Coupon Code FAQs

Gathering repeat customers is an essential way to keep your Etsy Shop healthy & growing. Not only do repeat customers buy items from your Etsy Shop more than once, they also can be instrumental in growing your business by:

  • Telling more friends and family about your Etsy Shop
  • Providing more 5-star reviews
  • Giving you valuable feedback and insight on how to improve your Shop & Items

Lately, a lot of customers have been asking me how they can encourage more repeat sales through Etsy. 

In Etsy, there is a way to send automatic "Thank You Coupons"  after someone makes an order. 

You may have noticed it when making a coupon before, but this tool is absolutely vital to use, and you should always be using this tool. 

When creating a new coupon, go to:

Marketing > Sales and coupons

Then click the orange " + New special offer" button

From there, you will see this screen:

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 10.49.21 PM.png

Choose option "3" which is to "Create a coupon"

From there, you will set up a coupon as normal. But make sure you select the option "Send as a thank you".

When making "Thank You Coupons", here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make the coupon discount higher than you normally would do for first-time customers. For instance, if you usually do 15% Off everything for most customers, do 30% off for your "Thank You" coupon.
  • Give it a time limit somewhere between 1-2 weeks. You want to push customers to make a 2nd purchase soon. Give them little time to think and plan it out, but soon enough that it feels urgent. Test it out for yourself to see what time limits work best for your Etsy Shop.
  • Talk to your best customers directly.  If someone gave you an amazing 5-Star Review on your Etsy Shop with a long, though-out comment, or a photo of how they used your product, write them a personal thank you note, and give them an exclusive coupon code.

Around 20-30% of your customers will be second-time purchasers.  And each time they buy, they are likely to come back again.  But don't forget that coupon codes are not just the only way to keep people coming back. Other ways to gain loyal customer to make more purchases include:

  • Personal & Customized Customer Service
  • Excellent Product Quality
  • Branding, Blogging, and providing Valuable Information to your Customers

So try out the "Thank You Coupon" code for the next month, and keep track of your success in the next 30 days. After you see the results, try adjusting your discount, and expiration date length, to see if that helps convert more sales.


Have Questions About Sales & Coupons?

Write your questions in the comments below.

How To Start An Etsy Shop While Working At a Full Time Job

I think for almost all Etsy Sellers, you should expect your Etsy Shop to be a part-time, on-the-side gig. I don't see a ton of Shops on Etsy that are likely full time, unless you are living on a very modest income. 

Melinda and I work from home. We have 2 kids, age 3 months and 2 years, and we also live in California. So we can't live on Etsy income alone. My full time job is web designing for my own clients. My portfolio is - and that is where most of my income comes from. Melinda also sells other kinds of artwork like woven wall hangings, but with 2 kids at home, we can't be working all the time. So we have to go with what pays the bills. 

Melinda Wood Designs and building other Etsy Shops is a part time thing for us. We spend usually 1 hour per day, and maybe 2 hours maximum.  I think that doing the Etsy Shop part time has been helpful to not stress out too much over building the Etsy Shop, and allowing it to grow slowly over time. I would love for it to be my Full Time job, but right now it doesn't bring in enough income to pay all of our bills. So having the expectation that it is only a Part Time gig has been helpful to not expect it to be wildly successful, but only account for a portion of our income.

So for anyone with a full time job, I do think it is good to only allocate about 1-2 hours per day of working on your Etsy Shop, and set your expectations to be realistic that your Etsy Shop will not grow exponentially, but will instead grow slowly over time. That way, each day you can make a few realistic goals and push yourself just a little further each month in trying to grow more and more sales. 

I have heard of some Etsy Sellers treating their Etsy Shop has a full time project. They only have 200 Sales, and they work on it 8 hours a day. I really, really encourage no one to do this. When you are first starting an Etsy Shop, there is no way to make a full-time living on it. You need to have some sort of income coming from somewhere else that is stable. And then, over time, build your Etsy Shop a little bit each day, in hopes that maybe one day you can transition to do your Etsy Shop more and more. 

