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Etsy Seller Tips (A Comprehensive Starter's Guide)

Creating handmade items and marketing them is a way to create an income stream for you and your family. My goal is to help you do that.

Etsy is one of the best platforms for selling crafts and other items.

Etsy is one of the best platforms for selling crafts and other items.

What Is Etsy?

Etsy is an eCommerce platform specializing in allowing business owners and customers to buy and sell products—particularly handmade, crafted, and vintage goods.

It is a marketplace where people gather to buy, sell and collect goods and products. Independent crafters and artists sell vintage, handmade, or custom-made jewelry, clothing, home décor, art, toys, and more.

They started their platform in 2005. Unlike sellers like Amazon or Walmart, everything is handled by the sellers, who are independent business owners. Etsy acts as the middleman, giving smaller, independent creators a platform to find and attract customers.

Etsy's popularity became apparent because of its hometown farmer's market appeal rather than just a giant listing platform. It focuses on homemade goods, vintage items as well as crafting supplies. This has set it apart from other large e-commerce sites.

There is no cost to join Etsy. It is totally free. So, you can get your account and take the time to learn and understand the platform before you dip your feet into the water. Once you get started with your store, there will be costs involved. But the actual account is totally free.

Facts About ETSY

Etsy currently boasts over 2.7 million sellers serving a community of over 54 million members. This means that there is more than enough traffic to search for, discover, and purchase from among the platform’s products (over 60 million).

Reasons to Consider Etsy:

  1. They are an established platform and marketplace that has a great deal of traffic. While that is a true fact, you are still going to have to work to get your shop in the spotlight.
  2. People trust the Etsy platform. But of course, you are going to have to create and build trust in your brand. That takes an investment of time and energy.

Etsy Fees

The cost of doing business on Etsy remains reasonable especially for sellers just starting out. Listing a product cost $0.20 per item. That product will be sent out to the digital world for four months or until it is sold. When that happens there is a 5% transaction fee relative to the sales price of that specific item.

On top of these, there are pattern fees, conversion fees, and a variety of ad fees, which can easily get away from even the most veteran Etsy seller.

Now the seller has the option to renew that product either manually or automatically. The manual option gives the seller the option of which products to list and when. This gives you options when it comes to products doing poorly or well for that matter. The automatic option gives you less time working with the individual listings.

Other Fees In Etsy Accounts

  • Payment Processing Fees: This occurs when a customer buys any product with a credit card through Etsy’s direct checkout service. Here, it’s 3% of the product’s full price and then an additional 25 cents.
  • PayPal Fee: This is the cost for PayPal transactions. The cost is 2.9% of the sold item’s full sale price and then 30 cents on the top.
  • Shipping Fees: This depends entirely on the sold product’s weight, size, and shipping destination. Etsy provides estimates for FedEx, USPS, and Canada Post.

Paying Etsy Fees

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All fees are due monthly. If you have an automatic payment set up, it will deduct the amount. If not, it will show an amount due.

Etsy Upgrades

There are upgrades that you can add to your Etsy shop that are optional.

Buyers have been increasing on the Etsy platform over the years

Buyers have been increasing on the Etsy platform over the years

Commitment to Your Etsy Store

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your Etsy store. There needs to be a commitment of time, patience and perseverance to male your store a success.

You need to have the passion to make your Etsy store the best it can be. The "fire in your belly" will take you places that you never thought possible.

But that won't happen if you are only partially committed to your business.

Remember, being all-in with your goals means that you have a higher chance of achieving them.

What to Do Before You Open Your Etsy Shop

There are a few steps to consider before you open your Etsy Store:

  1. You have inventory—products to sell—before you open your store.
  2. You have researched your completion to note what they are doing right and what their pricing looks like.
  3. You have set up your banking or PayPal system.
  4. You have taken pictures of your items.
  5. You have decided on your listings.

We have added more information in this article to help you get started.

