lessons learned in online selling
etsy, funky box studio, funky print studio story, tips and tricks

Lessons learned in online selling after 2 and a half years

Several days ago i read a very compelling article on Cristina’s blog about lessons learned after several years of freelancing (a lot more than my 2 and a half years of online selling!). I thought it would be interesting to write down my own most important lessons learned in online selling as an answer to Cristina’s post.

lessons learned in online selling

At the beginning of 2013 we bought our first piece of machinery: our die cutting machine! She looked like one of those ancient buried treasures; she needed a whole lot of love to get back to a functional state… A whole lot! Now we pretty much have our own fully equipped printing house: letterpress printing machines, paper guillotine, polymer plate making machine, paper drilling machine, paper folding machine… Am i forgetting anything? Well, the point is, we’ve managed to grow. I honestly have no idea if growing this much is enough, not enough or a lot. However, the journey so far did teach us a lot.

1. Success will never happen overnight

Cristina’s first lesson also deals with time frames. I believe this is by far the most important lesson i’ve learned about online selling, but i think it basically applies to any new business. It will not get successful and profitable overnight. When we opened FBS i kept reading forums where people shared their selling experiences; a lot of them stated that it took an average of at least 3 months to get their first sale. So from that point on it’s just a constantly increasing battle to sell more.

In our case it’s an even bigger struggle since we both have day jobs as well. So growing our studio while keeping full time jobs is a lot of work. But we’re slowly and steadily getting there.

2. Communication is the most important detail of online selling

Good communication is the key to online selling. Saying “thank you” and “sorry” is extremely important. Explaining each detail as well as possible is also just as important. People can only see photos of what they’re going to buy, so naturally there could be a bunch of questions. Communication could help close a lot of deals with potential clients, but it can also be your downfall if not done right.

3. Photography skills are needed

As mentioned above, people can only see photos of what they’re buying from you. That means your photography skills will have to be constantly polished so that the quality of your item’s photos will keep on increasing. For me, this is my all time nemesis. You can always call in a professional product photographer if you can. Good photos are bound to increase sales. The lessons learned in online selling will always include a whole chapter for photography.

4. Promote constantly

As the saying goes: “Seldom seen, soon forgotten.” You will need to promote your shop / business / items as often as you can, and yet not so much that it gets aggressive. There’s a limit to everything and it might actually backfire! Use social media well. Figure out which ones work best for your niche and promote there constantly.

5. Remember to breathe!

I agree with Cristina on this one also. Overworking yourself is not ok in any way. It affects your mental and physical health, your family and your family life. Take breaks, go on vacations, one day trips, take a walk in the park, walk barefoot on grass, get a drink with friends, play some badminton, cook with your kids, breathe! Take a chance to unwind from time to time.

Well this is it; these are my most valuable lessons learned in online selling.

The Funky Studio team wishes you, as always, a colorful day!


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shipping problems
etsy, tips and tricks

Shipping problems tips & tricks. It’s not always pink and flowers…

… Remember that even beautiful roses have thorns!
This is the second Tips & tricks article that i’ve taken over from the old blog. It’s slightly revised as it’s been almost 2 years since writing that article, but the main aspects still are the same to this day. So let’s talk about shipping problems when sending out your clients’ orders and respectively, when receiving a package ordered online.

etsy shipping problems

Probably the most common problem Etsy sellers have is shipping. Everything regarding shipping.  Starting with the insane shipping fees and ending with packages not being delivered! Everything in between those two examples is also of high importance, however this time around let’s focus on those two, discuss about them, find solutions and give tips.
1. Shipping fees
This is by far the biggest problem of them all. First things first:
for Etsy sellers – don’t feel guilty about the shipping fees! You’re not the ones making them; you have no control over them. Try and make your customers understand that. Give them links for the websites of the couriers / post office and have them see the fees themselves. Do not charge less for shipping fees because you feel like they’re too high! A possible solution for this would be taking a little out and putting it on your items’ prices. However, keep in mind that Etsy calculates its fee  from your items prices, so the absolute best solution is to try and explain to your clients that this particular aspect is out of your control. Another thing you can do is presenting special offers for the repeat customers or clients with larger orders.
for Etsy buyers – in order to have your orders sent safely to you, you need to pay shipping fees. They are high, but Etsy sellers can’t do anything about it unfortunately. The lowest shipping fee always comes with risks – damaged package, lost package, delayed delivery, no track & trace, no insurance, no way of ever finding out what happened to your package. You have to pay extra for the package to arrive sooner, you have to pay extra for the package to have a tracking number, you have to pay extra to have insurance, you have to pay extra to have a confirmation of receipt, you have to pay extra if the package is heavy. It’s terrible, all Etsy sellers know that, but this is how it is, unfortunately.
2. Lost packages
The Etsy seller gives you a heads up when he mails your package and you’ve also read about how much time it would take to get to you. That time had come and passed and you still don’t know anything about your package. What do you do?

