Monday, August 31, 2009

Shipping tool - For European sellers only

I was very excited when I saw that the beta testing for the new regions shipping tool was complete...we could finally set shipping to the USPS zones in the United States, or handle the range of costs to ship within Canada, or set Continent to Continent shipping instead of hoping that the Everwhere Else covers the cost of actually shipping everywhere else!! *Loud Buzzer* nope. That isn't what it does.

So what did Etsy unroll with the new Shipping tool? You can now list Europe as a region. If you live in Europe, this is wonderful for shipping locally (geographically speaking). But for everyone else, this means you can add one more line on the shipping profiles, which may be somewhat beneficial, but is likely no more helpful than Everywhere Else, so no changes are needed.

This is a nice step forward, but really, if you can add Europe as EU and non-EU subgroups, why not Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, etc? Also, what we NEED are the U.S. and Canadian regions as well. This is great for the European sellers you always shun, but you're ignoring the largest group of sellers on the site!

So, European Etsians, you are in luck. Let us know how it works so we know whether we should be drooling over a U.S. and Canadian add-on they're promising.


UnHip said...

I don't even look at their "new features" anymore because they are sure to disappoint.

holly said...

Imagine whacking away for hours at this big beautiful Pinata, finally cracking it open and finding out it's totally empty.

That pretty much sums up any Etsy 'improvement'. Except the Pinata then falls on your head and pokes an eye out.

Eveline said...

European sellers have been begging for this for years, and I'm not even joking. Let's just hope it's what it says on the tin....

The Righteous One said...

Eveline, I agree, this is great for sellers in Europe, but they could've done other regions in the process, even if they can't yet do inner-US or inner-Canada regions (which doesn't make sense if they can do EU and non-EU Europe).

It just seems like they made a big deal out of something that is something that should be a given, and isn't even fully done.

I'm curious to hear how well it's working, and if it's what the European sellers really needed (as we know, Etsy tends to complete and release things in a half-ass way)

No Sympathy said...

Etsy is so embarrassing. More so every day. I'm not sure how their staff size compares to Artfire but I'm sure it's a lot more and they still can barely handle any improvements. Half ass improvements that seem to have been through beta but suck! Artfire is kicking their butts right and left. Unbelievable all the new neat things Artfire has done in less than one year - for sellers and buyers. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C losers they are (aka the Etsy staff). Just wishing Artfire can continue this trend of converting Etsy sellers and buyers. (And this is from a seller on Etsy with 5000+ sales vs. 10 on Artfire. Shows you my distaste for Etsy these days.)

RRobin said...

holly said...

Imagine whacking away for hours at this big beautiful Pinata, finally cracking it open and finding out it's totally empty.

That pretty much sums up any Etsy 'improvement'. Except the Pinata then falls on your head and pokes an eye out.


Great metaphor! And thanks for providing me with the best laugh I've had in a long time.

SK said...

Shipping to regions has been available on ebay for ages, hasn't it? Okay, maybe my memory is fuzzy, but I was on ebay before etsy and don't ever recall having to create an individual profile for EVERY European country... I recall the ability to type in amounts and choose all the countries I wanted that to apply to — one profile.

The last time I sold on ebay was 2007... how many years could it possibly take to create a better shipping profile? If the staff is completely retarded — from their goony dips***s that pick the same dull as dirt front pages down to the tech team — that would be the only plausible explanation for this...

Yeah, only EU, no other continents — smacks forehead.

sound&fury said...

Hooray for another half-arsed 'improvement'.

I agree with No Improvement - I've only just signed up for artfire and listed only one item, but I'm constantly seeing features on artfire that etsy lacks and thinking 'goodness, isn't it civilised over here!'

RRobin said...

Funny, but for the purported greatness of Artfire, the only place outside of the site itself that I see its name mentioned is here on Etsy Bitch. What is Artfire doing to get its name out there to the buying public?

This is not to suggest, by the way, that I think Etsy is doing anything much for those of us who are not admin favorites.

(I am so damned tired of the pervasive and dualistic rabid fan mentality that construes any questioning or criticism of Artfire as an endorsement of Etsy, and which compels me to issue these bloody caveats in order to forestall being pelted with cupcakes.)

The Funny One said...

I'm with SK - Etsy sure takes a long time to get up to snuff because they refuse to just buy the damn retail software that other sites have created and use successfuly for shipping profiles plus a lot of other "add-ons".

I don't look at Etsy's "new features" since Etsy hasn't done a damn thing for me for over a year.

Since I don't make what Etsy promotes and don't qualify for all that FREE promotion they give 24/7 to their fave sellers, all I get is a lot of NPB's, and an ETSY MONTHLY BILL at 11 PM on the last day of the month.

Etsy is a very selective market that promotes about 200 sellers and stores a year. I lost interest a long time ago.

