Monday, July 21, 2008

From the Bitches Auxiliary - A rare perspective

One of our readers has taken the time to share some of his business experience with you. Though we're known for snark, we also feel all of our fellow grumpy haters should have tools available to them to survive without the big E. Plus, we know this is something you'll never see in the Dodo.

Firstly, I would like to introduce myself the best I can. I am a young man that has recently left college to try his dream at business. I have taken 2 years of business classes, and have run businesses for over five years, including a successful Etsy shop for over a year now. Etsy is my full time job.

I would like to explain why sales are usually a terrible idea for an Etsy shop. To begin, lets look at why a B&M has a sale. The answer is, to make money. And you say, how does a store make money from reducing prices? The answer is that the average person will go into a store for more than the sale item. They only run sales to get people through the doors of their store. That is all a sale does - get bodies through a door.

Stores make money from sales through careful planning. So lets look at an example sale a supermarket might run, “Coke products, five for $10." As someone who has worked at a grocery store, I can tell you they're losing money on that deal. But they run that sale around the Super Bowl, or Memorial Day, days a lot of grilled foods are consumed. So they run this great sale on soda to draw you in, and while you're there they mark up everything else. Since you're already there, you buy your hot dogs and buns at a greater mark-up, so they make up for the loss of the soda.
They do this by arranging merchandise carefully.
Now I'm going to list why sales are bad.
  1. They don't attract customers in Etsy, as by the time the customer knows of the sale, they are in your shop.
  2. Even if you make your avatar announce the sale, the average Etsy buyer is a first time user, so they never see that.
  3. Most items on Etsy are handmade, most people just fall in love with the item, the price has little to do with the final sale.
  4. Many people will question why this unknown Internet seller is running a sale. It can cause a consumer to lose trust in your shop and question why your'e doing a sale.
  5. Sales will destroy your profit if your'e not careful.
  6. B&M stores often have a triple digit markup so when they have have a sale they still make a lot of money
  7. If a sale is not done properly, it will come off as unprofessional, which will hurt your reputation. (the proof of this is how it's easier for a seller with many feedbacks to sell then one without)
  8. You are a craftsman, not Crazy Eddy
  9. If you do your sale after the fact, such as through a refund with paypal, you will pay an Etsy fee on the money you have refunded.
I just hate when I see people run a sale, I feel it does nothing more then cut into your earnings.

78 Comments:

Ericka Bailie-Byrne said...

So many sellers price themselves out of a base wage already. I hate that the atmosphere on Etsy seems to encourage this.

el-stinko-armpit said...

This is a great post, and I agree that sales in an online shop are almost always a mistake. The exception being if you sell/make/create items that follow trends/fashion and so will reach a kind of expiration date.

I love the idea of handmade stuff on Etsy being something you want for what it is, not for the way it is priced (depending on what you can afford to indulge in, that is). A lot of the handmade items I see on Etsy IMO are underpriced. Most supplies I've bothered to look at were retail priced (too high) and a lot of the vintage is way over-priced for its condition and for being so commonplace. Which suggests to me that Esty is pulling itself in too many directions at once to be properly supportive of quality handmade businesses.

I heart the snark, but please keep serious posts coming to the EB blog!

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

Man, How many times have I tried to tell this to people??? MANY!

Not to mention that many stores have sales to close out old merchandise they have ALREADY made a profit on and are just moving out the rest to make room for the new.

A crafter having a sale is just crazy. Things cost what they cost. Unless you get a smokin' deal on your materials, you don't reduce your prices.

I always think the people who reduce are just desperate to make a sale to the point of being sad.

interloper said...

I wanted to sorta fess up to writing this. If you have any comments/questions I'm here.
I'm thinking of writing an e-book about small handmade businesses.

interloper said...

Jen, Truth is, that if Ii get a killer deal somehow, I use that money to improve my shop. The customer doesn't need to get a discount if your product is good enough.

wristeroni said...

Buyer-Only here . . . I agree with you on some points.

That said, my first purchase was from an Etsy seller who was having a "sale" and I have become a repeat customer.

Is that likely in all cases? Maybe. Maybe not. I think that, just like the "real world" of B&M, it depends upon what type of merchandise the seller provides.

For bath & body, food, supplies, or other "consumables" --- correctly implemented sales may just be the ticket.

etsyaddict said...

I so completely agree with this post I want to have babies with the author.

Many people on etsy have their items so underpriced already I have no idea how they are making any money. Somehow the number of sales has become the magic number for everyone to chase.

Would you rather make 100 widgets for $1/each or 10 widgets for $10/each? Work smarter, not harder, people!! Not only that, but when it comes to handcrafted cheap=poor quality in many people's minds (mine included). If you are really good at what you do, there is no reason not to value your time and expertise.

