How to Sell on Etsy: Master Guide
How does a creative passion turn into a business opportunity? Printify has partnered with Etsy to answer that question. Learn how to sell on Etsy and start your online store.
Our Etsy seller’s guide introduces six topics every Etsy shop owner should know – how to set up an online store, create attractive listings, and successfully manage your sales strategy.
Why Sell on Etsy
Etsy hosts millions of online merchants as an intermediary platform for customers and artists worldwide. It’s a profitable eCommerce sales channel for handmade goods and custom apparel. You can sell printables on Etsy as an excellent starting choice from various backgrounds: artist, designer, collector, or entrepreneur.
The platform is integrated with the Etsy Payments System, which limits the need for managing financial estimates and fee breakdowns for small business owners. It succeeds in maintaining a focus on a clear user interface and diverse customer niche.
Etsy has made its mission clear – Keep Commerce Human. The Etsy marketplace caters to small businesses, often solopreneurs with the creative passion for selling unique goods to a niche audience.
Etsy manages a secure payment and review system. The platform continuously refines the buyer experience, applies more transparent pathways to transactions and seller inventory, and engages in quality customer outreach.
Etsy has been steady for a decade but has experienced a staggering increase in active sellers over the past few years.
Besides being a very quick-to-set-up marketplace, Etsy calculates all transactions through the Etsy Payments system while offering some of the most affordable seller fees.
The website works with dedicated Etsy support specialists that help you start an account, manage your shop, and resolve purchasing issues.
For detailed overviews of the steps to sell on Etsy for a profit, the Etsy seller handbook offers extra advice.
Huge Customer Base
Etsy has achieved nearly a billion registered user sessions over the last year and is committed to adapting eCommerce for a post-pandemic world, empowering start-up opportunities for the Etsy community.
From handmade items to creating branded merchandise, the types of goods you can sell on Etsy can be unique, but its success lies in the artistic, vintage, or quirky product aesthetic.
Built-In Analytics and Marketing Tools
Once you’re set up and live, you’ll want to track your Etsy store progress and advertise when possible. Luckily, the platform has built-in analytics and its own Etsy advertising system.
The Etsy web analytics tool is helpful in tracking your own store statistics and user traffic volume. When looking for more growth opportunities, you can create an Etsy Ads Campaign and promote your store with a dedicated daily budget.
How Much Does it Cost to Sell on Etsy?
Starting an online business is an investment, but joining Etsy is free. However, for eCommerce hosts to run properly, they take a cut of your total sales as servicing fees.
These fall under three categories – mandatory, region-specific, and optional fees. Some might not apply to you, while others are obligatory.
We’ll outline every cost individually, but consider checking our detailed Etsy Fees Explained guide with a cost-to-sell estimate and useful examples on how to save on Etsy fees.
Etsy charges a mandatory $0.20 listing fee and a renewal fee whenever you add and sell a product from your Etsy store. Your product is then registered for four months and can be edited without additional costs.
If you sell more than one quantity of your listed product, Etsy takes an additional $0.20 listing fee. After the initial listing fee, you are charged only when a product is sold.
Once customers have bought a portion of your stock, Etsy automatically renews your listing and charges a renewal fee of $0.20. Every added listing and sold item are subject to the $0.20 fee.
When offering Printify products with your designs, Etsy’s print-on-demand integration will set your stock at an unlimited amount (represented as 999). The listings are still automatically renewed, and the same fees will apply.
You can switch off automatic renewal through your Etsy Payments settings. The fee is set at USD and converted to your Etsy Account currency, if necessary.
Regardless of payment method or currency, Etsy has a 6.5% transaction fee for every item sold. The percentage includes the product price, shipping costs, and gift wrapping, making up the final transaction rate. You can track transaction fees in your Etsy Payments system.
The per-transaction fee is highly competitive between eCommerce platforms. Etsy is hugely profitable for small business owners with fewer items at a medium price, while other platforms, like Shopify or WooCommerce, can perform better with a large number of sales and high-cost items.
Etsy Payment Processing Fees are set at a fixed cost plus a percentage of the total product price. The amount you spend on processing fees will depend on your payment gateway and applicable sales tax in the US or VAT in the EU.
Check the applicable payment processing fee in your region, noting the tax of your specific product category and any regulations for selling online through eCommerce.
Did you know that you can sell at an in-person shop location while you accept Etsy payments online? It’s not the most recommended option, but there can be an instance when you have an event that needs on-site inventory.
Etsy’s In-Person Selling Fee is facilitated by Square Reader. Square Reader is a transaction partner program that syncs your Etsy listings for the same $0.20 listing fee charged online.
The best part about Square Reader’s synchronization is that you won’t be charged an Etsy transaction fee and payment processing fee, but will instead pay a smaller in-person transaction fee of between 2.6% and 3.5%.
