The Pros and Cons of Buying on Etsy

by Kevin on May 5, 2013

In the old economy if you wanted to start a business you needed retail space, inventory, and lots of overhead to get started. In the new internet economy just about anyone can start a business with a website and producing their products on demand.

Even better, you don’t even need a website. You can sell on eBay, but the fees can eat away all of your profits. Instead many people are turning to Etsy in order to sell their handmade arts, crafts, and clothing goods. The fees are lower for the seller and the process is dead simple to set up your store and get inventory listed. Plus, if you make everything yourself on demand you can include a timeline for when the product will actually ship. (In other words you don’t have to ship immediately; you can sell the item, take time to produce it, then ship it.)

But is Etsy for everyone?

The Good and Bad of Buying on Etsy

As with any online transaction there is upside and downside to Etsy.

Why Etsy is Good for Buyers

Etsy is a great place if you are looking for unique items that are usually made in the United States. I know of several stay at home Moms that sell items on Etsy. It’s a great way to get nice items that you won’t find in stores and that aren’t made in a factory in China.

Sellers on Etsy set their own prices, too. You aren’t able to negotiate directly, but you can communicate with the shop owner. You won’t be able to do that when you shop at a big box retailer.

One of the best parts about Etsy is your ability to get an item customized. A shop owner will put up a certain type of print or image, but you can contact them directly to get specific colors or design. You can end up with truly unique item that no one else has based on the customizations you make.

Why Etsy is Frustrating for Buyers

When you are shopping on Etsy you are occasionally dealing with unprofessional or inexperienced shop owners. They may put up an item for sale, accept your payment, and stop responding. Or if they do respond it is very slowly.

Etsy has a resolution process that you can proceed with online. My big frustration thus far is there is no way to contact Etsy directly for help on the phone. You are required to put in an online support ticket and wait for them to respond to it.

I am not a fan of their resolution process.

Etsy Order Resolution

If you have a problem with your Etsy order or seller, you must put in an online support ticket request. From the moment you put in that support request the entire process takes two weeks to complete.

This is because the seller has 7 days to respond to you from the time you put in your support request. If they do not respond within 7 days, then Etsy’s Trust team reviews the ticket.

Then Etsy tries to contact the seller to remind them, again, to actually send your item. The seller has another 7 days to respond.

If they do not respond at the end of that period, then you can get your money refunded.

I’ve got a few stories to share with you about Etsy and my personal experience with sellers there next week. Have you used Etsy a lot?

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