– check out the track & trace number – usually when you make an Etsy purchase you’d receive a track & trace number for your package. Check it out and see where exactly your package is at the moment.shipping problems

– no track & trace number? If, however, you don’t receive a track & trace number, contact the Etsy shop owner and let him know about the problem. He would then give you that number and check it out himself. There are situations where there is no track & trace number (for example: packages sent with non-priority mail if the customer so wishes, simple envelopes etc.). For those situations it’s best to have your package sent with a confirmation of receipt. That way it will certainly either arrive to destination or get back to the sender. If there’s also no confirmation of receipt, the Etsy seller should send a new package to his client, but this time making sure all the proper precautions had been taken care of. There is also another situation where post offices simply don’t register international tracking numbers. An example is Australia. We ship to Australia quite a lot, but we can only track the package on our post office’s system until it gets out of the country. After that, if there’s a need for tracking, we can only contact the social media team of the Australian post office (and by the way, this team is awesome! Quick responses, friendly people!).
for Etsy sellers – it does cost extra, but make sure you either have a track & trace number or a confirmation of receipt. Otherwise, you’d have to send out a new order on your expense.
for Etsy buyers – please understand that shipping problems are out of the Etsy seller’s hands. They will of course do everything they can in order to have your package delivered safely, but what will happen on the way to you is out of their reach.
Hope everything above will be helpful for both Etsy sellers and Etsy buyers.

The Funky Studio team wishes you, as always, a colorful day!


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etsy reviews
etsy, tips and tricks

Etsy shop reviews tips and tricks. How much do they really matter?

The Etsy shop reviews was a subject i talked about on the old blog sometime last year. Since I decided to use only this site for blogging now, i thought it would be a waste to lose information i had on the other one, so i’ll bring them back over here, revise where necessary and update where i have anything to add. So the very first upgraded topic is “Etsy shop reviews”.

etsy reviewsThere are lots of talks among Etsy sellers about shop reviews: how to get happy customers leave a positive feedback, how to avoid being rated with fewer stars, how much do customers rely on the shop’s reviews?

I will be honest with you, i never paid special attention to my shop’s reviews, nor have i ever asked a customer to leave a feedback. That doesn’t mean i wasn’t excited every time i got a positive review or that i don’t appreciate them! It’s just that there are other things i believe to have a greater importance than this.

What are shop reviews?

After buying an item, the customer can leave feedback – whether it’s positive or negative – and can rate the shop, services and products with stars from 1 to 5. The customer can leave detailed explanations about why they gave the number of stars they chose to give. Usually they take into consideration: communication, items’ quality and shipping.

How do you get customers to leave feedback?

I’ve seen this question many times on teams’ forums. While i do enjoy hearing back from my clients, i do not want to push them to come back and leave a review. I’d much rather encourage them to come back for another happy sale! However, this is just me. The most efficient way to have a client return for a review is by making a little note on a thank you card you send along with the item he bought. That way he won’t feel pressured, but he would have appreciated your work and would feel more inclined to share this aspect. You can also write this note when announcing the item has shipped. However, try not to insist on it. You’d risk getting a fewer stars rating.

How do shop reviews affect an Etsy shop?

Whether they’re good or bad, the shop reviews can play a decisive role in making the decision to buy. If, on the overall shop look, the rating stars are not all yellow, there would be an instant alarm signal for the customer. After carefully reading customer’s opinions, one can change his / her initial opinion. Other potential customers that are indecisive at first, after reading a whole bunch of positive feedback, actually decide to buy.

How much do shop reviews really matter?

The shop reviews are simply subjective opinions of customers. Reading lots of shop reviews myself, i found that many times the customers that rate the shop with fewer stars have one general problem: item never arrived. As an etsy buyer, i try to solve the problem directly with the seller. That would pretty much be the best and easiest way to get everything sorted out. We all know about postal services problems. I used to think it was only something that happened with my country’s postal services, but i actually found that people all over the world are dissatisfied with their post offices. So that’s the main reason etsy sellers get in trouble: something that is out of their reach and that they can do nothing about. However, it is their job to promptly answer their client’s messages and let them know what they can and can’t do about it. Avoiding and not answering the messages would certainly earn you a negative review. On the other hand, trying to explain to your client what’s going on and giving deadlines and ultimately giving a solution would certainly mean a lot. Basically it’s a time when both sellers and buyers must be reasonable. However, this is by far the most common explanation for negative reviews, so you as possible future clients should ask yourselves: is this something that was the seller’s fault? Does this negative review actually count for that much?

What is more important than the golden 5 stars?

I was saying at the beginning of this article that in my opinion, there are other things that are more important than reviews. If i check out an etsy shop and the overall image doesn’t appeal to me at all (basically it’s all photos’ fault), i won’t even look at the ratings, much less reading explanations for them. It might not be a good thing, but in online shopping photos are all you’ve got. A client doesn’t get to actually see the item he’s buying until after he’s already bought it, so photos should be at least appealing. Then we have the item’s basic description. Words should cover what photos couldn’t, so these descriptions must be accurate and precise. Otherwise, if i don’t know what i’m buying, how am i supposed to order anything?

Then, if i like an item, but the shop doesn’t have a 100% 5 golden stars ratings, i check the explanations on both sides. It would be a lot better if negative reviews had explanations from sellers even if it wasn’t their fault. That way possible future clients can see that you did try your best to solve the issue until the very end.

There still remain a lot of aspects to talk about when it comes to reviews. As we move forward and come across other related issues, we’ll create a Chapter 2. Feel free to express your own opinions on the matter in the mean time!

The Funky Studio team wishes you, as always, a colorful day!


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