May 14, 2019 Online Store and Retail en_US Do you produce items that would be perfect for Etsy? Read how to start an Etsy store and set up a successful online shop to generate money from day one. How to sell on Etsy: A guide to selling handmade goods online
Online Store and Retail

How to sell on Etsy: A guide to selling handmade goods online

By Erin Osterhaus May 14, 2019

While there are many online marketplaces, Etsy corners the market when it comes to selling handmade goods, vintage items, and arts and crafts. It’s also the No. 1 pick for millions of sellers because Etsy makes it easy to create and manage an account. For folks trying to get their products online quickly, Etsy can be a great resource. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get started, plus some tips for selling items once your store is up and running.

How do I create an Etsy store?

Creating an Etsy store is easy. Check out these step-by-step instructions.

1. Register

To open a shop online, you must first become a registered site member. Once you have an Etsy account, you can open a shop.

2. Create your shop

Etsy will direct you through the process of creating your online shop and choosing your language and currency preferences. Etsy features buyers and sellers from all over the world. By specifying your language and location, your Etsy listings will be more likely to reach potential customers in your target market.

3. Choose a name

Next, you will need to choose a name for your Etsy store. Etsy requires each shop owner to use a unique name, so it’s common for sellers to find that their first choice is unavailable. In some cases, you can add a word like “store” or “boutique” to the end of your preferred shop name. The goal is to choose a name that’s interesting and memorable to buyers and represents the style of goods you’re selling.

4. Start listing items

After Etsy approves your shop name, you can start listing items for sale. Upload photos of the products you want to sell. Take the time to provide detailed and intriguing descriptions of your products. This is your opportunity to catch a shopper’s attention and show them what’s unique about your offering. The description is also the place to detail the size of the item, the materials used, and any exciting features it includes. When you’re done writing product descriptions, tag items with keywords that make them easier to find in Etsy’s search function.

5. Set the right price

As you think about setting your price, consider Etsy’s seller fees. Etsy takes listing, transaction, and payment processing fees, among others. So it’s important to know just how big of a cut Etsy will take from the sale of your goods. Price your products strategically so that you can sell each one at its true value.

Understanding Etsy’s fee structure

Listing fees

To post your products on the site, Etsy charges a 20 cent listing fee per item. The product listing fee allows you to have your product on the site for four months. You can auto-renew the listing for another 20 cents if your item doesn’t sell in that time.

Transaction fees

Essentially, these are commission payments made to Etsy for the use of their online marketplace. Currently, Etsy charges 5% of the total item price, including any wrapping or shipping costs to the customer.

Payment processing fees

Etsy charges a fee if a customer pays with a credit card using Etsy’s direct checkout option, not third parties like PayPal. This fee is 3% of the item’s total price, plus 25 cents.

PayPal fees

If a buyer chooses to purchase your items via PayPal, Etsy charges you a fee. PayPal fees are 2.9% of the value of the transaction, plus a flat fee of 30 cents per transaction.

Shipping fees

Etsy charges a shipping label fee for the USPS, FedEx, and Canada Post shipping labels generated in Etsy. These fees depend on each package’s origin and destination. Shipping fees are important to keep in mind when setting prices and shipping policies. You’ll want to outline your payment and shipping policies on your shop’s homepage and include:

  • Accepted payment forms
  • Shipping times and costs
  • Refund and exchange policies
  • Custom and duty fees for international purchases

Advertising fees

If you’d like to increase your visibility, you can pay Etsy an optional fee to have your items featured prominently for certain keywords. To make sure these fees don’t eat into your profits, you’ll need to price your products strategically. Let’s say you’re selling one-of-a-kind portraits and want to make a $25 profit on each item.

You’ll need to work backward to determine what your listing price should be to achieve your desired profit. In particular, you should take into consideration all related costs associated with making those portraits. Those costs might include materials, the labor hours you put in, your expenses, and the profit you want. That formula is:

Supplies + Labor + Expenses + Profit = Retail price

For example, let’s say the cost of the paint and canvas used for one portrait is $10. You spend about three hours painting the portrait and value your time at around $25 per hour. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say you do your painting in your spare bedroom, so your only expenses are the associated Etsy fees—the listing fee, transaction fee, and processing fee—and $10 for shipping. In total, your expenses come to $20.85. Your equation will look like this:

$10 + $75 + $20.85 + $25 = $130.85

How to sell successfully on Etsy

Etsy has over 2 million active sellers. To stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to develop a few complementary skills relating to marketing, branding, and customer service. Here are five ways to make sure your store is a success:

1. Practice your photography

One of the keys to selling items on Etsy is attractive product photography. For best results, experiment with different lighting options, camera angles, and backgrounds for each item. These will help you come up with the ideal photography style for your brand. And once you have a style, you’ll want to keep it consistent.

2. Brand your business

Speaking of brands, Etsy is a great place to build your brand among customers and clients. For best results, design your shop to reflect your visual style and product offerings. You may want to create a custom banner, avatar, and background image to tie your brand together in the eyes of customers.

3. Focus on customers

It’s no secret that today’s online shoppers have a lot of options—Etsy alone features millions of sellers. To encourage customers to choose you over the competition, strive to be available to buyers, and answer their questions and inquiries quickly. You should also be as honest as possible about materials and how much time it will take you to ship items. Take care to ensure the finished product looks just as it did in the photo.

4. Network with similar sellers

Need a little inspiration for your Etsy shop? Etsy Teams serves as a gathering place for sellers with shared interests. And it allows you to find answers to questions while collaborating with like-minded folks. The result is a more successful Etsy shop and a better, more enjoyable selling experience.

5. Use social media strategically

To get the word out about your products beyond the marketplace, Etsy recommends harnessing the power of social media for your business. By sharing information about your goods and your brand on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, you can potential buyers discover your products.

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Erin Osterhaus is a finance writer with Intuit QuickBooks. Her work has been featured on TechRepublic, Yahoo Small Business, and Read more