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July 23, 2015

5 Etsy Shopping Tips to Improve Your Experience

It's hard to believe there was a time that I didn't know what Etsy was. But I still remember first hearing about it in college. You don't want to know how many times I have made purchases there in the last four years (I get most of my supplies there, okay...?) , and I've also been running Katya Valera since 2011 and KV Designs since last summer. It's safe to say I've been around the world of Etsy.

I've had some wonderful experiences and I've also had some horrible experiences as both a seller and a buyer. So I wanted to share some tips for shopping on Etsy that I've been storing up for a while now. I guarantee you that employing these 5 tips in your Etsy shopping will greatly improve your experience--and also that of the sellers you deal with.

1 - Pay attention. This seems so obvious yet is so neglected: Be sure to read the full listing to know exactly what you're getting. If there is any measurement listed or photo illustrating it, pay attention to it. Whip out your measuring tape and double check that it's really the size you think it is. We immediately form a size assumption in our minds, which may be completely wrong thanks to luck or a poor or otherwise fluky photo. I have bought supplies before and been unpleasantly surprised that they were not the size my brain had decided they were.

Also, be sure to look at all the photos of the item. I've gathered from multiple selling experiences that I think it's not a known fact that there are multiple images (up to 5!) of the product in a listing. You can click through them using the tiny white and gray arrows on either side of each photo, and there's also a row of the photo thumbnails at the bottom of the photo you're looking at. Please click through all of them--they often show more detail, size references, and angles that will often answer questions you have and help you envision the product much better.

Once you've read the whole item description, you'll also see if it directs you to do anything when you make your purchase, like include certain info in the note to seller. Don't forget to do this, as that info is crucial to filling your order promptly.

2 - Cover all the bases. At least glance over the shop's policies--a no-return policy may be the tidbit of info that determines whether you check out or not. Also be sure to check the announcement in their storefront and also their social media accounts and blog (usually linked to at the bottom of their about page). There are multiple reasons to check these, including making yourself aware of a production delay announcement or even a sale or coupon code! Always look for the coupon codes. Always.

3 - Educate yourself. This sounds a lot harder than it is. But it's not. Before messaging a seller asking for a price quote or really any questions, take a look around their shop first. Look at their shop sections and click on the applicable ones to see if what you're looking for is there. Or take advantage of the search bar at the top of the shop. I have had more than one potential customer ask me how much two or three items they're interested in would be together--when they're all listed in the shop. So take just a couple minutes more to look around before messaging a seller--your answer might be right there in front of you. You'll save both yourself and the seller time in the process.

4 - Be clear. If you're contacting a seller for any reason, be as clear as possible. Reread your message before sending to make sure it makes sense and that there aren't any gigantic typos.

If you're requesting a custom order, be as specific as possible. Don't assume the seller can read your mind or infer what you're wanting from just a couple details. If you purchase a custom listing, be sure to answer all the items requested in the item description, as mentioned above, and also all the questions the seller asks you. Reread everything the seller messages you to make sure you're answering every single one of their questions. I often encounter customers not answering my questions about what they want in a design, which greatly drags out the process and causes frustration on both ends.

5 - Always Respond. If you ask a seller a question, be sure to thank them for their response. If you're in communication with a seller about a potential purchase and change your mind, whether one or ten messages in, please let them know. Simply tell them you've changed your mind and thank them for their help. If I had a dollar for every time a customer has asked about an item and never messaged me again or even come out and said they would purchase an item the next day and then disappeared, I could probably nearly pay all my doctor bills. Okay not quite, but pretty close.

In a nutshell, pay attention and be considerate. Those two simple rules alone will go very far in helping you have as smooth of an experience as possible shopping Etsy.

Speaking of Etsy, I have a big announcement to share very soon! Since this post is already a short novel, I'll devote a whole new post to it. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, I wish you much happy shopping on Etsy!

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