Yesterday we talked about buying and selling on Facebook. Today we’ll cover buying and selling on Etsy. It was originally, and mainly still is, a platform for selling hand-made and vintage goods. Originally you had to be the maker of non-vintage items you sold, but they have loosened this requirement. Even so, the vast majority of items on Etsy are made by the shopowners or their companies.
Etsy sells items within stores. The “store” name, which could be a person selling a few items, is under the item’s title. It is clickable and will take you to the storefront. There you see categories of items and all items for sale in the store. As a buyer I think Etsy has a split personality. It’s search functions are primative, so when you search you’ll get tons of results, more than you might want. You can narrow the search by adding more terms but you can’t exclude words and the options to refine searches are also limited. This all makes plain old searching a pain on Etsy, as many of you have noted.
There are a few ways to make this easier. The first way is to remember the shop’s name, either by making it a favorite or using a direct link to it. You can also do searches on shop names. You can also mark items as favorites and go into your listing of them to find them again.
You can mark items as favorites from the item detail page or from the thumbnails page. To mark from thumbnails, just hover over the upper right corner of a picture. When the heart appears, click on it.
One of the best tools on Etsy doesn’t advertise itself. This is the list tool which appears right next to the favorite button for the item on the right side. You can create lists for anything. Once a list is created when you click on the list icon, you pick the list where you want the item to be and then click the button to add. These lists are also saved in your area and can be accessed.
Even if you no longer want the item, the list takes you to that detail page and from there you can get to the shop’s home page.
Clicking on the heart/favorites button in the upper right gets you to a very useful summary page. At the top are two areas, items Etsy has picked for you and news from your favorite shops. Below that are your lists. One of these, “Items I Love,” is actually your list of favorites. The other lists you have created come after this. This is the default view, of items.
If you want to see your favorite shops instead, click on “shops” right after the headline “Your Favorites.” This will show your favorite shops as a list with pictures of 4 items and the total number of items available in the store.
Using these pages and lists to navigate will help you find items from places you have already been and items you have already seen. Unhappily if you want to find something new you’ll have to rely on the search functions. When I search I often start with a broad term and the narrow it down, by adding words to the search. It’s good to have several ideas for words and phrases that will get you what you want; they each may give different results. Because these kinds of Etsy searches take awhie I save them for quieter times.
You do not need to join Etsy to browse, only to buy and sell. If you have a Google ID or are on Facebook you can use those to join.