When you run your own small business, it is vital to have multiple ways to sell your products. One great way of doing this is selling through online marketplaces. Selling on Etsy is likely the biggest online marketplace where you can find buyers for your vintage products, artistic and handmade goods.
Selling on Etsy has become a big market for people to make a living. The online marketplace allows them to not only sell their products and make money online but build their brand and reach a new audience that may not have otherwise heard of them.
In this guide, you will learn how to start selling on Etsy, the do’s and don’ts of running an Etsy shop, how it stacks up against its competitors and more.
What is Etsy?
Etsy is a unique online marketplace or eCommerce platform for you to sell arts, crafts, and vintage items. These are usually items difficult to find in a traditional eCommerce store. If you’re new to selling online then this guide will equip you with all the information you need to know about selling on Etsy.
It’s no secret that Etsy has overtaken eBay as one of the internet’s biggest marketplaces. Considering they’re one of the web’s leading sites for selling arts, crafts, and other creative projects, it’s quite easy to see why it has grown so rapidly.
This online marketplace doesn’t only focus on individuals, small businesses like art shops and craft artisans can sell their products on Etsy. Etsy is the world’s biggest online marketplace with over 5 million active sellers and 80+ million active buyers.
It’s a major player in the online marketing space and is probably a business opportunity you can take advantage of.
With Etsy, you can reach wider audiences without setting up an online store with an eCommerce platform like Shopify. Just like eBay, Etsy connects the buyer and the seller in one marketplace and acts as an intermediary.
How Does Etsy Work?
Etsy provides sellers with a platform to sell their goods, and buyers with a platform to purchase those goods.
Some of the benefits of selling on Etsy include:
- You can benefit to selling to niche markets for homemade goods
- The Etsy seller community, a forum for sellers to ask and answer questions is great for getting advice on the best way to sell.
- You can set up your store in minutes and choose how you want it to look, without needing any technical knowledge. That’s because its an easy to use platform.
- With millions of buyers around the world, you’ll have access to a large audience that may not be able to find your products otherwise.
A good number of people selling on Etsy create unique artistic items like sculptures, paintings, etc. Etsy acts as the middle man and charges for facilitating sales between the buyer and the seller.
How to Sell on Etsy (Step-by-Step)
- Create an Etsy account.
- Create your shop
- Set up your shop
- Set up store policies
- Create listings for the goods you want to sell
- Select your payment method (how you will be paid)
- Add billing information
- Optimize your Etsy Store
1. Create an Etsy account
To register an account on Etsy, visit Etsy.com, click sign in then, click on the “Register” button on the top right corner of the pop-up form.
You can choose to enter your email or register using google, Facebook, or Apple Mail. Once you have registered you will be taken to the Etsy homepage for shop collections with a welcome message.
2. Choose your shop name
Choose a memorable, easy-to-spell name for your shop. Etsy will let you know if it’s available and free from inappropriate content.
Before you start setting up your store and getting products ready to sell, take some time to think about what name you want to use for your store. Your shop name will be displayed on every page of your shop, so it’s important to choose something easy to remember and relevant to your products.
Think about possible names for your business, then look at existing shops to see if any of them have names similar in style or meaning to those ideas. If so, you may want to change one or more of those ideas into something completely different instead of picking a similar name for yourself.
Your Etsy shop name is the first thing people will see when they visit your page. It’s important to choose a name that reflects your brand, but it can also be difficult to come up with something that fits the bill.
Here are some tips for choosing the right shop name:
Make it easy to remember
Your shop name should be memorable enough that people can easily tell you apart from other shops in your category and industry. Avoid using numbers in your shop name unless they’re part of an established brand name and have meaning to your customers.
Avoid using common words such as “eBay” or “hair.” If someone searches Google or Pinterest for those terms, they’ll find countless other Etsy shops with similar names.
Avoid being generic
Try not to use words like “shop” or “store” in your shop name. You want potential customers to know what kind of products you sell, so don’t use generic adjectives like “vintage” or “handmade” unless those are essential elements of what you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling vintage clothing.
Once you’ve decided on a name, it’s time to get it reserved. You can do this by clicking on “Shop Settings” in the top-right corner of your Etsy homepage and then clicking on “Shop Settings” at the bottom of the dropdown menu.
3. Set up your shop
Now that you have a name, click on the top right corner where it shows your profile and go to start selling on Etsy. You will be redirected to a page that says you can get started. “Millions of shoppers can’t wait to hear from you”.
This will lead you to your shop preferences page where you will start setting up your Etsy shop.
To start selling on Etsy, you’ll need to create a listing for each item you want to sell. You can also add tags, titles, descriptions, and photos to help buyers find what they’re looking for.
4. Setup store policies
To give buyers confidence in shopping with you, it’s important to have clearly stated policies about how you do business: shipping time frames, payment methods accepted, and refunds offered.
