How to sell on Etsy: 6 steps to getting started
How to sell on Etsy
Etsy is a popular e-commerce website that is known for selling handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. Great for small businesses, and with an average traffic of 377.4 million per month, Etsy is often stocked with a variety of items such as jewelry, furniture, tools, art, clothing, home décor, and so much more. Etsy can be a great place to go in search of gifts or unique items that are different from those available from large retailers.
How to create an Etsy account to sell
Create Etsy shop: Stock and setup
Now that your store is set up, it’s time to start listing your items. When listing an item, you can include up to 10 photos and/or a 5-15 second video. At this stage, you’ll add a description of your item, assign it to a category, add pricing and shipping info, and then publish (or save as a draft) once you’re done.
Decide how you will get paid
This essential step will make sure that you are able to earn some money from your Etsy selling efforts. Once you have some product listings, you’ll need to let Etsy know how you wish to be paid once your items start selling. Add your personal information, including your address, and connect your bank account to Etsy for an automated payment process.
Choose shipping options
There are two options available regarding shipping when it comes to selling on Etsy.
- You can select shipping preferences on a per-product basis or,
- You can select preferences that will apply to the entire store
If you intend to offer free shipping on certain items that might not cost a lot to ship, or even if you intend to charge extra to ship larger items, then you might opt for the first choice in order to have more control over the shipping charges of individual items.
Setup billing for customers
Etsy payments are the easiest way to handle billing for you and your customers. Once you have enrolled, your customers will be able to pay for your items using a variety of options such as credit, debit, and Apple Pay, as well as being able to pay in their own currency.
Customize your storefront
Before your store launches, it's important to spend some time thinking about the visual identity of your store. It’s time to think about fonts and colors and ensure that your listings contain high-quality and professional-looking photography in order to make your store look trustworthy, unique, and appealing.
Take your time with this; it’s important to get it right to make a good first impression on potential customers.
Create an Etsy business and marketing strategy
It’s all well and good to create your storefront and start listing items, but if you really want to make your Etsy store into a viable business, more thought and effort are required. Developing a marketing strategy will significantly increase your chances of selling your items, making money, and growing your business.
Developing your Etsy business strategy
There are a few key things to keep in mind when you are beginning to think strategically about your Etsy store. First, it’s important to establish a niche. Ask yourself: is there a common theme or aesthetic across all items? Is there a target market for your store? What is unique about your store and products versus similar stores?
Once you’ve established how your store fits into the market, it’s time to carry out some competitor research to see if there are lessons to be learned from taking a closer look at stores like yours.
Have a browse on Etsy and make a note of anything interesting you notice about competitor stores, whether it’s their branding, their listings, their store description, etc. Be sure to look at the social channels of any competitor stores too and take inspiration from their marketing efforts.
On another note, it’s also worth carrying out a cost analysis at this stage to find out how much you can expect to profit from your Etsy business. A cost analysis will involve calculating the total cost to run your business — this could include the cost of acquiring the products (or making the product if handmade) as well as any other items such as packaging, if you need to rent a storage space to store the items, etc. — and subtracting this from how much money you would get from the sale of the items.
Carrying out a cost analysis will help you to see in advance how much you can expect to earn from selling on Etsy, as well as make educated decisions about whether you need to increase the price of your items in order to increase your profit margin.
Marketing your Etsy business
To think that you can set up shop and wait for sales is naïve. If you’re wondering how to sell on Etsy, then you need to appreciate the importance of marketing your Etsy business to increase the likelihood of people discovering your products, as well as ensure that your target markets are the ones discovering them.
It’s 100% worthwhile making use of social media to market your products. Not only is setting up social media channels for your Etsy business just good business etiquette by allowing your customers more insight into your products, brand, and updates, but it’s also providing them with another method in which to reach you. While you don’t need to create a social media page for every social network, you’ll need to make a judgment call of which social media channels your target market is more likely to be users. For example, TikTok can be effective if you’re marketing to Gen Z-ers in particular.
When it comes to social media marketing, you can either go down the organic route or consider participating in social media advertising to give your products an extra boost.
To aid in marketing your Etsy business further, it may also be worth enabling Etsy ads. Etsy ads advertise your products across the Etsy site, showing up in locations such as Etsy search, category pages, market pages, and on the website as well as within the Etsy app. Making use of Etsy Ads can help your listing to stand out against other similar products and attract more attention from your target market. For more information on setting up Etsy ads, read Etsy’s guide to advertising on Etsy.
Further reading: 7 Ways to boost your business on your Etsy shop.
Starting to sell on Etsy: 8 Tips for becoming a successful seller
Use social media to promote your store and products
We’ve already touched on the importance of using social media to promote your Etsy store, but let’s dig a little deeper into how. Setting up an Etsy store is simple, but becoming a seller on Etsy will take a little more work. As soon as your Etsy store goes live, you should set up social media pages (we would recommend doing this for Instagram, if nothing else) and create a content strategy to serve as guidelines for how many times a week you will post and what your posts will roughly be about.
When it comes to social media content for your Etsy store, you should aim to be authentic and human — after all, this is a big part of why people like to buy from smaller businesses like yours. It’s also a good idea to showcase how to use your products, share behind the scenes, and tell the story behind your brand. Be sure to encourage your customers to share pictures on social media when they receive their items from you and to tag your page – this way, you can create a bank of user-generated content to re-use on your social channels and show your followers the popularity and quality of your products.
Further reading: 33 social media post ideas to boost your business.