But we've been doing Melinda Wood Designs, and 2 other Etsy Shops for 3 years now. And it accounts for 30 to 40 percent of our income. So for us, there is no way we can just jump right into Full Time work on Etsy, without putting a huge financial strain on our family. So, Etsy is still a part time thing for us. We only allocate 1-2 hours per day, and one day - if it makes enough money - I'd love to switch over and just do Etsy selling. But we're not there yet. And my guess is that you are not there yet either. So I highly recommend that you set the expectation that Etsy should be a long term, slow paced thing for you that you will grow a little bit each month, more and more, and continue to learn from it. 

How Should I Deal With A Bad 1-Star Review On Etsy?

Etsy Seller Questions:
What should I do when I've tried to resolve a customer complaint, but they still seem very angry with me about their order and are unhappy even when I try to resolve their issue? 

This is something that will definitely come up with your Etsy Shop at some point. Some people are unhappy, no matter how you try help and fix their problem. Let's say you try to fix the customer's issue, and for whatever reason you can still tell the customer is irritated, annoyed, or unhappy with their order. In these rare situations, I would recommend refunding and cancelling the transaction immediately. A very angry customer is going to threaten you with a poor review. It may have nothing to even do with your product - they simply may be in a bad mood.  So I highly recommend refunding and canceling a customer's order in this situation. At the very least, the customer will be happy that they got their money back and not further try to tear down your Etsy Shop.

If the customer already left a 1-star review, and they are not interested in talking with you and resolving their complaint, then I would still refund their order and cancel the transaction. Etsy says that a Review will stay on your Etsy Shop until the transaction is fully cancelled, which typically takes over 48 hours. But even though the review will stay up for over 48 hours, the best thing you can do for your Etsy Shop is to cancel the transaction, in hopes that the 1-Star review will go away. You don't want to leave any opportunity for any Etsy Customer to ruin your overall rating because they were angry and unreasonable. Even if it costs you money to refund someone and lose out on that income, a 5-Star Rating on your Etsy Shop is far more important.

I've only had to do this maybe up to 5 times in the last year, but there are definitely times when you can tell that a Customer is ready to take revenge against you, no matter how helpful you try to be. In those situations I just don't take the risk - I cancel and refund the order, to prevent a 1-star review from staying on our Etsy Shop. I recommend doing the same thing for your own Etsy Shop. 

How Should I Set Up My Etsy Shop Sections & Categories?

Etsy Seller Question:
What is the best way to organize my Etsy Listings? Should it be by color or by style? Or what if you have the same product in multiple colors?

The most important way to figure out how to organize your Sections is by reviewing your Sales. Whenever someone buys 2 or more items together in the same bundle, that tells you that the items likely go together.  So your Shop sections could be set up in several ways, such as color, or style, or something else.

What I recommend is review all of your recent sales for the last 30 days and see what patterns you find. What we have found for our own Etsy Shop is that it tends to be a certain combination of both Color & Style. Write down every time someone makes an order of 2 or more items, and see how those items are similar to each other. Then, set up your Sections based on that data. 

The final step is to place the bestselling Sections at the Top of your List. Depending on the season and on trends, you will find that your Sections may end up changing every 2-4 weeks. So this is an ongoing process that you should keep up on continually. 

For instance, sometimes our "Mint & Coral" section does extremely well and sells hundreds of items. But right now, it hardly sells at all because we're in Fall. Other colors like Navy, Gold and Beige are somewhat popular year round, but they do change fairly frequently. 

But the most important way to sort your Sections is always by Sales, and how much money you're making, and by trying to encourage customers to order multiple items at the same time. The easier a customer can find things they like that go together, the more likely they will spend more money.

Think of it like someone going to a restaurant. Fast food restaurants make a lot more money when you order Fries & Soda along with a Burger. If you order just the Burger, they make a lot less money. But when you add on items that go along with the main entree, and you pair them together in an easy way, then customers are more likely to make a larger purchase. 

Should I Sell Physical Items & Digital Items In The Same Etsy Shop?

Etsy Seller Question:
Have you found a good way to incorporate printed art listings in with your printable listings? Is it better to have an add-on, separate listings, custom request or a different store all together? I'd like to be able to offer both options but don't want to confuse customers or make it hard to purchase.

