I have shopping problems. I love unique stuff. I love to support small businesses. I love to be someone’s first sale, or first review, or 500th sale, or whatever. I look for reasons to buy from people. And I often find shops that I love, and buy from, on the forums…because, well, let’s be honest…I spend way too much time there. I feel like people forget that most sellers are also buyers…and that buyers frequent the forums…and that tons more people read the forums than posts in them…oh…and that the forum threads, along with your shop name, are searchable.
So…Why am I not buying from you? Because you seem like a mean person. Because you are not customer friendly. Because you have nothing nice to say about your landlord (ie…Etsy)
The forums are a great, fantastic, wonderful place to ask questions about real business concerns…
“Hey! I got an order from a lady in Italy, but as it turns out, I can’t ship needlework to Italy per customs regulations! How do I refund and cancel the order? I am having a hard time navigating the help articles!” That is a great question. People will help you.
“Why does Etsy suck so much?!” That is not a great question. It speaks volumes to me, as a potential customer. It tells me that you are not flexible…that you look for a scapegoat…and that you would rather whine and cry than try to work on something. A better way to word a question when you don’t understand an Etsy change…”What category would you expect to find this in?” Both are a complaint about the new categories being lacking for certain areas…except one looks like you just want people to feel badly for you…and the other looks like you are trying to make the best of a situation. I know which seller I would rather buy from.
“Why is no one buying my stuff?” This question is both awesome and really crappy…all at the same time. It is a FANTASTIC question if you are going to genuinely listen to the advice being given to you, not get defensive, and try to make the changes that are most commonly recommended and you feel are safe to make. But, if all you are doing is trying to get people to come onto your thread and tell you how amazingly awesome you are…well…it is obvious to the people in the forums…and I don’t shop with people like that.
But, the massive amount of threads where people are just trashing Etsy…going on about how awful it is and how much it has changed and they hate it…well, what I really want to post in response is, Then please leave. Please. If you truly hate Etsy that much…then go sell somewhere else. Save us all the time and energy of having you skip over your threads. Save yourself the frustrations of having to deal with a selling platform you hate. There are tons of places to sell…go try someplace else.
Think about it this way…if you walk into a restaurant, and all of the employees are complaining, loudly, about how much their boss sucks…their hours suck…they don’t make enough money…they don’t get enough tips…well, how does that change your dining experience? It becomes a crappy one…or a non-existent one. No one wants to spend their time around people who have nothing positive to say about their boss, their landlord, their job, their life, their counselor, their whatever…Etsy is a really easy site to leave…just close your shop…close your account.
Or…accept that you are not a majority shareholder and you have no real say in what happens with Etsy. You are a customer…that is it. You are free to stay, or to leave. If you want to make a statement about Etsy and its changes and how they won’t be tolerated…well, then, instead of tolerating them, leave! Complaining and staying is tolerating it!
I stopped shopping at Target almost 15 years ago…after an unfortunately event involving our military. I was so outraged by the event that I did not shop there again until very, very recently…and that was strictly because of the multiple changes of executive management and their core values for the company changing in a way that matched my own. Did my lack of patronage make a difference? Probably not…but I bet mine, plus all of the other people who were outraged and stopped shopping there did.
I despise Walmart. I will not shop there. Period. Are they more convenient? Yup. Have there been times when I have gone, “crap…I know could get that at Walmart…” Yup…but I didn’t go. I have been to Walmart one time since 2008…and that is because there was a major plumbing emergency on Thanksgiving Day…and they were literally the only store that carried plumbing stuff open in a 30 mile radius. And I hated myself for it…but my family values come before my work and shopping ethics. If Walmart changes their ways, I will return to shopping there…but they won’t…not until a large amount of people stand up and stop shopping there.
But…I digress, greatly.
The way you represent yourself, in your business, in the forums, in your policies, in your listings, in your responses to reviews; it makes a difference to buyers. Think about what you post BEFORE you post it. Read it aloud. Have a friend read it. If any part of you thinks, for even a second, “this might not be a good thing to post” then don’t post it. A poor review says one thing about a shop…but I am intelligent enough to look at the other reviews and determine if the one poor review has merit or not. However, when I see responses that clearly blame the buyer, are defensive, and are rude…I leave the shop…immediately. Customer service dictates you be tactful, polite, and calm. You do not have to respond immediately. And, if you cannot think of a response that isn’t rude…a cookie cutter response is perfect! “Thank you for your valuable input. I am sorry you were unhappy with your transaction. I have contacted you privately about resolution options.” If there is no private resolution to be had, such a return or technical help or whatever…then leave that part off! “Thank you for your valuable input. I am sorry you were unhappy with your transaction. I strive to ensure my customers are fully satisfied and your feedback is being taken onboard to ensure this does not happen with future transactions.” Stay polite and professional. Leave all of your personal feelings out of it…you can think whatever you want in your head…but putting it on the internet is not always the best idea. Trust me…I have plenty of stuff on the internet where I have flown off the handle. I am well known for it. It is something I am continually working on.
You control your destiny…customers do not need to know you haven’t had a sale in weeks…because then they wonder what is wrong with your product. Customers would much rather read about all the things you are doing to improve your product and their experience. Because feeling important is a huge part of the buying experience.