Monday, June 28, 2010

When the alarms go off in your head, listen.


Yesterday I received an email from a potential customer on Etsy, but as I read the request to buy my box my stomach started to churn. No it wasn't the coffee or the bagel I had eaten. First there was a request to verify if I was trustworthy, then I needed to supply complete name personal info (which all pertinent info can be found on my site and shop), and my final price for the box which I was running on a special. This customer was not finished though. I now had to send all my info to another email. I also was to use their shipper? with the additional money they would send (certified transfer) but I would have to set it all up. I guess they would determine the cost of shipping? Mind you this is for a sale for under $100 on Etsy with $1 shipping to anyone in the US. Again the stomach churned but I thought it is a sale and this is all part of working online. Wrong.

When you take the emotional aspect away and look at the facts you can see there were many problems with this order. My greatest concern is the security issues of releasing info to an unknown buyer. Simply put do not give anyone information above and beyond what is necessary for your business. Think about the information you would find if shopping at a favorite brick and mortar storefront. You have location, the shop name, telephone and that is about it. Because you have a virtual shop don't fall into the trap of overcompensating for a brick and mortar location because there is one, your studio. You can still accept credit/debit cards, checks and money orders and people can come and visit your studio. The plus side of an online shop/site is you can also check the customer out. On Etsy you join to either buy or sell or both and you register to do so. When you receive an email it is referred to as a convo (conversation) and you can click on the person to see their profile. I found this person was not found within Etsy. I decided to send an email explaining how I do business through a convo and also to the other email address and found that address would not go through. Was this a scam? I do not know. Or was it an order from outside the US which for now I do not ship outside the US.

This experience has opened up many issues but they are for another time.

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