What You Need to Get Started

To start your Etsy experience, there are just a few things that you need:

  • Your location
  • Your Shop Name
  • How you want to get paid
  • Your Bank Information to pay Etsy fees

Check Out Your Competition

You can have the greatest products in the world, but that will not guarantee sales. After all there can be 20 other stores selling the same kind of merchandise.

Take the step to look for the product you are planning to market. Look at the best sellers in that niche. Look at the listing, the images and the cost. What are they doing? How is there pricing? What kind of customer service do they offer? Really understand what you need to do to make your shop stand out.

It is important to scope your competition often! You want to find the top sellers especially and really analyze what draws people to their site rather than yours.

  • Is their site easier to use or more user friendly?
  • Are the photos of their products better?
  • Are their product descriptions more interesting?

Really look to see how your site measures up against theirs and make adjustments where you need to

Creating Your Etsy Store Name

With the number of sellers on the Etsy reaching 2 million, your Etsy store name is truly important. You need to stand out from the crowd. And you need to be able to establish a connection with your potential sellers in order to increase your sales chances.

So, the first step in your Etsy journey, even before you open your store is to brand your business.

You want your name to be professional and descriptive. Make sure to name the items that you are selling somewhere in your title.

Start with an appealing logo and a slogan that matches your business theme. Your goal is to answer the question, "Why should customers choose your products over others?" You want to create a connection between you and the folks wandering through the Etsy platform. Those connections between you and your potential customers are going to lead to more sales.

Connecting with potential buyers will bring more traffic and will create loyal customers that will come back to you.

Sharing your story will help make that connection, too. Share your reason for starting your Etsy store, your passion for your products and how you want to help your customers solve a problem or answer a need.

Make Your Business Name Descriptive

Make sure that your business name helps to describe the products that you are selling. Include the name of the product somewhere in your name be it hats, shoes, t-shirts or whatever it may be. This is a powerful tool to help you draw folks to your location.

If you decide to use an abstract name, it may set your business apart from the competition. Word play make help you as long as there is some kind of engagement with the name of your products.

You can also use your own name in your business, but include the name of the product if you can. Just using your name alone does not tell me what you are about.

Other Etsy Store Name Requirements

  • Your name must be at least between 4-20 characters. It can be no longer than between 70-120 characters.
  • Include a focus keyword: Use it at the beginning of the title to get a better ranking.
  • No spaces or special characters
  • No profanity
  • Not already in use by an existing Etsy member
  • Does not infringe on another's trademark

If the shop name you entered is in use, you will see suggestions for other shop names that are still available. Your shop name will be held for you while you open your shop.

Tell Your Story in Your Biography

  • Your profile is another marketing tool and should be used as such. Shoppers are interested in learning more about you and your business. Creating a professional profile will add another layer of trust if used correctly.
  • Use your profile to present yourself, your business history and your goals.
  • Make sure to mention any accomplishments, awards or recognition that you have achieved.

Items You Can and Cannot Sell

What You Can SellWhat You Cannot Sell

Products that you have created and have the right o sell

Items created from endangered or threatened animal species

Vintage items over 20 years old

Weapons and explosives

Digital materials written or designed by you

Items that promote, support, or glorify hatred and violence

Products you created with a production partner

Copyright material and handmade items that you didn’t make

Craft supplies

Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products

More Products to Sell on Etsy

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Setting Up Your Etsy Store and Brand

The great thing about setting up an Etsy store is that you do not need any special programming experience or even an investment to get started. But what is important before you even set up your shop is to create your brand. Taking the time to create your brand will go a long way to reaching your potential buyers.

One step that you can take that will get your brand established is to create a logo for your brand. Once you pick a color and style for your logo, you want to carry that brand across all of your business including a blog, social media and other places where you want to market.

Use your new logo on your shop, ads, business cards, and packaging. This will help establish trust and confidence with your customers, indicating the quality of your products and brand.

What Products Can Be Sold on Etsy?

Make sure that your product can be sold on Etsy (see table above for specifics).

  • Handmade means that it is designed and created by you
  • Vintage means that it must be at least 20 years old
  • Craft supplies are tools, ingredients, or materials whose primary purpose is to create an item or throw a special occasion. Party supplies can be listed as craft supplies.

