Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a living doing things you’re most passionate about—the things that excite you to the core and get your creative juices running? That's exactly what millions of people are already doing with Etsy, the original online marketplace for handmade and antique goods. If you're crafty—and perhaps have been browsing our craft tutorials—it's the perfect place to start your own business.
Selling on Etsy is somewhat different from selling on eBay or other eCommerce sites, so this tutorial will guide you through everything you need to get started selling your stuff on Etsy.
Getting Started With Etsy
Etsy is a great place to open an online store and sell products you've made yourself—or antiques and craft supplies. But, there’s more to Etsy than just commerce It’s a social network, of sorts, where different buyers and suppliers can connect with you, follow your shop and products, interact with you, like your products, and promote them for you.
Before you can start selling on Etsy, you’ll need to create a free account and an Etsy shop to list your products. The sign up process is quite straight forward and doesn’t take more than a minute to complete.
Once you've signed up and confirmed your email account, you can sign into your Etsy profile and start setting up your Etsy shop! Oh, but before that, let’s have a quick look at the pricing structure of Etsy.
Etsy Pricing Model and Payment Options
Etsy doesn’t charge you anything for signing up, or for creating a shop – yes, it’s free. It does, however, charge you $0.20 every time you list a product. There’s no limit to the number of products you can list in your shop - in fact, the more products you list, the better, since it gives you greater exposure and a higher chance of being discovered by relevant buyers.
Each product listing is valid for four months, or until it’s bought by someone (whichever happens first). When you make a sale, Etsy will charge you 3.5% of the total sales amount of the product. Etsy may also charge you during the checkout process, depending on the location of your buyer and the payment method used.
Buyers can pay using a number of payment options including PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Credit Card. Shipping costs are added to the total purchase cost by Etsy, based on the buyer’s location. Similarly, you can get paid for your sales through PayPal, money order or a personal cheque in your name.
Setting Up Your Etsy Shop
Etsy allows primarily 3 categories of products to be sold on its platform. The products can either be physical or digital.
- Handmade Goods
- Vintage Products (20 years or older)
- Craft Supplies
Click on the Open an Etsy Shop button to start building your shop. When you create a shop for the first time, Etsy will ask you quick question about what you intend to accomplish with its platform. This is only a survey question and does not impact the sign up process.
Setting up an Etsy shop is, again, a simple process. It requires you to complete a few simple steps.
Naming Your Shop
Your shop name should represent the core nature of your products and business. It also needs to be unique (you can’t have the same shop name as someone else). But, it can be changed later if you feel the need.
Listing Your Items
Once you've name your shop, it’s time to add a few products to it. As I mentioned earlier, there’s no limit to the number of products you can add to your Etsy shop, but you’ll be charged $0.20 for adding each new product.
To add a product, you’ll need to fill out an extensive product addition form which includes information about the product’s origin, model, name, different variations, product nature (physical or digital) etc.
If you’re selling a digital product, you’ll need to upload the product file that buyers can download. In case of a physical product, you’d need to add the product shipping details.
The most important fields for you as a supplier are, Product Title, Description, Photos, Category and Tags. These fields will directly impact the level of exposure you get on Etsy and the ease with which buyers can find you.
Try to be as descriptive and clear with your product titles as possible. The best way to come up with a good title is to think from a buyer’s perspective. Use the words that a buyer would search for. For example, if you’re selling a ceramic cat, your title could be Life Size Ceramic Cat with Yellow Stripes. Similarly, the description of your product should include as much information about the product as possible. Use paragraphs, headings and bullet points to simplify skimming of your content.
Choosing the right product category and tags also plays a key role in getting your products discovered. The key to choosing the right tags is, again, thinking from a buyer’s point of view. Etsy allows you to add up to 13 tags. You can use different synonyms of your key product characteristics and tags that represent the key benefits of your product.
Finally, make sure you add multiple photographs of your product from different angles and zoom levels. The pictures should be clear and high quality with clean backgrounds and minimum distractions. The objective here is to give your prospective buyers a clear view of your product, so make sure they get that.
Once you complete the product information, you can save and preview your product. If you think everything looks fine, you can save the product and complete the listing. If there’s anything you’d like to change, you can go back into edit mode.
Here’s how your shop would appear when you have several products listed:
Before your product is listed and publicly visible, you’ll need to add your Credit Card information so that Etsy can charge you for the product listing.
Getting Social on Etsy
As I mentioned earlier, Etsy also has some very useful social networking features that allow buyers and sellers to follow each other and make interactions. One of the most effective ways to increase your chances of making sales is by increasing your followers. People who follow you get updates about all the new products and any changes that you make to your existing products.
Users can also Favourite your products on Etsy, or add them to their Lists. Similarly, they can also share these products with their friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Here's some tips to help you make use of Etsy's social network features to more followers and increase your chances of being found by relevant buyers:
- Find your existing contacts on Etsy by importing your email list or Facebook account.
- Follow other people selling similar products.
- Look for user reviews on your competitor’s products and follow the reviewers.
- Every Etsy shop has a list of users that Favourite or Admire it. You should go to your competitor’s shop, explore their list of admirers and follow them yourself. This will increase your brand awareness and may even get people to follow you back.
- Consistently add new products or update your existing products.
- Always use high quality images for your products.
- There are many blogs related to Etsy and handmade products, such as Handmadeology, that have thousands of readers. Visit these blogs and get active in their comments section. Focus on interactions and building connections, without spamming.
- Use other social media websites to promote your products. Pinterest, in particular, should help you in promoting your Etsy products and shop very effectively.
- And have fun!
Etsy is a great place if you want to convert your passion into a business, with a social network tacked on to help your products build a following. If you've got handmade products to sell, it's the place you should list them. Give it a try, and let us know if you have any trouble with it in the comments below!