Shop Etsy

Dos and Don’ts of Communicating With Customers

Jun 5, 2008

by bethela handmade and vintage goods

Communication is one of the most important skills necessary to running a successful online shop.  Despite never meeting our buyers face to face, there are many opportunities to communicate effectively.  In this article, we will outline good times to communicate, tips and tricks for communication, interactions from an international perspective, and words of advice from experienced and successful sellers.

While your personal communication style as a seller helps make your shop on Etsy unique, we want to start a discussion amongst sellers about those just plain good sense tips that can translate across different writing styles. Keep it genuine and unique to you? Yes!  Never thought about spellchecking? Nooooo!

Do communicate: 

  • To thank the customer for their purchase. It is also a good idea to provide them with an estimated ship date and an invitation to contact you with any questions via convo or email.
  • After item ships. Take the extra step to let your customer know you have shipped their item, the method of shipping you used (and a tracking number if you have one). You can suggest that they Convo or email you if there are any problems. This can prevent future issues or confusion.
  • To answer Convos in a timely manner. Simply answering your Convos may not only help you make sales, but it will reassure your shoppers and buyers that you are around and focused on their business. Always acknowledge their questions and try your best to provide them with specific answers and potential solutions.
  • When buyer’s Paypal and Etsy address differ. A message to clarify which address they would like the item shipped to can prevent potential issues later on.
  • To estimate a date for a custom item. If you know the order is going to take several weeks, let your buyer know up front and keep them posted throughout the order process to assure them that things are running smoothly. If you are going to miss the deadline, be sure to communicate this to your buyer as soon as possible.
  • To solicit feedback and respond after feedback is received. Let your buyers know how much you appreciate their purchases and leave nice feedback. It is also good to send a friendly thank you after you receive feedback. Just remember to keep it quick, simple, and free of any promotional speak (spam).

Don’t communicate: 

  • When you are angry. When writing in anger or frustration, it is difficult to remain objective or create a solution to the problem. The other person will likely pick up on your tone, which usually exacerbates the problem. Instead, take a deep breath and step away from the computer, and come back to the message with a fresh perspective. Remember: Your goal is to come up with a solution that works for both of you.
  • Too much. Sending too many Convos, emails, promotions or reminders might be perceived as a nuisance to your buyer. Be careful to strike a balance when sending messages.
  • To demand feedback. Take care when asking for feedback.  Remember that leaving feedback on Etsy for a transaction is optional. If you do ask for feedback, be friendly and polite.

8 Ways to Improve Your Communication With Customers

  1. Set up a dedicated email address for your shop correspondence to keep your personal emails separate. This is a great way to keep all of your business related communication in one place, keep organized and prevent mix-ups.
  2. Carefully word the subject line of a Conversation or e-mail. The subject line is one of the most important parts of your message.  It tells the recipient what to expect at a glance.
  3. Use all of the public places in your shop to give customers an idea of how they can expect to hear from you. Places in your shop to do this include your shop announcement, profile, policy page, item descriptions and your outgoing transaction message.
  4. Create your own internal service policy where you outline communication expectations and stick to your own service goals.
  5. Create Convo templates for your most frequently asked questions and Convos that you send the most often.  Always add a personal touch to each message.
  6. Be simple in your explanations to customers.  Too much information can confuse people. Focus on the information will most help the customer.
  7. If you plan to be away, post the details about the dates and changes to your service in your shop announcement and use auto-responses with info about when you will back and when your buyers can expect to hear from you.

Photo by Corid

Communicating With International Buyers

Oftentimes we forget that Etsy is open for international sales; keep these tips in mind to make shopping in your store from another country a breeze.

  • Shoppers outside the U.S. can oftentimes find it very confusing and frustrating to encounter words or phrases that are unfamiliar to them. Sometimes your choice of words could be inadvertently offensive.
  • Steer clear of slang or idioms, including: nuts and bolts, ballpark figure, kick off, take it easy, get in touch.
  • Steer clear of buzzwords: Mickey Mouse, no strings attached, across the board, touch base.
  • Steer clear of cliches: Beat a dead horse, rule of thumb, full steam ahead, easy as pie, all over the map.
  • Steer clear of Etsy jargon: Some people may not be familiar with all the terms we commonly use on Etsy, so spell out in clear language what you are trying to say rather than using abbreviations.

Share your own tips and advice for providing outstanding communication as an Etsy seller in the comments section below.

Seller Handbook Best-of Archive | More Customer Service Tips


  • chetart

    chetart said 9 years ago

    Great article with good, solid advice!

  • Meechity

    Meechity said 9 years ago

    A wonderful article! I want to continue to build a great Etsy reputation that is a credit to both my buyers and myself. A handmade thank-you note is something I am definitely going to implement immediately!

  • yaelfran

    yaelfran said 9 years ago

    Wonderful article! I am glad I could leave my mini contribution.

  • tucsonvintage

    tucsonvintage said 9 years ago

    I appreciate the very positive nature of this article. Great advice!

