How To Ask For Etsy Discounts Without Being A Jerk

When a handmade artist is approached by a customer with a request to give them discounts, the first reaction is usually not a positive one. However, there are ways that you MIGHT be able to get discounts on Etsy as long as you use the right approach.

So what’s the best way to get Etsy discounts?

To get discounts on Etsy, you need to use the systems that are set up already. Favoriting shops and listings will allow you to see any sales or special offers by the shop in your notifications. Signing up for the seller’s email list could give you a discount code to use. And signing up for Etsy’s marketing emails can give you information about upcoming site-wide sales and promotions.

There are also ways to contact Etsy sellers directly to ask for discounts, but this may or may not be successful, depending on the seller and the product!


Table of Contents


Favoriting Etsy shops to get sale notifications.

One way to get a constant stream of sales and discount notifications is to favorite shops and individual listings. Favoriting on Etsy will add them to your favorites in your personal profile, and will also mean that you’re sent notifications about recent sales, coupons and discounts on items that you’ve favorited. To see these, click on the bell icon to see your updates. These will include new items from shops you’ve favorited, plus notifications about sales and discounts.

Updates tab with the bell icon to see sales and new products from shops you've favorited.
Favoriting shops will let you see their new items and sales in the updates tab of your account.

This method is a long-term strategy to be notified about special offers, and is a good way to let Etsy remind you about shops that you may have purchased from but haven’t revisited lately.

In addition, you’ll be notified of new items that have been added to your favorite shops, so you might find some new products that weren’t in the shop to begin with that you like.

This isn’t an effective way to get an immediate discount on an individual item you’re considering purchasing, though. For that, you can try the following strategy.



Signing up for an email list for Etsy discount codes.

Signing up for an Etsy seller’s email list is usually the most effective way to get an immediate discount code that you can use to shop right away. Some sellers don’t have email lists, but if they do they should be mentioned in the shop announcement, the About section, or in the listing itself. Signing up for an email list will also give you a way to keep up with upcoming sales that the shop is offering.

Another advantage to signing up for a shop’s email list is that it’s pretty common for sellers to offer special sales and discounts for their email subscribers only. Many shop owners will also do email list pre-sales for new collections, or give their email list members a larger discount than they do for the general public.

I have a weekly silicone mold giveaway that’s only open to my email list subscribers, and I know other sellers who have sold out entire collections to their email list members before they released them to the public. If you weren’t on the list, you would have missed out.

Signing up for the email list is a fast and simple way to get a discount code, so it should be one of your first plans of attack when you find a shop that you want to buy from on a regular basis. Another is to sign up for Etsy’s emails, which will allow you to receive special offers from individual shops and from Etsy as a platform.



Signing up for Etsy’s emails to get discounts.

When you sign up for Etsy emails you’re given choices of which ones you want to receive. To receive special offers, make sure to sign up for the Coupons and Promotions email. For news about site-wide sales, sign up for the News from Etsy emails. With those two selected you’ll receive news about Etsy sales and shop sales as well.

Email settings to choose which emails you want to receive from Etsy.

Other types of coupons that you might receive if you’ve signed up for the Coupons and Promotions emails are Abandoned Cart and Recently Favorited items coupons. If a seller has activated these, you might get an email from Etsy with a discount code that you can use.

I’ve seen people give advice about putting things in your cart then waiting for 24 hours to get the abandoned cart coupons. The problem with this is that not all sellers have the coupons activated, so you might not ever receive one.

Another problem with the “wait for it” strategy is that Etsy may or may not send you the email.

They have limits on how often they send emails to people so that they won’t spam people, so you might never see a coupon at all.

The last problem is that the abandoned cart coupon might not be as good as the one you’ll get by just signing up for the email list.

My abandoned cart coupon is worth 10%, as is my recently favorited coupon. But if you sign up for my email list, you’ll get 20% off. And you won’t have to wait to see if you get a coupon to begin with.

Etsy also sends out coupon codes that are specific to Etsy itself occasionally, but sellers don’t pay for those. You can read about them here: Why did Etsy give my customer a discount?

The last place to check on Etsy for discounts from shops you’ve looked at before is in an often-overlooked spot in your profile.


Check the “Your Offers” section for Etsy discounts.

If you go to your personal profile, you’ll see a little price tag icon with “Your Offers” next to it. Clicking on this will bring up discounts for returning customers, so they’ll all be from shops that you’ve purchased from in the past. This feature is currently being tested by Etsy, so it may or may not be there all the time.

The "your offers" section under your personal profile.
The “Your Offers” section is found in your profile.

The drawback to these coupons is, again, that they might not be as high-value as the one for signing up for the email list.

Another issue is that not all shops will have this returning customer discount set up. I don’t have a returning customer discount code set up because I focus my best deals on my email list subscribers.


What not to do when looking for Etsy discounts.

As a general rule, Etsy sellers who make their own handmade products are not going to be very excited about being asked for discounts. Handmade items made by artisans take more time and skill to make than mass-manufactured items, and the profit margins are generally smaller.

Discounting more than the set amounts that we have planned isn’t a good thing because discounts cut into our income and can quickly drop what would be our hourly “wage” to less than minimum wage. When you add additional discounts to the fees that Etsy charges, it’s not always worth it for us to even fill an order if it’s discounted too far because we’ll be working for free.

When you buy actual handmade items, they generally take longer to make and there’s no production line to shorten that time. We can’t make up lower profits in volume unless we’re working 24 hours a day. Machines can do that, we can’t.

In my case, I make everything individually, and if it takes me 15 minutes to make one thing, it doesn’t get faster when I make 4 of them. People will sometimes ask if they can get a large discount for more than one item, but that just ends up dropping my “hourly wage.”

So if you do want to ask for a larger discount than the email list signup offers, keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t assume that handmade artist are desperate for the work and will take any offer.
  • Don’t try to barter by comparing the shop’s prices with another shop’s prices. The quality could be completely different, and there’s a reason why we have to set prices where they are.
  • Don’t get mad and insult us (yes, people do that) if we say no.
  • Remember that mass-market prices are lower for a reason. There’s so much to say about that but I’m not going to get into it now.
  • If the option to sign up for an email list discount is there, take it. The discount that you get from that will often be the best that the seller can offer.
  • You need to assume that if you’re asking for a customized item, it will be more expensive. Customizing items involves more work for the makers, and the time to make something is always factored into the cost of the item.

Kara

Kara Buntin has run a home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 46,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO.

Recent Posts