I recently ordered a couple gifts for my sister for Sister Day. I’m a big Etsy fan, and I choose to shop there when I can. My sister knows of Etsy only because she’s been charmed by other goodies I’ve gifted from there. This summer she made her first purchase on Etsy, so she’s catching on.
I bought prints from two separate shops, both with a note to the seller that they were a gift. I planned my purchases so they would arrive when I was visiting my sis so I could be there when she opened her treats. I was excited to see her reaction to my finds; that’s part of the fun of being the gift giver.
Package #1 arrived in cute but not overdone packaging. The gift note was spot on, and we laughed and laughed when she pulled back the tissue from the print, because believe it or not, she had already bought the exact same one in her earlier purchase. At least I knew what she liked. She contacted the seller and was able to able to exchange it, no problem.
Package #2 I never saw. It arrived more than 2 weeks after I ordered it. I received an apologetic convo from the seller saying things had backed up, and she had included an extra print in the order to make up for it. A very nice gesture. She had also forgotten to include a gift note, and suggested I let my sister know that it was from me.
I’m a small business owner; I have compassion for seller of Package #2. I appreciate her communication and attempt to make things right by throwing in a second print.
But no one really wanted a second print. We wanted to share the experience of opening up the first print together. For us, that was the real value.
And that’s the tricky part: you never fully know the real value of the service or product you’re selling. You have to make a guess so you can set prices and anticipate needs, but your buyer will have her own expectations and experience with her purchase.
The woman who buys your scarf – it could be a fun treat for herself or a gift for her mom who’s going through chemo. The man who buys your ring – it could be an anniversary gift for his lady love or a birthday surprise for his growing up girl. The gal who buys your print – she could be an Etsy regular, or this could be her very first purchase and impression of buying handmade.
So what can you do?
1. Manage expectations.
Communicate how long delivery may take, what kind of quality can be expected, and other things you have control over.
2. Do your best to exceed the expectations.
And if you goof, step up like seller #2.
3. Add something personal.
A short handwritten note, fun packaging, a follow-up card, a plastic giraffe in the box. Little delights go a long way.
4. Remember that behind every purchase is a person.
They’ve ordered from you instead of big box, and instead of other handmade artists. They’re buying from you because you’re offering something special. They’re special, too.
5. Ask them about the experience of their purchase.
This can be a gold mine for testimonials, but it will also clue you in to the real value people are getting from you. Ask them for the story of why they picked what they did, what it was like to open the package, how it is used in their home or life. The coffee mug you sell is more than a coffee mug; find out about what it means to people, and how it makes them feel.
How can you make changes in your business to be more aware of the buyer’s experience?
Do you know the extraordinary value of the ordinary-ish objects you sell?