Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Confessions of a customer (at craft shows)

This post originally appeared as a topic in the SF Etsy forums. They're just a few insights I picked up while attending craft shows last year. I added some extra stuff since the last version. So here it is, a short report from an artist hitting the craft shows (Renegade and Biz Baz), as a customer.

@Renegade: So many booths, you can immediately feel the onset of ADD!

Favorite method of payment

Square: Quick and convenient. And I get to sign with my finger (how millennial). I also got a receipt sent to my email instantly. One thing about Square is there are instances when the phone or ipad may take a wee bit longer to find a signal. You may have to deal with some uncomfortable dead time here. Like when you run out of topics while riding the elevator with someone you barely know. A great topic during the wait is "Boy, AT&T really needs to get their act together..." Other than that Square is brilliant.

Worst mode of payment

Writing down credit card numbers. This looked painful. Not just for me, but also for the artist. As a customer, I'm thinking "Wow this is taking forever." The artist is thinking "Why couldn't this numbnut bring some cash??"

The credit card imprinting machine, I believe, may still have some shelf life.

Best customer experience

When an artist says hi, followed by "Let me know if you have any questions." Then goes back to helping other customers or working on some craft. Friendly and non-intrusive. Love it.

It's absolutely fine if the art does most of the talking.

Credit card fee stress

I noticed a few artists getting stressed by the $1.50 credit card fee. One artist said he only accepted credit cards for purchases greater than $40. Most of his stuff was under 25 bucks, but it was really well designed so I asked him to go ahead and charge me extra. But honestly, most people would've just walked away. There's too much talent going around.

Isn't it easier to embrace the fee?

You might lose some money, but in return you'll probably get a customer for life, repeat sales, free referrals, free advertising (when people wear your art), and make a real human connection. That's a lot for a buck fifty!


Everyone had a form for customers to sign up for newsletters. I thought most vendors blew this opportunity. Their sign up sheet was tucked away somewhere as if asking people for their emails was a dirty practice. Nobody likes spam but I think generally we are all are ok with emails from people we like, right? If I bought something from you, it's because I'm blown away by your art. So go ahead and sign me up. In fact spend some time designing the newsletter sign up sheet.

If you are bold, ask me if I want to sign up for a newsletter when you see my email on Square! It's like a tiny window of opportunity to ask people if they'd like to get on your mailing list. Yes, please!

Monkey and the Seal @BizBaz. I get their newsletters in a very timely manner.

SF Etsy signs

I didn't see a lot of signs. Putting up a sign might be a good idea. My friends talk about shopping local. An SF sign is a great filter. Now they have to look at only 30 artists instead of 100 in the 1 hour they have.

Don't forget that we have team pins that you can wear to advertise your affiliation with the SF Etsy team! If you haven't received one yet, let one of the team leaders know.

That’s most of what I can remember. Hope this helps in some way. If you're doing a show this year, I'll be looking forward to buying your stuff!

Posted by Vinit Patil
Art from stolen office supplies

Why not share your customer experiences in the comments below?

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!

1 comment:

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and insights!

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