As traffic to your Etsy store begins to increase, many will begin to add your items to their favorites list or put your store in your circles. Before you know it, you’ll have your first order. OMG. Now what? I’m glad you asked.
1. Get started. It may feel like the hard part is over once someone’s ordered your product, but you still have to actually get it to them! The best customer service includes a quick delivery or, if that’s not possible, communication. If you’ll be unable to ship your items for while, be sure to message your customer and kindly explain the situation. Most would rather know ahead of time than to be caught unexpected and waiting. Otherwise, if shipping won’t be a problem, start thinking about your packaging options.
2. Professional packaging. It can be tempting to just toss the item(s) into a box or an envelope and call it a day. But it pays off to really think about how you’re presenting your product. It’s going to represent your entire business, so the more effort you put into it, the likelier people are to remember you. Obviously the outside of your box/envelope will be generic (that’s the only way the post office will deliver it), but if you’re sending out a handmade card, consider perhaps wrapping it in a ribbon before you put it into the delivery envelope, or putting the charms a customer has purchased in a decorative bag and then into the box you’ll send it in. Most of those things can be found for very cheap at a craft store like A.C. Moore or Michael’s or even at your local dollar store, but they will really make a difference.
3. Include a receipt. All purchases come with receipts and online businesses are no different. Learn from me — I never even thought to do this when I ran my store! But I realized how important it is. It’s common business practice and it also serves as a reminder for where they’ve purchased from. Receipts really help you — and your store — appear professional. On top of that, you should be keeping your own records of receipts, as it’ll make it easier to tax your income when tax season rolls around.
4. Add a note. A handwritten note thanking someone for their purchase, or encouraging them to check back with your store soon, can go a long way. The best notes are personal, using the person’s name and referencing the item(s) purchased, sort of like you would if you were writing a thank you note for a wedding gift. As you grow, this becomes less realistic, but even tossing a business card in the package can be enough.
5. Send, revise and replenish. Once it’s shipped, go into Etsy and notify your customer that their product has shipped. This will come to them as an email notification. To me, there’s nothing more exciting than getting an email that says “Your order has shipped!” because it means whatever shiny, new thing I bought will finally be mine. You may be done with this one order, but now it’s time to revise your plan. Consider:
- Where did you struggle?
- Is there an easier/cheaper/better way to package everything?
- Should you be charging more for your product, now that you have a better understanding of how much time/effort goes into the entire process?
- Should you make up business cards?
- Did you grossly underestimate shipping costs and need to reevaluate?
All of these things should be taken into consideration before your next order comes in. Some are secondary — obviously the color ribbon you use is not a huge deal — while others — like miscalculated shipping costs — should be addressed right away. And, of course, don’t forget to replenish your stock once orders come in.
6. Pat yourself on the back. Or drink a celebratory milkshake or do a dance in the middle of your living room. You’re a real business! You deserve it.