How to Start Selling On Etsy
Etsy is one of the most popular online marketplaces for handcrafted items. The platform offers unique opportunities to its community of sellers, thanks to having more than 60.27 million buyers, of which most of them repeat their purchases.
If you're a small business or a craftsperson looking to sell your products online, this guide on how to start selling on Etsy may be just what you're looking for. You can think of it as a way to increase visibility and reach markets that would otherwise be difficult to reach.
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
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How to Start Selling On Etsy: Pros and Cons
Check out this comprehensive list of the benefits and drawbacks of starting selling on Etsy before deciding if Etsy is the best platform for you.
Pros of selling on Etsy:
● It is the major "handmade" marketplace that exists. Almost everyone knows the existence of Etsy and what it is. It is the first place customers think of when they want to purchase something handmade.
● Etsy has more than 60.27 million active customers/buyers on the site and keeps growing.
● Etsy's customer base is very loyal. Between 2011 and 2014, 75 percent of purchases were repeats, which means the customer had previously purchased from that shop. This is especially true if you're good to your customers on Etsy.
● It's an incredibly simple way to start selling your handmade items. You don't have to create a website, figure out how to integrate a cart, and worry about security and a large etcetera. Instead, you simply fill out a few forms and begin selling.
● Possibility to network with other sellers. Joining teams and chatting in the forums is a perfect way to learn about other crafters.
● It is simple to connect your Etsy shop to an existing website. Etsy provides an "Etsy Mini" widget that can be used on any website.
● Shipping is made simple. The site allows you to buy and print shipping labels, and the shipping interface is simple to use even for shipping novices.
● Etsy can assist you in expanding your business. There is an Etsy Wholesale initiative that connects sellers to bigger companies, and Etsy Manufacturing was recently launched to assist sellers in finding local businesses to help make their goods.
Cons of selling on Etsy:
● Etsy is no longer "just handmade," but rather heavily populated with dropshippers. This is a constant source of debate and, on occasion, fighting in the Etsy forums.
● Fighting the closure of your shop is nearly impossible. Other sellers, businesses or even customers can contact Etsy at any time to report your shop.
This is why it is critical to ensure that all of the information in your shop policies and about sections is up to date and detailed. Before posting items, make sure you completely understand what is and is not permitted.
● There is very little email and phone support. Because Etsy has a small staff in comparison to the size of its user base, the best you can do is ask for a phone call or email them. It may take some time to receive a response, and the response is frequently not tailored to your specific situation.
● You're up against over a million other sellers. This may or may not matter depending on the categories you sell in, but it is critical to promote yourself outside of Etsy.
How to Create an Etsy Account in 5 Steps
If you've made the decision that Etsy is the platform for you, the very first step of how to start selling on Etsy is to open an Etsy shop. If you already have an Etsy account (perhaps from a previous purchase), you can use it to become a seller.
If you're brand new to Etsy, you'll need to create an account before proceeding. This shouldn't take long and only a few details are required to get started. Here's a brief step-by-step guideline to help you get started:
- Click "Register" at the top of the Etsy homescreen.
- Fill in your first name, email address, and password in the form.
- Submit the form.
- To complete the account setup, wait for a verification email and click the link in it. This should only take about five minutes. Check your spam or trash folders before contacting Etsy support.
The email address you use to sign up will be linked to your shop. If signing up with your Google, Apple, or Facebook account is more convenient for you, you can do so.
How to Sell on Etsy for Beginners
You can open an Etsy shop once your account is fully operational. This is a slightly longer process, but you can save your progress and return later if necessary.
Please keep in mind that you will need to configure your shop on a laptop or desktop computer. After you've finished the process, you can use the Sell on Etsy app (available for Android and iOS) to manage your shop's daily activity.
When logged in, click "Sell on Etsy," then "Open Your Etsy Shop." Select your shop language, country, and currency, followed by your shop name. This creates the framework for your Etsy shop, but you'll need to take a few extra steps to sell effectively.
You'll also be asked to join Etsy Payments, being the main method of payment for sellers on the site. This will enable you to accept credit, debit, and gift cards, PayPal, Apple and Google Pay, and other payment methods.
Add Final Touches
This is a crucial point of how to start selling on Etsy. It's time to make your shop more attractive to customers. For maximum impact, Etsy shop owners should include the following:
● A banner and shop logo to give buyers a strong first impression of your brand.
● A greeting and a brief description of your shop. This is known as your "shop announcement".
● Your delivery and return policies and timelines.
● Any policies that customers should be aware of before making a purchase.
You're ready to make your first listing once you've completed these tasks.
To create a listing, go to "Shop Manager" and then "Listings." Then click the "Add a Listing" button. This will guide you through the following steps to start selling on Etsy:
● Include photos and videos.
