Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

20 Questions Your Buyers are Asking — and Your Listings Should Answer

Ask yourself these questions when writing your listing descriptions.

By Etsy Staff Aug 15, 2019
Photo by NerdGoddess

Etsy is full of amazing and beautiful things. It would be a shame if your beautiful work didn’t sell because your description of the item left your customers scratching their heads.

This is a list to jump start your thinking when you write your next item description. Remember that your customer cannot see the item in person. Don’t assume that the qualities of your item are obvious to your customer or that your photos say it all. You might even consider describing your item as if you had no pictures for your customer to look at. Really make them feel like they are right there with your item.

Some questions may not be relevant for all items or sellers. This list is just to get you thinking about some of the things your customer might want to know about your fabulous work.

  1. What is it? It may be totally obvious to you what the item is, but it might not be obvious to your customer.
  2. What color is it? The color on your computer monitor may not be the same as mine.
  3. How big is it? As a buyer I don’t want to guess if that painting will fit over my fireplace or if those earrings are going to hang past my shoulders.
  4. What is it made from? What materials and techniques are used?
  5. How do I care for it? Can I wash and dry that wool sweater?
  6. Who should buy it? or Who should NOT buy it? Is it appropriate for pregnant women? Children? Pets?
  7. What is it used for? Is it decorative? Does it have a function? Both?
  8. What does it feel like? Is that scarf soft to the touch? What’s the texture like? Is that necklace very heavy?
  9. How does it work? Does it slip over my head? Is there a clasp? Do I tie it around my waist?
  10. Why is this one better than the one in the next shop? What special skills, materials, or ideas do you use that make your item the best?
  11. Do I get everything in the picture? I see 12 items in your picture, do I get them all? Only one? Does that lovely bauble in the background come with it or is it just for display?
  12. Will it fit me? When I shop in a brick and mortar shop I might try on 12 things and find only one that fits well. I am taking a BIG chance on buying clothes online. Please make it easier for me by offering extensive measurement and sizing information. Don’t assume that your customer will know what you mean by “small” or “large.”
  13. What if it doesn’t fit? Am I stuck with it? Will you exchange it? Who pays to ship it back?
  14. Is it ready to use? Is that painting ready to hang? Do I need to frame it first?
  15. How does it arrive? Is it gift wrapped? Is it ready to ship or is it made to order?
  16. Will I get the EXACT item in the photo? Is it a stock photo or do I get the exact item?
  17. Is it gonna stink? Does that vintage item have a funky, musty odor? Does the seller smoke while he creates that item?
  18. How do I know it’s “vintage”? What kind of research did you do to determine how old that item is? Is it marked? Is there a date on it? Are you experienced with vintage and antique items?
  19. What do those fancy terms mean? Don’t take for granted that your customer knows what a cabochon is or what giclee or gocco means.
  20. Can I live without this item? Chances are your customer can easily live without your items. It’s your job to sell it to them. Let them know why owning this item is so wonderful. Are they going to feel like a princess with that lovely bracelet? Is that platter not only functional, but makes a wonderful work of art? Is that item the perfect gift for hard-to-buy-for people? Does the item evoke certain emotions? Tell us what’s so great about it!


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