7 Reasons I Will be Hiding Etsy Sales History ASAP

Creative Entrepreneurship | 19 comments

7 Reasons I Will be Hiding my Etsy Sales History ASAP | the merriweather council blog

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. Which can be found by following these steps:

> shop manager > settings > options > scroll down to “sold listings” and turn to “off”

Here’s why * I * will be choosing NOT to show my sales history.

First reason

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.

Second Reason

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.

Third Reason

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.

Fourth Reason

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.

Fifth Reason

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.

Sixth Reason

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.

Seventh Reason

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.”

Okay :)

“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.

Will you be hiding yours?

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Oh, hi! Welcome to The Merriweather Council. I’m Danielle and I am a maker in business and mentor to other makers in business. I teach you how to turn your crafty tendencies into profits!

Oh, I’m also really into crafts, boy bands + iced coffee. Email me anytime to say hello or send cute Backstreet Boy videos or dog pictures .. or whatever! danielle (at) merriweathercouncil.com Thanks for stopping by.

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  1. Thanks for giving good insights…Every. Single. Time.
    Danielle…I LOVE the wisdom you give with humor that makes it easy to read and implement.

  2. Danielle, I couldn’t agree more! I’ve always thought it was so weird that people could see what I was selling, when. I’m definitely joining you on this train. Displaying shop sales has always been a strange concept to me. I agree, we completely get rapped up in those numbers when we look at someone else’s shop. The only possible benefit it has is in terms of negative reviews. While my overall rating is 5 stars, I have had a few people leave bad reviews because the item wasn’t “what they expected”, but seeing that they’re one bad star out of X amounts of orders seems to provide perspective for prospective buyers. Food for thought. Thanks as always! :)

  3. Agree with everything you wrote- I’ve always felt this way about sales history, and would love it if they even went one step further and took the number away. Thanks for sharing the insights!

  4. Thanks for your insight and thoughts on this subject. I have to agree!

  5. Thanks! I don’t mind having my number posted, but I hate that people can see what sells. It makes it easy for competitors to go through your sales and copy your best sellers.

  6. I’ll be hiding mine because I make one of a kind items, and I almost never want to make the same thing again,

  7. I didn’t know this was going to be an option! Thanks for sharing, that’s great news.

  8. Yes to all of this! I’ve been selling online since 2002, traveling and doing craft shows. I only dabbled on Etsy here and there, so when people see I’ve been on Etsy since 2005 but only have 300+ sales, I feel like it’s definitely discrediting, I really hope they get rid of the number! I love your gallery idea too, I’d be into that! –Denise

  9. Great insight, Danielle. I really like your suggestion to Etsy to allow sellers to “create a portfolio of sorts” of their work. Hope they’re paying attention.

  10. I can’t find how to mine mine now. does anyone know how to do it?

    • your shop – shop settings – options :)

  11. I couldn’t agree more! I make limited and one of a kind designs, so I’m totally with keeping that private!

  12. Hey Danielle,
    I TOTALLY agree. People get “inspired” by your best sellers and start copying. I had someone do this down the penny a few years ago. It drove me nuts that I worked so hard creating and taking photos and they simply went through my sales history and copied my work down to the item descriptions.
    I also think that Etsy should come to a decision on whether to display the sales numbers at all. “Real” e-commerce website don’t do that! Not even the mighty Amazon.com! They only show the reviews. I think that it encourages customers to write reviews so they can help each other out.. The sellers on Etsy already have a community…this might give the buyers one too so they feel more “comfortable” shopping.

  13. What great points! I never even know it’s possible to hide your sales. I’ll have to look into it. I’ve just been loving watching my sales numbers go up but now I’m not so sure after reading your article. Hmm… what to do

  14. I happen to like the “sold” sales chart. At BasicDetails, we sell very, very well on Etsy, and the sold section allows our customers to see the A-Grade of merchandise that’s already been picked/sold from our store. It works for us, and has never been an “intrusion” to BasicDetails’ operations. Thanks for posting your thoughts, as diversity in thought is always good.

    • Absolutely! I love that it is optional, i think that’s the most important thing

  15. very very interesting! I didn’t even know this was an option and just switched my over to private. sharing with some friends who I know will be interested in this feature,

  16. I so agree!! It’s no ones business what or when I sold an item nor my total sales. It’s actually privacy encroachment because friends, family, acquaintances, etc. think they can gauge your income based on number of sales. But as was mentioned, that total is misleading since often more than one of the same item is purchased and considered a single sale. I also agree that it is unprofessional and a little childish, like, “Look how many gold stars I have.” Reviews should more accurately tell the story. I, too, was unaware of this option but just disabled the feature in my shop also. Thanks so much for this post!!

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