If you offer any refunds they should all be outlined in your store policies section of your shop’s About page.
Here are some other things customers look for when deciding whether or not to purchase from a seller:
- Customers want to know whether they can reach out with questions or concerns outside of the Etsy platform (and what hours).
- Some sellers may offer 24/7 support through email or social media channels.
- Others choose only certain times of the day or may only respond within one business day or not at all.
- Customers must be able to easily reach out with any questions
5. Create listings for the goods you want to sell
The first step in becoming a successful Etsy seller is to create listings for all the items you plan to sell.
There are two ways to do this:
Create an item listing. This option lets you add more details about your products, such as descriptions and shipping information. If you’re selling multiple quantities of an item, choose a listing type that allows you to enter each quantity separately (for example, “Multiple quantities available”).
Set up a storefront. A storefront is a collection of all your products on Etsy — even if they don’t have individual listings. When visitors click on one of your items from your shop page, they’ll see its full details, including photos and product descriptions.
When setting up your shop, keep in mind that it’s important to make sure everything is clearly laid out and easy to understand for shoppers. This includes:
- Listing descriptions – Use short sentences and paragraphs to describe each item as clearly as possible. Be sure to include all relevant details such as size and materials used in the construction of each piece of art or craftwork.
- Create listings for the goods you want to sell. Etsy lets you list multiple items at once, so you can start with only one or two things if you’d like. However, listing more will give you more exposure and help establish your credibility as a seller.
- Add photos to your listings. Etsy buyers love pictures, so be sure to take at least three or four photos per item. Make sure they’re clear, well-lit, and show off all sides of each item. (Pro tip: Use natural light.)
Lastly, preview your listings to check if everything is well placed.
6. Select your Payments Method
There are multiple payment methods available on Etsy. You can offer whichever works best for you, whether it’s PayPal, Etsy Payments, or any other electronic payments your customers use.
Most Etsy sellers on the platform opt for Etsy Payments as it’s convenient and easy to use. With this payment option, you can get your money through credit cards, your bank account, debit cards, online store credit, Etsy gift cards, and more.
7. Add billing information
Depending on your country of origin, you will be required to enter billing information such as credit card information for authorization and identification and a card where the platform can charge your fees and commissions.
Once you’ve done this, you’re all set up, and you can start optimizing and promoting the items you have for sale.
8. Optimize your Etsy shop
Optimizing your Etsy profile is an easy way to attract more customers and grow your business. Here’s how:
- Add Your User Profile: You should have a user profile on Etsy so that people can learn more about you, see what other items you’ve sold, and follow your store.
- Set Your Shop Policies: People are always looking for ways to protect themselves from scams, so make sure you include policies in your shop such as “I do not accept returns” or “I only ship within the United States.”
- Add Your Store Bio: This is a short description of what you sell and why people should buy from you. If someone wants to know more about your business, this is where they’ll look. Think of it as an elevator pitch for your shop!
- Make Use Of Etsy Templates: In addition to making the page look nice, there are templates available that tell customers what they can expect when they buy something from you (like shipping times), which helps them feel confident in their purchase decision.
- Use Etsy Marketing Tools: The best way to get people interested in your products is by using marketing tools like ads, promoted listings, and giveaways/discounts/specials on social media platforms. The Etsy seller app allows you to manage your listings on your phone.
To learn more about ways you can use the Etsy suite of tools to help you manage and promote your business, check out the Etsy sell Page.
What Are Some Things to Sell on Etsy?
The best way to think about what items you should sell on Etsy is to consider the things that are unique and creative. These could be handmade goods, vintage goods, or craft supplies.
Etsy does not allow any reselling of manufactured products that are bought from a manufacturer and then sold by the seller in an unaltered form. Instead, Etsy allows you to sell products you have made yourself like hand made wooden toys.
There are certain categories of items that Etsy allows only if they follow specific rules.
What Are The Best Selling Items on Etsy?
The most important first step to any business is knowing what your customers want and need. Luckily, Etsy has pulled together a handy list of the top-selling items on their site. There are two ways to use this information:
Devise a plan to sell one of these products better than anyone else. Ask yourself the following questions.
- How is everyone else selling it?
- What do they do right?
- What do they do wrong?
- How can you improve upon that?)
This might be difficult since there’s likely already a lot of competition for these products, but if you’re savvy about your product and/or market research, this strategy can pay off.
Sell something that isn’t among the best-selling items on the site. This will likely mean more market research into an area that already has less competition—but you’ll also have to work harder to get people interested in your product.
When it comes to selling on Etsy, there are a few things you need to know. First, you need to make sure your products are high quality. You can’t sell something unless it’s going to be useful and/or beautiful!
Second, you want to be able to offer your customers a wide range of options. The more options they have, the more likely they are to buy from you. Third, if you’re an artist or designer, it’s best if you can find a way for people who love your work to be able to connect with it in person.
