Crafters, sewers, knitters, designers, and other artisans and creative types have discovered that Etsy is a great way to share their goods with customers around the globe and turn their passion into a business. The site’s 16 million customers and almost 2 million shops make it a powerful force on the web for buying and selling. Sellers have found that Etsy is a wonderful way to make a profit and also be part of a community that shares their passion for handmade goods. There is really a feeling of a tight-knit and friendly community on Etsy that makes it unique among sites for selling goods online. The best part of selling on Etsy is that its interface is simple enough for anyone to use.
Creating a store on Etsy costs nothing and each listing has a low fee. Listings are up in a store for 4 months after which the seller has the opportunity to renew the listing if the item hasn’t yet sold. The same listing fee applies with each renewal. Buyers browse the marketplace by searching for keywords, browsing shops, browsing categories, or looking through curated collections that Etsy regularly features on their homepage. When an item is sold, Etsy takes a small percentage of the profit. Sellers are responsible for calculating shipping costs as well as shipping the item to the buyer. Buyers then leave a rating and feedback for the item on the seller’s page. Funds from a sale can be deposited into a seller’s Paypal account, or a bank account in 2 to 3 business days. Shops pay all the fees accrued from listing items and any transactions on a monthly basis.
Everything from handmade jewelry, crafts, and paper goods to vintage clothing and antiques can be found on Etsy. The only rules are that new items must be handmade, and the only resale items allowed on the site are ones that are considered vintage (are over 20 years old).
The process for starting an Etsy shop is pretty simple. First, you are going to want to register for an account. This will involve opening a shop account, setting your language, country, and currency, and finally choosing a name for your shop. Many sellers agonize over choosing a name for their shop. It’s an important part of your business, so choose something that is unique and easy for buyers to remember. You’ll want them coming back again and again. Names that conjure strong visuals are good, as well as names that can be a part of a bigger theme to build your brand on. It’s a good idea to come up with a list of possible names to think over. Also, take a look at some of your competitors to see what type of names they have (you don’t to copy them or have a name that is too similar). Your shop name will be the calling card for your business, and a springboard for logos, fonts, and other visual elements that will make up your business on Etsy. The site does allow sellers to change their shop name, but this can be very confusing to buyers who have already become familiar with your brand. Change your shop name carefully if you must.
After naming your store, you can begin to create your listings. This can often be the most time-consuming part of running an Etsy store depending on how many different products you carry. Listings are also one of the most important features of the shop, so you’ll want to pay attention to the details. For your customers the only way of learning about your products is through the listings, so it’s important that they look professional, clear, and have detailed, easy to understand descriptions. Size, color, material, texture, and variations are all important things to mention in a product listing. You also want to think about how potential buyers will find your listing by choosing the right keywords.
Finally, you can set the price for each item. Etsy only charges a $0.20 listing fee for each item and then takes 3.5% from each sale. These are the only fees that Etsy charges its sellers. You’ll also want to think about how you’ll ship items, including the type of shipping service to use and the cost per item, as well as a returns policy. All this information can go to your store’s policies page.
Becoming a successful business on Etsy will inevitably involve learning some new skills. It’s helpful if you already have some familiarity with branding, marketing, and customer service. If not, it’s possible to gain skills in these areas simply by becoming a seller on Etsy.
Photography is one of the most important aspects of running an Etsy shop. The photos of your products are the first impression potential buyers will get off the store, so you’ll want to spend time capturing the best photos of your items. Try various types of lighting, backgrounds, camera angles, and even cameras if possible to get the best look for product photos. Some Etsy shops have their own particular style of photography that sets them apart from other sellers and immediately makes their listings stand out from the crowd. Different backgrounds, models, or your shop’s logo added to a photo can help add uniqueness to a listing.
Branding is another aspect of starting an Etsy business that shouldn’t be overlooked. The best way to do this is to take advantage of the customizations Etsy lets sellers make to their shops. Adding a banner, logo or profile photo, and filling out the seller profile page to talk about your inspirations and process adds personality to a shop and gives buyers a sense of who you are. Don’t forget to use social media to build your brand and develop stronger ties with your buyers. Many Etsy sellers also have Instagram accounts that give followers, even more, eye candy and a taste of what’s to come in the shop. Be sure to link to any social media accounts from the shop announcement page on your Etsy storefront. Etsy has also added a new feature called Shop Updates to let followers know what’s new in the shop, or if any sales or special discounts are currently being offered.
Customer service is also a big part of running a successful Etsy business. A sense of community and emphasis on supporting small businesses is what keeps shoppers coming back to Etsy, and what makes them feel good about buying in the marketplace. Keep that spirit alive with friendly customer service.
Today there are endless options for those who want to do their shopping online, so it’s even more important for a business owner to find ways to keep customers happy and engaged with products or services. As a shop owner, be sure to make yourself available to customers when they have any questions or concerns. Responding to any inquiries in a timely manner, as well as always being polite, helpful, and professional in your communications will make for good customer service. Honesty about your products will also help keep customers happy. This is especially important for an online store where customers aren’t about to see or touch the products in person. Make sure that the finished product they are receiving matches the materials, colors, and quality that are presented in the product photo.
Etsy also encourages shop owners to provide good customer service by giving them several tools for doing so. Etsy teams let sellers communicate with each other and share ideas, questions, and other concerns. This builds community among the site’s businesses and even lets sellers in the same industry reach out to each other. The Etsy feedback system is also useful for letting potential buyers read the about the experiences of past customers who were satisfied with their purchases. Etsy encourages buyers and sellers to communicate if any issues arise over a purchase and let buyers revise their feedback and rating for a shop. Sellers also have the opportunity to post a response to any feedback left by a customer.
After setting up your shop and listing items, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about strategies for connecting buyers with your products. This means using SEO to make your listings and shop more visible to the public. With over 30 million items listed on the site and almost 2 million active sellers, standing out among the crowd can seem like a daunting task. The good news is that SEO can be used for an Etsy business.
You can get listings from your shop to appears at the top of search results on Etsy by taking a few simple things into consideration:
Other aspects of running an Etsy store that don’t have a direct effect on search results, but that do make an impression on buyers once they reach your shop, are photographs and descriptions. These should present an honest, accurate, and professional representation of each item for sale in your shop.
Etsy ads, otherwise known as Promoted Listings, are another great tool for sellers that can make your listings stand out from all the rest. These advertising spots are paid for by the seller and automatically placed at the top of search results for a specific period of time to increase traffic and promote sales. Use the promote menu in your seller account to choose which listing, shop section, or group of listings you want to advertise. Etsy will generate keywords for each listing and you are able to choose any that you don’t think are relevant to remove from the promoted listing. Next, choose the maximum amount you want to spend on the promotion. Etsy will only end up charging you for the actual traffic the promoted listing receives. You can choose to end a promoted listing at any time.