Etsy’s Regulatory Operating Fee is applied in select European countries and works at a percentage rate of the total product price, including Etsy shipping costs and gift wrapping.
Regulatory Operating fees are mandatory for the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Turkey – countries with digital transaction regulations. These are better known as Digital Services Taxes (DST) which are used to compete with in-person selling.
- United Kingdom – 0.25%
- France – 0.40%
- Italy – 0.25%
- Spain – 0.40%
- Turkey – 1.1%
Currency conversion fees are only applicable if your Etsy Payments bank account currency is different from your product listing currency. The Etsy Currency Conversion Fee charges an automatic 2.5% of the total sale amount.
If you mainly sell on Etsy to customers in your country of business, we recommend that you always set your payments and listings in the same currency.
If you sell internationally, consider setting up a different payment gateway like Google Pay or Apple Pay to skip the Currency conversion fee entirely.
Every Etsy Store starts with the basic subscription model – Etsy Standard – which is entirely free. However, if you’re looking for all the advantages you can get, there’s Etsy Plus for $10 per month.
Etsy Plus gives merchants more options to customize their stores with advanced options, receive discounts on advertising, and increase their branded reputation as a trusted Etsy seller. Consider a higher subscription once you’ve developed recurring sales and returning customers.
There are two marketing fees you can use to advertise your store – Etsy Ads Fees and Offsite Ads Fees. They are, of course, optional but can generate some much-needed traffic for fledgling businesses.
Etsy Ads work on a daily budget amount of anywhere between $1 to $25. The higher the budget, the more users will see it. Additional Etsy subscription packages offer Etsy Ads Credits that can limit your total fee costs.
Etsy Ads list your selected products in the user catalog, search results, and product category pages. Your products need to be well-received in Etsy search results to increase visibility. Assign popular tags and categories, optimize descriptions, and apply keyword research to compete with other stores.
If you’re more interested in promoting on social media and search engines, you can use Offsite Ads. Etsy offers this option as a great way to reach users that aren’t frequent browsers on Etsy, but are still open to your product niche.
Offsite ads prices are set at a percentage fee, which is calculated by how much your store makes per year. Earning less than $10,000 takes a 15% advertising fee, while stores with more yearly revenue are charged a discounted 12% fee.
The fee takes the percentage off any sales made if users interacted with the ad in the last 30 days. However, this fee never exceeds $100, regardless of the percentage.
To increase offsite visibility, advertise on websites that already cater to your target audience and add appropriate tags, attractive product photos, and optimized descriptions.
Additional resource: How to start an advertising campaign with Etsy Ads.
An optional Etsy delivery feature for personalized product packaging lets you purchase shipping labels with a discounted fee, priced by your local shipping services.
Customized shipping details are available for select post offices – Australia Post, Canada Post, FedEx, Global Postal Shipping, USPS, and the Royal Mail; this option is not available for print-on-demand items, since they have separate shipping rates.
Postage labels are a great way to add value to your brand. Once a customer receives your product, they will immediately see that it came from your Etsy store, which can be a nice touch.
For the full range of possibilities, we have to mention Etsy’s Pattern service. Pattern is a subscription-based web hosting tool that you can use to create your own website without being charged Etsy Listing Fees. The flat cost for Pattern is $15 a month, plus the added work of designing a store.
While it’s convenient to have a regular Etsy store page, Pattern adds more customization features for small additional management fees – domain registration, protection, and Etsy payment fee.
How to Choose the Right Niche
Knowing your niche and target audience will determine whether you succeed once you start selling. Etsy works well with some niches, but lacks the audience for others.
A niche is a specialized market segment for a product or service. You can read a fully detailed article about eCommerce niches and ideas in our supplementary article: What is a niche?
In 2020, the platform’s best-selling product categories were homewares and home furnishings, jewelry and personal accessories, craft supplies, apparel, beauty and personal care, paper and party supplies. We’ve listed the five most applicable niches in these product spheres:
Vintage Items & Art
If you’re choosing Etsy to sell handmade goods, retrofitted vintage clothing or a portfolio of your artwork, you’re in luck – the platform is best known for and caters to creative and self-made items.
Art stickers, posters, journals, and notebooks are some of the top-selling Etsy products of all time and consistently produce stellar sales from like-minded creatives.
Home decor is a vast category of items. Top Etsy products in the home decor category are candles, mugs, pillows, rugs, wall decor, vases, picture frames, and other cozy utilities.
Furniture also receives high Etsy search traffic and can be a profitable option, but note that heavier items will be difficult to ship without risk and can come with huge shipping fees.
