Everyone is good at that certain something. Even better, There’s almost always a market for that certain something. Do you like making miniature wooden houses in your spare time? Or are you better at taking awesome photographs? No matter your skill or passion, there’s likely a place for you as an Etsy seller.
Etsy.com is a retail website set up for artisans to showcase and sell their handmade crafts and art. The site handles all of the ordering, notifications, and payment processing, making it easy for crafty entrepreneurs to focus on production.
So are you ready to sell on Etsy and take the first steps toward doing what you love for a living? Of course you are! So let’s get started.
How to set up an Etsy shop
The process of setting up an Etsy shop is straightforward, but you’ll need to make some choices in the planning stages. Your Etsy shop is essentially a small business, so you need to put the same amount of thought and planning into it. To get you started on running an Etsy store, follow these steps and learn how to set up an Etsy shop in no time.
1. Choose your product
Many crafters make a myriad of items on a regular basis. You can sell almost anything in your Etsy shop, but it’s best to focus on a few complementary products so customers will understand what your shop is all about.
For example, if you’re a soap maker, you may offer a dozen soaps, bath fizzes, and lotions, but you should avoid confusing people by trying to sell your crocheted blankets and handmade jewelry too. Find your niche and run with it.
2. Decide on pricing
Pricing your products correctly takes some time and analysis. There are two ways to go about it: You can set prices based on your time and material costs (internal pricing) or based on how much your competition sells similar products for (external pricing). A combination of the two tends to generate the most profit.
For example, if it costs a total of $1.87 to make a bar of soap, you might choose to price at three times the cost, for a sales price of $5.61. However, if all of your competition prices soaps at $4 or less, you may want to stick with a 100% markup. Take some time to peruse other Etsy shops that carry products like yours to ensure you’re competitive.
It’s also important to be mindful of any fees that come with Etsy and PayPal (if you’re using it for payments). For Etsy, you’ll pay a 20-cent listing fee per item, as well as 5% of the sale price when you complete a transaction. You’ll also have to factor in shipping and packing fees.
If you’re using PayPal, you’ll also end up giving the service 2.9% of the item value in fees in addition to a 30-cent transaction fee. This can quickly jump up to 7.9% and 50 cents if you’re using PayPal as your primary payment method on Etsy.
3. Build your inventory
Before opening your Etsy shop, make sure you have enough product to sell. You don’t want to run out after your first few sales and have to scramble to produce more. You also don’t want to overstock any one item. Managing your inventory can be simple at first, start with about 10 of each product you aim to sell. Once you have a track record of sales, you’ll be able to see which items move quickly and which do not — and plan accordingly. Managing your inventory well will lead to quick deliveries and happy customers.
4. Take pictures of your inventory
The key to solid Etsy sales is taking good pictures. This isn’t a job for your cell phone. Use a quality camera and take the pictures in ample lighting. Many free online tutorials show you how to photograph items for sale online. Take multiple pictures of each item to ensure you capture the best shots. You’re allowed to post five pictures with each product, so be sure to show different angles. If it’s a wearable item, show someone wearing it in at least one of the photos.
5. Set up your Etsy account
Go to Etsy.com and register your account. The site will guide you through the registration process. Etsy starts everyone out as a buyer, so you will need to click on the Sell tab at the top of the screen to switch to a seller account. This is also where you’ll set up your store name. Your name is your brand, so think carefully about this. (More on this below.)
Under the Your Etsy tab, go to the “Add New Item” link where the system will walk you through preparing a description for each item and uploading photos. You can make changes later.
6. Set up payment methods
You also must choose the type(s) of payments you’ll accept. Etsy Payments is the most popular route on Etsy as it allows you to accept credit cards, debit cards, and more. You can even accept Etsy gift cards if you go this route.
You can also go with PayPal. PayPal is one of the most widely accepted forms of payment online, and allows you to receive funds instantly. Don’t have a PayPal account? It’s free to register for one at PayPal.com. Not feeling PayPal? You can also opt for money orders or checks, but expect to lose some customers over this as many prefer Etsy Payments or PayPal.
7. Set up your shipping process
Learning to package your wares securely and ship them quickly helps build your reputation on Etsy. Buy proper shipping supplies, and use bubble wrap for delicate items. Determine your average USPS shipping cost based on a ZIP code half the country away from you: The buyer pays you this standard shipping charge. Sometimes the actual shipping cost will be more or less, but you’ll break even over time if you use a good average.
Congratulations! Now you’re ready to sell. Let’s make sure you get off to a great start.
Tips for succeeding on Etsy
Having an Etsy store up and running is one thing, but finding success with it is another. Whether you want to run an Etsy business full-time or on the side, these tips will help you get started on the right foot and stand out in the growing sea of craft gurus.
1. Have a great shop name
Move over Juliet, there’s a lot in a name when it comes to Etsy. Think long and hard about your name, as this is your brand and will become what people know you for — that and your awesome new products, of course.
Think of a name that captures who you are, what you make, and what kind of feeling you want people to get when they shop at your store. Do you sell handmade items? Or are you selling photography that’s been digitally altered to reflect something? A name can tell people a ton about your store, so pick one that truly showcases what you do.
2. Don’t neglect SEO
When people do an Etsy search within the site, they can filter results in a number of ways. Outside of Etsy, on say, Google, the searcher will find whatever Google serves up. This means you need to mindful of search engine optimization or SEO. Yes that three-letter word you may have heard before, applies here too. (Totally new to SEO? That’s okay. This guide does a great job introducing this powerful tool.)
If you have digital marketing chops yourself, do some keyword research and make sure your product descriptions and titles are optimized to capture the right keywords.
You can also hire a freelancer if need be. In the long run, this can make you a ton of money from new customers and save you money because you won’t have to pay for promoted listings for your store to get attention.
3. Feature great product photography
In the world of eCommerce and retail, presentation is huge. When was the last time a poorly-produced ad inspired you to go out and buy something? Probably never. Etsy is no different.
Professional-level product photography can play a big role in whether or not someone buys something. If you can take the pictures yourself, great. If not, it could be worth spending a little money on a freelance photographer to make sure you’re presenting your products in the best possible light — literally and figuratively.
4. Constantly hunt for similar items
Your competition never sleeps, and neither can you. Okay, you can sleep a little. But you need to make sure you’re checking for similar items on Etsy to ensure you’re staying competitive with pricing and not losing out on potential customers.
Checking other Etsy listings can also prevent competitors from blatantly stealing your work or ideas, which isn’t unheard of. Much like eBay, Etsy doesn’t permit product theft and will take down flagged listings after review. If you see another shop owner that’s obviously imitating your work after you launch the product, report them as soon as you can.
Thriving in the online marketplace
Running an Etsy shop can be chaotic, stressful, and sometimes defeating. Follow the tips laid out in this article, and you’ll find yourself on your way to becoming a successful business owner. More importantly, you might even discover you love running an Etsy store.
It won’t be long until you make your first sale. From there, it’s off to the races. Don’t ever allow yourself to get complacent, always look for ways to innovate and offer more unique crafts, and never stop scoping out your competition. With careful planning, a healthy amount of coffee, and some craft supplies, you’ll be thriving in the Etsy marketplace in no time.