Oh wow! One of my patterns just sold from my Etsy shop! Hooray!
Except I’m at the playground with three kids and no laptop and after this we’re going to piano lessons and then a playdate. We won’t be home for at least three hours and when we do get home I have to cook dinner and monitor homework and get everyone bathed.
And now another sale! A customer just bought three patterns!
But my stress level is increasing. When will I be able to sit down at my computer?
If you sell digital products on Etsy I’ll bet you know this feeling well. Etsy doesn’t offer automated digital file delivery and that means if you sell digital goods you are delivering them to customers manually via email and this takes time.
Did you know, though, that Etsy allows third party developers to create programs that interface with Etsy to provide services that Etsy itself doesn’t offer? Clever developers have come up with some pretty great products to meet the needs of Etsy sellers and one of these developers, Chris Marinic, has tackled digital file delivery with his service, CraftHub. Launched in August of 2012, CraftHub is an automated file delivery service for Etsy sellers and currently has 1,000 Etsy sellers using its service.
CraftHub’s clients sell digital materials of all kinds including scrapbooking pages, PDF patterns for knitting, crochet, embroidery, and sewing, pre-designed Etsy banners, social media widgets, ebooks, and more. My bet is that when Etsy launched in 2006 the founders couldn’t have imagined the scope of digital products its sellers would list in their shops. But here we are, in 2013, and many of us spend significant portions of our day, every day, emailing files to customers.
Chris originally designed CraftHub for his wife, Paula, to automate the delivery of the digital clipart she designs and sells through her Etsy shop, Fancy Dog Studio. Once word got out that Paula was delivering her files automatically, and instantly, to her customers, other Etsy sellers wanted the same service. And thus CraftHub was born.
I talked recently with a few Etsy sellers who currently use CraftHub in order to get a better picture of the service from a shop owner’s perspective.
Cupcake Favor Box printable kit by Claudine Hellmuth.
Claudine Hellmuth has been using CraftHub since September of 2012. Claudine is an artist and illustrator and she sells printable kits for making paper dolls and favor boxes in her Etsy shop. Claudine told me,
“I love everything about CraftHub. I can be out of town or asleep and I know it’s filling orders for me! It’s so easy and they have such nice tech support thanks to experts from a local service as good as this Managed IT Support Denver service. It’s so worth the money each month and the prices are very reasonable!”
In fact, Claudine was at the Craft and Hobby Association trade show when we talked, but her Etsy shop was operating on auto-pilot. Pretty great if you ask me.
Monkey, a sewing pattern by Elf Pop.
Raynor Gellatly, a Scottish plush pattern designer with her own business, Elf Pop, is a new CraftHub user. Raynor signed up for the service just a month ago. I asked how it’s going so far:
“There are quite a few benefits, mainly the quick delivery, although it’s a shame to lose that personal touch you can add to a manually sent email. I worry about that.”
I appreciated Raynor’s concern and I wanted to find out more about how CraftHub works so I got in touch with Chris and was very happy that he agreed to speak with me.
In this interview we talk about:
- How customizable the emails sent to customers really are
- File security
- Why Etsy itself doesn’t offer digital delivery
- How CraftHub really works
- Tracking your files via CraftHub (allowing you to see if a customer has opened the document, how many times they’ve downloaded it, and whether they’ve forwarded it to their friends)
I hope you enjoy my 24 minute talk with Chris and if you have a comment or question about CraftHub, or about anything else we mention in the interview, please comment below and either Chris or I will reply. Thank you!
It’s great that someone made a tool for instant digi downloads on etsy – as a customer of digital products, I am used to being able to download instantly from non-etsy shops, and I’m guessing that most other customers are also used to that convenience. The lack of instant downloads is one reason I rarely buy digital products on etsy – glad to know it is changing.
Raynor Gellatly says
Thank you for my shop feature and for this interview Abby. I’ve so far had a very positive experience with Craft Hub and so glad this service is available particularly as I sell from a different time zone to the majority of etsy buyers. Some fantastic points were made during the interview regarding which hadn’t crossed my mind. Also thank you for clearing up the questions I had, Chris if your reading this would it be possible to add a name place holder onto the customised email body?
I’m really looking forward to the integration of ‘offers’ within the service and so glad Chris said he had this in the pipeline.
Thank you for sharing your perspective as a buyer of digital products. Knowing that an item will download instantly and you can get started with the project right away is one of the biggest advantages of buying something digitally (like an digital book, for example). Instant download is certainly terrific customer service.
Chris Marinic says
It’s something we’re considering. It’s not data we currently capture about the buyer so it would take some work.
After we roll out the current list of updates we’ll compile a new list of features to be worked on.
Thanks for subscribing!
Interesting interview, I created an Etsy service too, so it’s very helpful listen to other developer that are doing the same.
Have a nice day!
