Side hustles are an amazing thing if you can get them and Etsy is a growing venue for people looking for a side hustle, the trouble is figuring out how to get started. If you’re looking to learn how to sell on Etsy, this article is for you.
How to Start an Etsy Shop
The first thing you have to know is that you need to be ready to post your first product before you create your Etsy shop. It’s a requirement of Etsy.
Once you’re ready with your product, then you can proceed to open your shop.
Starting up a shop on Etsy is going to take a little time so make sure you set aside an hour or two. The first thing that you need to do is sign in with an email address. Once you’ve created a log-in, you’ll start setting up your account.
Etsy will ask you for your Shop Preferences. Etsy wants to know what language you prefer, where you’re located and what kind of currency you want to be paid in. It will also ask you if you’re just doing this as a side hustle, or if you’re looking to turn it into something more.
After that, you get the fun task of naming your shop. Think about this long and hard before you create your account, you want something fun and easy to remember. The Etsy site has a great walkthrough of the best ways to come up with a shop name. You can find the article here.
Once you’ve named the shop, it’s time to start listing.
How to Sell Things on Etsy
After you name your shop, you’ll be asked to stock your shop, that’s how you start to sell things on Etsy so this is a very important part.
You’ll want to make sure you add photos so people can see all aspects of the item you’re selling. Show a full shot of it. Then do a close up of the most important parts. If you have multiple colors, show multiple colors.
We recommend adding at least 5 photos per listing.
Remember that buyers won’t always read your descriptions so put text in your photos telling them everything they need to know.
Add a Title
The title is what’s going to draw people in so be descriptive. Your title is also important because Etsy’s algorithm scans titles to determine if an item fits into a user’s search criteria. Put the most important and searchable words into your title first.
I have a whole list of SEO tips for Etsy if you click here: Etsy Search Tips.
The tags you use matter because these are what help people find your item within the Etsy shop. Choose words that a lot of people search, such as printables or download or bachelorette. You want to choose tags that will make your item pop up in as many searches as possible.
You also want to make sure that you use all 13 tags that Etsy allows. The more tags you have, the more likely shoppers will be able to find your product when they search.
Etsy likes what it calls “long-tail” tags. Those are words two or three words that describe the item, such as organic cotton tank top.
The tags can only be 20 characters so sometimes you have to add two tags together to make a longer string. For example, I have tags “bachelorette party” and “party games” so that I will return in searches for “bachelorette party games.”
You’ll be asked for other things like listing details, description, category, price and shipping details and all of those are important, but the three things above are the details that are really going to help you sell your Etsy listings.
An important one is customization: do you allow the customers to make special requests in their order? You’ll want to collect that information in the listing.
How Much Does it Cost to Sell on Etsy?
There’s a myriad of fees that you’ll have to keep track of when you want to list an item on Etsy, the first is the 20 cent listing fee. For every listing that you put onto Etsy, you’ll have to pay the 20 cent listing fee. That guarantees that your listing will be active for four months or until it sells.
Of course, if the item you’re selling is a printable or downloadable item, then you can keep the listing up for four months for that 20 cent listing fee.
And that brings me to the other fees.
When you sell an item, Etsy takes a few more fees out. There’s a flat, 5% transaction fee. That means if you sell something for $100, Etsy takes out $5 automatically.
There will also be a 3% + 25 cent payment processing fee. You could end up paying even more in processing fees if you’re working with something other than U.S. dollars.
Etsy Plus Member Fees
You pay the same fees even if you’re an Etsy Plus member, however, you do receive credits when you become a Plus member. Plus members get 15 listing credits (a $3 value) and $5 in credit to advertise items in Etsy searches as Promoted Listings. Etsy Plus members pay $10 per month to receive these benefits, so there is a trade-off.
Plus members also have the ability to customize their shop with banner templates, they can email shoppers when items are back in stock, and send customers to a personal shop web address.
You don’t have to become a Plus member to sell on Etsy. This is optional. I am not an Etsy Plus member.
