The holiday shopping season is here! Since we all love handmade goodies, I want to give you some pointers in shopping the handmade market this upcoming holiday season.
I have already seen an increase in holiday requests and purchases that are intended for gifts and family Christmas photos. It's a beautiful time of year, but with this time of year can come a lot of work for retailers. Today, I want to share with you some tips to buying handmade online from the perspective of a shop owner. I hope this helps you choose the perfect gifts for your loved ones this year!
Here we go!
Tips to buying handmade items online:
I sell on Etsy, which is a marketplace for thousands of handmade artists. There are other places to shop handmade artists other than Etsy, but because I am the most familiar with this selling platform, this is what I am going to share with you today. I encourage you to seek out all handmade artists, as they are all over the web!
One of the things that is great for buyers on Etsy is that every shop is set up the same way. You do not have to search where to find information with each shop you visit. It will always be in the same place.
Start shopping NOW! Yes, there are still almost two months until Christmas, however, a lot of shops are made to order meaning they create your item once the order is placed. Shipping time is also something that can vary depending on location and it's best to give yourself plenty of time to receive the item.
When you find a shop on Etsy and you want to purchase one of their items, the first thing I recommend to do is to read the listing thoroughly that you want to purchase. Look for information like available sizes, colors, descriptions, etc. After you read the listing, move on to the shop announcement at the top of the store, just below the header image. This is where a lot of shops share more details about their design process, lead times, social networking sites and shipping information.
Check the location of the shop. The great thing about Etsy is that sellers are from around the world. I ship to another country just about every week and those orders do take longer to reach the buyer. International order lead times (through USPS) vary depending on the customs process into each country. With that being said, shipping times are estimated at 2 weeks for international orders, but can take a little more time during the holidays.
If you have a question about placing an order, you can contact that shop owner through Etsy by clicking on the contact button just below the shop owners photo and location.
Etsy is always improving! Recently they added listing variations which means you can add a drop down menu at checkout if the customer is required to enter a size, color or specific information for the order. For example, my personalized letter onesie needs a size onesie and letter choice stated at checkout. Customers are able to use the drop down menu to select the right options and then hit add to cart.
If there is a shop you really love, I recommend following them on their social networking sites. This is a great way to keep in touch, view product sneak peeks, get to know the artist and know when there are coupon codes for their shop. If a shop provides fans with a coupon code, you will enter that at checkout just below the payment. Click on the text Apply shop coupon code and enter the code exactly as the shop owner shared it.
|Hand stamped silver spoon from Jessica N Designs.|
That's it friends! I hope you find these tips helpful in shopping unique handmade gifts for your friends and family this season. Buying from handmade artists is a great way to support small businesses and get to know the work that goes into the item you are purchasing. Please remember that Etsy sellers are business owners, and that like any other retail store, this time of year is a busy one. Make sure to read over the listings, announcements and invoice thoroughly and don't hesitate to ask questions.
I hope all of my Etsy friends have a great season!
Let the shopping begin!