Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm GUILTY are you?

I see something so cute in a handmade/online shop.
I have got to get it!
Add to cart. Purchase. Click, click, click.
I can't wait. It will be the perfect gift for so-and-so or myself ;)
A few days go by. No shipping notification.
Why hasn't my order shipped?
I send a message to the shop owner. 
The shop owner has to point out to me that orders ship in ____ business days. AND it's all over their shop.
In the shop announcement.
In the item listings.
In the message to buyer once I placed my order.
The problem is I need it like tomorrow. The problem is I didn't read all the info so now I might not receive my order in time. 

You would think as a shop owner I'd remember to READ everything before placing my order. I get so excited sometimes I forget. I've been working really hard at doing it, but I still slip up. So now before I go send a message to a shop owner, I go back and look at all their information first.

As customers we HAVE to keep in mind that shop owners are not only selling goods.
They are people with lives outside of our screens.
Shop owners have to take care of their homes, cook, clean, take care of their families. Some have full time day jobs outside of their shops! Some of them do have assistants and staff, but I think for the most part, like with me, it's a one woman show here. From start to finish, I am doing it all. I create, manage orders, package, print labels, double check, take things to the post office and everything in between. And I also stay at home with two busy little boys. I am SO grateful that I am able to do both, but it also means I can't ship like Amazon or Walmart. Everything takes time. Most work gets done during nap time or after my boys have gone to bed. I recently had to increase my turnaround time  to 3-5 business days. I HATED doing it. I want everyone to have their order like right then, but I can't. And neither can most shop owners.

I share all this to encourage customers and shop owners alike.
Shop owners, be sure to have your shipping info ALL over the place. You can't say it enough.
If you are on Etsy take advantage of the shipping preferences we now have access to that gives us the option of letting the customers know it will ship in ____ business days. Put it in your shop announcement and each listing too. Put it in the message to buyer so once they make their purchase they see when they should expect their order to ship. Also, take advantage of the shipping notification system. It makes me super happy to click that button and know my customers get an email that their order has shipped. I know it sounds cheesy but seriously, I really love using it. It equals crossing something of my list. Oh, and keep in mind your customers are excited to receive their purchases so be sensitive to them. They are choosing to support you and that deserves good attention and responses, even if they aren't immediate.

Customers, read, read, read, read, read. Shop owners want HAPPY customers. The only way we can be sure you are happy is to keep you informed and provide what we commit to sell you. I hate reading directions and information. I am so bad about it. BUT as customers we have to. If we don't we will end up not being happy and that's just no good. Also, if you need something rushed or overnighted, check the shop's policies. Some shops offer that service but at an extra cost. Always ask first. It's not polite to place an order and say in the message to seller at checkout, "Ship this ASAP." I promise you, shop owners are shipping ASAP, and there is an order items are shipped. :) And most of all, remember we are all human and shop owners make mistakes.

I hope this was helpful and encouraging. I appreciate all of my customers and I sincerely want them to be happy with what they purchase. I appreciate other shop owners because they provide me with a chance to buy awesome handmade goods and other products and support their growing business.

Do you have questions as a customer or as a shop owner?
Ask. We are always learning and growing and it helps to know what thoughts or questions you have.