I have seen Etsy Shops do it both ways. I've tested this out numerous times on Melinda Wood Designs, and most of the time, you are selling to 2 totally different customer profiles.  Printable Art customers want affordable, DIY options.  And Physical Art customers want to pay extra so that they don't have to do anything except wait for the item in the mail. Physical Art customers also want to have access to higher quality materials instead of figure out how to print something on their own.

My suggestion is to test it out on your Etsy Shop both ways. I have seen some successful Etsy Shops sell a very even mixture of Physical & Printable items all mixed together. Personally, I find mixing the two very confusing unless you make it really obvious from your Photos that this is a "Physical Print" and other items are "Digital Prints." 

For our own shop, mixing in Physical Prints has not worked out that well.  Instead, we have a "Print & Ship Service" listing which has been the most effective. Physical Prints only account for about 5% of our sales, so it's not a huge opportunity for us right now.  The main thing I recommend is to test out both options, and record your results, the move towards the option that seems to make the most money for you.  Every Etsy Shop is different and will have their own results after the test this out. Also, having a single "Print & Ship" option as a Section/Category or as a "Featured Item" is going to be the fastest and easiest way to get this up on your shop, instead of creating a bunch of new individual listings. At the very least, this can help you get started by just having one "Print & Ship" option.

Also, to answer your question about having a 2nd Etsy Shop, I always advise Etsy Sellers to avoid having a 2nd Shop until they are really happy with how much income they are getting out of their first Etsy Shop. If you feel like you have made a ton of money on Etsy and understand everything that goes into running a successful Etsy Shop, with thousands of Sales, then I think it's okay to think about 2 Etsy Shops at that point. But until then, I highly recommend that you focus mastering your skills on a single Etsy Shop first. Otherwise, it's going to be too difficult to figure out everything, and then apply what you have learned to multiple Etsy Shops. Most likely, that's going to be a huge time waster, and only set you back.  I think that only once your Etsy shop hits 5,000 Sales would it be an okay time to start thinking about a 2nd Etsy Shop if you really, really want to do it. 

Should I Accept Returns & Exchanges On Etsy?

An Etsy Seller Asked:

Based on your Etsy guides, I decided to change my shop policies to allow for returns, exchanges and cancellations. How often in your experience do customers ask for one? I was afraid to do this at first (previously it was "only if I'm at fault for something") because I wasn't sure if it would lead to me being taken advantage of, but that might be a baseless concern. 

We sell about 1000 listings per month, and even with our very generous return policy (which is: Free Returns & Exchanges No Matter What) we probably get 1or 2 refund requests per month. So mostly it's just a marketing tool to increase sales, because most people will not complain after they place their order. You want to eliminate the fear that if your customers are unhappy then they can't get the problem fixed. So by offering very generous return policies and exchanges, your customers will feel more free to purchase your items. Often times, even if the Customer is unhappy with their order, most people won't complain and will not ask for a refund or exchange their item. But in the event that they do, you do not want a 1-Star Review. It is better to give a refund than to get a 1-Star Review and then hurt your future sales. I'm unsure of the exact number for our Etsy Shop, but within the last 3 years, and out of 32,000 Sales, we have probably refunded at the very most 100 people.  That is a 0.3% return rate. So, as long as you sell decent products on Etsy, you should feel confident that most people will not return your items. 

This goes the same for Physical Products. We have sold thousands of products, and we have never had someone ask for a refund. The closest we came to this was that someone was unhappy with the way their item turned out, and gave us a bad review on Etsy. What I did was immediately send them a fixed item, without even talking to them. I simply shipped it in the mail with a $15 USD 1-Day Shipping option. The next day, the customer go their item, and immediately changed their review to 5 Stars. We took care of this customer, gave them a fixed item, and now we have a nearly perfect 5-Star rating for our Physical Items. So having generous Return & Exchange policies is absolutely crucial on Etsy. No one will want to come back as a repeat customer if you messed up and wont even own up to it. It's just better for your business to have a clear "Free Returns" policy.