Rtisan said...

RRobin-- this is from my perspective only re: ArtFire --
I don't know about their PR, but what I appreciate is that my stuff is being seen in an online search. My Etsy things are not. AND I get to see right away on AF.
Of course, there is a new thread about SEO on Etsy; the Storque article sounds like something.

But I do not trust Etsy to do what it says it will. So far AF has given me no promises, but the features that I get there are pretty damned good. At least I know I'm "out there", which is #1 for me *especially since Etsy will never ever promote me because I have been critical of their staff mistakes. I've been lost on Etsy ever since the SEO debacle and my muting.

Honestly, the only reason I stay there is for my return customers, who will not know I am anywhere else (since I do not notify them by spam or newsletters).

I am not expecting any site to be ideal, I just want to be seen.

Bunny said...

I'm a European seller and this update, for me, is the most useful thing since Etsyhacks! It's been working great so far and has made my listings look a lot less cluttered. It has significantly cut down the amount of time needed to set up a new shipping profile.

I understand why non-European sellers aren't too thrilled about this, though. I remember there was an extensive list of regions they were planning to include in this update. Wonder what happened to that?

RRobin said...

Thanks, Rtisan.

I don't read the Storque or other official Etsy propaganda.

I have, however, always wondered why a seller on Etsy can't just enter the weight and dimensions of a parcel and have the shipping to anywhere on Earth calculated automatically, the way it has been on eBay for a long, long time.

Rana said...

SK - that's my recollection of eBay as well, and I was arranging things to sell there last fall. I do remember that setting up shipping was very easy, and that it was integrated with the US Postal Service to make determining your shipping rates at home really easy.

In fact, it was the tricks I learned during my period of researching eBay that made it possible for me to charge accurate shipping rates when I was on Etsy, and to use PayPal to generate shipping labels properly. Would you believe, for example, that the USPS held special seminars on how to use them to ship through eBay, and even provided branded boxes free for us to use? I mean, yeah, eBay's kinda soul-less, but it never loses sight of the site's primary function - making and spending money and exchanging goods. It's relentlessly practical, and there's something to respect in that.

Etsy's support for these sorts of things, on the other hand, was for the birds, and they've always seemed pretty stupid about money.

The Righteous One said...

That sounds promising. At least it's working for what they have unrolled so far.

Londoner said...

As another European seller I have to say this new change is FANTASTIC - we have been on about it since Etsy started and it makes things much easier for us and for our customers and stops us all having to write LET US SHIP TO EUROPE on any feedback form we're asked to fill in by Etsy!

It can be hard as an "international" seller on Etsy (changing all our prices one by one when the exchange rate changes is quite a pain!) so this new change will make a big chunk of their sellers happy.

BUT it is a shame they couldn't have added more regions... DaWanda just completely overhauled their shipping set-up, adding profiles and "additional item" costs for the first time, and they include a very comprehensive list of regions to ship to along with all the individual countries. Wonderful!

Guess I'm an artfire cupcake said...

It seems to me that Etsy heard artfire was coming out with the facebook kiosk and the coupon codes and thought they better release *something* fast, even if it is only half done.

It also seems to me that the people complaining about a lack of sales on artfire have not given it half the chance they gave etsy, and usually have way fewer items listed on artfire than etsy. If you only list 5 items and don't drive traffic to your site in some way, you won't get any sales. If you only listed 5 things on etsy and did nothing to promote your shop, you wouldn't get any sales there either.

I Fell in Etsy and I Can't Get Up said...

This is likely useful for some people.

I'm not surprised to hear, though, that like most new Etsy features it's a bit half baked. Actually, everything they do is so F'ed up it's practically a wonder of science and nature.

Changes to the site are so consistently off target, incomplete, half assed, amateurish, unprofessional, inconsistent and poorly thought out that it's mind boggling.

Not to mention the long tradition of favoritism ("Let's feature my college buddy on the front page 40 times a month and choose the same person as the featured seller when the slot is a few days longer than usual because we took down someone else early after screwing up! Nobody will notice, or if they do, we don't care! Surely my boss wouldn't notice!") and pettiness. A lot of it seems to be due to their really questionable hiring; it was even worse early on (2006-7).

Somehow they manage to get new employees that are either cut from the same cloth, or get twisted by whatever happens over there in the Etsy Culture. I can't wait to get away from them.

RRobin said...

I am not on Facebook or Twitter, and I don't blog.

I don't treat my Artfire shop any differently from my Etsy one, which I do not promote in any way.

I expect the site to do the promotion, the way eBay does. That's what my listing fees are for.

If I wanted to do my own promotion, etc., I wouldn't use Etsy or Artfire or anyone. I would just run my own site.

For those who enjoy promotion, more power to them. But that should be icing. It shouldn't be required by any site that extols itself as a destination point for handmade AND TAKES MY MONEY.

