9.11.2012

5 Tips for BUYING on Etsy

Etsy has become a worldwide phenomenon and a great place to buy one-of-a-kind hand made crafts as well as unique antiques. BUT, how do you make the most of your buying experience?! 


I've been both an Etsy seller and an Etsy buyer for a couple of years now. It took me a little bit of trial and error to learn the ins and outs of how to make the most of Etsy, and today I'm sharing my 5 tips for BUYING on Etsy. Hopefully it will be of some help to any of you who may be afraid to try Etsy, or who want to, but don't know where to start. 

1. Use the search box. Especially if you are looking for something specific. It is easy to get lost when you search only using the category listings on the left hand side of your screen. It is, of course, a great way to find items if you aren't quite sure what you want. 
 When you click on the "jewelry" category and you will see page after page of not only jewelry, but jewelry supplies, crafts with jewels on them, and lots of other things that you may not really be interested in. 

If you already know what you are looking for, find the search box at the top of your screen and type in the item you want. 

Before pressing "Enter" on your keyboard,you will notice that Etsy already gives you several options. For example: I typed in the words "turqouise ring" and a pop up menu showed under the search box for options to search for these words. You can either press "Enter" to search for your original item, or use your mouse to  click on one of their suggestions.


This is the easiest way to find EXACTLY what you are looking for without having to sort through several pages of miscellaneous items first. 

2. Check out the feedback. Once you have found a product that you are interested in, be sure to check out the feedback for that shop. Here's what you look for. It doesn't matter how many sales the store has had as long as their feedback is great. 


There are new shops that will sometimes have grand opening deals. Since they are new they probably won't have very much -- if any -- feedback. There are other shops that have been around a while and have only received so-so feedback. The amount of time a shop has been open doesn't always dictate how good their product is. To view the feedback that customers have left for that shop, click on the word "feedback" and it will open a window similar to this one:


Here you can view what customers have written regarding the products they have purchased. This is a BIG help in deciding if this is the shop for you! 

3. Look for coupon codes. You can do this several different ways. The first is by looking and the shops information/announcement. It can be found just under their header. 

When you click on the gray box it will open a larger box containing all of the shops written information/announcement.

A lot of shops will offer coupon codes but ONLY put them in their information/announcement (instead of in each listing). They aren't always well advertised, but I make it a point when I am shopping on Etsy to check out the shops announcements before purchasing. 

The second way would be to simple google "{the shop name} coupon code". A lot of shops will run giveaways and promotional codes on blogs. By searching for them you might just find one that isn't advertised on their shop announcement. 

Third, and lastly, you can always email the shop owner and ask if they are running any coupon codes, or special deals on any of their items. One of my favorite suppliers offers a 20% discount on orders over a certain quantity. BUT, in order to take advantage of the deal, you have to contact them first. 

4. Do some searching. Once you have found the item you are looking for, search around on Etsy for other shops selling the exact same thing. This is particularly helpful if you are looking for supplies rather than hand made products -- though it is great for handmade products as well. From your search results page, you can sort your results by: Most Recent, Relevancy (default), Highest Price, or Lowest Price. 


On the left hand side of your screen you can also refine your search result by category: All items (default), Handmade, Vintage, or Supplies.


Sometimes it pays to checkout a couple of shops offering the same item. You can compare prices, look for coupon codes, and see what the shipping costs are to find the best deal!

5. Checking Out. Once you have decided on your item(s) and the shop you are purchasing from, add that item to your cart then click on the cart icon at the top right of your screen to purchase. From here you can choose your method of payment. Some shops will only offer PayPal. Others will give you an option of PayPal or Credit Card. 


If you have found a coupon code, click on the words "Apply shop coupon code" and a box will open for you to enter in the code you have found. Be sure to enter it exactly as it was written. 


Some items (especially custom jewelry, paper goods, or anything that can be customized) will require information from you at checkout. This can be related using the "Notes" box. Here you can write a message to the shop owner to include such information as the size of the item you want, the color, or your wording. If you are like me, sometimes I write a thank you note to suppliers I regularly purchase from.


Once you have filled in your method of payment, and any coupon codes or notes that you need, simply click on the green checkout button and follow the prompts.

To keep track of what purchases of yours have shipped, find the "Your Account" words on the top right of your screen and scroll over it. Then click on "purchases". It will show you a list of all of your purchases -- starting with the most recent -- and they will be marked as shipped once the shop owner ships them. You may also receive an email and/or a message through Etsy letting you know once your order has been shipped.

I hope this helps any of you who may have hesitated to purchase from Etsy. I love all of the fun things you can find and the great prices!!! Happy shopping!!! 

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