● Select your thumbnail image.
● Include a listing description.
● Configure your inventory and pricing.
● Set up delivery.
● Save or publish your listing.
Etsy Selling Fees
One thing that people tend to underestimate about how to start selling on Etsy is its fees.
● Listing fee: 0.20 dollars per listing.
● Transaction fee: 5 percent of the total item cost in your selected listing currency. If your payment and listing currencies differ, the fee amount is changed to your payment currency at the market rate.
● VAT (Value Added Tax): both processing fees and seller services are chargeable. Your local regulations determine the sales tax.
● Etsy deposit and payment processing fees: all transactions and deposits made via Etsy Payments are subject to processing fees.
● Deposit currency conversion: if payments from listings must be converted into another currency before entering your bank account, there is a 2.5 percent fee.
How to Get Sales on Etsy
Now that you've finished the administrative side of launching your Etsy shop, it's time to consider strategy. Etsy had 4.3 million active sellers in 2020, so you're going to design a way to stand out from the crowd.
In order to answer the question “how to start selling on Etsy?” it’s important to answer how to get sales. For that matter, there are some good approaches you can take.
If you want to gain traction, you'll need to commit resources to developing and implementing a successful Etsy marketing strategy. There are several channels you can use to accomplish this. An overview of each is provided below.
Promote your shop using existing social channels
If you have a follower base on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media platform, let them know that your shop is now open. Using established social channels to promote your Etsy shop is a great way to ensure the first customers.
Use keyword optimization tactics
Etsy's search function functions similarly to any other search engine. It employs sophisticated algorithms to match users' search terms with pages that it believes are the closest match.
Etsy is fairly open and transparent about how its algorithm works, which is great news for anyone looking to maximize their listings for search visibility.
These are the top factors that influence search results:
● The relevance of tags and titles.
● Relevance of item attribute.
● Quality of customer and market experience.
● Options for free delivery (mostly in the United States).
But there are other ways to optimize your Etsy listings that don't require you to be an SEO expert. Here are some pointers to get you started:
● Use all 13 available tags for each listing.
● Tag with specific phrases (for example, "large lion plush" rather than "lion" or "animal plush").
● Make your listing's title a precise phrase.
● Fill in your item attributes precisely.
● Make use of clear photographs.
● Ask for feedback from previous customers and address issues as soon as possible.
The tool analyzes the best-related keywords and shows you a lot of strong keywords that you can add to your listings.
Etsy Ad Campaigns
Etsy saves space in search results for paid advertising campaigns. These can be a great way to increase the visibility of your listings to high-intent-to-purchase shoppers, especially if you're new to the site.
Etsy Ads are straightforward to use. You can begin with a $50 budget and then sit back and let Etsy's algorithms do the rest.
Etsy will optimize the visibility of your ad across category pages, market pages and searches on both the Etsy’s website and mobile app. It's a simple way to increase your chances of making a sale.
Externally, Etsy advertises listings via search engine results, social media platforms, and Google Display Network sites.
Allowing your listings to be used in offsite ads is optional if you're new to Etsy (or if your Etsy store has made below $10,000 in the last 12 months). However, you may want to take advantage of this free exposure to a larger audience.
While offsite advertising fees are relatively high at 15%, you only pay an ads fee if you sell the product, and fees are maxed at $100 per order.
Know the Marketplace and Your Competition
Etsy has become highly competitive over the years, with some categories much more competitive than others. It is critical to look into the categories where you intend to sell items, it is necessary to really dig in and look at many of the shops and their listings.
The final step to how to start selling on Etsy, is start thinking in a strategy to compete with other sellers that might sell the same articles as you.
Keep in mind that your items may be listed in multiple categories at times, so make sure to list an item in the category that will give you the most benefit.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
● The photos of your competitors or successful shops to get inspiration.
● The prices of products that are similar to yours.
● Examine the "about" pages of shops to see what kind of information people are providing about their work and products.
● Read the "policies" section of several shops as well; it will inspire you for your own section.
● Examine the social media presence of those stores with a lot of sales and reviews.
To help with this, you can rely on EtsyHunt’s tools, performing a quick keyword search we can see how competitive is that product. For instance, we search for handmade soap:
As you can see, it shows you the estimated number of competitors for that keyword, which in this case is something high. Thankfully it also shows you category distribution so you can choose a category that benefits you the most:
You can also perform product research using the same keyword (handmade soap), to see the main competitors for that product:
Begin Selling on Etsy
With all this information provided, and adding the tools shared, you should be able to start your own Etsy shop and succeed right away. However, you have the knowledge, but if you lacking of ideas, don't hesitate to look for some inspiration about things to sell on Etsy.
Once you put this knowledge with a winning selling idea the next step is profiting.