Prohibited Items

Prohibited items include tobacco, drugs or drug paraphernalia, weapons, hazardous materials, and others. Items that use the intellectual property of someone else, even if you designed or created the item, aren’t allowed either.

Creating Your Etsy Shop

Before you are able to start your Etsy store, you must have an Etsy account. Add a picture and a biography to add interest to your account.

Once you have done that, you are ready to open your Etsy store( this step will only work with a desktop browser) :

  1. To open your Etsy store, visit Etsy.com/sell. Select Get Started
  2. Select your shop language, country, and currency, then click Save and continue.
  3. Choose your shop name, then click Save and continue.

Once your shop is open, you can manage it on the Sell on Etsy App.

Select Your Shop Language

The shop language that you select is the default language for your shop. You cannot change this setting, but you can add other translations later to your shop. having other translations may help you get more sales.

Select the Country

Select the country where you are located for your shop.

Select the Currency

Choose the currency that you will be using for your shop to price your listings. Currency conversion fees may apply if your bank currency is different from your shop currency.

What Is the Time Commitment for Your Shop?

Full time or part time job for your shop? That is up to you. This is for informational use only.

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Adding Payment Options

Did you know that an average of 7% of buyers leave items because there are not enough payment options? Some customers may opt to pass by your products because they are not comfortable with leaving their credit card information with you.

Take advantage of the payment options that are used on the Etsy platform, which include:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit/bank cards
  • Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Sofort(Austria and Germany)
  • Klarna (the United States and Germany)
  • DEAL (the Netherlands)
etsy-seller-tips

Create Your Etsy Listing

Think of each of your products as sub brands of your main brand. They need to reflect what your business is all about.

  1. Make sure to include the size, materials used, how it was made, and any unique features. Be specific as possible. If someone is looking for a blue sweater, you want to have the color prominent in your listing so they can find your item.
  2. Try to keep your listing between 120-220 words. You want to get as much information as you can in your listing.
  3. Product descriptions should be creative, but also clear and descriptive in an honest way. Keep it at about 140 characters.
  4. Since customers cannot hold the items in their hands or see them in person, the text should give them a feel for the product. It should tell the qualities, feel, look and use – size, texture, shape, everything is relevant for an online buyer.
  5. Use different terms to describe your products. Switching it around a bit will get more hits and potential sales.
  6. Describe the uniqueness of your product. Is it made by hand? it is a one-of-a-kind item? What makes it special or unique?

Product Name

Keep it clear or make it catchy. The product name will draw people to the listing. Keep it at 140 characters. Getting the product name right not only will get you high listing in Etsy but will place you in a favorable place in the search engines.

Your Classification

All items sold on Etsy must fit into one of the approved classifications. Handmade, Vintage, Craft or Customized are all the only classifications you can chose. Handmade means that you have personally designed and made the product yourself. Vintage means that an item is at least 20 years old or more. Craft supplies are supplies that are used to make something.

Photos

The importance of good photos or videos cannot be stressed enough. They will often be the reason that the customer makes a purchase or not. They should be 1000 pixels square. You can have up to five photos.

Inventory Details

These are simple additions to define the number of items you have, unit prices, taxes, quantities, modifications (if applicable), sizes, color, etc. unit prices, taxes, quantities, modifications (if applicable), sizes, colors, etc. You are always required to list the number of items available.

Adding Attributes to Your Listing

Attributes can also help buyers find your items more easily in search results. Attributes are an option on your Etsy listing but should always be chosen to give your listing maximum ability to be found. The category you select for your items determines the attributes you can add for the item.

Including standardized information like color, occasion, or holiday will help make your items more relevant in search results.

If you do not find the exact attribute when you add your listing, select the attribute closer to your product.

Applying Tags

You can select up to 13 tags per item. With the right keywords, you can actually have an item appear in several categories. This will bring more potential buyers to your item. So chose your tags carefully to get the best results.

