Selling your art and crafts online has never been easier. Once upon a time, you would have had to build your own website either on WordPress or with a website builder you preferred. But not anymore!
Today, dozens of eCommerce websites are designed to help you sell your goods online without hassle, including Etsy.
Etsy is one of the largest arts and crafts eCommerce sites making over 1.7 billion dollars of revenue in 2020 alone.
And it doesn’t look like things are changing anytime soon. Yearly revenue has increased steadily since 2012, doubling between 2019 and 2020.
With more people ordering arts and crafts online, it’s never been a better time to jump onto Etsy and list your goods. If you have any questions about how to sell on Etsy, take a look through my handy guide and learn how quick and easy it is to list all your items on Etsy and start making money.
How Does Etsy Work?
Etsy is an e-commerce platform and marketplace facilitator that connects the Etsy community of sellers of unique goods to buyers. Unlike Shopify, Etsy allows you to sell your arts and crafts using a web browser or the Etsy app without building a website.
Most people who sell on Etsy create something unique like a painting, cutting board, sculpture, coaster, or selling handmade items. The Etsy selling platform helps sellers find buyers for those items with product listings.
Like most other online marketplaces, the buyers can purchase the items directly from the seller, and Etsy charges a 5% commission fee for any sale made through the website. If this turns out to be too expensive for you in the long term, there are other marketplaces like Etsy you may want to look into.
What separates Etsy from other marketplaces or any online store is that it focuses primarily on unique goods, not mass production sold by individuals or tiny businesses. Many goods are handmade and have a charm that products at big box stores are simply missing.
How to Sell on Etsy (Step-by-Step)
This section will look at the step-by-step process of how to sell on Etsy successfully and set up your Etsy shop.
1. Register with Etsy
Visit Etsy.com and click on “Register” at the top right-hand corner of the page. Next, type in your name and email address and choose a username and password.
Alternatively, you can sign up directly with Google, Apple, or Facebook.
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After you set up your account, read all of the platform’s policies to ensure that offering products on Etsy is the right move for your small business and that you stay within their guidelines.
2. Open Your Shop from Your Etsy Account
Now it’s time to open your shop. Log into your Etsy account and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click on “Open Your Etsy Shop.”
You will be taken to this page:
Here, you will be asked to input the language and currency you want to use for your shop and the reason for opening a shop. Simply click the answers that best apply to you and carry on to the next step. And don’t worry, Etsy has a built-in currency conversion tool if online shoppers want to buy your products from another country.
3. Choose Your Etsy Shop Preferences
Once you’re done with the setup, you must customize your shop preferences and settings for how you want your shop to function and your Etsy homepage. In addition to entering the information regarding the shop language, shop country, shop name, and shop currency, you will also need to fill in the following:
Your Shop Name: Before you can start selling like many Etsy sellers, you need to name your shop. Choose a store name less than 20 characters long and doesn’t contain any spaces or characters that aren’t letters and numbers.
Remember that choosing the right name for your shop can help your search engine optimization purposes in Etsy search. Therefore, it pays to understand keyword relevance, Etsy SEO, and Etsy search before deciding on a shop or store name. If you need help with this, you’ll need to do keyword research with a tool like Koalanda.
Etsy allows you to change it just once if you’ve already chosen one.
Shop Title: This is a brief description of your Etsy store in the products you sell. Your title should inform Etsy customers what you do, sell, or provide as an Etsy seller. As with your Etsy shop name, keyword use is essential here.
Links: The platform allows you to link to your social media pages. You can link to your Twitter feed, Facebook page, and other social outlets to easily promote your storefront to your network.
Shop Announcement: In this section, you can include details about your Etsy listings or what buyers and potential customers might need to know when they visit your shop, as many Etsy sellers do.
Message to Buyers: As an Etsy seller, you can add a message that your buyers will get automatically whenever they purchase. You can also add a message to digital buyers, and your potential customers will receive the message immediately following a purchase of any of your digital products.
4. Create Shop Policies
You can create shop policies specific to your items’ sales in the Shop Policies section. These include:
Welcome Message: You can use this area to greet customers and include a few details about yourself to give customers a better idea of who you are and why your Etsy store exists. Don’t forget to include important keywords.
