If you’re an independent artisan, maker or a distributor of handmade or vintage items, you may be considering Etsy as a marketplace to sell your products. Alongside Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, Etsy is one of the most popular online marketplaces. However, Etsy sets itself apart from other ecommerce marketplaces because it specializes in offering only handmade, artisanal, vintage, and custom-made products.
Its ability to bring together these cottage-industry sellers offering unique and rare items is what has made Etsy a leading platform for arts and collectibles. Customers often look to Etsy as a source of unique inspiration for gift giving and many browse Etsy specifically to find items that can’t be found via other online marketplaces.
Because many small businesses and independent artisans feature on Etsy, online shoppers trust Etsy as a place where they can purchase from small businesses, shop more locally and find items that are one-of-a-kind or not available anywhere else.
While Etsy is definitely not a marketplace for mass-produced items, it does include sellers who offer small runs of factory produced items. That said, many Etsy businesses are run by individuals and a staggering 97% are run from home.
This means that Etsy is an ideal option if you are a solopreneur looking for a place to sell your products.
Should You Become an Etsy Seller?
With 54 million members, Etsy is also one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces. In 2019 it grossed $4.97 billion in merchandise sales, up 26.5% from $3.93 billion in 2018. As of Q2 2020, Etsy saw 60.27 million active buyers and hosted 3.1 million active sellers.
Doing some simple maths using those numbers, it is clear that if you’re an Etsy seller, you have a massive opportunity to be seen by a large number of buyers from around the globe.
Of course, this ability to be seen has the potential to have a hugely positive impact on your brand and your sales volumes!
How Do You Become an Etsy Seller?
Becoming an Etsy seller is easy. There are three straightforward steps you need to take to sell your products on Etsy.
1. Set up Your Etsy Store
The first step to becoming a seller on Etsy is to set up your Etsy store. You can do this by visiting the Etsy homepage, clicking Sell on Etsy and then clicking Open Your Etsy Shop. You’ll be guided through the process of creating your store’s settings, including setting your language, currency type and location.
You’ll be able to select a store name here as well. This is where you can become creative, either using your existing company brand name or coming up with a completely new, inspired brand name if it’s your first time selling anything. Whatever you end up choosing, the name of your Etsy store should be between four and 20 characters, without spaces or special characters.
2. Select your Payment Method
Once you’ve got your Etsy store all set up, you’ll need to decide which payment method you’d like to use and provide Etsy with your own billing information for identification and authorization purposes.
When it comes to payment solutions, you can offer your customers the ability to pay via PayPal or through Etsy Payments when they complete a sale with you. Etsy Payments is the most popular payment solution for those selling on Etsy, as it is easy to use and allows you to be paid in a number of different ways.
3. Set your Shipping Fees
When setting up as a seller on Etsy, it’s also important to set shipping fees appropriately. You may want to consider factors such as whether you’ll be shipping your products only within your country, or also internationally to buyers in other countries. If so, you’ll want to make sure that differing shipping fees are accounted for, including duty and shipping processing time.
Once you’ve done all that, you can begin listing your products.
How Much Does it Cost to Become an Etsy Seller?
In addition to all the benefits of being a seller on Etsy, perhaps best of all is that becoming a seller will cost you nothing at all — that’s right, setting up your Etsy account and opening a store is completely free.
However, you’ll pay $0.20 for each item you wish to list on the marketplace. For this $0.20 fee, your listing remains active for four months. Then, every time one of your items sells, you’ll pay a 5% transaction fee on the sale of the item and another $0.20 to re-list the remaining inventory of that product. This fee structure is in line with that of most other online marketplaces.
Payment processing on Etsy is painless as well: Etsy sets a payment processing fee of 3% plus $0.25 per transaction.
So, it’s easy to set up as an Etsy seller and get paid, but what about creating compelling listings to attract buyers?
How to Write a Great Etsy Listing
Listing products on Etsy is a little different than on some of the other online marketplaces, in that there is only one listing for each type of product, even if that product comes in different sizes or colors. So, for example, if you’re selling handmade journals, all of which are identical but come in five different colors, you would only need to list your journal once on Etsy, with the various color options.
Here’s how you can create an effective listing on Etsy:
1. Optimize Your Profile
Because so many people come to Etsy to purchase from artisans, makers and other craftsmen, customers will often be curious about you and your brand. You can use this to your advantage by building a compelling profile that actually tells the story of your brand!
Include a photo of yourself as the store owner and include a bio of up to 5,000 characters. It’s a good idea to take advantage of this, as including a store bio is a great way to connect with your customers. It can show them who you are as a brand, the values you stand for, and the “why” or passion behind your business. You’ll create a positive connection with potential customers and build credibility as a seller.
You can also share your brand’s social media links here too, allowing potential customers to engage with your brand even further.