I have never and will never put my handcrafted items on sale - on etsy or anywhere else.

etsyaddict said...

interloper said:
The customer doesn't need to get a discount if your product is good enough.

Amen to this as well...will you marry me, interloper?? ;-)

interloper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Funny One said...

Online selling is not the same as B&M selling and sure is completely different for handmade.

It's not one size fits all. Generally, having sales in the handmade arena is not a good idea, since it works to depress prices overall in the end, but some buyers only buy stuff on sale because that's how they buy everything.

Since Etsy does not regulate prices or set threshholds, Etsy's main mission is to provide a high quality platform for quality handmade to sell, and sell well.

But, refusing to remove stores and products that clearly don't belong on the site, plus fluffing the site with pseudo "craft classes" and mounds of articles that have little to do with supporting quality handmade, makes it harder for all stores to sell on Etsy.

How they hell can stores sort out their pricing strategy on a site that has major identity problems promoting quality handmade?

Ivydee said...

Loved this article, and agree with el-stinko over there, I love a good snark but substance keeps ya credible.

As for sales, I've put items I want to clear out of my shop on sale, but I just dropped the price, noted "Sale" in the title and relisted once. I wouldn't put my whole shop on sale.

I would rather not sell it than not get paid what I'm worth.

Ivydee said...

The Funny One said... Etsy's main mission is to provide a high quality platform for quality handmade to sell, and sell well.


Does anyone still believe this is Etsy's mission anymore?

interloper said...

etsy is a prime example of "too many chiefs not enough Indians", or a more politically correct version "too many pimps not enough hos"
there are too many ideas, but not enough people to do anything about it, or think them through.
let's be ebay!
no let's be amazon!
ZOMG let's be myspace!

etsyaddict said...

LOL - actually, I think I'm too old for you. Shucks. 'Cause you are really funny too.

I AM cute though.

impetuous said...

Well, Duh. But, the people that need to learn about this ain't listening.

Once again, Etsians are busy worrying more about Etsy sellers and shops than Etsy themselves.

I run a thriving shop and if other sellers can't, that's there own problem. If they want to get desperate and stupid about it, oh well.

If I owned Etsy I would be concerned about this and set aside my cupcakes for a minute and help some of these poor fools, but I don't, so I won't.

*puts on helmet and throws darts at a poster of caterpillar boys face*

sgt bunny said...

I agree. "sale sale sale!" in someone's icon and shop makes me wonder.

It might be effective for short term sales but since most etsy product doesn't expire, what's the rush?

I have listed a few things at clearance, tucked it into its own section in the shop, and that's more effective at moving really old stock than big sale banners. I don't do it often though. I'm not desperate to undercut myself.

Its the same at craft fairs. People expect that us sellers are so desperate for a sale to validate our existence that we'll take any half wit offer that comes by.

Nope. I told several people that I price fairly and as reasonably as I can, and cannot drop the prices.

Elizabeth said...

As a once-top buyer at Etsy, I have to say that I found a lot of my favorite sellers and did much of my purchasing through SNS. There's so much on Etsy to wade through, that for something like jewelry, or even yarn, an event that drew my attention, narrowed the field, and provided me with bargain opportunities was the perfect setup for me. Items I liked that never went on sale stayed in my favorites until they *did* go on sale, generally - there was very little that was so unique (when it came to jewelry) (sorry!) that I wanted to pay list price.

ShrugItOff said...

I really liked this article and I had to read it twice. The first time because I thought there was hidden snark I wasn't getting and the second time to go over all the points again.

I agree with these points. Totally.

Thanks for sharing it here.

cheeseNpickle said...

Elizabeth said...

Items I liked that never went on sale stayed in my favorites until they *did* go on sale, generally - there was very little that was so unique (when it came to jewelry) (sorry!) that I wanted to pay list price.
-------------------
word

shannon said...

eh, but it is easier to promote 'i'm having a sale' than 'uh..I have a new pair of earrings...again..for the fifty billionth time'

The Righteous One said...

There are always exceptions, but I think the main idea behind this article is important.

Many sellers have sales because that's what people do...they don't think through what it means to them.

How many times have you seen in the forums "I just sold something that was on sale. Does Etsy still get the whole fee?" ummm...shouldn't you think this through when setting the sale price?

duh

The Kinky One said...

Shoot, I've raised my prices if I find I'm selling too quick. I think it's a common newbie mistake to undersell yourself. It's a business, noy a charity.

Grace said...

For me, having a sale has never worked, and it rarely influences my decision in making purchases. I've marked down select items that were being promoted through various street teams, and never gotten a sale that way either.