Selling on Etsy
Once you make a sale on Etsy, the first thing you’ll receive is a notification email telling you that a sale has been made. Check your accounts to see if payment has arrived. Once it does, you can ship the item.
Or if you are selling digital products such as printables, you have no further action after the sale. The customer can download the file directly from their Etsy orders section.
See this article to learn more about selling printables on Etsy.
You want to ship your item on time. At all times, you should adhere to the shipping policies that you created and the store policies you posted. If you need a sample set of store policies, Etsy has a whole write up, just click here.
When you pack your item, make sure it’s well packaged so it won’t break during shipment. Etsy suggests that you also include a personalized note to the buyer thanking them for the purchase and asking them to review your store on Etsy.
Ask for Reviews
Reviews are essential to all Etsy stores because the more good reviews you have, the more likely you are to appear on the front page of Etsy searches. One of the things the Etsy algorithm looks at when deciding which listings to put on the front page of searches are the store’s customer service and reviews. Better reviews and timely customer service ranks a store higher in Etsy’s mind.
After you’ve shipped the item, use the shipping notification tools to let the buyer know when you shipped the item. Be sure to include a tracking number if there is one so that the buyer can track the package.
Once the item is delivered, use the Etsy tools to send a note the buyer asking him or her to follow you on Etsy, review your shop or offer a discount on his or her next purchase. All of these things help you rank higher in customer service and therefore make you more noticeable to Etsy’s search algorithm.
Only a small percentage of customers will leave you a review so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get many reviews at the beginning.
If you ever get a bad review, you can message the customer to see what can be done to make them happy and ask them to modify their review once done.
How to Sell on Etsy Successfully
Those are just the basics if you truly want to be a successful seller on Etsy, then you have to go the extra mile.
Customers are more likely to buy items that appear on the front page of their searches. You can help your cause by doing the things that help you rank higher in Etsy searches.
I have increased my Etsy sales year over year using these strategies.
Complete Your Shop Details
Full show details are also better for your customers and you. If you outline the shipping and return terms first, there’s no confusion if something goes wrong after the purchase.
This includes customizing your shop with a shop icon and cover photo so people have a face or a logo to go with the shop name.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Etsy wants to recommend shops that perform well with buyers because it helps give people a great shopping experience on Etsy. Your job is to nicely ask shoppers for reviews. It might be slow going at first, but it’s important.
Plus, if you get a bad review, it can help you figure out what you can do to improve your product or your service so the next review is good.
Etsy has a running rank in two different categories and this rank goes up or down depending on buyer response.
Etsy will rank the quality of a listing. When a new listing is posted it will show up in searches, if a buyer clicks on the item, favorites the item or purchases the item then the listing’s score goes up. The higher the score for the listing, the more likely it is to appear on the first page of an Etsy search.
Etsy also ranks the shop’s performance when it comes to customer service. Shops that get great reviews and take care of their customers rank higher with Etsy and so the shop’s products are more likely to appear on the first page of Etsy search results.
Be Ready for Your First Sale
The last thing you want to do is fumble around when your first sale is made. Have a shipping plan in place. Make sure you have shipping boxes available and packing material if necessary. Maybe all you need is a padded envelope to send your items. Whatever the case, you need to be ready.
This also helps you determine the shipping cost that you charge the buyer. If you already have the item packaged to protect it and then weigh it, you can know exactly how much shipping will cost. The last thing you want is to undercharge a buyer and end up eating the shipping costs yourself or asking the buyer for more money after the sale.
Don’t Forget Vacation Mode
It’s completely okay to take a vacation, but don’t leave your customers hanging while you’re on vacation. Etsy includes a Vacation Mode, which allows you to take a break. During vacation mode, your items will not appear in searches and people will not be able to make purchases from your shop.
If you want a walkthrough of how to set up vacation mode on your Etsy page, click here.
And I cannot emphasize the importance of SEO enough; it can mean the difference between several hundred sales in a month and just a handful of sales.
As I said before, I have a whole list of SEO tips for Etsy if you click here: Top Etsy SEO Tips.