If I had a bricks-and-mortar shop in a mall, I'd have a storefront that anybody walking by could see as easily as they could see any other storefront in that mall. If I wanted to place an ad in the paper or online or on the television or radio, etc., I might get extra customers, but I would still have the same shot as any other seller in that mall at any customer casually walking through the mall.

What I feel like here is that I am paying the same rent as other shops in the mall, but instead of a clear glass window, I have a brick wall in front of my shop. Some other shops have glass, but only because they are friends of the manager, not because they pay extra rent.

When nobody sees my shop, I am told I should stop complaining and start advertising.

Then I find out that the mall does not even have a sign out front.

I also find out that the managers occasionally run ads that mention their favorite shops, the ones with the glass windows that enable passersby to see what's in those stores anyway, but that never mention my bricked-over store. I learn that these other lucky shop owners don't pay for space in these ads, even though they are mentioned in them, because the rent we each pay goes to the ads.

Then somebody tells me about some new malls starting up nearby and suggests I move my shop to one. I visit and learn that this new mall's managers do not run ads that only mention certain sellers. That seems fair. But then I notice that they never advertise at all. Worse, NONE OF THE SHOPS IN THE NEW MALL HAVE WINDOWS, and there is still NO SIGN OUT FRONT indicating that there is a mall here. Also, THE RENT IS HIGHER than it was in the old place.

And when I mention this, what am I told?

To take out an ad.

mizdarlin said...

Just went to the PO today (I'm a Canadian) sent something from the West Coast-called a parcel, although very thin and weighed nothing-to the middle of the country and was charged almost $10. In my Etsy shop, i had just raised the cost of sending this particular item to $8-and now even that is too low. The problem is that in North America, it depends on region,not just size and weight-it's like the long-distance phone bills finally disappeared, only to be replaced by horrendous mailing costs...I can't put $10 for shipping in my Etsy shop-sales are few and far between anyway-this should kill it off permanently...
I agree it would be swell, but how in the hell can Etsy set up something that changes drastically every few miles-some European countries would fit handily inside my Province or many States-I just wish there was a halfway reasonable alternative here...but there's not.

Advertise Already said...

Really. OT here, but how hard is it for Etsy to run some ads.. or do some FREE Project Wonderful campaigns, or something? Maybe reduce your fees .20 per month for putting an etsy banner in your blog? The cupcakes would do it.
Tons of sellers seem to have time to Twitter.. oh that's right, etsy PAYS Anda to to Twitter. What does she twitter? Her fave shops. That's bullshit right there. If you're gonna twitterspam, at least keep it about general things you can find on etsy.
You can advertise on PW for free. Or a small, small cost. C'mon etsy, pony up a paltry $100 per month and you can be advertising on literally THOUSANDS of blogs and websites.


Rana said...

mizdarlin, technically, it should be possible - eBay does it, automatically calculating the shipping costs based on the ZIP codes of seller and bidder.

But it does require programming know-how and a willingness to spend the money needed to implement it properly - two things that Etsy doesn't prioritize.

just bitchy said...

I agree with RRobin.

I would never spend time or money promoting a site like etsy. If you don't get sales from the built in traffic then it's a waste of your time.

You need to get your own site and promote that site. Spend your time and money on yourself, not etsy or other sites.

Once you get so locked in to a site like etsy you will one day regret it. I speak from experience.

In addition, if they decide to shut you down by accident or on purpose you are completely screwed if you don't have your own site.

Crazy Cat Lady said...

Guess I'm an artfire cupcake said...

It also seems to me that the people complaining about a lack of sales on artfire have not given it half the chance they gave etsy, and usually have way fewer items listed on artfire than etsy. If you only list 5 items and don't drive traffic to your site in some way, you won't get any sales. If you only listed 5 things on etsy and did nothing to promote your shop, you wouldn't get any sales there either.

Well, I don't complain about artfire much here, but you'd be wrong about me. I have almost as much on artfire as I do on etsy (70 vs. 120); I promote artfire as much as I do etsy, when I bought PW ads I didn't have them point to etsy at all, I promote artfire sales all the time (not etsy sales), my views on artfire are comparable to why, in my almost 11 months there, do I have 3 "non friend" sales? And I say "non friend" because I tell friends that if they don't see what they want at artfire, tell me what etsy item they want and I'll put it on artfire.

Artfire shows up in google, yes. And as far as giving people what they want, I do like artfire better. I like artfire better in 95% of ways...but even though my etsy sales have been in the toilet for the past year, I still get sales there, even if it's only 3 a month.

Artfire, I want to love you...I do. But show me the money!!

foxaz said...