PIF doesn't work to get sales, either. I have offered several PIFs over the years, and never has anyone bought anything in addition to the PIF. They have also not come back later to buy anything.

ebbandflo said...

good article, nice reporting and very welcome among the snark too

i've always felt that within-etsy promotion was a waste of time. thanks for the little poke about not runing sales as this idea was runningt hru my mind tho it was for clearing some old stock anyway

grace is right about PIFs, and the SNS stuff is also a bit self defeating too (especially the secrets) - i don't think i've ever had repeat business from them (apart from one customer).

i really think sellers, teams, etc should really be focussing more on marketing and efforts off etsy

el-stinko-armpit said...

ebbandflo said...

i really think sellers, teams, etc should really be focussing more on marketing and efforts off etsy
-------------------------------
What is up with the teams? I thought way back (2 years ago) the street teams were either regional to help promote at shows/fairs or related to what you sell, either by product, style, etc. Now there are so many teams about unrelated TMI like reproductive status, religion/lack thereof/fandom. ???? Okay for having fun and chatting, but how does that help your business? If it weren't for copyright issues, I bet we'd see film tie-ins like fastfood promos...only to have all the items go on sale when the fad was over. If some of these teams are cool with making Etsy look and feel more like an online suburban shopping mall, no wonder they are keen to have sales. Ugh.

high on emotion, short on facts said...

Before writing that book, you'll want to verify "facts" like "the average etsy buyer is a first time user" - not in my experience they aren't.

And maybe try owning a business for a while before deciding you know all the ins and outs. Working in a supermarket isn't going to give you the full picture, unless you were the manager. Learn how to factor in the overhead expense a business has for maintaining inventory - and how that differs from the overhead a home business has, for example.

You can't assume that someone having a sale is cutting into their earnings - they may be making a sound financial decision based on - gasp - making money!

You sound like you have learned all the buttons to push to gain the support of the bitchy set, but not quite enough yet to be offering sound business advice. Don't like sales? Fine. But try minding your own business for a while before minding everyone else's.

Andy Mathis said...

because Etsy isn't juried, it creates a market for lemons. There will always be someone that will undercut others, and try to make up the difference on volume, rather than quality of item.

Just look at scrabble tile pendants. What once was $15-16, can now be purchased for $4.50.

The Malevolent One said...

high on emotion -

You're sounding a little, uh, emotional there.

You don't know anything about the author other than the very little he's shared. And since you're short on facts, let me assure you that the author of this post is doing extremely well at his business in a very difficult market. His business advice is quite sound and there are a lot of people who could learn from it. He's not telling other people what to do with their business, he's giving advice that's helped him become successful. So stop embarrassing yourself.

stace said...

i rarely have sales... i have one running right now. i don't feel the least bit bad about it. even reading this.

i have my own reasons for my sale, none of which are desperation... well, maybe a little, just to close the shop down without leaving things in limbo. but the shop has done very well. i've sold not as much as some people in two years, but most of my items are $30-40 on average, so... someone who moves 250+ things at $5 is going to do that a lot faster. i've had about an average of one customer every other day for 2 years.

i don't feel bad about my sale at all... but i felt the need to defend it.

:P

otherwise, i understand the logic here. a lot of new sellers are already underpricing themselves, then they knock 30% off what they aren't making, renewing away any profits they might have seen... and it's pretty much pointless, at that point to even bother having a store.


i think... and i don't know how to word it. but i think people are obsessed more with how many sales they've made than actually running a business. somehow, the atmosphere on etsy is all about numbers. how long you've been here, how many sales.

if i post on my new shop, people will sometimes make snide remarks about "new people low sales" ... and 14 sales in 2 months is pretty good, considering some people have that in a year... but... these are people who have been on etsy for as long as my old shop [and in some cases half the time]. and i'll usually have just as many or more sales than them. it's like. if people don't agree with you, they look at the date you joined, how many sales you have and belittle it.

never mind the link to my old store, which would tell them i've been here for 2 years... and am pretty familiar with etsy.



i just wanted to rant on that because it really irks the hell outta me.

sales in general, bad... but not all sellers do it because we want customers, or NEED customers. i do very well. in the rare occasion i do have a sale... it's because i know i can afford it and there's a method to my madness.

14 items to go... and that shop is TOAST!

maybe i'll use it to unload supplies.


