Can You Send Coupon Codes To People On Etsy?

The Etsy convo system makes it easy to communicate with customers and people who are registered with a username on Etsy, so a lot of sellers think that it’s okay to contact people randomly…But is it, really?

Using the Etsy convo system to send unsolicited advertising or promotions to other Etsy users is against the Terms Of Use on the Etsy platform. This includes sending coupon codes to people who have favorited your listings or your shop. These types of messages are considered to be spam and are prohibited by Etsy.

This is detailed in the Etsy Terms of Use for sellersOpens in a new tab., and it makes it clear that you’re not supposed to send coupon codes to people without them requesting one. But let’s get into the “why” of this, and also talk about all of the questions about when it IS okay to send someone a discount.

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Unsolicited coupons policy.
Unsolicited coupons are a hard no.

Why can’t I send coupons to people on Etsy?

Unsolicited offers that are sent to people on Etsy, or anywhere, are considered to be spam, and could be violating local laws around customer privacy and marketing communication. Unless the Etsy user who you’re sending the message to has explicitly opted in to receive marketing messages from you, you’re not legally allowed to send unsolicited discount codes to them.

So it’s basically a combination of spam laws and the Etsy Terms of Use (TOU) that we agree to follow when we voluntarily sign up to use Etsy as a selling platform.

If someone favorites your listings or your shop, they’re not opting in to receive marketing emails and messages from you.

If you send messages or discount codes to people you’re violating the Etsy TOU, and it can result in Etsy shutting your shop.

It can also annoy people when they receive a bunch of messages that they didn’t ask for, especially if that other person is an Etsy seller who’s the victim of the Star Seller program that requires them to respond to messages.

If you send a message to another seller, there’s a good chance that they’ll mark it as spam because of the Star Seller program, and there’s also a good chance that your messaging privileges on Etsy will be blocked.

Too many spam messages means that Etsy could just tell you that you can’t use the message system anymore, and that will make it difficult to answer questions from customers. So don’t risk it.

When is it okay to send a coupon to a customer on Etsy?

If a customer writes to you to ask for a coupon code, you are allowed to respond and send them one. That’s a solicited discount, so you’re sending it to someone who has asked for a promo code. You can also put a returning customer discount code in the message to the buyer that goes out automatically when they place an order.

The message to buyers is a transactional message, since it’s directly related to a purchase being made. Under spam laws, you can communicate with customers about their orders without being considered spam, but the main part of the communication has to be about the order, not about other marketing offers.

Where the message to buyers is located.

To set up the automated message that will go out with every order, go to the Settings tab in your shop dashboard, then choose Info and Appearance.

Scroll down and find the box where you can enter a message that will be printed on receipts and that will be sent to customers when the order confirmation is emailed to them.

This is a transactional email, so you can add a discount code as long as it isn’t the primary purpose of the message.

If you set this up, there’s no reason to send additional emails or messages to customers unless you have specific questions about their orders, and it will stay within the guidelines that Etsy follows for transactional emails.

You can also put any type of printed promotional material that you like into a package that you ship to a customer. This includes business cards, coupon codes, and other marketing materials.

For an article about what you should do when someone favorites your Etsy listing, click here.

Should you contact the customer after a sale on Etsy?

As a general rule, it’s best to not contact the Etsy customer after a sale unless you have a specific question about their order. Because Etsy sends out an order confirmation, a shipping notification, and a delivery update, plus multiple requests for reviews through email and on the Etsy platform itself, customers already receive a lot of messages about a single order.

Now I know that people are already reading that and protesting that they send their customers thank you notes, updates on their orders, another thank you for reviews, etc. etc., and that their customers LOVE it.

Well, recent surveys have shown that while people say that they want to hear from brands via email, they also get tired of too much. And the point where it’s “Too Much” is debatable.

I guarantee you that for every customer who loves it, there are ten who are cursing while they delete a bunch of unnecessary messages without reading them.

My opinion is that if you want to communicate with your customer after a sale on Etsy, you should fill out the message to buyer that I mentioned above, then put a note or other information in the package itself.

Don’t clog up their inbox or their message feed with unnecessary notifications, and anything that you send them that duplicates what Etsy sends them is unnecessary.

One example of this is the uptick in low reviews where the customer has taken the time to actually write things like “I don’t like leaving reviews,” and “Stop telling me to review this ETSY.”

These were two actual messages that I saw people post on low reviews they’d received, and it’s clear that they were posted because Etsy harasses people by sending them so many messages about reviewing things!

Don’t add to that, just put a note in the package itself, and let the automated message that goes out be your one transactional message.

How can I legally send coupons to Etsy customers?

To send coupon codes to customers in a way that complies with Etsy’s TOU and spam laws, you can offer an email signup that includes a discount code as a bonus for signing up. The language of the signup should be clear that the customer is opting in to receiving emails, and that they’ll get a discount code as a bonus.

Check with local laws about email communication to make sure that you’re wording your signup offer correctly, but an email list that people choose to sign up for is generally the best way to send promo codes and marketing offers to customers.

When people have opted in to a list, they’ve given consent to receive non-transactional emails from you, and it’s separate from the Etsy platform.

So set up an email list, don’t spam people, and save the coupons for people who ask for them. It will prevent problems that could arise from Etsy’s TOU as well as spam laws!

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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