Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping On Etsy

Etsy has established itself as the go-to place for handmade and personalized gifts. People who want to start a side business are able to do so with Etsy's simple selling guidelines, and shoppers are given a plethora of new and one-of-a-kind products for every occasion. And since the pandemic, Etsy has seen a spike in both shoppers and sellers. According to Thrive My Way, there are over 81 million active buyers on the website and sellers have exceeded 4 million. In terms of available products, there are over 60 million items to view and purchase through the website from sellers all across the globe.

Like any online marketplace, Etsy had humble beginnings. Originally, it was the main place for consumers to find personalized T-shirts, bags, and more. Now sellers offer printables, personal art, hand-sewn toys, vintage jewelry, and more. And much like any other online shopping experience, there are some things you should avoid doing. These mistakes are common for people who shop on Etsy and knowing them ahead of time will improve your buying skills.

Not reading through the full description

Sellers on Etsy are encouraged to give detailed descriptions of their products. They have free range to include however much or little they think is necessary, though most will provide lengthy details to ensure the consumer knows what they are getting. Some of the most popular information to go into this section includes the product's size, material, care, and anything else the seller wants to share. But do people actually read the full product descriptions? Aren't images a good enough resource for them to know what they're getting? The Product Description Writer cites poor writing and formatting as the reasons many consumers skip reading the description.

And yet, it's vital to read the details if you want to save yourself the hassle of buying something that won't work for what you need it to. Materials are important to pay attention to, especially if you have an allergy to some type of synthetic fabric. You should also take your pets into account. Other details to focus on are the care instructions. You want to know what you need to do if your item gets stained or damaged. Yes, reading the product description isn't the most exciting, but doing so will keep you from ending up with something you don't love or can't use.

Not asking the seller questions

Customer service is a major part of retail, both for online and in-person shopping. Online marketplaces make sure they have a team of people available to help consumers who are unhappy with their purchase or have questions regarding the use of it. Etsy is no different. The website encourages questions and tells sellers to respond promptly to inquiries, as this will help them land the sale. For some, Etsy is their main source of income so they will make sure they're available to answer your questions. That's why you should take the time to ask the seller questions if you're unsure about something. When you buy online, you always run the risk of it not being exactly what you want it to be. For example, the colors of bags or clothing can look different in person than they do online. Good product descriptions will warn you about this, but if you want to double-check, you can ask the seller.

Living Well Mom suggests asking yourself a few questions before buying something online. One is, "Do I need to buy this today?" Online shopping is popular because it provides instant gratification. Yes, you need to wait for the item to arrive, but simply hitting "Pay Now" is enough to give you a dopamine hit. But if you haven't asked yourself or the seller questions to ensure the product is exactly what you need, your excitement will turn to dread once the item arrives. So before purchasing, think of some questions you may want to ask the seller. Go through the product description with a fine-tooth comb, and if something is missing or you don't understand a certain detail, send them a message.

Not checking the store policies

Etsy allows its sellers to set their own store policies. This includes returns, exchanges, and cancellations. Depending on the product, the location of the "store," and the creation time, sellers may have different policies and it's important to read them before buying. However, Etsy has become aware that when it comes to missing or damaged packages, that is beyond the seller's control and so they have launched a new Purchase Protection Program as reported on The Verge. This addition is part of their plan to improve customer service and ensure consumers have an enjoyable shopping experience.

But when it comes to returns, exchanges, and cancellations, you need to go through the seller for that. Read the policies thoroughly and, as noted earlier, ask questions if you're unsure about something. This is especially important for personalized items. If you receive a product that has the wrong personalization, you want to make sure you can exchange it for the right one. While many sellers will be diligent about keeping their policies up to date and easy to read, some may accidentally skip this step. Protect yourself and read through the policies carefully. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't, so trust your gut. Chances are you'll be able to find a similar product from a different seller with more clear policy statements.