Shipping and Profile Cost

Include information on how soon the order will be shipped and what method will be used for shipping. It will also include information as to what the shipping cost will be.

It would also include the date that your customer can expect the item to arrive.

You can charge a flat cost to all buyers or calculate shipping costs based on the item you’re selling and the buyer’s location

It should also include things like method of payment, refund and exchange policies, customs and any other fees.

You can have the most unbelievable products, but if your products are not listed well, you will not sell.

So, if writing is not your forte, consider using services like Fiver. You can get a listing done for as little as $5. Well worth it if you get multiple sales.

More Etsy Listing Tips

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Price It Right

Pricing your listings can be a challenge, and you will more than likely change your listings over time as you gain experience. Paying yourself a fair and equitable profit should be one of your top priorities.

One time and true formula for pricing goes like this. Materials + Labor + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail.

Top-Down Approach to Pricing

Make a list of all of the extra expenses not tied to a specific item. Costs for things to think about include gas for business traveling, marketing costs, Etsy ads or other social media promotion. Also include any taxes or Etsy fees.

Document all of these costs, then divide them by the number of items you have or plan to produce this year. That will give you an estimated overhead cost per item.

Figure in the Cost of Your Labor and Time Value

Your time has a value. It takes time to produce, sell, package and ship your items. Break down your production task by task. Determine how much time that it took to produce your item. Figure out how much you would make at a normal day job. Keep in mind that you may be the only one doing every task involved with running your business, including production, packaging, shipping, editing photos and answering emails.

Bottom line, you deserve to get paid fairly.

Another Way to Look at Pricing

There is another way to look at pricing that may be a little easier, especially for beginners. It is called bottom-up pricing.

In the bottom-up approach, you’ll use research and testing to determine a price you think is right and then figure out how much you’d ideally spend on each part of the process so that you reach this pricing goal.

Follow these three steps to figure out an ideal price:

  1. Do Your Research: Consider the prices for items that are similar to your item both on Etsy and on other platforms. Retailers like box stores are not your competitors. Remember, your item is a one-of-a-kind custom item. So, focus on handmade or other categories that match your craft.
  2. Decide Who Is Your Target Audience: Understand who may be buying the items that they may purchase and why. Is your item a seasonal product? Would it be considered as a gift item? How would it be used?
  3. Test and Gauge the Response: Once you have decided on your price, ask for responses from your target audience. Getting this feedback will make your shop more successful.

Check Your Keywords and Product Description

One of the most important aspect of driving business to your Etsy store is using the right keywords. The title of your product is a sales pitch to the bots in search engines. Cute or odd titles to your products will not help them or your customers find you. Remember, you can't sell products if they cannot find you

Be very clear and descriptive about your products. Include measurements, color options, and different uses of the items. Many times if someone has to ask about the product, they will move on to someone else.

etsy-seller-tips

Create Top Quality Photos and Videos for Your Listing

You do not need a fancy camera to create high quality photos for your Etsy listings.

Start with a point and shoot camera with a tripod when you first start shooting your product photos. Create your images with natural lighting.

You can add five images per listing. Your first image becomes your thumbnail listing. This thumbnail is the most important photo of the lot. It is most often the determining factor if a customer buys a product or not.

You want to create photos that are clean, clear, clutter-free product photography. That allows for a pleasant shopping experience. Each of the posted photos should be at least 1000 pixels square.

The thumbnail will be the first impression that the buyer will see, so you will want to put your best foot forward.

More Etsy Photo Tips

  1. Use a pure white background to show an item in its purest form. Include some zoom photos to give the best detail.
  2. Light it right. Make sure that the light source you are using shows the product to its best advantage.
  3. Pick a good background. Use complimentary colors to enhance the item. Avoid dizzy or busy backgrounds.
  4. Use lifestyle shots. These are shots of the product being used and enjoyed.
  5. Use props to enhance your photo. The right props will show off your product to its best advantage.

There are plenty of ways to edit your photos. One tip to remember is to make sure that the colors of your items are true. Otherwise, you may miss sales or get your customers upset.

