Monday, July 11, 2011

heartsy: some thoughts

Heartsy is a business that sells members coupons for indie and handmade internet businesses, like a Groupon or Jump On It for the Etsy crowd. I joined Heartsy about 5 weeks ago, and I’ve made three purchases through them. I have mixed feelings about Heartsy, and I wanted to share them before I review one of these purchases.

First of all, as an Etsy seller, I would never use Heartsy. My profit margin is very slim, and I sell comics and badges—not things that buyers have to constantly renew. I also think that one of the major problems that hand-made and small-batch sellers have is making the public realise that they cannot sell their products for the same price as mass-produced products. Heartsy does encourage the lowering of prices and an increased expectation of “more for less” in the consumer, which could lead to a devaluing of the handmade market.

However, I do think Heartsy is a good thing for a particular kind of seller: one with a high-quality consumable product (ie food, perfume, make-up) who wants to entice new customers into trying their wares and becoming regular customers. So far I have only used Heartsy to buy body products, and I am buying as someone who is interested in becoming a regular customer. But we won’t know the effect Heartsy is having for some time; as I have seen others point out, when a Heartsy buyer runs out of lotion/make-up/stationery, they may not come back to you but to whichever other shop has 60% off that week.

So far, only one of my purchases has arrived and I wasn’t too impressed. (A review is forthcoming.) Another was purchased over a month ago and was only just shipped (I won’t tell you who because I’m planning to bare all in the review) and the third was only purchased last night. It definitely hasn’t stopped me from buying from indie business who don’t offer discounts—in the end, I’m more interested in high quality and intriguing products than cheap prices.

Have you used Heartsy? What do you think about it?

Full disclosure: If you want to join Heartsy and follow my links, I will get $5 credit.


Suzanne said...

I've only had one package arrive and have two forthcoming - one of those sellers I've already bought from before so they aren't an unknown entity. That first package I pretty literally liked half the products.
I wonder whether sellers have to rush through the creation of their products for things like heartsy because of anticipated sudden huge demand. for something handmade, surely thats getting into shaky territory. I know when I buy handmade cosmetics I expect them to take longer because of the batch making times and also the wonderful packaging that tends to occur with handmade cosmetics. Things were just kind of thrown in an envelope for my last heartsy order. I think the rush damages things.

Michelle said...

Ooh, looking forward to this review.

I never really thought about the handmade devaluation aspect of Heartsy. ):

I've not bought from it yet, but check it almost daily.

Jessica McLeod said...

Suzanne: Those are excellent points! I really feel that if a seller is going to have a Heartsy sale, he or she should have their products ready BEFORE listing them. I would never list a comic that hadn't yet been printed! I agree with the packaging point you made, especially if you're trying to get a customer to become a loyal buyer. My Shiro order was so beautifully packaged (with free candy!) that I was half in love even before I tried the colours!

Jessica McLeod said...

Michelle: I'm still on the fence about it, but I'm going to give it a bit longer. I had to stop checking it daily because I was spending too much money! :P

Anonymous said...

im not a fan of any of these re selling schemes, they are a rip off for any buisiness invoved i think (scoopon etc, there been a few articles about those as well online)

as a seller it wouldnt be at all viable, and it sounds like a few of those doing it have not been able to keep up with the demand/quality of thier shops.

and as a buyer, Im not not a soap or food online buying person so wouldnt be of interest to cash in on it either, they seem too scammy from either end ;\

Annette said...

I'm definitely not a fan of the concept as a seller. When you make something special/handmade/unique you should never be competing on price. Plus there seems to be an air of desperation about it - why would you sign up to give out a 50% discount unless you couldn't get enough regular business? So it devalues your own brand, as well as handmade products in general.

As a buyer, eh, I've been getting their newsletters for a couple of months but haven't bought anything yet. I'll probably look for a soap deal once my current stock of nice soaps runs out - and that right there is why I wouldn't sign up as a seller! Heartsy buyers are just looking for bargains, there's no loyalty.

Jessica McLeod said...

Andricongirl: Yeah, the long-term effect of things like Groupon will be interesting to see. In the end you can only really sustain these discounts if you have a massive mark-up, which just doesn't apply to most handmade, small-scale business.

Jessica McLeod said...

Annettle: It would be interesting to know how many Heartsy buyers become repeat customers of the businesses involved. I suspect that you're right though.