Not shopping around before buying

With over 4 million sellers and over 60 million products available, Etsy is likely to have whatever it is you're looking for. Shop owners are always hard at work making products they know people are looking for. But with so many options available to you, it's important to take time to shop around rather than buy the first item you see. Like any online marketplace, Etsy ranks products through SEO. They'll always show the stores that have the most sales, best reviews, and most visits before showing a shop that has just opened. This is normal, but if you don't check out the other sellers, you might miss out on the ideal product.

Etsy can also become a place of unwanted impulse buying. You might go on to search for something specific, but end up buying a ton of other stuff because you like it. By the time you realize you don't need it, it may be too late to return the product. If you want to ensure you're not buying items on impulse or snatching the first one you see that looks good, Dexterous Organizing offers a couple of tips to help you out. Besides shopping with a list, they also suggest knowing your intentions for buying something and waiting before you purchase. This will help you compare and contrast the other items you saw with similar features. Your goal when shopping is to find the best option, whether it's for yourself or for a friend. So allow time to shop around and check out all the products available. You may run the risk of falling into a research rabbit hole, but that means you'll find the best item and price.

Not reading the reviews

Like any other online marketplace, Etsy encourages consumers to leave reviews for the products they buy. Whether physical or digital, it's important to leave reviews as this helps boosts a shop's SEO and gives them a better chance at making future sales. Reviews don't need to be long. If a person writes a full paragraph, that's their choice. But most reviews are quick and to the point. Even a one-sentence statement like, "This is exactly what I was looking for!" is enough to satisfy the seller. What might take you two minutes to do will affect their shop for years to come. According to Fera, reviews also instill a level of trust and authority. They show potential buyers that your shop is worth their time because others love your products.

When shopping on Etsy it's always a good idea to read the reviews of products you're considering. It's no different than if you're shopping for something on Amazon or on your favorite clothing brand website. Reviews often make or break sales. Good reviews are more likely to get you to buy while bad reviews will send you searching for something else. When reading reviews on Etsy, don't just look at ones praising the product. Read ones that mention the seller's shipping times and their availability for answering questions. You want to make sure you're buying from someone who is professional and has great customer service. Otherwise, if something goes wrong with the product you'll have a hard time getting in touch. So read every review that's available and don't be afraid to reach out to the seller to see if they've improved on certain poor ratings.

Not checking your personalization requests

Even though Etsy has branched out and sells just about anything, it still started as a place for people to sell personalized products. This is still a top draw for the website as many sellers offer personalization on the items they have. Mainly because personalized gifts, according to Customily, are perfect to give to friends and family. It instills a deep personal connection and shows that they know the person to the core. Another major bonus is that personalized gifts can work for any holiday, any season, and any event. They're even popular for birthdays, baby showers, weddings, and more. When you're looking to buy a personalized item, it's super important to check that what you want is correct before submitting your payment.

Most Etsy sellers who offer this will have a box where you type in the exact phrase, letter, or detail you want. But in this day and age, autocorrect can work against us and it may change something you don't catch right away. If the seller is dealing with a lot of orders, they don't have time to note mistakes. Their job is to produce the item and ship it as fast as possible. A single misspelling can cause a lot of hassle to fix. You'll need to return the incorrect item and wait for a replacement, so if you wait too long, there's a chance it won't arrive on time. Remember that it's not the seller's fault for spelling something wrong. They're going off of what you typed in the box. While it does happen that the seller makes mistakes, it's vital you check that your personalization request is spelled correctly before submitting it. Doing this will ensure the product is correct and you're happy.

Not taking advantage of sales

Special sales and discounts are a marketing tool many online shopping sites use to lure consumers in. Who doesn't love a good sale? Not only are you saving money, but you're more inclined to add to your cart because of it. And on Etsy, sellers are almost always having some kind of sale. If not sales, they offer special discounts to people who join their email list or follow them on social media. Some of the most popular sales you'll find happen during certain times of the year like Black Friday, Fourth of July, and Presidents Day. Depending on what the Etsy shop sells, they may also have discounts on Mother's Day, Father's Day, and more.

