies on “Etsy Seller Tips from a Shopper’s Perspective with Carly from PendantPlaceStore”

While much of Carly’s advice here is reasonable and I appreciate her perspective as a buyer, it is the perspective of one group of buyers and we tend to forget as Sellers, that there are many different groups of buyers with different price points and needs. I take exception with her point regarding selling price and shipping costs of mugs. One of my shops on Etsy is a mug shop, which is relatively new, that I have given very little attention to, and yet it chugs right along. I live on the east coast and I sometimes have buyers on the west coast. A mug usually weighs between 1 and 2 lbs, shipping rates are expensive, and because this is a business for me and not a charity, I charge what it costs me to ship and a fair price for a mug. 10% of my sales ship internationally at this shop, and a typical shipping rate for one mug is $22, well over the $15 that Carly finds outrageous. I pack my fragile items well, so that they make it too the destination intact, something that increases shipping weight and potentially cost, and rather than a customer being upset, I am often thanked. If you have ever been a buyer who purchased something you were looking forward to getting only to have it arrive broken because a seller packed it badly trying to save themselves money due to having underestimated the shipping cost that they were now having to eat…you will understand. So, please… let’s remember why some of us signed on to Marmalead, to understand niche marketing and to better fill those niches.

Hi Kathy! I just wanted to thank you for your feedback! We always appreciate hearing different points of view here at Marmalead and definitely want our customers to feel they have a place to do that. I appreciate your comment and feel that you have brought up some very valid points. As always, thank you for reading and listening!

I’m surprised about her stance on including a business card. I love when my orders contain a card because sometimes I order multiple things and often don’t remember what came from whom. If the shop is selling lots of the same item over and over again then yes, you can look up the price… however at that point I question whetheror not it belongs on Etsy? I thought Etsy was for vintage and hand-made, neither of which is mass-produced and sold in bulk on Etsy shops. Plus, you cannot see the price once an item has sold, so I am curious if there is another reason she suggests this?

Hi! This was a great read and I, too appreciate hearing a buyer’s perspective. The only one of these points that leaves me a little baffled is the point saying to contact buyers within a few days of receiving their orders. As a seller, during the month of December I would often receive well over 50 orders per day. Of course, I have an auto-response type of email that is generated as soon as the buyer places their purchase and they receive a notification when their shipping label is generated, but more than this would take my time away from making the products customers order. I also contact buyers if I have a question or if for some reason their order will not ship by the date they were provided at the time of check-out. For higher volume sellers, it is simply not possible to contact every single person if there is no issue with their order, and to be honest, I did not realize that this was the expectation.

Totally agree with the above two readers comments about shipping and business cards. I can ship a tiny little item from the west coast to east coast of Canada and it costs $20 with tracking. Buyers are much smarter than the writer states, they understand shipping costs and dont expect a seller to offer ridiculously cheap shipping at a loss of making any profit on a low price item. I have shipped over 10,000 packages and charge customers what I have to pay to have the item shipped and have never had a complaint about the price ever. Shipping prices from carriers are based on weight & size not the value of the item. A lot of my customers like the business cards with their orders and so do I when I buy something. If there is a problem with the order they can easily contact the seller. They can go to the shop it was purchased at and read the story behind the artist who made it, and I think it shows the person who received the gift that the person who bought it for them put a lot of thought into purchasing the gift to have had it made for them.

Lots of great advice here. Sometimes its good just to read over as a reminder, like the shop updates! It’s so easy to forget those. All in all- great advice for new shops and old alike!

Great Article and Insight! I have a question here though as I learned something new. You wrote:

It’s all about balance
Carly also had an experience where she purchased something from a shop and three days went by with no word from the seller. She finally wrote and asked if her purchase had been sent yet and the seller eventually responded that they were on the way to the post office right then.

I never realized that Etsy does not provide customers a message with “Shipping Dates” we know when we have to ship an item, but never realized the customer doesn’t know. I will conduct a follow up email from now on… something so simple . . .

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