[/blabble]

stace said...

also, emotion... i'd say that at least 60% of my buyers on my old store were new to etsy, bought from me, and never came back.

i get a lot of business from other sellers, and frequent buyers, too... but a LOT of buyers signed up just to purchase from my store.

is that the norm, i don't know... i can only speak from personal experience.

stace said...

sgt bunny said...
People expect that us sellers are so desperate for a sale to validate our existence that we'll take any half wit offer that comes by.
----------------------------


yeh! that's it... validation. and it's a community infused notion that in order to be validated in the etsy community you HAVE to have sales. and a lot of them... or no one wants to hear what you have to say.

it's really a horrible attitude to have towards sellers. it puts a lot of pressure on the community as a whole, and makes it a pyramid of doom.

or something... i dunno. i need to go sew.

ShrugItOff said...

HighonEmotion, I have to disagree with you and agree with the writer of the article. 95% of my buyers have been brand new to Etsy the day they purchased from me. I have (rounded-to) 300 sales.

interloper said...

I'm fairly certain I wrote this with very little emotion.
The truth is that I didn't give advice for a brick and mortar store. I gave advice for an etsy store.

zander said...

just when i think, a piece has been sitting around a bit too long on the old etsy shelf and i'm about to let it expire, it freakin sells. it sells at the original price too.

so yes, i agree that having "a sale!!!" really doesn't work on a site such as etsy. with so much underpricing going on, it's scary.

Pink Quartz Minerals said...

Oh I agree completely. Totally. I had a sale once to basically clear house when I was switching packaging, and I'll never do it again.

And the part about people having sales (let me add constantly) bringing the overall prices down, you betcha.

In my line, sure you can buy wholesale from someone really cheap and resell it really cheap and still make money. But those of us who take pride in actually making our product have a ton more expenses- having to buy everything in large amounts to get wholesale prices to make a few bucks- and can't do ridiculous sales like 50% off and such. Not when you are $1000's in the hole from just purchasing needed supplies!

So I may have sold quite a bit so far on Etsy, but I'm still in the red. I can't even contemplate having a sale for a long, long time. And when I hear "so and so is having a sale, lets go buy there" it makes me sad, and mad.

sgt bunny said...

Someone mentioned that the more sales by number seems to garner more respect, and that may be true to some extent, but if I look at a shop, and it's low sales by number, but they're higher ticket pieces, that's different.

It's the low sales number, low ticket price that makes me skeptical of someone's wisdom on threads.

There's definitely a few people in love with the idea of selling but missing some of the practicality of selling.

I have some business education ( 2 years of classes in entrepreurial and e-business/admin) and I'm stunned at some of the so called advice that gets flung around forums.

If people are hanging around my shop waiting for another SALE! there, they could be waiting a long time. Only about two or three of the couple hundred items I list a year gets put into clearance.

The Incredulous One said...

Goodness, highonemotion, you do seem to be a tad...emotional.

Of course this article isn't going to be spot on for every seller. But with the vast problem of underpricing on Etsy, and all the threads in which people post about "profit" and then make it clear that they haven't accounted for any of their costs other than Etsy's 20 cent listing fee (and, perhaps, their shipping cost), I think this is a good wake up call. If you're going to have a sale, you'd better have a good sense of your profit margin, your overhead, your time...and it's clear that far too many Etsy sellers don't consider all those things.

This was certainly more nutritious food for thought than the drivel about heart-to-sales ratios posted in the Storque recently.

zoebella said...

I had a huge sale in my shop in June and I'll tell you why I did it and why it worked really well for me. It was a mailing list only sale, not a posted sale so it was a little different.

First off, I have my products priced at full retail. Which means I can sell it at 1/2 off (wholesale) and still make a profit.

Traditionally sales have been slow in the summer for me, so about 6mos ago I started my mailing list.

The sale I did was this-
choose 1 item get 20% off
choose 2 items get 25% off
choose 3 or more get 30% off

most people chose 2 or more.

I had my customers email me with their order & gave them the option of paying directly through paypal or having me post a reserved etsy listing for them. That way I didn't over pay any fees.

In 5 days I made 2 mos of mortgage payments at a time of year where I'd normally be just scraping by.

So don't rule out sales, just plan them well.

high on emotion, short on facts said...

There are many other reasons items go on sale OTHER than (and this is the proper use of the word "than" - it's not "then" - you'll want to look this up before writing that book, interloper) creating a loss leader.

There is also the matter of style. Things go in and out of style. (Andy Mathis mentions scrabble pendants - are you going to continue to pay taxes on that pile of scrabble pendants you made back when they were $15 each? Or are you going to do the smart thing and recoup your expense and get them out of your inventory by selling them for less? Or do you understand how you end up paying taxes on inventory that is held over from year to year? Are you paying taxes?)

Etsy has a million accounts, right? And Etsy is making about 450,000 sales a month, according to the stroque. For the "average etsy buyer" to be a first time user, half of those 450,000 sales would have to be to new users, right? For this to be true, Etsy would have to be adding new ACTIVE BUYERS at a rate of over 225,000 a month.