When you're shopping on Etsy, be on the lookout for sales. But it's just as important to not fall for sales that might encourage you to buy a product that isn't well made. According to After Ship, there are pros and cons of discounting items. While sales are important for online shops to do every so often, sellers can sometimes undervalue their products by constantly having them on sale. Don't shop for something that is cheaper than all the others because you run the risk of buying a poorly-made product. This isn't to say all sales are bad, but it's a good idea to take advantage of these sales with a little bit of skepticism. Read reviews of those sale items, and, as we mentioned before, take the time to shop around before buying because you may find a better product that's not on sale.

Not knowing the measurements

Etsy has certainly paved the way for aspiring shop owners to start small and build their audience. It's drawn in an array of creative people from artists to carpenters. These specific shops may sell one-of-a-kind artwork or handmade furniture. If you're on Etsy looking to buy products such as these, it's important to get the correct measurements ahead of time. For artwork, it's also a good idea to hang a piece of paper in the spot you're thinking about as this will help you visualize the piece. Once you're happy with the placement and size, you can then start shopping online.

Etsy has a ton of artwork for sale so know that it may take time for you to decide what you want. This goes back to checking out all your options instead of choosing the first one you like. In fact, Trinity House says that when picking artwork for your home, it's a good idea to consider a few things. For starters, what is your taste? You don't want to buy something you don't like just because it looks good. You also want to make sure it's a good fit both stylistically and size-wise. Finally, don't rush it. Take the time to browse and see what is out there for you. As long as you have the right measurements, you're already in a good position to find the best piece for your home.

Not creating a favorites list

Etsy has some great features for consumers. One of those is the ability to favorite a product and create different lists. Every time you favorite a product, Etsy will ask you if you want to create a new collection. Use this feature. Create a favorites list for anything and everything. Looking for a new tote bag? Create a collection of tote bags you favorite. This will help you keep products organized as well as make it easier to shop for one when you're ready to buy. A favorites list on Etsy is like a wish list on Amazon. It helps in a variety of ways, but perhaps the most important is that it eliminates decision fatigue.

We mentioned before that there are over 60 million products on Etsy. That's a lot to sort through, which is why creating a favorites list is key to helping you narrow down your search. Decision fatigue, according to Healthline, happens every day and it can lead to some serious problems such as chronic headaches, insomnia, and more. Your best bet to combat it is to narrow down your choices and make a decision using whatever tactics you can. Keeping a favorites list will store the items you want to take a closer look at and if they don't fit the bill, you can simply unfavorite them. Eventually, you'll land on the best product and be confident in your decision to buy it.

Not following a shop's social media

There are a ton of ways to connect with potential buyers. The most popular, outside of a Google search, is social media. Many online retailers, especially those selling on Etsy, will often lead you to their social media accounts for more. They may show behind-the-scenes footage of them making the products. They might offer exclusive discounts to those who follow them or join their email list. Marmalead writes that Etsy sellers can best use social media to build a loyal following of fans who can use their accounts to spread their love of the products.

Many sellers will also use social media to announce new products and promote them in ways they can't on Etsy. Reels, stories, and other video formats are one way to show the product in action. While you can add a video to an Etsy listing, Reels is one way to get your name, product, and brand in front of more potential buyers and influencers. If a seller opts to leave Etsy and instead sell through their own website, they can open a Shopify account through social media, which makes it even easier for people to buy. If you're super happy with your product, consider following the shop's social media pages as this is another way you can share their amazing items with others.

Not leaving a review

We mentioned before that reading reviews before buying is important. But leaving a review yourself is just as vital. Etsy sellers rely on reviews to get more customers, so take a few minutes to write a quick love note after you receive your product. Remember, you don't have to get long-winded and fancy. Short and sweet is good enough and if you don't have time to write a short sentence, leave a starred review instead.

According to Oh She Creates, many people buy a product on Etsy and although they're completely satisfied, they don't leave a review. But leaving a little note, no matter how minimal, will help that shop's ratings and boost their search ranking. If you truly want to showcase the amazing product you got, you can also post something about it on social media and tag the shop. Thanks to this digital age, there are many ways you can review a product, though it's best to try and remember to write one on the actual site you bought it on, as this is what shops rely on to improve their rankings.