There are so many rules and guidelines to follow as an Etsy seller, particularly in those early stages when you are still trying to build up your business and establish your unique brand.
Most of the regular Etsy guidelines that contribute towards becoming a great seller are common sense and simple enough to follow. However, those first few sales you make are incredibly important, as they can help to determine whether your business will blossom or wither. Getting customers to share their shopping experience with others can bring excellent returns for your store, but how do we go about doing this?
The answer is simple: by delivering exceptional customer service, of course. Big Brands often fail to deliver a great customer service experience so capitalise on this. Etsy already outlines its clear expectations of every seller’s customer service, but by creating a customer experience that truly wows your customers, you can be sure it won’t be long before they return…perhaps bringing along some friends.
1. Make Flexibility Your ‘Hidden’ Product
Having a choice of products is always great as it will entice customers in, showing your flexibility and creativity. However, even if you don’t have a wide variety of products to sell, you can still show flexibility by making it a part of the service you provide.
Be open to creating custom-made variations of your products for customers, or at least making slight adjustments that could help serve the customer better. (You may even choose to make this known in your store policy.) Although this will incur more cost, studies have shown that people are usually happy to pay extra for customisation and a tailored shopping experience.
Remember that price means little, as shopping is as much about the customer experience as it is about the product. A willingness to accommodate will impress customers and make the search for a particular product that bit more enjoyable.
2. Always Give Thanks
A hand-written thank you note is a small gesture that has a big impact when delivered to customers along with their chosen product. Not only are you taking the time to say thanks to the customer; the fact that you took the time to put pen to paper shows real dedication and care, both to your business and your customers.
You may even want to think about including a signature design on each note to really make an impression and ensure your customers don’t forget you as you strive to build up your brand.
When your store gets busier, there may not always be time for hand-written letters, in which case doing your customer service through facebook, twitter or emails can be great time-efficient tools. Retaining genuineness and individuality for each customer however is key – always opt for personalisation over mass-produced messages. It is also useful and professional to include a signature header or footer in your emails.
3. Give Unlimited Help & Assistance
Your guidance and advice should not have a time stamp – always support those who have purchased from you, no matter how much time has passed. Make your contact channels readily available so potential buys can learn more about your products before they buy, and continue to offer help and assistance even after the purchase has been made.
This means always being on hand to answer customers’ questions via email or social media, and having a lenient returns policy in place for when products don’t fulfil expectations.
4. Be Honest When Things Don’t Go To Plan
Whilst Etsy strongly recommends that sellers honour their shipping and processing times, things don’t always go to plan, and everyone makes mistakes. You may have accidentally missed a despatch date, or there may have been a holdup in your production line or problems with the postal service.
Either way , your customer is likely to be much more understanding if you exercise honesty and notify them of any problems as soon as possible, along with a full explanation and heartfelt apology. People buy from Etsy not just to experience owning a handmade original, but also to enjoy the human interaction and connection that comes with it. Honesty and openness will only add to this human touch that is highly valued by most Etsy buyers.
Offer the customer compensation for the inconvenience caused, such as a discount for your store or a free gift. They may still decide to cancel their order (don’t forget to remind them that this is an option), but at least you’ll know that the issue was dealt with honestly. Try to simply write off the occurrence as a lesson to be learnt, and move on. Check out this article by Nicoletta for more information on how to turn negative customer experiences into positive ones.
5. Use Social Media To Inspire Your Customers
If you encourage your customers to follow your brand’s Twitter account then you will no doubt begin to build up a bit of a following as time goes by.
Your Twitter and Facebook feeds are the perfect platforms by which to share useful resources with your customers related to the products you sell. This might include examples of best uses, display suggestions, ideas for inventive combinations and any other exciting news or updates regarding similar products. Fill your feed with tips, advice and anything else that will help them get the best out of their purchases.
Encourage your customers to tweet their own photos of the purchases they’ve made from your store and describe their own experiences with your products. This will help to create a strong, united community surrounding your brand and demonstrate transparency in the eyes of new potential customers.
About the writer:
Adele Halsall is a writer and researcher for Customer Service Guru. She is passionate about retail and consumer trends, and how this is shaped and governed by advertising and social marketing.
She is particularly experienced in marketing and customer engagement, and enjoys contributing to ongoing debates related to best business practices, start-up culture, and the culture of customer relations. Email her at email@example.com or @gurucustomers