The most important feature of your photo is that you want to appeal to the potential customers imagination so that they see that product being used in their lives.

Adding Videos

You can add videos to your listings to give shoppers a better idea of your products.

From an edit listing page, click "Add a video" if you’d like to add a short video showcasing additional details about your listing. Click "Choose" to upload your video.

Your video may be 5–15 seconds long and will not contain any audio once uploaded to your listing. Ideal resolution for your video is at least 1080px. You can only add one video per listing.

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Always Ship a Business Card With Your Orders

It is true that Etsy stores will increase your profit line. But, remember that there are fees associated to selling on any e-commerce site. Why not include a business card with every order directing the shopper to your website? After all, you will make more profit from selling off your website.

etsy-seller-tips

Customer Service Is a Top Priority

Start your customer service with your listings. Be direct about shipping turnaround times, whether you offer refunds or exchanges, how you handle customs and duty fees, and the types of payments you accept.

More Customer Service Tips

  1. Treat each inquiry as the most important item on your agenda. Be sure to answer all inquiries politely and make sure to thank them for their question.
  2. Honesty is still and always will be the best policy. If you cannot meet the customer's expectations, be honest about it. Your honesty will eventually bring you more sales in the long run. Remember, your shop reputation is built over time with good customer service.
  3. Go "above and beyond" to set yourself above the common seller. Include a personal note, add a business card, package your product well, add a gift tag. These are all little things that will give your brand special recognition that will be an investment in your future.
  4. Do what you can to "make it right." There will be bumps in the road along the way. But when the customer is not satisfied, do what you can to make it right. You can do 100 things right, but that one problem sale will haunt you for years to come. Ignoring it or not setting it right, will only cause your brand to suffer.
  5. Encourage repeat business. Consider offering a coupon code or a little gift included with your offer to foster repeat orders.
  6. Make sure that you have contact information. Leave your name, phone and email address so that customers can reach you regarding questions
  7. Follow up with customers to make sure that they are happy with their purchases. You can use an email or the phone. Your customers will appreciate your time.

Product Reviews

Treat product reviews as golden tickets to suture sales, because that is what they are. Positive reviews will boost your sales.

Sellers are allowed to request reviews from customers who have purchased. The only restriction is that they cannot incentivize a buyer to leave a review through coupons or offers. It’s best to lead with why a buyer should leave a review, focusing on benefits to them, and other buyers, as opposed to you the store owner.

Why Should You Ask for a Review

  • The more positive reviews that you receive, the higher your store will rank with Etsy. Products that are reviewed well be pushed higher on Etsy and on the internet as well.
  • Positive reviews bring trust between you and potential buyers. The more trust you build, the more likely they will make a purchase.
  • Buyer Information come with reviews. Your listing is limited, but good product reviews can add a lot more than you have the pace to say.

When to Ask for a Product Review

There is a time and a place to ask for product reviews. Consider one or more of these options as you move along with your Etsy store.

In an Email

Add a simple line in your emails. It could be at the bottom, or just before you sign off. It should be simple and to the point. You could add something like, if you like the product please leave a review as it helps other buyers”.

This is especially effective when you are emailing a buyer to thank them for their purchase and giving information about the product, shipping and other information

In a Follow Up Email

This is another effective marketing tool that will help you and your business create trust. This email would be sent after two days or more of the customer receiving their product. Again, thank them for their purchase. Suggest that if they liked the product that if they have enjoyed the product that they leave a review. Then direct them to the direct link to the review. Remind them that you are always there for them to address concerns.

In a Package Insert

Often overlooked, a packaging insert can be a tool for marketing and getting a positive review for your products. Of course, you will want to thank them for their purchase. Then add a line saying that you hope they will enjoy the product. Then suggest that they take a picture and share their thoughts on the product with other. Follow it up with the point of contact if they have any concerns or issues.

Never ask for a review by offering discounts or free gifts. This is totally against Etsy policy and will get you into a lot of problems.

etsy-seller-tips

You really need to understand the laws regarding trademarks and copyrights to avoid losing your Etsy store or worse yet being sued. This happens a lot, especially with images that are used on apparel.