2. Choose the Right Images
Select high-quality photos of your product, taken against a neutral, bright background. Etsy advises sellers to have a minimum of five product photos so follow that advice! Using a sufficient number of photos in your product listing is especially important if you are selling unique or custom-made goods as it allows buyers to get a really good look at the product detail.
Also, don’t forget to make sure that your thumbnail pictures are sized correctly, and have a consistent look and feel. The thumbnail photo is the first image a customer will see when they reach your product listing.
3. Inventory Quantity and Price
Make sure you accurately list the quantity you have in stock, as well as different colors, sizes or other product specifications. When pricing your product, don’t forget to take into consideration all of the costs associated with selling your product, from advertising to shipping costs. It’s important you don’t compromise your profits.
4. Preview Your Etsy Store
After you’ve done all of this, the final step is to preview your Etsy store before going live. You’ll want to look at it from the point of view of a customer to make sure everything looks right. Once you’re satisfied with the preview you’re ready to sell your first product.
Understanding Etsy Search Relevancy
In addition to writing a great listing, one area you really want to be mindful of is how the Etsy search works. Etsy uses both query matching (matching a customer’s search query against listings that match that query) as well as ranking (where listings are ranked on a number of different factors).
In addition to this, Etsy uses context-specific ranking (CSR) technology, which helps it show shoppers relevant listings based on insights into consumer shopping habits across Etsy.
Query matching and ranking are both very important to how your listing performs against buyers’ search keywords. As such, it is important to understand the role that SEO (search engine optimization) plays in allowing you to increase the visibility of your product in search.
This may appear complicated, but remember that while every ecommerce platform has its own SEO techniques, there are some general best practices that can be helpful in improving the SEO of your Etsy store.
A key way of doing this is by determining the category that your products fit best into on Etsy, and then using the right keywords to attract customers and stand out against your competitors.
Etsy allows sellers to “tag” each product. Using these keyword tags appropriately and strategically is a great way to make sure your listing comes up in the keyword searches.
You can also pay to promote your products to receive an advertising boost on the marketplace — and you don’t need a huge budget to do so. The lowest price point for advertising on Etsy is just $1/day and works on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, meaning that you pay every time someone clicks on your promoted listing.
When you promote a listing, it will appear in the search results before your competitors’ items. So, going back to our handmade journal product example, if you paid to promote your journal listing, then any time a potential customer enters keywords such as “journal” into the Etsy search bar, your product listing will appear ahead of the unpaid listings for journals. This can certainly help boost the sales of your product.
Shopify vs Etsy: Which is Best?
So, what’s the difference between Etsy and Shopify when it comes to ecommerce platforms for artisan and unique products? Well, Shopify and Etsy are both popularly used for selling online and while you can sell products through either, they have distinct differences that you should consider when choosing the right ecommerce platform.
Shopify is a powerful platform that lets you build your own online store using its many design customization features. It offers tailored ecommerce such as integration with payment gateways and various shipping options and because it’s a platform and not a marketplace, there’s no limitation on the types of products you can sell through Shopify.
This is in contrast to Etsy, which has rules around the types of products that can be sold on its marketplace. Shopify is also scalable, which means it can grow with your small business. It does, however, have higher upfront costs than Etsy.
Etsy, on the other hand, isn’t just a platform! It’s an online marketplace where you can list your products alongside those of other sellers. As mentioned above, Etsy sees a huge amount of traffic from all over the world, meaning the opportunity to have your product seen by potential customers is greater. It is also easy to navigate for novices and cost-effective for cottage industry businesses. Small-scale sellers and beginners may find Etsy easy to use and it can be ideal for those with a side hustle looking for a place to sell their products.
Now, what if you already have a Shopify account but want to sell on Etsy? It’s worth noting that Etsy is actually compatible with leading ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce. This means that you can easily connect your online store already based on one of these platforms with your Etsy store. This is an ideal solution if you’re looking for greater visibility without changing the platform you already use. Needless to say, as a seller, it’s useful to have options.
Ultimately, the decision as to whether to use Shopify or Etsy (or both) will depend on the type of business you have, your experience with ecommerce, and your overall business goals.
If you’re a smaller business, or a solopreneur with a product that is unique, artisan or quirky, Etsy is the perfect place for you to consider listing your products. You’ll reach a large, highly targeted audience without having to make a huge monetary commitment and can potentially integrate with other platforms too. Sign up is easy and you’ll be joining a pretty dynamic and unique ecommerce marketplace as a seller.
You can manage all your Etsy customer support within eDesk’s ecommerce helpdesk. Users can view messages, orders and order information which helps them to respond faster. Book a demo with one of our ecommerce experts to learn more or get started today with a free 14-day trial, no credit card needed.