I’ve been selling at Etsy for approximately six months now. If you have an Etsy store or are thinking about opening one, I recommend checking out the Etsy forums. They are a great source of information. Here are a few of my thoughts on the forums:
- The Forums are a Great Way to Learn - I’ve learned things like Etsy rules, information on Pay Pal, shipping information and much more. You can learn a lot by just reading the answers to other people’s questions. And if you have your own question, it’s a great way to get feedback. For example, I asked a question in the forums about destination based sales tax. The way Etsy is setup, I would have to manually enter the tax rate for every city in Oklahoma and keep them updated. This is a lot of work, especially considering nearly all of my sales are from other states. I learned some great tips from other stores located in states with destination based sales tax. I’ve also seen lots of equipment and software suggestions.
- Take Answers to Your Questions with a Grain of Salt – While there are a lot of helpful store owners on the forums there are also a lot of bossy people that want to tell you how to run your store. If you ask an opinion on something in the forum, you will get opinions that run the gamut. Take into consideration what kind of store the advice giver has. If their product and clientele is the opposite of yours, the information they provide may not be relevant to you.
- Before Responding to Someone Else’s Question Remember to Keep an Open Mind - When I respond to other people’s forum posts, I try to just offer up what my experience has been and leave it at that. I think it’s important to keep an open mind. Nobody has all the answers. Many questions have more than one right answer. When someone poses a question on the forums, I believe he or she is looking for you to share your experience, not tell them how to do things.
- Read the Question Thoroughly, If You Don’t Have Experience in that Area, Don’t Respond – If I don’t have experience in the area of a question, I don’t respond. It’s frustrating to post a question and have a lot of people that obviously didn’t read the question or don’t know what they are talking about answer it. For example, not everyone has to deal with destination based sales tax. Yet nearly every time I see a question about it there is inevitably advice from people that obviously don’t understand what it is and how it’s supposed to be handled.
- Posting in the Forums Can Provide Some Additional Traffic – In addition to getting some good input by posting in the forums, you can also drive some new traffic to your shop. They may or may not buy anything, but the more traffic you get, the more likely you are to make sales.
You may wonder if it’s worth posting at all. Even with the negative aspects, I think it’s worth it. I’ve learned a lot from my posts and others and I like to give back by responding to other’s questions when I have something to offer. Also, if you are looking for inspiration, the question doesn’t have to be a serious one. It’s sometimes fun to post a random question. I once asked people what colors and color combos they were into. It was fun to see the responses and gave me some ideas for colors for my store.
Are you an Etsy seller? What has your experience been with the forums?