An increasing number of successful Etsy sellers focus on apparel and take advantage of accessible and profitable options to design their own clothing line or produce unique printed designs on bespoke merchandise.
The apparel category has multiple sub-divisions, each with its own unique audience. You can consider merch items like t-shirts and hoodies, specialized clothing like swimwear, sportswear, footwear, and pajamas, or focus on specific demographics like baby clothes, Halloween costumes, or holiday gifts.
Accessories can fall into a lot of niche categories, depending on the type, but most Etsy sellers focus on jewelry items such as necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, and body jewelry.
These and other accessory items are valued for their creative touch and design detail. Smaller accessories often have a lowered shipping price that works great with Etsy fees and bulk orders.
Collectibles, craft supplies, and seasonal items are great for Etsy sellers who have an existing audience of fans, artists, or hobbyists. Selling supplies such as beads, stones, gems, wires, and even design templates can inspire a loyal customer base of creatives.
You may also choose to focus on your own paintings, photography, sculpted works, etc. However, you don’t necessarily need to make everything by hand. With a print-on-demand service, apply your designs to custom-printed items that are fulfilled and shipped automatically from connected print providers.
Continue your research and find the best Etsy shop ideas on the market. Research your competitors, popular listings, market statistics, and global trends to ensure your niche has a place on Etsy. Try to make informed decisions before you commit to your product categories.
How to Set Up an Etsy Shop
Creating an Etsy store account isn’t difficult. You don’t need professional editing or website design skills, and the process usually lasts a single session before you can open your store to the world.
We’ll outline five mandatory steps to immediately sell on Etsy, but we recommend checking out the Etsy Seller Handbook when considering additional steps for customization, subscription, and store promotion.
Step 1: Create an Etsy Account
Go to the Etsy seller page and select Get started. Register your email address – you may use a new business email or your existing personal address. Finally, add your log-in information and authenticate your credentials.
Step 2: Adjust Your Shop Preferences
Set your preferred shop language for listing descriptions. Select the shop country in which your business operates. Choose a payment currency to price your listings, but keep in mind applicable currency conversion fees.
Finally, add whether you’ll sell on Etsy as a full-time job or a side business. Then, click Save and continue.
Step 3: Name Your Store
Etsy shop names are distinct, descriptive, and memorable. Often the best Etsy shop names deliver information about the types of products it sells, or captivates a specific target audience.
Etsy shop name availability is limited with the influx of newer Etsy sellers, so it’s important to workshop Etsy shop ideas that stand out among competitors or attract a smaller niche. Etsy store names cannot be plagiarized or infringe on trademark policies.
Reflect a feeling, aesthetic, or use your name to become the focus of the brand and lifestyle. Make it something that can fit merchandise or a business card, and google whether your store name has any other connotations that might impact your reputation.
Step 4: List Your Products
Listing your products isn’t as simple as writing up a title. You need to optimize every facet of the item so that Etsy customers consider it worth buying. Create a well-rounded product description with an exciting pitch, descriptive product features, as well as a relatable tone and voice for your target audience.
Photos are much more eye-catching than words. To perfect your product photography, upload photos in high resolution, using dynamic and focused shots that feature the product from multiple angles and show a clear use. Learn how to take great product photos for Etsy from our dedicated article.
Finally, add product categories and tags to help an Etsy buyer find your listing while they’re browsing or using popular search terms. Tags will help Etsy promote your store to the right audience and enhance your traffic potential.
Step 5: Adjust Payment Options
Here, you have to decide on specific Etsy shop policies for payment options, refund protections, and other transactions. This step will differ depending on your country of operations. Etsy usually requires either credit and debit cards or digital wallets to authorize fee payments and billing information.
How to Get Sales on Etsy
Once you’re set up on the Etsy app, you’ll need to focus on driving sales and growing your store. First, make sure you have a steady supply of new product ideas and pre-planned listings.
With a fully stocked online store, you can move on to optimizing and promoting your products. We’ll outline five tried-and-true sales ideas to increase your potential to successfully sell on Etsy.
Don’t Forget About SEO
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is how the Etsy algorithm ranks your listings and shop page data. Use SEO to get visibility on Etsy; your products will appear more frequently and facilitate organic user traffic.
We’ve used the term keywords when talking about creating titles, descriptions, and adding tags and categories. This is a foundational part of search engine optimization. Keywords are certain words or phrases that customers frequently search for and match their phrasing. Keywords have to be an exact match to produce results.
You can test phrases manually by trying different combinations in the Etsy search bar, or you can start automated keyword research through the free Google keyword planner. Paid services like Ahrefs provide even more extensive and data-driven results.
SEO also applies to product photos. The Etsy algorithm prioritizes shop pages with multiple product pictures and a high-quality store banner. Try to keep your images uniform and thematic – combine your store’s brand with its visuals.