That's great, Nicoletta. Creative developers can only make Etsy better, for both buyers and sellers.
claudine hellmuth says
hi Abby! thanks for the mention in your article! I love crafthub it really was the reason I decided to go with Etsy for my digital files. before I discovered crafthub I was thinking about using ejunkie and setting up my own web shop. but usng craftnub combined with etsy is so much easier!
That's interesting, Claudine. For you, CraftHub was the clincher in your decision to sell on Etsy versus another ecommerce platform. I think that speaks volumes on the value of automatic digital file delivery for creative business owners! Thank you for helping me with this post. I really appreciate it!
claudine hellmuth says
Abby – it really was! I thought, ok now I can do this automatically on Etsy and not have to build out my own shop. done deal!
claudine hellmuth says
Raynor – what I do to bring that customer service back into it, is I convo the buyer a personal thank you message after the file is delivered. That adds back into my manual labor of my store, but it’s optional of course, at least I know by using CraftHub that the file gets delivered right away which is the most important part, then I send my thank yous in batches once I have some time to catch up!
claudine hellmuth says
Chris – it was fascinating for me to learn that CraftHub has to ping Etsy every 60 sec or so to find out if the store has sold anything. What a lot that goes on on your end! I thought it would have been the other way around and that Etsy would ping CraftHub once the store sold an item. This was really great to know more about the inner-workings behind what goes on once an order is sold and amazing to me that it can be so seamless.
That's a great solution, at least until CraftHub enables the buyer's first name to be added to their email. And you have to get back on Etsy in order to leave feedback anyway, so sending a short "thank you for your business" convo isn't too much more work. Being able to deliver the product instantly and automatically is what this is all about!
Claudine Hellmuth says
Exactly! I don’t have to worry if I am traveling because I know the customer has their file and then I can send the thank yous when I leave feedback. Works out just fine!
I’ve been selling PDF patterns for over a year now – started on Etsy, added sales on my own website (which like like 90-95% of my sales) and then added Craftsy.
Craftsy is great. It’s automated, I don’t have to think about it, and I sell 1-2 patterns a day on there. No big deal, but I’m gaining new customers that may not have found me otherwise and it’s a cute, well designed site.
Etsy…. i’ve closed my Etsy shop (temporarily) at least twice now, because it’s just a pain to deal with…
Cart 66 on my WordPress (self-hosted site) has been great for digital delivery. At first it was just kind of “meh” but they added a lot of features recently that made it much better. I can limit downloads to anywhere from 1 to unlimited. If I want to publish an update to my pattern (like I did when adding bonus features to my wristlet pattern) I just tell everyone to go click their link in their receipt and re-download. It tells me if someone has downloaded the file, how many times, etc.
The IP locking talked about in the video concerns me (what if someone wants to download at work, then at home – or 2 weeks later after their IP refreshes?) but otherwise it sounds like a great service IF you are using only Etsy for digital delivery.
Because I have my shopping cart on my site, when I get an Etsy order, I add it to my cart and create a manual order (no payment) – then it sends the same automated email as the rest of my customers get. Now, since I try my best to force all of my traffic over to my blog, I only get a couple Etsy orders a day. I get to them the next time I get to my computer (or wake up, or whatever) and that is clearly stated on my Etsy shop – need it immediately? Go to my blog. But I leave Etsy there as an option, a courtesy, for people who like the Etsy interface, payments, etc. People have their reasons for preferring Etsy, it’s familiar, it’s “safe”. That’s fine. But I’m not running out to the car to get my laptop when I’m out having dinner with friends.
If I’m going to be completely unavailable (like when I was on a 14 hour plane ride with no internet access) I just close my Etsy shop. Everything else is automated.
That said, for “personalized” emails on Etsy – once I hit the “shipped” button after I enter the manual order, I just send them a friendly message with a link to their receipt, which has their download link. Yes, it’s already in their inbox, but they are used to getting messages through Etsy (i assume, if they chose to order there) so I do it anyway, and let them know they can contact me any number of ways if they need more help. Plus the email receipt itself comes from my website, so they can find my blog and other patterns there, if they weren’t aware of it.
Hope that helps? I realize not everyone wants, or wants to pay for, a self-hosted WP site, but it saves so many headaches to know it’s just working away in the background while you focus on things other than emailing patterns to customers all day.
Also, I can’t vouch for it but a lot of people use bigcartel with e-junkie for delivery.
I think that's amazing that 90% of your sales come through your blog/website. That's very, very impressive to me. You site is very clean and professional looking and it's very clear how to purchase your products. Clearly that's paid off! Thank you so much for sharing this option with us. I don't use wordpress, but I know many people who do and this is terrific for them.
This is perfect!! Exactly what my PDF printable business needs to step up to the next level. I was getting swamped with orders this last weekend while at a funeral and this would have saved my skin! Plus, now I can focus on making more designs instead of emailing. I’m so glad I found this article and link. Thanks so much!
Sacia Ashe says
Etsy now has instant download though….
Abby Glassenberg says
Yes, this was written before Etsy had instant download. CraftHub is still in existence and offers some services that Etsy doesn’t yet offer.