Starting an e-commerce store can be a daunting task. That’s why I put together this guide on how to sell on Etsy.
Etsy has made the process much smoother in the past few years, but there are still some things you need to know before you get started.
But, first, you might be wondering: what is Etsy exactly?
Etsy is an e-commerce website that hosts thousands of smaller sellers who set up their own “shops” on the website. So think of it as eBay in a sense, but with a focus on reputable sellers who make their own products.
When visiting Etsy, you’ll find that the site focuses on handmade gifts, craft supplies, and vintage items. They also host manufacturers who sell unique products that you won’t necessarily find anywhere else.
There’s a wide range of items that can be sold on Etsy, ranging from art, clothes, and jewelry to crochet items and even toys.
If you’re not entirely sure what you want to sell yet, take a look at my list of the best things to sell on Etsy in 2019.
Thinking of setting up an Etsy account? Here’s everything you need to know.
Why Etsy is a Great Choice
Here are some of the biggest reasons why people choose Etsy over other e-commerce stores like Shopify or eBay:
- It’s very easy to get started. Etsy is extremely user-friendly. You can have your business set up and running in one day.
- You have access to great customer service. If you’re struggling or have a dispute with a customer, you can get help very quickly. Most people who own e-commerce businesses don’t have that luxury and have to deal with everything themselves.
- Etsy is huge. They already attract a lot of buyers which is something any e-commerce business needs to survive.
- People trust Etsy. They are much more likely to buy something on there than on a new and relatively unknown e-commerce store.
- Etsy offers an easy way to reach an international audience. Etsy helps with the shipping as well. So most of the hard work is taken off your shoulders and you can just concentrate on creating.
- Etsy helps new sellers grow. Your success is their success and your store can become a great additional source of traffic to your own website later on.
Etsy’s Platform is The Smart Choice
You might be tempted to start your own thing and sell your products on your own website.
That’s completely fine and this approach works for many. But Etsy is a good alternative that’s much cheaper and they make it easier to get a micro-business set up.
Unlike a personal page, Etsy also helps get your products in front of a lot of eyes via their website and social media. Which is a bonus considering you’ll have to spend much less time and money on marketing your store.
Etsy has over 33 million active buyers as well.
This doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from having both, however.
Some great advice that I once heard:
Get your shop off the ground with Etsy and then start building your own website when you’ve grown a bit.
Etsy is cheaper to start off with but it can become more rewarding to also get your own website set up for your shop later on. This is especially important in case Etsy ever decides to close your shop on their platform for whatever reason.
Here are a few things you might want to know about starting your own website if you plan on being an Etsy seller.
What to Know Before Opening Your Shop
There are a few things to keep in mind when before starting an Etsy shop.
Most importantly: what will it cost?
Etsy currently has two package options to choose from when signing up, with a third option set to launch sometime in 2019 (you can always switch to a different option later).
The options are:
- The “Standard” option comes with the basic tools that you need to get your store set up on Etsy and is free of charge.
- The “Plus” option comes with additional tools like new ways to customize the look of your shop and telling your customers that your items are back in stock. This requires a monthly subscription of $10.
- The “Premium” option isn’t available yet but is set to add even more tools and listing credits to a seller’s account. No pricing is available for this option yet.
Then, after signing up, Etsy will take $0.20 for every item you list in your shop as part of their listing fee, as well as a 5% cut on every item you sell. A listed item is active for four months or until it is sold.
Lastly, there will be a Paypal processing fee whenever you withdraw money from your Etsy shop to your PayPal account. This fee can be found on the PayPal site. Coincidentally, you can also set it up to have customers pay directly into your PayPal account via Etsy if they pay with PayPal.
Some other things to keep in mind:
- Keep enough stock handy as Etsy works on a first come, first serve basis. You don’t want to earn a reputation for not being able to fill orders.
- Browse products in the same categories that you want to sell in. You’ll get an idea of what prices people are willing to pay and can price your products competitively.
- Decide on your store policies before you start selling. It’s important to state what your stance is on certain stuff like returns or damaged goods, and how you will handle deliveries.
How to Sell on Etsy
Starting an Etsy shop may seem daunting at first but the process is actually simple and easy to follow.
The first step towards selling on Etsy is to register on the site. Once your account has been created, the fun begins!
Here’s the full guide:
- At Etsy, click on the “Sell on Etsy” button at the top right corner of the screen.
- Find the “Open a shop” button on the new page and click on it.
- Follow the instructions and enter the details asked of you. These include your country, shop language, and currency, among others.
- Choose a name for your shop. Be sure to make it something that stands out!
- In order to be able to open a shop, you’ll have to list your first item.
- Then choose which payment methods your shop will accept.
- Finally, add your billing information so Etsy can send you all the moola that will eventually start rolling in!
After getting your shop up and running, you’ll also want to start customizing it. Make sure to add a cover photo and shop icon.
You’ll also want to fill in the “about” section so your customers can start getting to know you and your new business. Plus, make sure to add your shop’s policies and maybe some Shop Sections for different types of items so there’s no confusion.
Then it’s time to focus on marketing and managing your shop. Etsy has some really helpful advice, tools, and even mobile apps for managing on the go so make sure to check those out.
How to get Etsy Customers to Line Up
Becoming successful on Etsy isn’t just about creating a page and uploading some pictures of the products you’re selling.
You need to create a brand that people will connect with to stand out above the rest. That means compelling copy, a great-looking page, quality photos of your products, a friendly demeanor when chatting with customers, and great follow-up techniques.
Here are some of the proven tips that work on Etsy which I’ve come across:
1. Make sure to have enough items listed on the shop
Customers shy away from shops that don’t sell a lot of items for fear of being scammed.
They usually also prefer to order a couple of items at once to save money on shipping costs.
The more items you list on Etsy, the more likely your products are to come up in searches as well. So this is an all-around great tactic for any seller.
2. Try to change things up every now and then
People go to Etsy to find new and unique stuff. So try to refresh your stock and also try to work in some seasonal items. People love looking for seasonal gifts or items on Etsy!
3. Focus on writing outstanding product descriptions
You want to make people understand exactly what they’re buying
They can’t feel or see the product in real life so you have to describe it to them and make them want it.
Go Forth and Conquer Etsy
This could be the first step towards your financial independence and a great way to keep doing what you love while earning a living for yourself.
Even if you do decide to keep your day job and just want to make some money on the side, Etsy might still be a great choice for you. Or you could, instead, take a look at the many other ways to make money online listed on this site.