A Prepping Guide for Etsy Sellers

Prepping Guide for Etsy SellersA Prepping Guide for Etsy Sellers or, not putting all of your eggs in one basket

Our little Etsy Shop was chugging along

We have been very happy Etsy sellers since 2014. A few minor bumps in the road but all in all a very good 7 years or so, growing sales and learning to deal with the changes in the Etsy selling platform. We have become accustomed to selling on Etsy. To help others we prepared this prepping guide.

As in most of the serious Etsy selling community, we tried to exceed customer expectations and maintain a five star rating. This was goal number one and all of our actions from providing accurate descriptions, offering fair pricing, using safe packaging and always shipping fast helped to keep us there.
That is until recently, when we ran into some problems that we had little control over.

The problems started with Shop edits

We needed to go in and change some settings in the shop. They should have been relatively minor changes but something strange happened when we got some errors. The errors continued to compound and our shop was basically shut down for two weeks. We could take orders but they could not be fulfilled and they could not be cancelled.

After a harrowing half a month working with Etsy Support, endless tickets and calls we finally solved one problem only to run into another even more serious problem. I will spare you all of the gory details but our shop was essentially shut down. A technical bug in the Etsy Shops payment processing algorithm stopped us dead in our tracks, no payments would clear, we could not cancel a sale and we were powerless to do anything other than reach out to those customers that placed orders and keep calling Etsy Support.

Panic sets in

Panic sets inSo we started to get very anxious. We started to read other stories of shops getting closed, shops getting poor ratings from late sales and all the other bad stuff one finds on line about this kind of stuff. It was not cool feeling so helpless, unable to solve our problems quickly.

We then did the thing that many do we began to panic. We started making explorations into Etsy alternatives. We thought that while we waited for Etsy to fix their bug that we could magically re-host our shop on another platform. This of course is the worst time to plan an exit. Especially when you should be focusing on getting the issues resolved and communicating with your customers.

The moral of the story

The moral of the storyIf you are going to be a proper business person you need to take the time to plan for issues that are out of your control. When using a selling platform that you do not have a great deal of control over you have to have a well developed contingency plan. You need to have such a plan ready, tested and documented before you encounter the emergency (that you will almost never anticipate).

Every day we read about shops that have been closed for a variety of reasons. Some the sellers fault and some (like ours) from a bug in the shops technology stack. Here is a quick check list to help you structure your backup/recovery plan.

A ten step prepping guide to help recover quickly

1. Know how to contact support. From tickets to phone contact methods. Don’t wait till you need it to understand this!
2. Understand what credentials you will need to contact support. This is really important because you will need a combination of your email, the physical address of the shop, your payment methods and access to other key pieces of information you used to set up your shop. Document them and put them in a safe place.
3. Know how to document your problem effectively and accurately. Most ticketing systems are limited to a certain number of words. Know how to get to the point and provide important facts. Don’t ramble, don’t exaggerate and be truthful.
4. Gain a full understanding of how the support system works with the platform you are selling on. This includes hours of operation, ticket service levels, escalation procedures, and learn to read the documentation.
5. Understand how to backup your listings
6. Keep a document of all of your settings (like Tax-ID, Shipping accounts, Bank Accounts, Payment methods and all of the details) you would need to either reopen the shop or migrate the shop. Put it in a safe place.
7. Understand how to dump all of your reports and listings. They are documented in Etsy but they are not very clear. You will need to understand not only the way to export them but also understand what format they will be produced in and how you can import them into a usable format.
8. Make a step by step list of actions to take should your shop need to be moved. Put it in a safe place.
9. Make a list of alternative selling platforms that you might migrate to if it becomes necessary.
10. Make sure that you have a backup method of accessing your shop if your computer dies.

Making this list will be very helpful in preparing you for extended downtime with your shop. It will also help you to start thinking about how to move to another platform. We came right to the edge of leaving Etsy but were saved by escalating the problem with some persistence but it easily could have gone badly. We were not prepared to re-platform in the “heat of the downtime”. Making your own prepping guide plan will help you to manage the anxiety and hopefully solve your problems quickly.

We will cover re-platforming in a future post. Thanks for taking a look. You can find our Etsy Shop here

Reducing Carbon Footprint for Hyperantique

The carbon footprint problem with selling on line

Facing facts, our Etsy shop Hyperantique is a recycling company. This is because we only sell used vintage items. These items have for the most part already “spent” their carbon decades ago. That puts us at an advantage over shops that make or sell new items but we also know that packing and delivering our products should be considered in the carbon equation. We wanted to take steps to lessen the impact of our packaging and shipping activities so that we might make a small difference.

The Simple Facts About Selling On-line

We figured that most of our footprint was in the cardboard, packing supplies and the transportation to get these supplies to us. To help fix that  we decided that planting trees would be a good way to offset our impact. We also looked at the transportation and shipping of our products to the customer as our second most intense carbon creating activity.

To offset shipping we decided to align with a charity that promotes renewable energy. We liked the idea of taking action to offset our carbon footprint so much that we wanted to share it with you.

The Hyperantique carbon offset journey

After about a week of searching for a way to donate to a charity that would offset our carbon footprint we found doing it directly through Etsy a difficult task. We learned that it would be much easier to just set up a special account and put aside monies from each sale. We could then donate once or twice a year or when the monies were more significant.

The reasons for this decision were twofold: Etsy (for good reason) is very particular about how you advertise your charitable donations. They want you to follow an Etsy process. Also, most charities that we found had a high bar set for setting up a corporate donation program. Many have a difficult signup process. We also found that many set minimum giving goal levels for corporations. We decided that we are way too small to deal with all of that so we decided to do it a bit more covertly and simply.

A Step by Step Process

Here is a step by step review of what we are doing at Hyperantique to help offset our carbon footprint:

We talked about the types of charities that we wanted to support. It was a short discussion but we wanted to make sure that the charities that we chose were in line with the goals that we set.

We set these three high level Goals:

  • To offset our carbon footprint for packaging and shipping.
  • Align Hyperantique with a charity (or charities) that had the lowest overhead to ensure maximum impact for our small donations.
  • Find a non political group that just has a simple goal.
  • Have some fun doing it.

Plant TreesWe made a broad category list of the types of charities that were designed to enhance or preserve the environment. We liked a charity that just plants trees. We wanted to keep it really simple so we sought out a group that works with the Arbor Day Foundation.

We also liked a charity that sought to invest in the promotion of renewable energy. Again, keeping it simple and staying away from overtly political groups was important to us.

We then researched charities that were in the categories we listed. We used Charity Navigator to sort out the most efficient charities. We only wanted to deal with the highest rated charities that delivered the most of the proceeds to the selected charity purpose.

We considered modifying the terms in our Etsy shop to make mention that we donate a certain dollar amount per sale along with a list of charities that deal with improving or preserving the environment. That thought was rejected for a umber of reasons. Mostly because Etsy has rather strict policies on mentioning donation activities. They require that you obtain explicit written permission from the charities in order to mention them in your shop. When we tried to obtain permission we ran into a very high “cost of entry” in process. Most charities also require a corporate agreement that usually comes with a pre-defined level of giving so we passed on that. We also considered that you might offend as many people as you attract simply by mentioning your charitable activities. Another good reason to not describe our plans in the shop.

So you can see for yourself here is a link to Etsy’s donation policies here. While they are not too complex the devil is in the details. Getting written permission to list the entity is a lot harder than you might think. Most of the really effective charities we looked at appeared to want to streamline their interaction with donators. We understand why but still, kind of disappointing.

Keeping it Really Simple

So, we now set aside a small amount of each sale in a special account so that once it hits a certain level we make a donation. We go back and forth between a hard dollar amount and a percentage of the sales lining price. We will fine tune that part of it as we go.

The main reason we chose to take the charitable donations off line is that most charities set thresholds for donations from companies and we did not think we could easily meet those thresholds.  It did not make sense for us to make transaction based donation but knew that donating perhaps quarterly would be much easier to manage.

Thanks for reading this and you can visit our shop at This location. Thanks for reading!

Hyperantiques best practices for good reviews

Hyperantiques best practices and Etsy shopping for vintage items

Customer Satisfaction Hyperantique best practicesHigh levels of customer satisfaction and great customer reviews are very important to our Etsy business. We will try to describe our Hyperantiques best practices in the following post. We will also try to describe our items as best as humanly possible and if we run into issues prior to shipping we usually cancel and refund the order before it turns into a problem. We sell honestly by describing our vintage products as best and we possibly can – in text and in photos. We also try to ship as fast as humanly possible.

Shipping challenges in the COVID era and maintaining Hyperantiques best practices

COVID has created some challenges in the area of shipping. Prior to COVID we used to try to get the package packed and shipped the same day as the order was received. That practice has been deferred as we do not go into our local post office for any reason while COVID rages in our community. The US Postal service has made it possible for us to not go to the post office by facilitating pickups at our shop. This however has led to challenges in timing as we cannot request a pickup for the same day but must wait for the regularly scheduled delivery person to pick up. This usually adds a day to the shipping process.

So, if an order is received on Sunday through Friday we try to pack it and schedule a pickup for the next day. For example an order received on Sunday is packed on Sunday and scheduled for pickup on Monday. The same process is followed for each day except for orders received on Saturday. These orders need to wait until Monday for a pickup. We have altered our shipping policies to reflect the changes in effect during this COVID pandemic.

USPS scheduled pickups

Other strange anomalies in the process of scheduling pickups with the USPS is that it is difficult to modify the quantity of items scheduled for pickup. We have not figured out the precise process and how it works but we have found that if we have scheduled items for pickup and we receive another order before the pickup is to be made, the new item cannot be added to the list of items and it has to be scheduled for a future date. We kind of understand why this is but for small shippers like us we only try to add one or two items to the list. It is just not dependably consistent so we apply the next day rule to orders received after a pickup haven scheduled.

Other things that influence our shipping positively is that our local post office is staffed by some pretty amazing people. For the most part they really try to make our shipping a pleasant and dependable experience for us and our customers. We rarely have seen any issues with our local team. The bigger postal ecosystem is a bit more unpredictable.

Most if not all of the issue that we have experiences have been with orders that ship to densely populated cities or to homes that have ambiguous addresses. For the tricky addresses we either use the address provided by the Etsy shipping portal or if that does not work we contact the USPS to validate the address. If all of these methods fail, we will reach out to the customer to seek more information. We never ship to an ambiguous address.

We do not ship to nefarious re-shipping addresses. We will only ship to a verified business address or to a verified residential address. As we do not ship overseas we avoid these re-shippers like the plague. Unfortunately our vintage Chanel jewelry and garments seem to attract a lot of activity to these re-shippers. Our assumption is that people are seeing the stock from afar and using a re-shipper to get the goods delivered to them. Just avoid them where possible. Googling these re-shipper addresses can help you weed them out. Many complaints are shown for the ones that have seen trouble in the past.

We decided early on to not sell outside of the US. This decision was based on the high number of problems we had in a former iteration of on-line selling through eBay. The terrible stories we have been hearing about items being delayed for weeks even if just going to France has kept us from entering that market. Perhaps in a post-COVID time we will reconsider that decision.

Another practice that we found very useful in high value items is obviously to add insurance to the item. We insure all packages over a certain value. We also insist on a signature with USPS priority shipping for any item over $300. We also try to price our items in a way that we share in the added costs for insurance and required signatures. So far it has been an excellent deterrent to loss of packages (knock on wood).

Things Hyperantique does to help ensure a high quality customer experience

A few odds and ends that make our process better (in our opinion):

  • We try to use new boxes where possible. We will use recycled boxes but only for items that are larger or unusually shaped. Some smaller items will ship in lightly used boxes but we have tried to stop that practice wherever possible. We try to avoid “frankenboxes” as they detract from the positive experience of receiving an item from our shop.
  • We add branding to the package. A sticker or an ink stamped message is all we have right now but we do plan to have boxes imprinted in the future. We like to build a bit of excitement when the package arrives.
  • We add a hand written note to each order. A thank you note mostly but if we find that upgrading the delivery method is fitting for the item we note that as well.
  • We always upgrade shipping if there is left over money to cover the upgrade. Sometimes we even upgrade if the money is a tad short. We feel that getting the item to the customer as fast as possible is our best curse of action.
  • Package like it was the Mona Lisa. We never want to see an item arrive damaged so we “over pack”. Nothing more frustrating than seeing a one of a kind vintage item get broken on the way to a customer. We take packing seriously.

Here is a link to our shop to review Hyperantiques best practices Our humble shop – Hyperantique

Automated Mailing from Hyperantique

We have recently configured the MailChimp product to produce automated mailings. It is currently configured to mail you a summary of our posts with a link back to read the post on the website. This will happen automatically at 4:00 AM Eastern Time by the MailChimp server. This will only happen when we add a new post to the website.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails you can unsubscribe or drop us a note to let us know what you would like to hear about. We will never share your email knowingly to anyone. Our intentions are to inform you and perhaps sell a few items from our highly rated Etsy Shop . We will try our best to create informative content and not spam you with crappy ads.

Either way, please do not to hesitate to drop us a note here and let us know how we are doing. We would also love to hear what kind of topics are most interesting to you. This post is for informational purposes only and does not represent the bulk of our content.

If you prefer to read the other blog posts on hyperantique you can click here.

Taking Gutenberg editor for a spin

His first name was Johann and he was a German inventor. He was born about 1398 and reportedly died in 1468. His name was changed at some time as he was actually born as Johann Gensfeisch our Laden in Mainz Germany, the same area our ancestors came from. We like Gutenberg!

This is what Gutenberg was supposed to look like. Kind of funny looking by todays standards if you ask me. Well maybe not too different looking than today no?

WordPress has taken the namesake of Johann Gutenberg, shortened it to just “Gutenberg” and placed it on their new block editor for the WordPress content management system.

First we installed the Classic text editor

Initially we did not want to look at the Gutenberg Editor. So many people were saying it was a bad move on WordPresses part to put the new editor into core so we installed the Classic Text Editor Plugin.

The Classic Editor allowed us to continue using the method of post writing that we were used to. We avoided the Gutenberg plugin and the Gutenberg Editor for a number of revisions. We even looked at installing the Elementor Page Builder plugin to help us avoid coding and just publish.

We love the Elementor Page builder but we did not wish to purchase the professional version nor did we really want to learn a new method for page building. We started to think that we could spend the time fighting Gutenberg or just start using it. We checked to make certain that our WordPress Theme was compatible.

Our First Gutenberg Post

This is our first actual Gutenberg post. It took a pretty long time to build as we had to read a number of instructional blog articles to get our bearings. First we had to change a setting in the Classic Editor to allow users to switch between editors. See the circled text for what settings need to be changed to allow Block editing. You can also address the editor selection in the WordPress user area.

WP Editor Choice

We will be looking at SEO statistics for the post

With sales in our Etsy Shop a bit off, we are focusing on the web site. We plan to use the Gutenberg editor for all future posts from now forward. This post was written using Desktop Server on our iMac. We took it by cutting and pasting from the desktop server instance to the server were we host our site.

Our Google Analytics page has been copied to set a bench mark for the performance of this post over posts written in the Classic Editor. We will also monitor the Google tags in our Etsy shop for any deviation in performance. We will follow up with a post detailing our results.

eRank and Etsy SEO – Boosting Etsy Sales with SEO

Etsy Seo Improvements with eRank (that you can do today)

We have seen a tremendous drop in visits to our Etsy shop since we were taken off of Google Shopping . Etsy decided to insource the Google shopping ads a few weeks ago. Learning this we shut off ads in the Etsy provided marketing drop down menu in Etsy Shop manager. We started our search in Google for eRank and Etsy SEO.

We decided that we needed to try eRank in our little Etsy Shop which you can find here Hyperantique. Our statistics have been getting hammered into the wrong direction. The  attached  graphic  showing  the  weekly  trend of  users  looks  like  a  ski  slope  in  the  wrong  direction.

eRank and Etsy SEO






eRank to the Etsy SEO rescue (we hope)

eRank is one of the tools that are touted for their ability to assist you in fashioning SEO worthy Etsy listings. When we tried to register with eRank, we noticed that we had already registered for the product but we had not stored the password. We had to reset our passwords and refresh our listings. That said, you will not benefit from eRank unless you are actively using it. You must go in and audit your listings on a regular basis with a refresh to bring in new listings since your last visit to eRank.

We are not experts with the eRank product so we are using the free version which you can find here is eRank . So far we have re-loaded all of our listings and we are using eRank to examine each of the listings for good structure and then we will monitor the traffic. Fun is!

Our session traffic appears to be flattening out as well. This was happening before we installed eRank. We will continue to monitor the traffic and session data using our Google Analytics page. Follow the instructions and you will be able to track you traffic outside of Etsy too. Here is the link to the Etsy article that will guide your install of Google Analytics – for Etsy  

Session Status before leveraging eRank

The Etsy Sessions trend is pretty dismal. While the trend is ok (wider base) the drop is coming unless we do something to enhance our SEO rankings inside of Etsy and outside of Etsy (from our website, Pinterest account and Google Search).



Our eRank starting point

We ran a refresh and eRank pulled in our 145 plus listings and presented us with a report card. eRank  allows  us  to  drill  down  on  every  listing.  We  are then presented with a list of deficits in each of our listings.

By drilling down on each item we were able to see that our biggest issues were with keywords. Second we never have enough pictures. We also noticed that the photos we put up were not all optimized for the majority of listings.

eRank is allowingeRank Screen Shot us to focus on the mechanics of our listings. It will ensure that we are alerted to the missing information as well as spelling errors and a number of other quick fixes. We will check back in a few weeks to see if the numbers change dramatically.

We hope that you will visit our Etsy Shop to follow our progress. We will be updating this article with our findings in less than a month. See you on the internet!