  • adorkable1

    adorkable1 said 9 years ago

    Yeah, I know that when I get a package that I ordered form Etsy, I get all excited about little extra things. Like a thank you note, or even a pack of business cards from other stores (some of them coupons). I love that.

  • vintagemoondesigns36

    vintagemoondesigns36 said 9 years ago

    Your kind advice confirms that this is the right route to go with my heart-felt, time consuming new 2nd business in this crazy thing we call life!

  • matsudabunch

    matsudabunch said 9 years ago

    I am looking forward to this series. A few kind words really goes a long way...

  • FrucciDesign

    FrucciDesign said 9 years ago

    great article! The international part is full of great tips!!! my communications habbits: -always anwear convos asap -try to be friendly and a bit personal (just a bit, you know, to give my customer an idea of who I am) -I normally email the customer for the purchase-thank you, because most of my customers are new to etsy, so I'm not sure they get convos and they are use to them, so i prefer the old emails

  • atouchofvintage

    atouchofvintage said 9 years ago

    great article... i know i'm on track. i always convo and thank the buyer immediately. i know it's really important. and i've already had several repeat buyers so something must be right. thanks guys!

  • dippylulu

    dippylulu said 9 years ago

    Yes, great article, but communication breaks down when this happens:

  • palomasnest

    palomasnest said 9 years ago

    Thank you for including my thoughts! I know this series will be helpful to sellers, including myself. xoxo

  • Jenarter

    Jenarter said 9 years ago

    Great article. It already helped my with a sticky situation. Thanks!

  • doodlesplus

    doodlesplus said 9 years ago

    Good ideas. It is good to be reminded to treat others as we would like to be treated. Thank you.

  • Phoenix420

    Phoenix420 said 9 years ago

    good stuff but what's the best way to deal with someone who has paid already and then not responded with all the info you need to complete the transaction? Refund and start over?

  • classabags

    classabags said 9 years ago

    Good thoughts! I have always tried to use them when corresponding with customers and prospective customers. The things that I did not think about was the jargon used on customers from other countries. Good thing I read this before I was in the situation of dealing with a foreigner.

  • whatchamacallit

    whatchamacallit said 9 years ago

    This is great advice. It makes you think like the consumer. I love that. I think this is the most encouraging site. I can't believe how complete this site is with all of the instruction that is easy to follow. Thank you so much for series like these. It is so through.


    GREENWOODSTUDIO said 9 years ago

    great tips, thanks.

  • raygunrobyn

    raygunrobyn said 9 years ago

    Great tips! This gave some really good advice!

  • Blubies

    Blubies said 9 years ago

    Thanks, I'm just starting out and find the etsy site a great place to sell... and shop, just hope I'm not going to spend more than I make! Cheers

  • cotemanoir

    cotemanoir said 9 years ago

    Thanks! great tips especially when you are a new seller!

  • WolfravenArts

    WolfravenArts said 8 years ago

    ty for this article. I am saving this one for sure

  • capitalcitycrafts

    capitalcitycrafts said 8 years ago

    excellent advice, thanks!

  • jaroslava

    jaroslava said 8 years ago

    Thank you. Very interesting for new sellers like me.In reading your articles I am learning English and how to manage my Etsy shop. You are right. Buyer must be cuddled :)

  • sewwon

    sewwon said 8 years ago

    thanks good advice

  • lizjewelry

    lizjewelry said 8 years ago

    All great advice! Thanks!

  • Melindamilkshake

    Melindamilkshake said 7 years ago

    Great Tips! A big thank you to the contributors!

  • Dumplinragamuffin

    Dumplinragamuffin said 7 years ago

    Very interesting and good advice.

  • HiddenMeadows

    HiddenMeadows said 6 years ago

    I purchased some makeup on Etsy. It was near st.patties day and when it came it was in an emerald bag with a large glittery shamrock inside. It was so cool! I love shopping on Etsy :D

  • shopworndesigns

    shopworndesigns from ShopwornDesigns said 5 years ago

    Good Read and Good Advice. Thank you! ShopwornDesigns.

  • GardenDoorStudio

    Dorinne from GardenDoorStudio said 5 years ago

    I sell at a local farmers/artisan market during the summer and craft shows during the winter and recently opened a shop on Etsy. Customer service is something I take seriously. It's a source of pride to offer the type of service that no longer exists at big box stores. This is one area were you set yourself apart from large corporations. Solving problems that arise to the satisfaction of both you and your customer has become a lost art form and is desperately needed to survive the competition of rock bottom prices for cheaply made goods. Yes, we may have to charge more, but the customer is getting more.

  • Best of the Week ending 6/8/2008 - Art of the Firebird said 2 years ago

    […] Etsy Storque emphasizes the critical importance of communication for Etsy sellers; this doesn’t just apply to Etsy, […]

  • Google said 1 year ago

    Google Very handful of internet websites that come about to become detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly very well worth checking out.

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