So what are some of the most popular items on Etsy? Well, according to this article from Litextension, the best-selling items on Etsy include:
Stickers are probably the most common item on Etsy—and they’re also one of the most popular. People love them because they’re easy to send through the mail and they’re fun to collect.
The second category of best-selling items is jewelry. Whether it’s an actual piece of jewelry or something more like a keychain or a necklace pendant, people love their jewelry.
Thirdly, home décor is another category that’s hugely popular on Etsy. People use this site to buy everything from pillows and blankets to hand-painted signs for their walls (or kitchen cabinets).
This is the most popular item on Etsy and for good reason! The organic cosmetics industry is growing fast, and with it, the demand for products that are safe for you and your family.
People are also looking for products that are free from synthetic ingredients, like petroleum-based oils and parabens.
Personalized Pocket Knives
Pocket knives are a common gift idea because they’re useful, but also fun. They’re a great way to show someone you care about them by giving them something useful that also has their name engraved on it.
Soy candles have been around for a while now, but they’re still one of the best-selling items on Etsy because they’re so versatile! You can choose your favorite scent or even create your unique blend using different scents together. Plus they smell amazing.
There are so many different types of themes available on Etsy, from Harry Potter to Disney Princesses to Science Fiction characters and beyond.
Finally, Anything from customized mugs and t-shirts up to custom paintings and sculptures can be found on Etsy.
How Does Selling on Etsy Work?
If you’re new to Etsy, it can be a bit confusing at first. Here are the basics:
- You sell handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies on Etsy.
- You pay 20 cents to create each listing, which stays active for four months or until your item is sold.
- If your item sells, you pay 6.5% of the total sale price (including shipping costs). For example, if you list a necklace for $15, plus $3 for shipping, and it sells – you’ll pay Etsy $0.90.
- If you accept payments via PayPal, there is an additional 3% + $0.25 transaction fee charged by PayPal.
- If you make a sale from one of Etsy Ads, you will have to pay 15% for the offsite ads.
Top Tips to Sell More on Etsy
Master Etsy’s Algorithm
Etsy is a fantastic platform for shop owners to make money. It gives you access to tons of customers, but it’s up to you as the shop owner to help them match the right customers to your products.
Use the platform to your advantage. Etsy, like any online marketplace, has analytics that allows you to see what sells and how much. If a particular product is failing and you’ve tried setting it at different prices, tweak the product description and test it out again.
The best way to get your product in front of the eyes of your target audience is to use exact keywords and phrases in all your content.
For example, if you sell handmade ceramics, use key terms like “handmade ceramic” and “ceramic art.”
These terms are important because they’re specific. The Etsy’s algorithm will recognize them and give them higher weight when it comes time for search results.
Optimize your listings
To get the most out of your listings, you need to edit them regularly. Check-in every two weeks or so to make sure that they’re in tip-top shape, and then go back twice a month to check on them again.
You can do this by opening up each listing and clicking “edit” above the title, or you can use this handy browser extension which will help you keep track of your current status.
The analytics will also show you what keywords customers are using when they search for your products. Add these keywords to your product descriptions and tags to increase visibility in search results.
Use the best keywords
You want to be using keywords that are relevant and helpful for shoppers looking for what you have to sell. After all, it is their job as buyers to find products they like.
So when selecting a keyword to put in your title, description, tags, and any images that you upload, pay attention to how often those words are used with searches related to what you are selling at present!
If it seems like your competition is beating you with better keywords than yours on Google or Etsy, consider updating them with better ones.
Promote on social media
Selling on Etsy is a relatively straightforward process once you learn the ropes, but success isn’t automatic. Your Etsy shop will need some attention and promotion if it’s going to stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Use social media strategically to promote your store. Carefully choose which social media platforms make sense for you because each one requires different strategies for optimal engagement with potential customers.
Consider posting photos of the items you sell on Instagram or Facebook along with a link back to the Etsy listing where people can buy them, or try doing a Twitter giveaway for one of your products.
Use each platform differently but effectively. Pinterest is also a good place to show off your Etsy listings through pins and add a link to your listing.
Use hashtags. Hashtags used to be mainly a social media thing, but they’ve now become commonplace across the web, including Etsy. Hashtags make your products easy to find and sort through, so consider adding them sparingly throughout your product listings as well as in your product titles.
Think carefully about which platform is best for you and your product(s). While most social media platforms have access to millions of users, some work better than others depending on what you’re selling (and who would buy it).
For instance, if you’re selling handmade jewelry or any kind of craft supplies, Pinterest might be an ideal place for promotion due to its large user base of women who enjoy DIY projects and crafts.
Post consistently. You must be posting regularly on each of the platforms that you choose. Its best if you want people to take notice and possibly share your posts with their followers/friends/family members.
