Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You’ve Got Your First SALE! Now What?

Written by Kim from UnemployedDesigner

I see a lot of elated new sellers come to the Etsy forums looking for the answer to this question right after they’ve gotten their first sale, and just as many who simply want to know what to do so they’re prepared ahead of time, so I thought I’d put my personal step-by-step process together here in hopes that it would help!

1) First and foremost, do the happy dance!

2) Make sure you’ve gotten paid. Go to your sold (orders) page and look at the status box in the right-hand column. If payment was made with PayPal, the received payment box will already be checked, but I still advise that you log into your PayPal account to verify that funds have been received (JUST in case there was a glitch!).

If sufficient time has passed and you don’t yet have Payment from PayPal, or if you accept other forms of payment, such as checks or money order, you will need to contact your buyer to arrange payment. But wait until you check on a couple of other things first…

3) Compare the mailing addresses on both Etsy and PayPal, if that’s how you accept Payment. If they match, great! If not, I suggest clarifying with the buyer which one is correct before sending. (Note: PayPal only offers seller protection if shipping to the address on record with PayPal, though you may elect to forfeit this coverage by shipping to the Etsy address.) But before you do that, check one more thing:

4) Check the message from the buyer section of your receipt page – there may be a request or other special information that you need to pay attention to in that section as well.

5) Now is when I contact my buyer to acknowledge the order and thank the customer.

If everything is all good with steps 2 through 4, I also let them know when I expect to ship their item and how to reach me if they have any questions in the meantime. (When I happen to be able to ship the same day or within 24 hours, I generally combine this “acknowledgment/thank you” and the “your order has shipped/tracking” info all together into one contact.)

If there were any issues (Not paid yet? Address discrepancy? Need clarification on that note to seller) I first address those issues and follow up with shipping info once settled.

6) Package your items. Include any thank you notes, business cards, coupons or other literature that might go with the order. I suggest also including an itemized packing slip. You can print these automatically via PayPal, and they can be set up with a personalized message to your buyers. It’s a nice opportunity to give the customer important information, such as how to reach you if they have a concern about their order, maybe reiterating your return policy, and just thanking them for their order again – look at the packing slips you get from big retailers for ideas of the type of information to include.

7) Optional happy dance.

8) Arrange shipping with delivery confirmation to protect yourself against claims of non-delivery, and insurance, if the cost of the item is higher than you’re willing to take a loss on in case the package is lost. If PayPal is used to print shipping labels, then delivery confirmation will be added automatically.

9) If you didn’t provide this information when you first acknowledged the order, follow up with the customer to confirm shipping and to provide carrier and tracking information, if available. If you’ve printed your shipping label via PayPal, then an email with the tracking information will automatically be sent to the buyer. There’s also a spot where you can personalize a message to the buyer in this email as well (I use it to – guess what? – thank the buyer for their order and let them know how to reach me. It’s repetitive, I know, but you never can tell which of these communications get read by the customer, or which they will have handy if they do decide to contact you).

11) Try to remember to go back to your sold items page and check off the “shipped” box in the right-hand column.

12) Do one last happy dance.

13) Try to calm down.

14) Okay, one more happy dance won’t hurt anybody.

Okay, did I leave anything out? Please feel free to comment below with any questions or additional advice for handling first time sales!

[About the Author: Kim from is a mother and wife, freelance apparel designer, fashion illustrator and teacher living in NYC, and an avid crafter since childhood. She and her husband share, among other things, many years of retail experience between them, in addition to her extensive internet shopping habit.]

No comments: