I used the EtsyonSale app for the first time to run my annual summer sale a couple of months ago. I find summer a great time to try out new tools and processes.
EtsyOnSale is an online tool that will change the sale prices in your shop automatically and change them back to full price after the sale. I'll admit I was nervous about giving the app access to my Etsy account, but it worked fairly smoothly for me. While the site does have a good help page explaining the process, these are tips from my own personal experience.
Why Use Etsy on Sale?
- No Coupon Codes
Coupon codes are quick to set up for last-minute discounts and work well when you want to track your traffic sources. (For example, you could set up a coupon code just for your newsletter subscribers.) However, coupon codes depend upon the customer to remember the code and type it in the right place at checkout. Depending your audience, this may or may not work well for you. I've found that the more a customer is comfortable with ordering online, the more likely he or she will be comfortable using coupon codes.
- Sale Prices As Marked
The app goes through your shop and marks the sale prices in red so it's obvious what items are on sale and for how much. (With a coupon code, the savings isn't shown to the customer until they check out.) I admit have mixed feelings about this. As a shopper, I like knowing exactly what the discounted price is, but as a shop owner, I worried that the red text made the shop look less like an artist's boutique and more like a bargain basement discount store. (Note: After I wrote this review, Etsy on Sale redesigned their website. It's a bit more sophisticated looking now.)
Interestingly, it seemed like not all my thumbnail images changed, so it might not have been obvious to customers searching Etsy that they were seeing a sale price. (See the image below. While both the notecards and gift boxes were marked down, only the gift boxes show the red sales text on the thumbnail image.)
- No Editing Individual Items
The major plus is that the software will change all the sale prices and initial photos for you. It will also change them all back after the sale. Not having to edit a hundred or more individual listings is always a plus.
- Single Sale Page
It also lists the items on the etsyonsale.com website. This makes it convenient for those who want to browse just the sale items in your shop. While you could give out the address of your special sale page, I chose to use my regular shop page to make it possible for shoppers to buy both sale and regularly-priced items at the same time.
You may also pick up some new customers from the website, but I wouldn't count on it. For comparison, during my sale period I had 3 views from etsyonsale and 38 from Pinterest. (I didn't advertise the sale on Pinterest; that was just normal traffic.) When I ran my sale, there were over 400,000 items listed on the etsyonsale.com website; I'm guessing only the most persistent shoppers wade through the listings.
- Limit Sale to Certain Categories Or Items
You can choose to run the sale on your entire shop, in a certain directory/category (like "bracelets"), or on a few select items that you name. This is very different from how most coupon codes work. For a coupon code, you can specify the amount ($5 off a $25 purchase), but you usually can't limit the coupon's use to only a few specific items.
- You need to have a Gmail account to use this app. You use your email account to log in.
- Be careful about double discounts! This didn't happen to me, but I've seen it a few times on the Etsy forums. I think it's best to choose certain directories (like "necklaces" or "sale") and have everything in that directory be on sale. You have the option to also list individual files, but it seems to me that's when shop owners run into trouble. If you list the "necklace" directory and you also list the individual file "blue necklace," then that particular "blue necklace" item will have your discount taken twice.
- In the same vein, you want to make sure that your items are all listed at regular price before you start. The software will figure out the discounted price for you and make the changes. Otherwise, you'll again have the "double discount" problem, where things that you've already marked down by hand have the additional discount taken.
- It took the app nearly an hour to change all my listings. If you're announcing the sale as starting at a certain time, make sure you factor in that extra time for changing over the listings.
- You can add new sale items while the sale is in progress. I added both sale and non-sale items and I was pleased that it only discounted the ones I added to the directory that was on sale.
- Don't edit your sale listings while they are on sale. Otherwise, you'll lose those changes when the sale is over. This includes both the text and the photos. (You can edit your non-sale listings as much as you'd like.)
- Remember to set your time zone when you set up your account. (It looks like the default time zone might be Central Time.) If you forget, you can click on the "start sale now" button. There's also a button if you need to end your sale earlier than scheduled.
- You can edit the short sales text that appears in your description or in the title. I decided to do it in the description since the title is so key for Etsy search. (Etsy does not use the description field for search, but Google does.) I added the dates of the sale to avoid any potential customer confusion about why an item wasn't on sale if that old page turned up months later.
One Last Tip ...
EtsyOnSale is a tool to help you set up and run your sale; it will not get sales for you. I read some complaints online from shop owners who put their items on sale and no one bought anything. They concluded that the tool didn't work. Well, actually, it's not the software's job to go out and find customers for you—that's your job. You still need to advertise your sale yourself in order for it to be a success.
Want to Try EtsyOnSale?
If you use my special affiliate link, you will get an extra 5 free credits to use. (Just so you know, I'll get extra credits, too.) A sale takes 4 credits to run, so by signing up through my link, you'll get 10 free credits instead of the usual 5. If you need additional credits, you can purchase 10 credits for $10. (There is a discount if you buy more than 10 credits at a time.)
Overall, I found the tool easy to use and might use it again for next year's annual sale if I'm still selling on Etsy. If you've used EtsyOnSale, I'd love to know what you thought. Do you have any tips or experiences to share?