That isn't happening. Etsy added 80,000 new accounts in June. So you should conclude that sales are being made MOSTLY to people who have purchased something before. These are the kinds of numbers that a person doing real market research would base advice on - not made up assumptions based on idealistic notions about the rainbows and cupcakes world of the craft business.

Because that's what this is - just the bitchy version of "why can't we all just get rich together and not have to worry that someone else is going to compete with us?" You can cloak it in snark, but complaining that your competitors are undercutting you displays your naiveness about how markets work.

If you've learned anything about business, you'll know that if someone is really losing money by throwing sales, they'll eventually drop out of competition with you when they run out of money.

That is IF they are actually losing money. You make this assumption without any supporting facts.

Like I said, it looks to me like the bitches like to make fun of the cupcakes crowd, but what they're really bitching about is that nobody is sharing the cupcakes.

Brooke said...

Having a couple big sales per year works amazingly well for me. People look forward to them, and I end up selling tons of pieces. Having a sale every day seems counterproductive. People will either become used to you having low prices all the time, and expect it, or they won't bother to buy right then because they know you'll be having a sale in a day or two anyway.

I think well-thought out sales that are happening for a reason - not just because you feel like it - are great ways to bring interest and also make money. My last sale was on my birthday, and I marked down in stock items to $28 (I was turning 28). I posted on my blog about this beforehand, and I sold dozens of items.

Having sales IS beneficial, if it's done right.

its not that simple said...

The 'rare perspective' is too narrow in it's comprehension of marketing.

Loss leaders can be effective when done correctly, and the grocery industry is actually quite unique in how products are advertised and sold.
The writer doesn't address the fact that some manufacturers absorb some of the loss of income for the grocers, or that a loss leader strategy is used in many forms.
This whole topic is much more complicated than the writer either comprehends or can apply to online selling in such a short article.

When done correctly, sales in any venue or industry can be done effectively and for profit.

Don't dismiss the psychology of buyers who base buying decisions solely on the perception of getting a good deal---i.e., something "on sale." A seller can still turn a profit if the original price was sufficient.

I'd suggest that etsy sellers need a tutorial on how to price full retail; if this is done properly, there is still enough margin to sell at a discount.

Unfortunately, etsy is filled with individuals who greatly overestimate their ability to understand retail economy, advertising tactics, marketing strategies AND they overestimate their expertise when giving advice on these principles.

Etsy sellers are so desperate to find success, they will take anyone's advice whether valid or not--- so your e-book will probably sell just fine.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I rarely do sales and they're all "secret sales" that just go out to people who have opted into my newsletter. Never publicly posted.

If something is so cool you have to have it, you won't wait for a sale.

Some of my favorite lampwork artists never, ever, ever do sales. And they sell well.

I think if you're going to have a sale, it should be a rarity. I'd hate to think that a person was hanging around waiting for a sale to buy something.

The Incredulous One said...

itsnotthatsimple, I agree with you on both of these points:
****
I'd suggest that etsy sellers need a tutorial on how to price full retail; if this is done properly, there is still enough margin to sell at a discount.

Unfortunately, etsy is filled with individuals who greatly overestimate their ability to understand retail economy, advertising tactics, marketing strategies AND they overestimate their expertise when giving advice on these principles.
*****

That said, and accepting that the OP isn't perfect, I still think it's much more valuable than most of the "help" to sellers posted in the Storque. And in fact, perhaps while you were busy feeling superior you missed the implication that it's this lack of basic business knowledge that makes offering a sale untenable for many sellers.

In fact, a tutorial on retail pricing would be FABULOUS. Is there anyone on Etsy's staff who'd be able to provide that kind of information?

The Malevolent One said...

Highonemotion, quit being a dipshit.

You talk about assumptions, and then you ask if the author is paying taxes? Pretty fucking rude. He's been in business five years and supports himself solely on his craft. I think he understands how things like taxes and overhead works.

You also know absolutely nothing about our (the bitches) business experience or our shops (or even if we have shops on Etsy). It's typical of someone who has no real substance to their argument to dismiss this perspective as jealousy over sales. Not to mention arrogant and pendantic. Our collective sales numbers are extremely substantial.

If you want to debate the merits of having sales, then go ahead and do that. But stop attacking the author on a personal level, or we'll simply delete your comments.

The Incredulous One said...

***Because that's what this is - just the bitchy version of "why can't we all just get rich together and not have to worry that someone else is going to compete with us?" You can cloak it in snark, but complaining that your competitors are undercutting you displays your naiveness about how markets work.***

highonemotion, while you're busy correcting grammar, syntax and spelling, allow me to point out to you that the generally accepted word is "naivete."

