Ultimate Guide for Shopping on Etsy: Hacks You Need to Know - Savvy

Gift Cards Travel Ultimate Guide for Shopping on Etsy: Hacks You Need to Know



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Launched in June 2005, Etsy is an American e-commerce site famous for hosting a variety of sellers. The sellers hosted by Etsy include official businesses, individual sellers, and resellers as well. 

With more than 2.5 million sellers trying to sell their clothes and wares on Etsy, the e-commerce website has anything from vintage dresses to handmade Christmas wreaths. But for first-time users of Etsy, the sight can seem pretty intimidating. The website boasts up to 200 custom categories and with its slightly overwhelming user interface, we can see how navigating the site may be confusing. 

In this guide, we go over the hacks you want and need to know for shopping Etsy. Whether it's learning how to bargain with sellers or learning the ins-and-outs of Etsy, we cover them all below:

1. Know what you want.

One reason why Etsy is intimidating for first-time shoppers is because of its selection. On Etsy, you don't just have sellers pawning off thrifted items or old clothes—you have independent creators who make their own clothes and accessories. There are also individuals you can commission, from wedding invitation cards to dog bowties. Etsy can seem overwhelming, but if you know what you want from the start, it becomes an online shopping mecca worthy to explore.


2. Narrow down your search.

Once you know what you want to buy, the next step is to narrow down your search. On Etsy, you can be as specific as you need to be about the product you're searching for. Etsy also has extensive search options, allowing you to narrow down the search by color, price, shipping, whether an item is vintage or handmade, and special offers such as sales and free shipping. Whether it's a vintage romper, a fraternity sailor jacket, or a handmade cap, the range of options available to shoppers is endless.


3. Set a budget.

Especially for those who love thrift shopping, we highly suggest setting a budget for yourself. Whether you're at an actual flea market or browsing the multiple vintage sellers on Etsy, it can be easy to rack up a large number of purchases when everything being sold is going for a cheap price. By setting a budget, you can manage your shopping expenses more thoroughly without breaking the wallet.


4. Take photos with a grain of salt.

While Etsy has a section designated for businesses, and these Etsy sellers tend to have more professional photos, many sellers take photos with only their phones. The photos may not be of professional quality, but we say it's better not to be too hasty to judge from an image. A wrinkled pair of pants can always be ironed and an unflattering blouse may look gorgeous under different lighting.

Vice versa, a professionally shot photo doesn't always mean the actual product will look the same. If you ever need more photos of a specific product, we always suggest to ask the seller—most sellers are more than happy to provide photos of their products.


5. Always check reviews.

When it comes to shopping in general, it never hurts to check out reviews of products. The same goes for any product sold on Etsy. Buyer reviews tend to also post photos of the product, so potential buyers can see more photos without having to ask the seller. Sometimes if there is a vague detail about an Etsy product, reviews can shed light with more details. Reviews will also show you whether or not a product actually matches its description and how the shop owner's handles shipping. For our money-saving friends, appraising the reviews is definitely an option that must be done.


6. When in doubt, ask.

One useful aspect of Etsy is the ability to directly message store owners about their products. We always recommend shoppers to contact the shop owner if you have questions about shipping, the quality of a product, or if you would like to see more photos. Asking first before purchasing an item may save you more time and money in the long run, especially if you're on the fence for a specific item.


7. Don't hesitate to bargain.

Though Etsy doesn't seem like your typical flea market, you can actually bargain with sellers, especially folks who are thrifting. Don't hesitate to hit up sellers to potentially get lower prices. You can offer to meet them in the middle or ask to see if they would be willing to drop the price for specific items. Especially if you're buying multiple items from the shop, then it may be easier to bargain with a seller. More often than not sellers will be happy to work with you in determining a price for a specific item.


8. Double check the dimensions and material.

Do you need a picture frame to fit specific dimensions? Are you in love with a vest but can't stand polyester items? Whether you're shopping at a retail store or Etsy, it's always a good practice to check the dimensions and material of an item. If it's a commissioned item, always double-check the numbers you are sending to the seller. For clothes, especially in Etsy's case, you won't be able to feel the material so it's always best to read the product details before finalizing your purchase. After all, you don't want to buy a lovely shirt only to realize it's made out of rayon instead of the more breathable cotton.


9. Follow and favorite freely.

Have a favorite Etsy shop? Is there a specific pair of socks you like but you have to budget first? While the follow and favorite options are intuitive to any shopping website, more often than not people forget to use them. This leads to extra time wasted looking for your favorite item again or finding out an item that was available before is now sold out.

Save yourself the hassle by keeping everything in order in your Follow and Favorites. If there's a product you wanted that's sold out, you'll also be conveniently alerted when the product is back in stock.


10. Watch out for deals.

Randomly, Etsy may run discounts on its site so be sure to check Savvy's Etsy page regulary! Depending on the seller as well, the price of your favorite product can get notched down as well. While there's no exact trend as to when these deals happen, it's best to favorite that scarf you've been eyeing. That way when it goes on sale, you can purchase it for cheap and save that cash. 

11. Use treasuries

Treasuries are lists of products curated by other Etsy users. These lists tend to run a theme, and the themes can be anything from products that contain maritime naval themes to eldritch fashion. We suggest treasuries especially for individuals who are looking for specific themed items, whether you're hosting a cheese charcuterie party or want your entire room decked out in Dungeons and Dragons gear.


Everyone has a different shopping style, and everyone is looking for different things when shopping. With Etsy, you can find what you need while supporting local sellers, whether it's a hand-knit muffler or a pair of hoops. We hope that by using our guide, you're able to smart shop on Etsy!