Hiding Etsy sales?! Praise be. Can this be real? Well, it is… sort of. While it is NOT a dream come true, it is nearly almost a dream come true.
Etsy will allow sellers to CHOOSE if they’d like their sales history to be publicly viewable or not as part of their new layout look rolling out in April. However, the number of sales will still be there, it just won’t be clickable if you opt to hide sales history.
You can make your selection in the shop options area.
Here’s why * I * will be choosing NOT to show my sales history.
Firstly, I have always felt it’s weird and amateur looking that Etsy displays sales number – no professional site I know of does this. Certainly at first it was fun to see the numbers go up and up, but it was also distracting. We will go more into that later. But after a while – once I really felt secure in my business and the work I was doing – and it wasn’t just a game anymore, it got to be intrusive. Again, more on that later. I think if we harken back to the dawn of the internet, this made sense – and it just sort of stuck around. Etsy came about at a time when people had Geocities websites with visitor counters. So I get it. But online shopping is not some mysterious force from another planet anymore. Etsy is legitimate. It’s time to evolve. While you will not be able to hide the number, I feel that disabling the sales history is a step in the right direction and sends a message that YES this shop thinks this should not be here. Who knows? Maybe it will be influential in someway.
Let’s discuss the intrusive thing. I feel it’s incredibly intrusive to see what sold, when – even though this number is somewhat fictional as it does not account for quantity issues it’s still basically no one’s freaking business what sells when. And by hiding your sales history pages you can keep this information private. It’s fun to chat numbers and growth and sales – IF YOU WANT. What information you want to share about your INCOME should always be your choice.
Next, it promotes competition. We all know how this works in the one sense: we see a shop doing insanely well and we get all lit up about it, like hey me too! And since the sales number will still be there, you could technically still have this experience – and it’s just not healthy. A little mystery is good in today’s super highly connected world where we know everything about everyone. Another way this sales history shibbockle promotes competition is that people see an item selling really well and get all sorts of “inspired” to do it themselves and suddenly you have 5 shops selling the same items. Is Etsy sales history the only way to gauge whether a product is selling well? Not at all, but it certainly doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
The display of sales number and subsequent sales history creates a huge (mental) hurdle for small shops to overcome. It is a distraction. We treat it like the be all end all. If you are thinking “no it’s not” then, idk… you are a better person than I. People get all tied up in number of sales and lose track of QUALITY of sales, customers, relationships, interactions, etc. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. Certainly some people focus on both – quantity and quality but I ask them, is this something you need EVERYONE to form an opinion on? Keep in mind that the number is “based on a true story” but not really the whole honest story.
Oh right, yeah… that number is a fictional depiction of what actually happened. You could sell quantity 80 through an Etsy listing and it’s “1 sale”. Or, you could have been on vacation for 5 weeks last April, but that gap just looks like you suffered a sales drought. The sales number and sales history pages do not give a full story, but we derive so much from these places that is unfounded. We make it up. We decide things about a shop based on these bits. It’s not a full story.
Reviews are more valuable. Sales history doesn’t tell a full or honest story. It tells a story but it’s a fictional story and it’s a story that doesn’t always speak to the sellers ability. Let’s say I’ve been working retail for 5 years and decide to open an Etsy shop – none of my “credibility” from my previous experience is summed up on Etsy by way of this number. Meanwhile, someone might have “7,000 sales” and we assume they have more experience and credibility. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. The point is, using this number as a status check on credibility is a little bit wonky. Reviews give us a more fleshed out picture of the things we should care more about as sellers AND as buyers.
Lastly, people browse through the old orders and start requesting items that are no longer in production – which is slightly annoying.
Now, I recognize there are some reasons why you might want people to see your sales history and the beautiful thing about this is that you get to choose!
Further reading + preemptive follow up comment response:
“I want people to see the custom pieces I created so they can get a sense of what they’d like me to make for them”
Yup. Awesome. In my case, most of my sales are the same item over and over – and custom pieces were paid for before they were created, so there are not that many samples to see in my sales history. Even if there were, people would spend a long time sifting through the same items in sales over and over before stumbling upon the few other items in there.
“I worked hard for those sales and I want to show them off.”
“I don’t care what you say, Danielle. That number gives my shop credibility.”
Well you still have to have the number.
My suggestion to Etsy if they are reading:
Allow sellers to curate a sales history where they can select items from sales to create a portfolio of sorts. This would allow a seller to show their early work if they’d like to establish growth and long term presence on the site while also displaying a more succinct and well organized snapshot of their work and sales history. Just an idea.