A few months ago, Etsy held an event “Etsy Made in Canada”. Held at multiple cities across the country, it was essentially a one day pop-up shop for Etsy stores across Canada. As avid online shoppers and frequent Etsy visitors, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit some of our favourite Etsy shops in person. Living in the Niagara Region, we naturally went to the Niagara Falls event and were thrilled with the fantastic turnout and the great selection of products to choose from. When walking around and checking out the different vendors however, we couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.

One of the reasons we shop from Etsy is because we love supporting other small businesses, and we enjoy hearing the shop owner’s story – which is what was missing from the Made in Canada event. The event was busy, so while one had the opportunity to meet the shop owner and to touch and feel their products, there wasn’t an opportunity to learn about their shop and hear their story.  While the event was undoubtedly a huge success, without knowing the shop’s story there was a major disconnect between the online and in-person Etsy.  In a perfect world, the shop owners would have had signage showing their story and/or a beautiful, professionally printed handout that reflects their shop’s aesthetic and says more about who they are.

Working in the ecommerce field, this was a bizarre experience for us since this type of disconnect usually happens the other way around. Companies often miss out on key branding and features in the online experience – mostly due to the fact that the customer is viewing the product on a screen. From testing out couches for comfort to trying on shoes to find the proper size, ecommerce usually draws the short straw. Creativity and transparency will help you overcome these obstacles, and we recommend always being on the lookout for new ways to make customers choose to purchase from you.

A great tip OpenCart shop owners can take from Etsy is to incorporate their story into their about us page. A surprising amount of stores leave this section blank, but this is the place you can really connect with your customers on a human level. Tell the story of your company’s beginnings, your passion for customer service, and the efforts you make to ensure product quality.  Whatever you choose to write about, make sure to share your story – it makes more of an impact on a customer and improves their experience more than you may think.