You see a free image and create a product without purchasing the commercial license that is available for a fee. Then you sell products with the image on it. You are actually in violation of the law. In actuality, you have stolen some ones image and used it without their permission.

Or if you use a Disney trademarked image or a logo from a well known product, you can be subject to serious penalties.

Do it the right way ! Understand the use of images that you yourself have not created.

In the United States, copyright protection automatically exists from the moment a work is created. You don’t need to register your work for copyright. However, registering your work with the United States Copyright Office grants certain additional benefits.

In the US, copyright is a form of protection for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright protects literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works.

Copyright applies in the US With exception, copyright protection generally exists from the moment of creation and lasts until 70 years after the death of the creator. After that time, the work may enter public domain.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Etsy Shop

  1. Add the right keywords to your titles and descriptions: In order for you to sell your items, you need to be found. Keywords are how and where the search engines list your items. So, you need to get smart how you list and describe each item. Pretend that you are the buyer and search for the items you sell. Look at the top listings in your category. Note how the top 5 listings describe their products and work on each of your listings to boost their listings.
  2. Evaluate the photos of your listings: People often make decisions based on pictures. So, you need to be sure that your pictures will catch the eye of every potential buyer. Make sure that all your photos are in focus. Take multiple shots from different angles and include them in your listings. Use clean backgrounds that are not too busy.
  3. Update your shop policies: Completed and defined shop policies over a period of time will make your buyers more confident in making purchases from you. Make sure that your policies look professional. Include shipping details, return policies, payment options, etc.
  4. Fill out your About Me page: It's a great way to draw more traffic. People want to know about you/your aspirations, your story, your dreams. When they get to know you more, they will have confidence in you.
  5. Connect to social media: Get more traffic by sharing what you are selling. Create a Facebook page for your business! Create a Twitter account! Share all of what you have, and it does not cost a cent!

More Etsy Inspiration

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Marketing Your Brand

Having a marketing plan will get you more sales. It is mostly a time expense as there are plenty of free resources that you can use. Your plan can be simple and developed over time step by step.

Using Social Media to Promote Your Products

Reaching out to social media to brand and market your store and products is an important step in your business plan.

Start by creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use the logo that you have created on each platform that you are using. All of these platforms are free to use and do not take too much of your time to set up or develop.

You can use these platforms to announce your opening, new products that you are adding to your line, interact with customers and followers.

You can increase your influence and expertise on these platforms as well. Offer information, tips and ideas for using your products. Remember, that sales are made when you answer the needs or solve a problem that buyers have.

Email Lists

Creating email lists is another important step in your marketing plan. That is a great way to reach out directly to your previous customers as well as potential customers. It may seem to be an extra time challenge, but there are lots of email platforms that will help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Final Thoughts on Etsy

We have shared a lot of information on selling on Etsy. And after reading all this information, it may seem complicated. But when you break it down in pieces and take each one separately it is not all that difficult.

Be patient and work to success. It takes some time and effort to build your Etsy store. Keep plugging at it in an organized and planned fashion and you will see the rewards of your efforts in time.

Etsy Step One

You have a product or products that you want to market on Etsy. You do your research to decide if this is the right platform for your sales. You evaluate other similar products to decide prices, get ideas for listings and marketing.

Etsy Step Two

You have inventory to sell. Either you have many of the same items or many different items for your Etsy store.

Etsy Step Three

You set up your banking and payment options. Lots of sellers use PayPal. You decide how your finances will be set up.

Etsy Step Four

You take videos and or pictures for your listings. You edit them and have them ready for your store.

Etsy Step Five

You join Etsy. You educate yourself through the many Etsy information and seller guides. You set up your account, payment options and listings.

Etsy Step Six

You market your store through social media.

If you believe you have a market worthy product, I urge you to take the next step to create an extra income stream for you and your family. After all, with the price of inflation, who does not need a little extra income. I wish you all the best.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Linda F Correa

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