Here in the US, the Post Office is losing wads of money all the time. We can count on raises in rates at least once, sometimes twice a year. And now they want to close some Post Offices and cut back on service to just 5 days a week. Judging from what the public says, they could care less if the PO closes down entirely.
The future of online sales doesn't look good.

just bitchy said...

Regarding the USPS, I don't see the "no Saturday delivery" as a problem. Who REALLY needs Saturday delivery?

I also find USPS FAR less expensive than UPS or Fedex. Even if they increase their rates it will still be less expensive to use USPS.

In any case, even if all rates are equal that won't stop people from shopping online. Some people just like the convenience and are willing to pay for shipping. Particularly people who don't live near a large metropolitan area.

I Guess I said...

CrazyCat Lady says:

" I have almost as much on artfire as I do on etsy (70 vs. 120

Bump your listings up to 120 on Artfire. I find that in either venue, if I have fewer than 150 products listed, sales suffer.

I also saw immediate results when I posted a widget in my side bar that had some positive customer feedback comments, and a link to my etsy feedback. People want to feel secure when they buy.

Sales in my artfire shop are now comparable to my etsy shop. If I look at the fees I pay, I am now making more money on artfire than I make on etsy.

The Funny One said...

Thank you Rtisan for stating it so clearly. Since the secret SEO changes I suspect that Etsy selectively loads only products it likes into GA which is why so many of our Etsy shops have completely disppeared from all major search engines. Mine got lost right after the SEO "roll-back" and has never appeared again. NO ONE can find my Etsy listings by doing a search engine search.

No search results mean zero views/sales and after being with Etsy from the very start, it's as if I never existed. Even my longtime customers think I closed up shop completely. Etsy doesn't give a crap how much they've actually damaged my business with their careless treatment of sellers evidenced by secret SEO tweaks and secret delayed caching.

The SEO has NEVER BEEN FIXED, and whatever Etsy says about it, I urge you to do your own investigation of your search results rankings. You'll be shocked to find that your Etsy store has disappeared.

Etsy is such a complete and total disappointment and their heavy footprint will be hard to erase once Etsy is a "trendy trend" of the past. Any and all of the new sites will never get off the ground if they use Etsy as their template. Etsy works very hard for about 200 stores, the rest could disappear overnight and Etsy wouldn't even notice until the monthly bills are due.

whothehellknowsanymore said...

Must every post here have some AF SUCKS in the commentary? RRobin, I get it, really. Sounding a little bitter and shrill at this point.

And I'm pretty far from a cupcake.

As for shops, shit, you know..

If my business cards and whatnot didn't have E on them I'd shut it at this point. That and the forum.

I've just decided to open a shop on Bonanzle, Zibbet, AF and leave E open and see who is standing come the New Year.

When I go to something like Bonanzle and see they have ALL the features of AF plus a relisting the same item feature it really make E look like a bunch of lying losers.

The shop closing also worries me, I'm on the cusp as it is and yeah, knowing I could be shut down for some arbitrary and unexplained reason does not make me feel like I should be building much of a foundation there.

Truth is, E eats itself, most of my sales come from other E people. At a point that isn't sustainable.

With AF I can be found and don't have to eggshell walk for fear of being muted or closed.

Easiest site to use is Bonazle and prettiest is Zibbet.


Crazy Cat Lady said...

Thanks I Guess I...I used to tell people that with their Etsy shop too, to put at least 100 items in the shop because that's when my sales really started coming in. I'll work on my Artfire shop this week and put more stuff in - why not? It's not like it costs anything. I'll look into that widget too, I don't have any of those.

Although, I have to say I just googled my shop name - the first listing was my etsy shop. On the first page was also my byhandme or whatever profile, which I filled out months ago and never returned to. Then there were a couple photos from flickr that were used in articles, etc...and in 10 pages my artfire shop never came up :( Maybe I'll try googling "cat earrings" or something specific like that and see what happens, but I was a bit surprised at that.

Rtisan said...

Searching under your shop name is probably the last thing that a potential customer would do. They would have to know you first, so what's the point? Search using your keywords, or words that YOU would use to find the things you make and sell. That's a much better determinant of how and if you are being seen by those who might be interested in buying.
This is the AF feature that really means something to me. I check my stats every day and learn things that I can apply to my own webpage and to my understanding of the market in general.

RRobin said...

whothehellknowsanymore said...

Must every post here have some AF SUCKS in the commentary? RRobin, I get it, really. Sounding a little bitter and shrill at this point.


Oh, is this the part where we start playing "I know I am but what are you?"

Must every post have some kind of "Artfire is the be all and end all of shopping and customer service, and butter doesn't melt in its admins' mouths" kind of commentary to it?

Show me where I said "ARTFIRE SUCKS" or even implied it. Just because I don't think the site is the greatest thing since sliced bread doesn't mean I think it sucks.

School is starting again. Go take a course in rhetoric.