Shipping Policy: Here, you should explain how you ship, the areas you ship to, and various other details your customers need to gain a better idea of how and when they can expect to receive the items they purchase from you.
Refund Policy: Your refund policy should detail what you will and won’t do for buyers who want refunds.
Seller Information: This part identifies your location and contact information and anything else your customers may want to know about your Etsy businesses.
5. About Your Shop
This tab allows you to access the Members, Story, and Manufacturers sections. You can also access the “About Your Shop” tab from the “Your Shop” menu.
Members: You can use this section to link to your user profile on Etsy and the profiles of any of the folks who work in or are connected to your Etsy store.
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Story: Here, you can include information about why you started your Etsy store, what drew you to the platform, and what you love about the creations you make or sell on the site.
This is a great way to let your customers get to know you better, and you can link to your blog, Facebook, and various other channels through this section.
Manufacturers: If you use any outside manufacturers to create your products, you can list them here with explanations of what each of them does for you.
6. List Your Items
Once your Etsy shop is open, it’s time to create item listings. When adding a listing on Etsy, you will be asked to fill out the following areas for your own online store:
Title: As with the online store title, you must ensure your listing title contains relevant keywords. Describe your items for sale in the same way customers would search for the products. For instance, instead of saying “cute top,” rather describe it as a “yellow halter neck top with sequins.”
About the Listing: Here, you have to choose between what the item is, who made it, when it was made, etc.
Category: On Etsy, you can categorize your products on your Etsy store. Choose the category and, whenever possible, the subcategory that best fits whatever product you’re listing.
Type: Like many Etsy sellers, you have the option to start selling on Etsy. Sell your digital or physical items on your Etsy shop and Etsy Listings. If you sell informational products, you must select the most appropriate option.
Quantity and Price: You must specify the price and number of items for sale. When entering the inventory quantity and price, don’t forget to factor into your sale price all the costs of producing, listing, and promoting your products on Etsy.
Also, if you offer different sizes, colors, materials, and other product variants, make sure to include that information
Product Description: As an Etsy Seller, you should always include keyword-optimized descriptions when selling online and when you start selling on Etsy but make sure you use terms that your customers can easily understand.
Product Photos: When you have promoted listings or not, you should have at least one photo of the item, ideally more, so your customers can get a clear picture of what they are purchasing.
Never include low-quality photos on Etsy like many Etsy sellers. Instead, all your images should look attractive, and try to use a white background for each of your items. Or, if you choose to use a custom background, make sure to keep it consistent across all your images. If you have too many photos to keep track of, consider getting a photo management software to help.
Adjust Thumbnails: Thumbnails are the images your buyers see when they search or come across your product. The importance of choosing the right thumbnails can’t be overstated when selling on Etsy because these play a pivotal role in compelling customers to click on your listing.
Thumbnails also dictate how your Etsy shop looks and feels, so choose consistent styles to enhance your brand.
Set Shipping Fee: Next, enter the shipping details for your products. This includes:
- Shipping costs
- Processing time
- Origin zip code
- Weight and size
- Where you will ship
- Free shipping
If necessary, you can always update the shipping fees and options area information later if you have to go to the post office or check with the USPS first to check rates.
7. Preview Your Listing
Click on “Preview Listing” to check how your Etsy shop looks from the customer’s perspective before publishing it for the first time.
If there are any changes to make, it’s best to make them now before your shop goes live. If you’re happy with how everything looks, click “Finish.”
8. Select Etsy Payments Method
There are multiple payment methods available on Etsy. You can offer whichever works best for you, whether it’s PayPal, Etsy Payments, or any other electronic payments your customers use.
Most Etsy sellers on the platform opt for Etsy Payments as it’s convenient and easy to use as a payment method.
With this payment option, you can get your money through credit cards, bank account, debit cards, online store credit, Etsy gift cards, etc.
9. Add Billing Information for Etsy Buyer
Depending on your country of origin, you will be required to enter billing information such as credit card information for authorization and identification and a card where the platform can charge your fees and commissions, including the transaction fee.
Once you’ve done this, you’re all set up, and you can start optimizing and promoting the items you have for sale for modern and vintage items.
