Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Comment Selling: Review of Soldsie

Maybe you've heard that Etsy is making some changes. Many of them are unpopular to shop owners who handcraft every single thing they sell. While I'm not going to touch the "political" issues, there is one issue that stands out more than any other to me. And it's not really the one people are talking about....the fact that as shop keepers on Etsy, we ultimately have very little control over our shops.

So I went in search of other options...Another website similar to Etsy? My own website? Posting photos on Facebook and offering it up there? I've discovered some interesting things in my search. 

The one I'm going to talk about today is called Soldsie. I first heard about Soldsie about 3 or 4 weeks ago and was immediately intrigued. So intrigued I did my first Soldsie shopping event a few days later. 

But let me back up. What is Soldsie? They call it "comment selling." I call it brilliant. Broken into the most simple terms, you create an event...including starting and ending times of the event, and list the items you want to sell from your dashboard. You advertise your event on your Facebook page and ask your followers to register in advance. 

Soldsie automatically posts your listed items at one minute intervals at the time your event starts. Here's a sample of what it looks like on my Facebook page: 

If somebody wants to buy it, they simply type the word "sold" in the comments. Then they check out by clicking on the "Soldsie" tab at the top of the page:

Because I have not been on the buying end, I believe Soldsie will remind buyers to pay if they do not go to the Soldsie tab...but I don't know for sure. All the people who bought at my event paid immediately. 

I have only had time to run one shopping event so far. So my experience is limited. However, my initial impression is very favorable. 

-No fees for the first $700 in sales! After that, it's fees are 3% of your sales. 

-Easy to set up
-Even though it's mostly self-explanatory, there are several video tutorials and other forms of instruction
-They want you to be successful, so they give tips on how to make your Facebook page get more "likes" and how to advertise your sale so that people will be ready to shop
-You write up the listings in advance. Soldsie posts it at the right time so you don't have to be at your computer. 

-The listing section is simple to use. 
-It's easy for shoppers to use...whether on the computer or a mobile device. No clicking over to another website, no hoops to jump through. Just type the word "sold" and then pay. 

-Soldsie automatically handles invoicing and making sure you get paid. 
-When you ask a question, it is answered very quickly. 
-You can offer coupon codes

-Only one item per invoice. This means if your customer buys more than one item, they will need to check out more than once. 
       -Updated: I received an email from Julie at Soldsie after she read my review. She had this to say about the payment process: "because we never know when a customer is done shopping, we do send out an email for each Sold comment, however when they click on the link any of the emails (or on the link or tab) to get to their invoice - everything they've commented on will be listed there and you can checkout for everything all at once."

-My biggest issue was shipping charges. When selling beads, people may want to buy more than one bead. I don't necessarily want to charge them full shipping fees for each bead they buy. There is no way to automatically set it up to reduce shipping if they buy more than one item. After the fact, I figured out ways around this

     1) create a coupon that the customer can use on subsequent orders

     2) Use the Add-Ons section of each listing to give the buyer multiple options for shipping i.e. domestic 1st class, priority, international, insurance, etc. 

     3) Include the cost of shipping in the product and offer free shipping instead. 

-If you are selling something that has an inventory of more than 1 and your customer wants to buy more than one, it will charge shipping for each and every item in the listing. I found that out the hard way when it tried to charge a customer $21 in shipping for 7 spacer beads. 

-Because Facebook is so fast paced, shopping events lose effectiveness after a few hours. 

-Soldsie recommends about 10 items in one shopping event. So if you prefer to do large updates, that may not work well for you. I don't know. I tried 21 items. I sold 4.  

-Customers were confused by the link to register to shop. I received several messages that they tried to pre-register, but it didn't work. However, I would get an email that they did indeed pre-register. 

A Few Helpful Hints:

Because I decided to sign up for Soldsie on a Tuesday and have the sale two days later, I did some quick heavy advertising. First I offered a bribe of a free bead. All they had to do was share this photo on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Then a few times a day I would post a teaser photo of one of the beads that would be offered during the sale with short concise instructions on how to pre-register for the party. 

I sent a newsletter to my list. 

If I really worked Twitter with any kind of regularity (translation: more than once a year), I would have posted it there too. 

Blogging would be good, but I never got to that. 

Do not bother with the free trial to Shipping Station. It was complex and confusing and I never could get it to work for me. Plus it costs like $30/month once the free trial is over. Paypal shipping is far easier and doesn't have the extra fees.  

Overall, I really love Soldsie and plan to use it regularly in combination with my website (that topic will be covered another day). Because you're able to try it risk free, there's no reason not to give it a shot. 

-Jen Cameron


  1. Very interesting, I'm definitely going to have to give it a try. Thanks for all the info!!

  2. Great review--saving us all a lot of questions. Sounds like it creates a sense of urgency, which would likely generate some sales from impulse buyers...and maybe from a few buyers who've been "on the fence." Personally, as a buyer, I'd rather get around to shopping in my own timeframe and not have to keep in mind date(s) and deadline(s)--especially if too many folks start selling this way (!), but that's just my way. Sounds like Soldsie makes it easy enough to promote just one more way, though.

  3. Thanks for this review. I have been intrigued by Soldsie since seeing it on several FB pages. After reading your review I know it's not for me! I have a day job and I know I wouldn't have the time for all the promoting. I agree that having little control over ETSY is frustrating and I am interested to read what you have to say about having a separate website. Thanks again!

  4. As a buyer, I can't say Soldsie is going to be my favorite way to go. I've registered for one seller, but haven't purchased anything yet. However, I can see why it is so attractive to some sellers, especially since this is such a Facebook culture. I don't want to get left behind and lose out on beads I really love, so I'm keeping up with the times!

  5. I have not heard of Soldsie until today. I will have to look into it.
    My sales are horrible. I also live in the clouds because I have no idea what changes are going on over at Etsy.
    If you have the time, shoot me an email.

    Happy Sales,

  6. Thanks for the post --- we're looking into Soldsie right now --- although it seems that their pricing structure has changed --- it now has a monthly cost --- I guess they want to push folks to do business!
    Thanks Again.

  7. Does anyone know how much they charge per month?

    1. I received a message with what someone else was recently quoted:

      $200/mo. or 6% of sales --- whichever is greater.
      Pro --- $400/mo. or 4% of sales -- whichever is greater.


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