My Etsy shop is open and ready for business. Is there anything more to do before I start to post my work and start selling my items?
There are policies you need to set up in your Etsy shop as a seller. There are 5 major shop policies you need be familiar with and be ready to implement in your Etsy Shop settings. Establishing your policies is the ONE thing you should do before your first sale. READ ON to see the list of top 5 Etsy shop policies to update now.
Getting Your Etsy Ducks In a Row
On the surface, this seems very simple; get fabric, cutting, sewing (or sketching, painting, sculpting, or anything else), snap some pictures, and you’re on your way to either a new business venture or some spare cash on the side! However, there are some things you need to think about before you start selling, and one of them is how you will handle your shop and what policies you will implement.
Why Do You Need Etsy Policies?
Many new sellers don’t realize how important it is to implement policies, especially if they are just small sellers ( to start) doing it as a side-business. Etsy doesn’t require sellers to set up policies, either, which also makes sellers less likely to spend the time creating them.
To many people, it seems unimportant and perhaps unnecessarily formal to have a sort of “terms and conditions,” especially if your business is more of a hobby, but it’s actually really important for both you and your customers. I have been selling on Etsy for over 5 years and I feel it should be manitory for new etsy owners to establish thier shop poliies at sign on. At this time Etsy does not requi
The truth is, no matter how small your shop is, policies protect you and protect your buyer, letting them know what to expect and where they’ll stand if they have problems. Policies put everyone on the same page, so it’s important to implement them, even if you intend to be the smallest of sellers.
How To Set Up Policies?
So, where do you go to set official policies? Fortunately, it’s pretty straightforward.
On Etsy.com, click on “Shop Manager” and then click on the little pencil next to “Sales channels.” Scroll down to the “Shop policies” section.
In this section, you’ll find several templates for the different sections you can fill in. You may want to draft your policies in a separate program so you won’t lose them if your tab crashes, but essentially, you can enter information into these boxes.
When you’ve finished, simply click “Publish shop policies,” and you’re done! You can amend these policies later if you need to.
The 5 Etsy Policies to Update
Which policies you need to include may not be immediately obvious, even with the templates Etsy offers, so here are a few ideas which you may find useful for crafting your online terms.
1. Shipping Times
In the “Shipping” box, select what shipping method(s) you plan to use, whether you offer upgraded shipping for an extra charge, etc. You should also include information about whether you will ship internationally and the prices you’ll charge.
Doing this is informative for both you and your buyer; shipping can be surprisingly expensive, and setting up a policy in advance ensures you have considered this. Find out the exact cost of shipping an item, and remember to think about the cost of things like packaging, your time, etc.
Think about what you’ll offer if your item gets lost or missing. Is the item expensive enough to send with insurance, and are you going to ask the buyer to cover the cost of that too?
What if an item is seriously delayed while shipping internationally, but does eventually arrive? Will you offer any compensation, or is this a risk the customer takes when buying from another country?
Including all these details in your policy will ensure your buyer knows what to expect and has no grounds to complain if problems do occur.
2. Payment Policy
Use this section to outline what payment options you are happy to accept. Adding several options means you’re more likely to be able to satisfy customers and meet their needs. You can also enroll in Etsy’s own payment system for maximum ease. You may also wish to include information like payment deadlines, cancellation policies, taxes, etc. Anything which customers need to know about how you take payments should go in this section.
3. Refund Policy
It would be great if nothing ever went wrong, but it’s definitely going to at times, no matter how careful you are. It’s important to have a refund, returns, and exchanges policy laid out clearly so that your customers know where they stand and what they can do if they aren’t happy with their item.
You do not have to accept returns and exchanges. This might surprise you, as many people think that sellers have to take items back if the buyer changes their mind. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of thinking this; you are not obliged to refund buyers just for this. As a seller, the choice of accepting returns is all up to you.
This is particularly important to know on Etsy, where many products are custom-made, made to order, or even personalized. You need to protect your time and investment in your products by not having to return something because your buyer was careless or indecisive.
If you do choose to offer returns or exchanges, make sure you set some criteria. Decide how quickly a product needs to be returned to qualify for a refund/exchange, and clearly list any items that you won’t accept back. Will you be refunding the shipping cost back to you? As you are the shop owner and set the rules these are points to clearly state in your refund policy.
There are cases in which you will have to issue refunds even if you say that you don’t accept any returns at all. Items that are falsely advertised, not fit for purpose, or broken may all fall into this category. This is an attempt to protect consumers as well as sellers.
Familiarize yourself with the laws in your country and make sure you are complying with them.
Customers are going to be providing you with private information, such as their name and address, or perhaps the name and address of someone they’re gifting to. They may also include even more personal information, particularly if the products you sell can be engraved or contain names, etc.
Think carefully about how you’ll handle this information, and express this to customers. This section will likely mostly be about reassuring customers that you won’t sell their information on to other companies, but you may wish to outline certain circumstances in which you can share aspects of their information.
Once again, check that you are complying with the laws in your country. The EU has strict data protection laws, and you mustn’t break these in your policies. Spend a bit of time doing research and checking what restrictions apply to you.
5. Additional Policies
Here’s where you should put any other information which you want to convey to customers about your policies. This will depend on what you’re selling and what they might need to know.
For example, if your product requires customers to type a message for you to include, you might want to add a policy saying that any typos or misspellings are their responsibility. If you use customer-uploaded photos in your product, you might want to say that it’s up to them to check the quality is sufficient.
Think about anything else your customer may need to know and consider covering it in your policies, keeping everyone on the same page about what to expect.
How Do You Know What To Say?
The above categories may inspire you a bit, but if you’re struggling with what to say and how to say it, look up similar products to the ones you want to sell and see what other sellers are including in their policies.
Make sure you look at several shops, as you’re likely to get good ideas of things you might otherwise never have thought of. More experienced sellers are likely to have learned lessons while selling and incorporated those in their policies; you can learn from them and avoid similar issues occurring with your business. If you note that many sellers all include a similar policy, you should strongly consider doing the same, as it’s a good indication that there is a solid reason to do so. Don’t dismiss it on the basis that it’s unlikely to occur for you; it’s better to cover all your bases.
Some Help From Fellow Sellers
My dad would always tell me “If you want to learn something important go to the source” so we did just that! Here is some insightful advice from some fellow Etsy sellers that have established some outstanding shop policies.
- Etsy Seller: Lisa of Home By Liv Refund Policy
Lisa has been selling vintage items since 2017. She has had a buyer who did not read the description of her item completely and requested a refund. A refund was granted. As a result, she has added the following in her refund policy:
” Returned items must be approved by the shop owner. Once the item is returned, a full refund will be issued. Please note that the cost of the returned shipping is the responsibility of the buyer.”Etsy Shop: Home By Liv
Editing Shop Policies
If you need to make changes to your policies later, that’s no problem. Just navigate back to the “Shop policies” section and make any changes you want to there. You can also edit policies from the Sell on Etsy app, although you can’t initially build the policies there.
You don’t need to worry about updating customers regarding changes; whenever they make a purchase, buyers will see a copy of them in their receipt email, so they’ll know what the policies were when they bought the item. You will have to honor these policies for that particular purchase even if you later make alterations.
The Bottom Line
Having well-written, clear, and comprehensive policies on Etsy can help protect both you and your customers. It lets them know where they stand in terms of shipping, privacy, refunds, payments, and any other rules. It also helps you set and apply consistent rulings for everyone.
Make sure your policies fall in line with your local laws and double-check any you aren’t sure about to avoid causing issues later.