10. Optimize Your Etsy Shop
While Etsy is a great place to start your small business shop without needing in-person selling fees and hassle, it’s not entirely different than Amazon, eBay, and Google in terms of the ways to get found.
Listing an item on Etsy isn’t the same as selling it. You need to have a good marketing strategy to attract customers to your products and convince them to purchase.
This includes Etsy SEO, advertising, branding, and various optimization methods for many sales channels to get your product in front of potential customers shopping online.
Here are some ways you can go about optimizing your Etsy shop:
Complete Your Profile: Your profile on Etsy is a great way to improve your credibility as one of many Etsy sellers. Include a photo and a short bio about yourself. This helps create a stronger personal connection with your audience and builds trust, making it more likely that they will purchase your products.
Add a Store Bio: The store bio section allows you to share more about your eCommerce shop. You are given 5,000 characters to write an exciting story – use them wisely.
Remember, humans are driven by emotion, and there’s no better way to appeal to emotions than with a good story. This section is the perfect opportunity to use storytelling to help forge stronger connections with your potential customers.
Make Use of Templates: Etsy offers sellers within the marketplace a ton of different templates that can help modify your shop’s appearance. Finding a template that reflects your brand or the nature of the crafts you’re selling is a great way to reinforce your Etsy store within the minds of your customers.
Use Marketing and Automation Tools: You can use tons of tools to help you sell more and Etsy, including the Etsy Seller App, which allows you to manage all your listings on your phone.
The app also lets you receive notifications as soon as something happens at your shop, such as when you receive your feedback, send an item, or if the customer has a question.
You can use Etsy’s suite of tools designed to help you manage, promote, and grow your creative business. You can learn more about them here.
In addition, the platform has tools designed for each stage of your business’s growth, and you can access advanced tools with a monthly subscription package.
What Are Some Things to Sell on Etsy?
Whatever you sell on Etsy must be within the platform’s guidelines. Still, you can also conduct some research to help you discover what sells best on the site to (hopefully) make it into a full-time gig for yourself if that’s what you’re aspiring to do.
This page on Etsy discloses a lot of that information, but additional content below can help.
Below, on the next step on how to sell on Etsy, we’ll take a look at ten popular items you can sell on the platform.
With the right strategy, you can become a successful entrepreneur on Etsy and start making consistent income similar to these sellers:
- Cassie’s Mall Wood made $1143 in her 3rd month selling on Etsy.
- Fuzzy and Birch made $4,000 in one month.
- Handmade Journey made $50,000 in its first year.
- Simple Shapes makes a consistent income of six figures.
Whether you are talented in arts and crafts, like to use SelfCAD 3D modeling software and design/print your products, or you’re a creative noob who wants to take their hobby a step further, Etsy is the perfect place to make money from your efforts.
From stickers and notebooks to personalized items, fashion accessories, vintage products, and more – you have the opportunity to create a reliable source of income selling any types of products in your shop.
Below, I have listed a few of the best things to sell on Etsy, with some examples of shops selling the items successfully.
1. Handmade Jewelry:
This is undoubtedly one of the most lucrative things you can sell on the platform. If you look at the sites making the most on the platform, you will find that many sell jewelry.
You can sell handmade necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other accessories. People value jewelry with personal significance, and if you can create high-quality, customized jewelry, you will never be short of customers on the platform.
Example of a successful handmade jewelry seller on Etsy: CaitlynMinimalist
2. Party Decorations
The second spot on our list of the best things to sell on Etsy is party decorations. People are always willing to spend money on special events – especially weddings, which happen to be among Etsy’s most popular searches.
Party products you can sell include:
- Party invitations
- Cake toppers
- Unique party necessities
- Various accessories
Example of a successful party decorations seller on Etsy: ModParty
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3. Beads and Jewelry Supplies
If you don’t have the creativity or time to craft your jewelry for sale, you can simply sell the supplies so your customers can make their own personal jewelry.
With everyone stuck these days indoors, people are spending their time trying to learn new skills and tap into their inner creativity.
That’s why jewelry supplies and beads are among the best things to sell right now to make money on Etsy.
