Etsy officially announced it's changing the "convo" messaging system into an instant-chat system on Monday, but some sellers have been panning it since they started seeing pilot versions. The biggest issues sellers noted during the testing period: the new interface was like a text exchange; the font was too small; and hitting return on the keyboard caused the message to send instead of starting a new paragraph.
In today's announcement, Etsy said it had learned from research that shoppers prefer to interact in chat-like interfaces "because they feel more familiar and help them get answers to their questions more quickly."
Convo's new chat-like interface will appear anywhere a buyer contacts a seller.
In addition, Etsy will display a seller's "typical" response time, which it calculates by "measuring the time from when you receive the first new message in a thread to when you respond to that message." Etsy said spam and messages that don't require a reply would not be included in its calculations, though it didn't provide details on how it would make those determinations.
This led to comments from sellers today concerned about buyer expectations. "I usually respond quickly, but I am now very concerned about people being upset with response times that are not immediate," wrote one seller.
Etsy stated in its announcement: "Keep in mind that buyers expect quick responses, and are more likely to make a purchase when they have an immediate interaction with a seller. In fact, we know from our data that shoppers are 40% more likely to make a purchase from a conversation when they get a response to their first message within two hours."
Etsy explained in its announcement that sellers could set up a custom auto-reply message from the Conversations page in Shop Manager "to let shoppers know when you’re not immediately available."
"You can set an auto-reply message by clicking “Auto-reply” from the upper right hand corner of the Conversations page. If a shopper sends you a new message when you have an auto-reply message set, they will receive that message as an automatic reply. This feature isn’t available in the Sell on Etsy app."
Etsy will make available templates that sellers can use to respond to common questions, but they aren't yet available.