If someone sees one post from an account they follow every six months, there’s not much incentive for them to follow along at all. But, if that same account posts something new every day or even every week, they’ll be more likely to check back in hopes of seeing something new from you.
Use a professional photographer
For best results, it’s essential to showcase your products to their best advantage. To take the most attractive pictures, you want to use a professional photographer. If you don’t know anyone in your area who can help, you can hire someone through an online marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork.
You’ll also want to set up a photoshoot. Since the images are what buyers will see when they view your shop and its products, you’ll want them to be representative of your offerings and as alluring as possible without being misleading.
The photographer will edit the photos for you, but if you prefer to do that yourself, try using Canva. If a shot isn’t working for some reason—whether it’s lighting issues or an unclear representation of the product—the photographer should be able to reshoot it for you so that the final result is exactly what it should be.
Understanding Etsy Ads
Advertising on Etsy is different than advertising on Facebook and Google. It’s a low-commitment way to start promoting your store, but you can also really refine your approach and get results as you gain more experience.
Etsy ads are based on:
Your budget – how much you spend per day determines where your ad appears on Etsy. All sellers start with a maximum budget of $25. The budget is recalculated weekly for sellers enrolled in Etsy Payments and monthly for sellers not enrolled in Etsy Payments.
- Keywords – the words and phrases customers search for when looking for products like yours.
- Targeting criteria – demographics like location and shopping behavior that help determine the person who will see your ad.
- Conversion rate – how likely shoppers are to buy from you after clicking through to your shop.
Try your hand at customer support
It’s easy enough. People ask questions about shipping times or inquire about certain attributes of an item. For example “Is this made from recycled materials?”
Your job is to respond as quickly as possible within 24 hours if not sooner with clear answers that put their minds at ease so they’re motivated to make a purchase.
Customer support can be handled by many members of a team through private messages on social media platforms or via email. Just be sure someone is available during business hours or around-the-clock if necessary in case someone wants to buy something outside of standard office hours!
Don’t be afraid of templates or step-by-step guides. If there’s anything that’s stopping us from taking action on a task we know needs completing ASAP, it’s usually because we don’t know where exactly on our screen we should click next. We just need some more guidance before getting started so there aren’t any unexpected detours along the way.
Selling on an Etsy Store Q&A
How to start selling on Etsy?
Etsy is a great place to sell products that are handmade, vintage, or crafty. If you have a skill or talent and have a product that you can make yourself, then Etsy is the for you.
What should I sell on Etsy?
If you have something that you can make, then it’s possible to sell it on Etsy. If it’s something that people want and need, then there’s a good chance that they’ll buy it from you.
What sells best on Etsy?
Selling unique items is often the best way to sell your products on Etsy. People love unique items because they can’t just go down to their local store and find them easily. They have to be special enough for someone to pay attention to them for them to purchase them.
The most popular products are those that are unique and personalized; something that stands out from the crowd by being different from other similar products available for sale on the site. Popular categories include Jewelry & Accessories (necklaces, earrings), Home Decor (rugs, artwork) Art & Craft Supplies (paintings).
How do I take good pictures of my products?
The best thing about selling products on an online platform like this one is that there are no limits when it comes down to how many photos you want to be included with each item listing. You can add as many as 20 images per listing if desired.
How to write good descriptions for your products?
The goal of a description is to make someone want to buy your item. You can include details like color, size, and materials used in making that would appeal to particular customers. Alternatively, if you have only one item in stock, then you can focus on telling the story behind it and why they should buy it.
Describing your items well is important because it helps potential buyers understand what they’re buying and whether or not it fits into their lifestyle. Here are some tips for writing descriptive text for your products:
- Use high-quality photos so that customers can see exactly what they’re getting before they purchase!
- Use plain language when describing the product’s features so that people who don’t know much about the subject matter can understand it clearly!
- Add details about production methods or materials used – this will show customers that you care about quality.
How to market your Etsy store and products?
Marketing is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort over time. It’s not something you can do once and expect results overnight. You must focus on your strengths as an artist/maker/vendor because this will allow you to stand out from other sellers on Etsy, and other selling platforms.
For example, If you’re a jeweler who specializes in handmade rings made from recycled materials then this is something unique about yourself that can be emphasized through social media networks such as Twitter and Pinterest.
You can use the tools provided by Etsy to reach out to potential customers, including email marketing campaigns, social media, and sponsored ads. You can also send emails directly from your Etsy account. There are also many third-party marketing services available if you’d like help finding new customers.
How to price your products?
You should set a price that reflects the value of your product while still making it affordable enough for people who want to buy it.
The best way to figure out how much to charge for your items is by looking at what other sellers in your category are charging and then making sure that you’re not overpricing yourself compared with them.
If you’re selling something handmade, it’s important not to price it too low because then customers might think it’s not worth buying if they could make something similar themselves.