Example of successful beads and jewelry supplies seller on Etsy: BeadBoat
4. Vinyl Mugs and Socks
Thanks to their practicality, vinyl mugs and socks are still trendy on Etsy. People will always buy them, whether for personal use or as gifts for family and friends, and shops that sell these items are almost always present on the list of best-selling shops on Etsy.
5. Digital Artwork and Printables
Some people, like small business owners, prefer to sell digital products to avoid dealing with shipping and still earn Etsy revenue with their Etsy listing on online marketplaces.
Sell artwork or other items that can be printed, such as customized stickers, buttons, planners, magnets, stationery, customized notebooks, etc. You will avoid wasting time with shipping and its costs – and create a fuss-free way to make money on the platform with their Etsy Listing without any transaction fee or needing to purchase shipping labels with their shop page.
One of the best ways to do this at scale is to work with a factory-direct company to cut out the middleman, as they usually offer free design assistance to help create the products and take care of the printing for you. The popular factory direct supplier that I recommend is CustomSticker.com.
This is one category that will always be popular on any online marketplace. Kids love all kinds of toys, including handmade wooden toys, slime, and Play-Doh, just a few toy categories that do particularly well on this platform.
7. Kids Clothing
Kids clothing is yet another item that sells very well on Etsy. Whether knitted or sewn, kid’s clothes are always popular on the site.
People mostly search for trendy designs for kids and soft, comfortable textures for babies. If you can provide this, you stand to make a lot of money on the platform.
8. Pet Supplies
Anyone who is a pet owner will tell you why pet supplies are great items to sell online. Pet owners love their pets and will often spend tons of money to keep their furry friends happy.
They will buy ridiculous and cute things for their beloved companions, including novel pet leashes, collars, name tags, toys, and various other pet supplies.
On Etsy, you can make money from hair accessories and scarves to coin purses, wallets, and leather goods.
You’ll also find tons of successful shops that sell headbands and other accessories for babies and toddlers.
10. Vintage Items
Etsy is the perfect place to find magical, meaningful items that can’t be found anywhere else, and vintage items sell very well on the platform. This includes clothing, toys, shoes, accessories, buttons, jewelry, etc. Small things like jewelry and buttons sell particularly well on the site.
What Are The Best Selling Items on Etsy?
You can also use a tool like Etsy Rank to see the most successful online stores on the platform, the number of sales, and more.
Quick browsing will show you that handmade jewelry, party accessories, and planners are doing quite well.
Seeds perform great on Etsy, probably because everyone suddenly has more time to tend to plants and vegetables due to lockdown restrictions.
Here’s a list of the current best-selling items on Etsy:
Organic Cosmetics: Organic makeup and cosmetics aren’t easily accessible, and most users prefer homemade products, which is why this category is quite lucrative on Etsy.
Personalized Pocket Knives: On Etsy, customized items are always in trend, making great gifts. One of the best-selling products right now is personalized pocket knives
Soy Candles: These sell well because they’re non-toxic, last longer, and cost the same as traditional candles.
Theme-based Items: The Game of Thrones cutting board pictured below is an excellent example of how people are cashing in on themes. The season may be gone, but the hype remains, and people continue to make money from it every day.
How Does Selling on Etsy Work?
Etsy acts as intermediary connecting buyers and sellers. As a new seller, you can join and start your own store and online business shop for free, but there are selling/seller fees and listing fees.
One of the first Etsy Fees you’ll encounter is the listing fee. To list your items for sale, you have to pay a $0.20 standard listing fee for each item. The seller fees are only valid for four months, after which they must be manually or automatically renewed at the same price.
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It’s important to note that on Etsy, a “listing” can contain multiple products. So, for instance, if you have ten pairs of boots for sale that come in different colors, you’re only obliged to create one listing and give buyers the choice of selecting a pair of boots with any color they want.
You can list products in any of the categories on the platform, and once you sell an item, the platform takes a 5% transaction fee on the total sale price (including the shipping price).
If you use Etsy Payments to accept payments, you will also be charged a payment processing fee of 3% + $0.25 for each item sold.
Since Etsy pays to advertise your stuff online through Offsite Ads, if a sale is generated from one of those ads, Etsy charges a small fee as offsite ads fees.