Details aside, do you really argue with the point that there's rampant underpricing on Etsy? And do you really think that it has no effect on the market as a whole?

still not that simple said...

The Incredulous One said...

That said, and accepting that the OP isn't perfect, I still think it's much more valuable than most of the "help" to sellers posted in the Storque. And in fact, perhaps while you were busy feeling superior you missed the implication that it's this lack of basic business knowledge that makes offering a sale untenable for many sellers.

In fact, a tutorial on retail pricing would be FABULOUS. Is there anyone on Etsy's staff who'd be able to provide that kind of information?


.........
And I will agree with you, as well:
this brief post is far more insightful and helpful than 98% of the crap that is written in the Storque.
But "feeling superior?" ---no, I was merely pointing out that a few valid points doesn't mean ALL the points are accurate.
In fact, the statement "the average etsy buyer is a first time user" made me question the accuracy of the other "knowledge" in the post.

You asked "Is there anyone on Etsy's staff who'd be able to provide that kind of information?"
I highly doubt it.
I would never take business advice from etsy on any topic. Nor would I take their advice on how to make a hammock, mend my pants, etc.
I'm really not a fool.

lucinda aka Cindy said...

I think if people have a retail background and do account for all their expenses while pricing their items, they can certainly still make a decent profit even while running a sale. A twice yearly inventory reduction (or once yearly) could boost profits by adding to their customer base.

Maybe sales work for certain items better than others?

The Malevolent One said...

The author did qualify his statements with "if you're not careful" and "if not done properly". I think that point is that on Etsy, a great many sales are conducted haphazardly and out of desperation, without thought for the bottom line. If carefully considered and planned and done for the right product that is priced correctly in the first place, then a sale might work.

interloper said...

i think the real problem here is that the people criticizing me aren't realizing that I did not write this for everyone. I wrote that so the average person can quickly read it and understand it, and hopefully take something away from it. A lot of people in etsy are selling there product where they charge for the materials, plus a slight hourly rate. so if you did a sale you might actually end up losing money

interloper said...

I would also like to point out, the point of the article wasn't "NEVER HAVE A SALE" it was plan your sales!
I think that zoebella and brooke both have shown that with a little careful planning a sale can be beneficial. I'm more trying to discourage "spree sales"

high on emotion, short on facts said...

Yeah, since I have no idea what the OP makes, I thought it would be obvious I was asking rhetorical questions of a fictional seller with a bunch of scrabble pendants on her hands, not the OP. Guess not.

No assumptions here. What the OP doesn't know, or is ignoring for the convenience of his argument, is quite apparent in his post.

Where I DO see assumptions being made are in statements like "the price has little to do with the final sale..." and "The average etsy buyer is a first time user..." and "it does nothing more then cut into your earnings..."

These are things that can be substantiated or not, and should not be assumed without some kind of support. I see that other people have chimed in to say "it ain't that simple - sometimes sales work."

What is clear is that the OP started from the conclusion, and then stretched to come up with some "facts" to back up his conclusion. That's ass-backwards.

What I think happens is that someone goes looking around Etsy, sees a couple sellers doing something they don't like, then imagines that there are HORDES of sellers out there doing the same thing, but without actually doing something as simple as, say COUNTING them. How many sellers are there? How many of them are holding sales on average at any one time? What is on sale and when? Taking a sample of a hundred shops within a category would give a pretty good idea of these trends.

Somebody seriously interested in this question would ask these questions FIRST, and then base conclusions on that.

Unless they were just wanting to bitch and had a ready audience willing to share in any assumption as long as the foregone conclusion is suitably snarky.

[by the way - are you working on any cool avatars for folks who get muted by etsybitch?]

interloper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
high on emotion, short on facts said...

No, I'm not making any assumptions, I'm asking you to back up yours, interloper. Looking at the promo thread will give you a raw number, but how does that compare to the total number of sellers on Etsy? Without that comparison, the raw number is meaningless.

How much money you have made without running a sale is also meaningless by itself. Have people who DO run sales made more than you? Maybe. You don't say, but you offer this number as evidence of something. Do they make less than you on average, assuming they have a similar number of items for sale in a similar market? You offer no account.

I mean a person might say she's made $75K on Etsy and has NEVER sold anything with a bird or a deer printed on it. She cannot conclude, however, that other sites will be equally successful if they also avoid birds and deer motifs.

It's an ass-backward way to make business decisions. I stand by my "assumption" that the snark came first and the "facts" followed.

TheSneakyOne said...