Use Etsy Ads
The Etsy Ads feature lets you promote your products with their own featured spot on a user’s Etsy homepage. Ads work on an auction system, with the top-performing listings receiving additional screen time and visibility.
All designated Etsy ads are carefully curated and organized by the Etsy algorithm. It considers previous buyer purchases, browsing history, and even the time of day an ad gets posted to give the highest potential for sales growth.
Etsy uses its discretion for offsite ads and offers small businesses a choice to promote their listings on search engine results or social media platforms like Facebook. These ads are often in higher demand and require expertly optimized listings.
Promote Your Store on Social Media
Use social media as a powerful way to promote your shop to wider audiences. Create your own posts with enticing photos and value statements, and select the social media site that best applies to your target audience.
Etsy offers its own Social Media tool to share automated updates, shop announcements, and promote your activity on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest:
- Listed product shop announcement
- New store milestones
- Upcoming sales and discounts
- 5-star customer testimonials
- Favorited products on your store
While on the topic of social media, increase your sales by participating in relevant trends, hashtags, and global discourse events. You may want to consider creating listings or item designs currently in popular demand or receiving more attention.
Following trends can be tricky since a new challenge, meme, or pop-culture phenomenon can have a divisive audience that’s difficult to please without alienating other customers that aren’t part of the cultural touchstone.
When done right, however, jumping on a new trend before your competitors get the chance can be a surefire way to go viral and magnify your traffic exponentially.
Monitor Your Performance
All Etsy stores start somewhere, and it can be a very slow start that needs a lot of tweaking, enhancing and optimizing before your first sales roll in. When you have a great idea for a product, you can’t let yourself get discouraged.
Use Etsy’s analytics tracker to monitor your traffic performance. Add changes to SEO keywords and monitor user activity. Change up your style intermittently to see what works and what doesn’t. Define specific goals when promoting your products through ads or social media to track your progress with quantifiable results.
Start selling on Etsy successfully with more tips in our additional articles and resources:
How to Sell on Etsy With Printify
Learning how to sell on Etsy isn’t difficult once you learn the essentials. By comparison, learning how to sell print-on-demand (POD) products on Etsy is even easier. Our friendly Etsy coach Brittany Lewis offers her wealth of professional tips and insights on how to get started selling POD on Etsy.
Printify is a print-on-demand platform with over 750 custom product templates for creative printed apparel, merchandise, and accessories. Printify’s print-on-demand service works as an intermediary platform between online sellers, eCommerce marketplaces like Etsy, and over 90 print fulfillment centers around the world.
To use Printify, pick a top-selling Etsy item from our extensive product catalog, use the Printify mockup design tool to upload and place your unique design, save the finished artwork on your Printify account, and click to automatically publish on Etsy.
Our partnered Etsy integration syncs all your Printify products straight to your Etsy shop page and handles the entire fulfillment, inventory, and order delivery process from manufacturing to leaving the package at your customer’s doorstep.
Print On Demand – a proven Etsy success
Many Printify merchants have shared their Etsy success stories – the challenges they faced when starting a small business, becoming a shop manager, and selling on Etsy for a good profit.
For motivation, read our inspiring interviews from Etsy sellers like Christopher Sattes and his erudite dogs, Liora Goren fulfilling her dream as a designer, and Terra Dime, who ended up making $60,000 in sales just in her first year as an Etsy shop manager.
Is selling on Etsy worth it? Yes. In 2022, Etsy was one of the fastest-growing, cost-effective, and easiest platforms to sell vintage items, crafts, and apparel products to a diverse audience.
The Etsy marketplace provides more payment security and has less financial risks than creating your own store website. You can set up a clean and enticing online store in one sitting and sell on Etsy with negligible initial costs as an eCommerce beginner.
Selling on Etsy is free. However, Etsy will take an average of 20-25% of your total sales profit in transaction and payment processing fees. This percentage is heavily dependent on any applicable regional fees, eCommerce policies, and tax rates.
Etsy is a profitable online marketplace for smaller businesses with a niche customer base you can’t find anywhere else on the internet. In 2021, Etsy increased its total seller revenue by 35% in year-over-year growth, showing that the website is becoming even more popular, not less.
Sign up on Etsy to create your own seller account. Add your business preferences and billing information and personalize your store page. Then, add Etsy listings with titles, descriptions, tags, categories, and product photos. Set up your product and shipping prices accordingly and promote your products through advertising or social media updates.
Etsy’s Standard subscription is free to use without any recurring fees. However, by paying a $10 monthly fee, you get access to several additional Etsy subscription features and discounts
Etsy provides an additional service called Pattern. For $15 per month, you can use Pattern to design your own website with a unique domain name and graphic design style.