On Etsy, sellers get all the tools to become full-fledged business owners, manage their small business from anywhere, accept payments seamlessly, and analyze and optimize their online shops.
In addition to all this, the platform also provides support and education. Sellers can reach out to Etsy support specialists whenever they need a hand or get tips on how to run a successful shop from the Seller Handbook (View here)
Etsy for Buyers
For those looking to purchase, the site couldn’t be easier to use. Simply browse through the well-curated platform to purchase to find what you want.
- Clothing and Shoes
- Jewelry and Accessories
- Home and Living
- Toys and Entertainment
- Wedding and Party
- Art and Collectibles
- Craft Supplies and Tools
Once you find something you like, just click the “Buy” button, and you’ll be taken to a secure order page where you can choose your payment method.
Buyers can sign up for Etsy’s newsletter and receive exclusive offers, novel gift ideas, personalized tips for shopping on Etsy, and much more.
If you have any questions, the Help Center has a dedicated team that is always ready to offer assistance and support.
Overall, Etsy is a fantastic site that combines the convenience of an online marketplace with the excitement of an art fair. As a result, you can find amazing items at a reasonable price, including collectors’ items.
How Much Does Etsy Charge Sellers?
Selling on Etsy isn’t free. Like all other eCommerce marketplaces, Etsy has to make money, and so they charge sellers a fee for every item listed and sold.
Below, I will break down the fee structure for Etsy to help you understand exactly what it costs to run a successful shop on the platform.
How Much Does it Cost to Open an Etsy Store?
As explained above, there is a $0.20 cost for listing an item for sale. However, that isn’t the only cost you face for starting an Etsy store.
Other startup costs to consider include the cost of crafting your product in the first place. For instance, if you’re paying for materials, labor, etc., to produce items for sale, you must factor this into your total cost.
What is the Etsy Transaction Fee?
Etsy sellers pay 5% as transaction fees each time an item is sold. This means that if you sell something for $100, Etsy will keep five dollars in addition to the listing fee already deducted.
What Are the Etsy Payment Processing Fees?
Merchants must pay payment processing fees to accept payments online when they sell online products and grow their online business.
There are tons of different payment processors that you can choose from, such as Square and PayPal. Still, Etsy also has its in-house payment processor, Etsy Payments, available in 36 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Etsy Payments charges 3% plus $0.25 per transaction, but it can be more depending on the shop location of the Etsy seller.
Also, there could be additional expenses such as taxes and the cost of converting local currencies (if the items aren’t listed in US dollars).
When you enroll in Etsy Payments, you can accept payment through credit and debit cards, PayPal, Etsy Credit, Etsy gift card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, your bank account, etc. However, you are charged a payment processing fee each time a buyer checks out using Etsy’s payment system.
Who Pays For Shipping on Etsy?
The buyer typically pays for shipping, and the costs depend on where the buyer is located.
Problems often arise when shipping fees aren’t appropriately calculated, and Etsy sellers realize they must pay more for shipping than they originally intended.
If this happens, it can significantly increase the total cost of doing business on the platform, mainly when the shipping charge includes insurance, further driving up the price.
One way to avoid this is to do some research to find out the exact price for shipping different items to different locations. If you are offering free shipping to your customers, then your sale price should include the cost of shipping so you can still make a healthy profit from your products.
Understanding Etsy Ads
How Much Do Etsy Ads Cost for an Etsy Seller?
The minimum to start promoting your products on Etsy is $1/day, and it’s based on the cost-per-click model.
Whenever users search for stuff on Etsy search, they are presented with a combination of paid and non-paid listings. Both listings appear the same on Etsy search results, except that Promoted Listings images have a small “Ad” printed in the top left corner.
How do Etsy Offsite Ads Work?
To help sellers grow their businesses and enhance the overall member experience, Etsy advertises items from the platform across the web using Offsite Ads.
Etsy sellers only pay whenever a sale is made from an ad. Etsy advertising network of participating ad providers includes search engines and social media networks, such as:
Etsy pays the upfront costs of advertising with these providers. If your listing is included and the buyer purchases and clicks on it – and if they order from your shop within 30 days of clicking the ad – you will be charged an advertising fee for those orders.
