Monday, November 18, 2013

Taking Nothing for Granted

I have 2 friends who recently opened Etsy shops. I tell them both to take Nothing for Granted.  You can't.. your buying public needs to understand that they can trust you to have what you show in the picture actually for sale and to then ship that item in a timely safe manor.

Take for example one friend's ad (changed slightly to protect them).
 "This is a beautiful addition to any room. The message in the artwork can be customized in the colors to match any room. "

This is IT!!... She feels that in her overview area she mentions that the item is made to order and it is painted wood. Enough said.

This is what I think:

1) The Measurements of the artwork or whatever it is need to be stated.

2) How the item is made.. is it all wood? or just the frame? is there glass or plexiglass there to protect the artwork?  The same principal goes for jewelry or sewing.. explain it. You don't have to give away your patterns or secrets in making the item.. But provide enough information for a customer to understand what they are looking at. Be descriptive.

3) Is the item made in a Smoke Free home or just a Smoke Free art studio? Or do you smoke? I need to know.

 4) What Pets if Any come into  contact with this item. I don't have allergies, But some do.

5) This ad states it is orders only-- How long will it take to get the order? Do I need to pay a portion of the sale upfront in order for you to make the item? What are the terms?

6) Payments.. needs to be spelled out. How do you accept payment? Do you take personal checks? Money Orders? PayPal? Direct Checkout. Not everyone reads policies. Not everyone wants to wander all over your shop looking for that information.

7)  In the USA.. there is a matter of state sales tax for most states.. Figure out your laws of your state and follow them. In NYS if you sell 1 item or 1 trillion items on line or at a craft show (see my other posts about this).. it is the LAW to have a NYS sales tax number and collect state sales tax for sales inside NYS.

8)  Shipping-- well on this item it is $35.00.. for USA and Canada. I think this person needs a postal scale. I would mention in the add-- exactly why the shipping is so high. I think customers are savvy enough to know if the postage is excessive. Understand that most of the big box stores are offering free postage especially in the fall for that Christmas rush. Explain if you are shipping Priority or Parcel, if it is coming to them in a box or a bag. Tell them what to look for. Put Tracking on all your packages.. it protects you and your customer and with Priority mail- it is free.  (You can always just up your prices a little to cover lower postage.. tell your customer that for right now there is a shipping deal of half price.. but in reality- mark your item up to cover the postage deal.. it is all in perception on the customer's part. If they believe they are getting a deal or not.)

9)  Along with this is Do you ship outside of your country? And which countries? And make a note that you don't pay the Custom Duty fees-- that is the customer's responsibility. If you decide to ship to another country-- go to USPS web site and make sure that your item is legal to be shipped to certain countries. You might be surprised what can't be sent to some countries. This becomes a legal matter and you need to know to keep yourself and your business safe.

10)  This person is a new Seller-- but your return polices are a MUST. Either you take them or you don't. Explain them in "Your Policies". Customers are not mind readers.. they need to know. They need to know if you will refund the full cost if they return the item.. Be specific. There is no set standard for this.. you make up your own rules.

11)  Pictures.. I have discussed my thoughts in other posts here. I just really think that the ones who try to be too artsy with them loose out. I think this is probably not the general way most think. If I am buying say a pottery bowl, I don't need to see that bowl on a table filled with flowers or candy. I want to see the bowl. I want to see the angles on the bowl. I am smart enough to figure out what a bowl is for and what to put in it on my own. I don't want to have to comb through the picture to see the item I am trying buy. Some pictures are just too busy to even find the item.

12)  AND When I go to purchase.. I want to see exactly what I am buying-- I don't want to be told it is similar to what is in the picture. It is so simple to take a pic and get it onto your PC or tablet or even phone to list the item that I don't see the reason a lot of sellers don't do it.

13)  Customize yourself with the Laws in the USA about safety for Children under 12. Lots of things that used to be legal to sell-- are not anymore. Check out CPSC web site for more info.

14)  And lets not even talk about Copy-written items here. Another post for that. Just be aware of the laws about this. Just because a fabric store sells Disney fabric.. that does not give you the right to make something from that fabric and sell it. There is a copyright on that fabric that you as the consumer do not own. Many shops on Etsy and Artfire have been shut down or their items removed for copyright infringement. Be aware and be a pro active seller.
I am sure there are more thoughts to help the new seller that are not mentioned here. Maybe some of my followers have thoughts?

Just think about if you were buying something- what would you want to know about the item and the shops policies. Most customers don't want to spend their time wandering all over the place looking for policies.. have them stated up front. Put yourself in the customer's shoes and help them out.

Good luck to all the new sellers... it does get a lot easier as time goes on!


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