HEOSOF, either knock off the personal attacks or we will moderate every comment you make.

If the advice doesn't work for you, don't use it. If it makes sense to you, add it to your arsenal. Otherwise, keep personal attacks to your own blog.

forum rubbernecker said...

Good discussion! I will never have a sale. The only thing I do is offer a slight discount to friends and family, and I don't make them buy through Etsy. I sell paper goods and I will NEVER have a sale. I do sell wholesale, and I priced my products so that even at wholesale I still make a profit. Nothing is sadder than seeing someone saying that they can't afford to cut their prices any lower and thus, cannot wholesale. My other pet peeve is people who say that are doing it as a hobby, and don't need the profits. Huh? Then why are you selling? Some of us do need to make profits, thank you very much. I wish Etsy would do a business series in the Storque about pricing, packaging, etc. and put aside the glittery cupcakes and the piece of crap hammocks.

The Righteous One said...

I just want to say that this is a blog, not the government regulations committee. We express and post people's experience and take on things, not the written law.

Some people are taking our posts way too seriously. As has been pointed out, if it doesn't work for you then don't file it away.

Someone was nice enough to take the time to share their experience with others, why pick it apart? Thanks for you opinion, but move on.

high on emotion, short on facts said...

The OP has asked us to share some assumptions which he has not shown to be true. Maybe he can back them up, but not with one-sided numbers that are compared to nothing.

Do I agree that there is "rampant underpricing" at Etsy? I don't know - someone show me some numbers. Compare prices for similar items being sold OFF Etsy. Give me an average price of similar items ON Etsy. Show me a trend that the prices are going down on Etsy compared to elsewhere, and then maybe show me that it's because of the practice of throwing sales. Compare the effects of gaining a potential regular customer against any potential short-term loss on one item. Actually offer some kind of support for the argument rather than start from the conclusion and ask everyone to assume the facts.

Don't ask me to assume something just because it's negative, and because this is the site where you aren't supposed to say anything positive about etsy or anything negative about the bitchers.

By doing a disservice to reason, you hurt your cause.

TheSneakyOne said...

HOESOF, again, either knock it off or take it to your own blog. This is ample and your last warning. I can't guarantee the other 10 will be as lenient as I am being.

If it doesn't work for you, just move past it. We're not a debate blog, and not a platform for you to challenge anyone.

interloper said...

this better calm down or admin will lock the thread.... erg this inst' etsy

high on emotion, short on facts said...

So there's no misunderstanding, the following are general comments about the site, not the OP:

Gotcha, sneakyone - the rules of the sandbox are starting to come into focus.

Do not challenge the bitching. If it's negative and it's about Etsy, that ought to be enough.

Looking at your stated mission and comment policy, you allegedly are wanting to enact some kind of change at Etsy by hosting a free forum for dissent - do I have that right?

But I don't see any higher principles on display here. I see bitching for the sake of bitching. I see the (sometimes hostile) abandonment of critical thought in favor of the cheap thrill of anonymous dissent.

TheSneakyOne said...

No. Our sandbox, you play by our rules. End of discussion.

el-stinko-armpit said...

high on emotion, short on facts said...

I mean a person might say she's made $75K on Etsy and has NEVER sold anything with a bird or a deer printed on it. She cannot conclude, however, that other sites will be equally successful if they also avoid birds and deer motifs.
------------------------
So true! (I hope this example was meant as humor?) Birds and deer are the Mickey Mouse and Disney Prinesses of Etsy...and perhaps other sites inhabited by the same sort of artisan shops. B-O-R-I-N-G. So, if birds, deer, and scrabble pendants are to the crafty oh-ohs as dreamcatchers were to the crafty 90s, then Etsy shops will be having a lot of sales. Suggests that the deer and bird motif home factories are not the type of business the guest OP was thinking of, at least suggests that to me?
-------

HOE: It's an ass-backward way to make business decisions. I stand by my "assumption" that the snark came first and the "facts" followed.
-------------------

Maybe. But it is also possible that the guest OP was writing about selling a very different type of item.

The Malevolent One said...

Highonemotion, thanks, I laughed so hard I scared my cat.

This isn't a market analytics class and you're veering far off course.

We just published an article last week giving kudos to Etsy for one of their improvements. And we've allowed plenty of crappy stuff to be posted about us.

I don't know you have such a bug up your ass about this one particular subject (maybe you're having a sale right now?) but you still haven't posted anything of substance. Other people here have disagreed with the author and given reasonable explanations why sales work for them. You haven't. Move along.

interloper said...

to say that all my points are null because I made assumptions doesn't take in to account the reason I had to make them.
First my advice is not "orders" it's simply advice, take it or leave it. all of it, or some of it.
I HAVE to assume. I probably could have given better advice if every seller on etsy had opened there books to me, and I did an in depth interview with them.
but since I didn't I guess my advice is based only on what I knwo to have worked for me.
what a terrible way to give4 advice I know!
BTW I sell jewelry.