Use professional photography for your product listings
Etsy’s buyer survey revealed that 90% of customers said the quality of the photos was “extremely important” or “very important” to a purchase decision. As a result, the photography you use for your product listings should never be an afterthought. It’s important to have product photography that looks professional to reassure your customers that they are purchasing a quality product from a legitimate company. If you can’t afford to pay for a professional to take your product pictures, Etsy provides guidance on how to take better product pictures.
SEO your Etsy store
Etsy has its own search algorithm that will dictate where your product ranks among other products in Etsy search results. To increase your chances of ranking higher in these search results, you will need to:
- Use tags and keywords in your product listings
- Use attributes when listing an item (attributes will appear after an item’s category is chosen)
- Keep your shop up-to-date and add fresh content regularly
- Provide good customer experience
- Encourage buyers to leave reviews
- Make sure your “About me” page is complete
Put thought into your Etsy “About Me” section
Your “About Me” section is your chance to show your human side, explain the story behind how your business came to me, and appeal to potential customers by charming them with your personality. People buy from those that they like and trust, so take the time to craft your “About Me” section with thought and intention to appeal to those who take an interest in your store.
Tip: Include a picture of yourself to increase the human-element of your store as well as links to your social channels or the brand’s social channels
Etsy branding: Create a strong visual brand
Your storefront is the visual identity of your brand and the first thing customers will see when they enter your store, so make it good!
If graphic design isn’t your strong suit, Adobe Express makes the process of creating professional and creative graphics simple and easy with our wide variety of editable templates.
Begin creating your Etsy banner now from our selection of templates or crack on with your business logo creation.
Here's a small selection of our templates for business logo creation to give an idea of what we have to offer:
Keep inventory stocked or learn how to sell on Etsy without inventory
Purchase decisions can be fleeting, and if your item is out of stock then it's a customer lost. Do your best to keep your inventory well stocked to avoid missing out on any opportunities for a sale.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in dropshipping on Etsy in 2023, then stocking inventory won’t be something you need to worry about. Etsy works with a number of ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magendo, and WooCommerce so if you have an existing ecommerce site elsewhere, it’s simple to connect your site to your Etsy storefront and begin selling on Etsy.
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is when a business promotes and lists products on a website but doesn't hold the inventory or stock itself. When an item is purchased from their site, it is shipped directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler to the customer without passing through the seller.
Send thank you emails to your Etsy customers
Thanking your Etsy customers for their purchases is not only good practice but will really show your customers just how much you value them. Doing so will increase the likelihood of creating repeat customers or result in your Etsy store being recommended to others via word of mouth.
As well as being a pleasant personal touch, your thank you message can also be practical in providing your customer with contact details in case they wish to ask you a question, a feedback form to enable you to improve, or a discount code for their next order.
Create Etsy collections
Etsy collections allow you to organize your listings into collections of items that are similar or have a uniting theme, such as Winter or Camping. Grouping your products in line with seasonal occasions can help to target a more specific audience and draw attention to your most seasonally relevant products.
Collections can be created using “Sections” to organize your listings.
Selling on Etsy FAQs
Well, the answer is yes and no. It’s free to create an Etsy shop, but there are fees associated with listing and selling items on the platform.
- Listing fees: There is a listing fee of $0.20 USD for every item you list. These listings expire after 4 months and can be renewed for $0.20 USD per item.
- Transaction fees: Etsy collects a transaction fee of 6.5% of the total order amount which includes shipping and gift wrap.
- Advertisement costs: If you make use of Etsy Ads or any offsite ads, there may be further fees you need to pay.
- Payment processing fees: This is a set rate and a percentage of the total cost of the product. This cost also varies between countries.
- Customs + VTA fees: If you’re a VAT-registered seller, you may need to charge VAT on your items. In the majority of cases, the buyer will be responsible for custom duties but it’s good to be aware of these fees if you do intend to ship internationally.
- Etsy Plus: If you wish to get access to an expanded set of tools, you can opt into Etsy Plus which is a subscription package for sellers. The fee for this is $10 USD per month.
Want to know how to sell on Etsy? To begin, head to Etsy.com/sell and create your account, open a storefront, and stock your shop.
Next, decide how you will get paid, pick shipping options, set up billing for customers, and then customize your storefront.
To increase your chances of selling, make use of Etsy ads and social media to promote your products to their target market
There are many things that you can sell on Etsy, such as vintage items, custom-made items, handmade items, art, jewelry, and craft supplies. For more information on what you can and cannot sell on Etsy, check out Etsy’s guidance here.
Many also use Etsy as a place to facilitate a dropshipping business. This can be done by connecting your Etsy storefront with your existing ecommerce website which may be hosted on another site such as Shopify, Magendo, or WooCommerce.
Becoming a seller on Etsy is simple with Etsy payments, which is the main way to get paid via Etsy. If your store uses Etsy payments, this enables customers to pay for your items with a method of their choosing, while you receive your payment direct to your chosen bank account.
You will need to have added your address, personal details, and your bank account to your Etsy account for this to work.
There is no set monthly fee for using Etsy, even as an Etsy seller account, unless you opt into Etsy Plus, which is a subscription package for sellers that offers an expanded set of tools. The fee for this is $10 USD per month.
If you are an active seller, you will find that there are other fees you will need to pay such as listing fees (for whenever you list or renew an item), or transaction fees (which are deducted from the sale of your items), or advertising and promotional fees (if you are participating in such). However, these costs are not standardized monthly fees and may vary month to month. Read more about Etsy’s fees and payments policy here.
Etsy is a hugely successful platform that can help you on your own journey to success. Especially great for small businesses, Etsy is a highly popular place to buy and sell unique and charming items, and is a relatively low-cost platform on which to host your business storefront. What’s not to love?