Friday, January 08, 2010

Etsy and an In-House Payment System

Every day the forums are filled with complaints about non-paying buyers.  Those potential customers who click all the way through the buying process only to not pay in the end.  This takes the item out of the seller's shop, and then they have to pursue the customer via email to have them complete the purchase.  In many cases, it's just a matter of the customer not quite understanding the payment process, some don't understand that they can use a credit card through Paypal and they don't need an account.  I imagine they click through to the paypal page and get scared and back out.  Others change their mind, some respond to the emails, others you never hear from again.

Etsians would like to see the site come up with a way for items not to be removed from a shop's available inventory until payment has been made.  From what I've discerned from the forums and some admin responses, this could be accomplished from having an 'in-house' payment system, meaning Etsy would process the the payments from the customers.  In this way they can program the system to not remove items from inventory until a payment has been made.  Theoretically, it sounds like the perfect solution.  Right?

Some of us, myself included, are a little low on customer confidence in Etsy to handle this task.  Past performance has shown us that clarity, consistency and communication are not their strong suits.  But have you thought about it beyond that point?  to what it actually means for Etsy to handle payments?  I have.

It most likely means that you won't get paid at the time of purchase, but at a designated time, such as once a month.  It also means that most likely they will take out all their fees prior to paying you.  You will likely lose the ability to cancel sales/transactions and Etsy will make the rules on whether or not you must refund the customer.  And, depending on their specific rules, they could actually refund the customer themselves before paying you if you have money in your account.  I'm fairly certain they would do everything in their power to avoid eating any costs, so conceivably they could institute some sort of percentage 'hold' on monies in each account in the case of refunds, chargebacks or sellers not delivering.

Right now, despite the non paying buyers, I think we have it pretty easy.  They really don't get involved with issues between sellers and buyers, although they do tell you to email them if you have a problem, they really can't do much about non deliveries, refunds or non payers.  Sure, they can shut the shop down, but often that just complicates matters and leaves customers hanging in the wind.  And deleting a buyer's account is pretty fruitless, because they can just make a new account and repeat the behavior.  I suppose each of us has to weigh the pros and cons and decide which is more acceptable for us.

Of course, this might give buyers a little more protection, and that's a good thing.  However, if they handle our customer's issues the way they handle our issues I don't hold out much hope for it's success.  Not that I think this feature is imminent, I don't.  I think it's way off in the future, because  basically it's beyond the scope of the current staff's capabilities to not only integrate it, but maintain it as well.  At least I hope it's way off in the future.  Please.

So what made me think about this issue if I don 't think it's something we need to worry about for quite some time?  Mostly because when I read the forums I see a lot of people with no experience piping up about things they think are so great, or bitch about things they want or don't want.  They rarely think things through, they throw out ideas and suggestions without taking into consideration the ramifications down the road, or how their idea might affect their fellow seller or their customer.  People who think they know everything, or the right way to do a certain thing when the only experience they have is a few months selling stuff on Etsy.

When you think you want something, take a minute and think it through.  Are you willing to accept all the other things that might come along with that want?  Because from my years on Etsy, you need to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.  See my next post.

1 comment:

PussDaddy said...

OMG, I don't trust Etsy with an in house payment system considering they often double charge sellers for their monthly fees. There is nothing like paying for a $200 ring or whatever twice to clear out your bank account and put it in overdraft causing you all sorts of problems. No way. Nope.