The Cranky One said...

HOE - To Quote Carly Simon: "I bet you think this post is about you, don't you?"

This is simply a note from a reader (not us so outing them somehow means little they aren't one of us and don't know who we are) pasing on some advice that people pause and think before going sale happy.

Now shut the fuck up and troll another blog.

The Kinky One said...

Sneaky,

Does it have to be a sandbox? It's so damn hot, I'd much rather be in a pool.

HOE,
Chill. Did we claim to be perfect? no. Are we God's gift to bitching? Depends on who you ask. Is this article supposed to be the be all end all for how to have a sale in your Etsy shop? Of course not, but it's a good start off for many even though you find it lacking. You've made your point. Could you write a better article? Knock your socks off, and post a link here.

TheSneakyOne said...

Kinky, it can be a pool, complete with a grotto and a couple of slides... ^__^

interloper said...

Oh man I could go for a good dip right about now.

high on emotion, short on facts said...

I don't find any advice in there about how to have a sale at all, kinky. The premise of the OP is that sales are "usually a terrible idea for an Etsy shop."

A statement that several Etsy sellers subsequently disagreed with and which was supported by several UNsupported suppositions.

Hence my conclusion is that this OP is NOT based on anything other than the author's own experience (although it is advice clearly aimed at all Etsy shops) and since it is being so fiercely defended by the hosts of this blog, my secondary conclusion is that the negative slant of the OP is more important than any actual substantive content within it.

And with that conclusion, I'll conclude my foray into your grotto.

interloper said...

Hence my conclusion is that this OP is NOT based on anything other than the author's own experience (although it is advice clearly aimed at all Etsy shops)
****************************
holy dog shit batman you got the point! that's all it's based on.

The Kinky One said...

A grotto? Why Sneaky! You have a bit of kink in you as well :D

The Malevolent One said...

Oh Hoe, baby, you've got us all wrong. Your "secondary conclusion" is pretty self-serving, since you didn't provide any substantive content yourself. Your arguments were based on challenging the author's business experience, pointing out a spelling error, and demanding a truckload of facts and statistics without providing any yourself.

I'll echo Kinky's invitation for you to write an article for us about why it's great to have sales. We expect it to be supported with facts and statistics, of course, since you're such a big fan. Can you get that to us by Friday? Thanks, you're a peach.

I hope this grotto serves drinks.

WindysDesigns said...

I think the OP makes some very good points. I only put on sale those items that I've priced at full retail, otherwise, no. I can't afford to.

I got caught up in the SNS back when it first started. Every week I was trying to compete with people who were offering 50% off everything, Buy one Get one free and a myriad of other enticements. They still do that and I honestly can't compete with those kinds of sales, so I stopped doing them.

I also stopped doing them because it became apparent to me, according to some buyers who frequented the forums, that they simply waited for SNS to buy anything, why should they pay full price if they could just wait until Saturday night and get it at a discount. I decided I just didn't want to be a part of that anymore, that people counted on my stuff going on sale.

I do it very infrequently now, and I have a few things marked 'sale' in my shop, but they will soon be going back up to regular prices and maybe I'll do a few other things that can be sold at a discounted price, but I also do that because I think people do search for 'sale' items so it might bring them into my shop.

I agree though, with the idea that there should be some sort of 'official' retail pricing instruction with encouragement for all sellers, including hobbyists, to price this way. Obviously, I think everyone should price how they wish, but I often think that some sellers just don't take into account all their costs, or the effect it has on the overall category when they underprice their work.

lucy said...

Its SOOO anti-etsy to want to turn a profit, which is why sales will always run rampant.

Excellent post, bitches!

The Righteous One said...

Yeah, how un-Etsy of us to actually defend those who contribute to our site...

Recycled By Hyena said...

I always have been reluctant to have sales. I started some time ago but already my "marge" is ridiculous so sales are like cutting myself an harm.

But I guess I am not a good selling person.

I used to work in a contemporary art gallery. Do you think they do sales in that scene? lol

Ladies Auxilliary said...

"You are a craftsman, not Crazy Eddie".

BWAHAHAHA...my nominee for quote of the week!

I never have sales...and yet I sell. Hmm. Bulk discounts if you buy an assload, yes...but sales, nope.

One of my pets peeves "I just do this for fun, how dare anyone try to tell me I'm underpricing..." Um...so you can afford to give away free money?

Unmet said...

heh