You can find out more about how the advertising fee, transaction fees, and listing fees are calculated here.
Top Tips to Sell More on Etsy
Even though your shop is set up and optimized, you can still do more things to boost your visibility and drive sales to your shop.
1. Master Etsy’s Algorithm
Etsy gives you access to tons of customers, but it’s up to you as the shop owner to help them match the right customers to your products. The absolute best way to get your product in front of the eyes of your target audience is to use exact keywords and phrases in all your content.
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2. Promote on Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for driving traffic to your Etsy shop. In particular, Instagram and Pinterest are great ways to advertise your products to your network for free, as in the example below.
3. Use a Professional Photographer
Humans are visual creatures, and the better your product photography, the more likely you’ll convince them to make a purchase. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer to create high-quality photos to drive more sales for your products.
4. Optimize Product Pricing
Etsy is a very competitive platform, and getting the product pricing right will directly impact the number of sales you make. You nIt would help if you found the right balance between pricing your product too low, which can lead to a price war with competitors, or pricing it too high, which can result in zero sales.
The most successful Etsy sellers find ways to reduce production and shipping costs so their profit margin is higher. And remember, you can constantly update the price of your product to reflect your competitors’ prices, the cost of raw material, labor, and other economic factors.
5. Keep Meticulous Financial Records
You must keep track of all your financial records to understand better where your Etsy business is headed and whether you’re making a profit or loss.
Proper bookkeeping will also help you set targets and make better-informed decisions for maintaining and growing your new business.
6. Know Your Numbers
There are tons of analytical tools like this one that you can use to help you keep track of your Etsy business.
By studying your data, you’ll know which products perform better than others, which marketing strategies generate the most revenue, etc. You can then drop non-performing products, increase the quantities of great-performing ones, tweak your product promotion strategies, etc., to optimize the overall performance of your business.
Selling on an Etsy Store Q&A
To set up a sale on Etsy, click “Your Account” and “Shop Manager.” Next, go to “Marketing” and click “Sales and Coupons.” Finally, locate the “New Special Offer” and click that tab.
You can then specify the type of discount you’d like to offer. You have a choice between running a sale, sending offers to interested buyers, or creating coupons.
If you aren’t operating your online store as a legitimate business and are not making profits, you don’t have to worry about obtaining a business license. Likewise, if you’re a hobbyist, crafter, or casual Etsy user to sell craft supplies, sell as creative entrepreneurs, sell handmade goods, and more, you don’t need a business license.
Etsy is exceptionally safe. It’s a well-established and trustworthy company that works hard to secure payments on its platform to protect its users. In addition, the site has SSL-encrypted systems and security specialists, fraud detection systems, and other security measures to protect buyers and sellers.
While you can sell food and other edible items on Etsy, some government regulations about who can make and package food from Seller Handbook. Check out the Seller Handbook to get more specific information on how to make, sell, and ship food items on Etsy.
You can list digital downloads like audios, images, or text files on Etsy in the same way you create a listing for physical products, except that you have to upload the file, so your customers receive it as soon as they make a purchase.
To offer free shipping on the platform, click Your Account > Shop Manager > Settings > Shipping Settings > Free Shipping Guarantee > Get Started > Next > Set Free Shipping. This will set your shipping prices to $0.00 and offer free shipping to buyers anywhere.
This definitely is the best explanation for selling on Etsy that I have read. I have registered for an Etsy site but needed encouragement to go forward, and what to expect. This explanation for me is the magic I have been looking for.
Thank you so much.
Very happy to hear it helped you, thanks for the kind words!
Thx for this guide, I am considering selling handmade items but in different categories, i.e. pets, arts, wiccan jewlry…since the name should be indicative of products for search, should I have three separateshops or do I list art work and wiccan jewelry under my pet store name? thx in advance
Hey Linda, glad you liked it! I’d say to start out just make a generic name where you can sell all of them. This way, it allows you to see what actually works. Once one works, then maybe start another.
Hi. Thank you for the detailed explanation. It was indeed very helpful. Please any idea how I can get the right supplier as I want to set-up a shop that sells variety of customized christian products?
I’ve never done this myself, but Alibaba.com is likely a good place to start