How To Set Up An Etsy Shop & Start Selling
More than 2.5 million people are making money selling handmade items and designs, vintage items, and crafting tools and material on Etsy. Are you ready to join them and bring your products onto this thriving online marketplace?
While there are other online marketplaces catering to vendors of handmade goods, Etsy remains a top platform — and for good reason. It’s easy to sign up for Etsy, and Etsy provides a supportive community of artists and artisans that has drawn in more than 45 million active buyers since 2012. This article will share step-by-step instructions for setting up an Etsy shop and give you some tips you can use to start selling.
If you’re ready to jump into eCommerce via Etsy, read on!
Table of Contents
- How Much Does It Cost To Sell On Etsy?
- What You’ll Need To Start Your Etsy Shop
- How To Start An Etsy Shop
- How To Sell On Etsy Now That Your Shop Is Up
- Go Forth & Launch Your Etsy Empire!
How Much Does It Cost To Sell On Etsy?
While it’s free to join Etsy, everyone who sells there incurs some costs. Each product listing will cost you $0.20, and when you sell an item Etsy takes a 5% transaction fee on the item’s cost as well as on shipping costs. If you use Etsy Payments, you can expect to pay transaction fees of 3% plus $0.25 when items sell. (If you use a different payment gateway, you’ll owe transaction fees to them.)
If you want to upgrade from the free Standard Plan, you can move to the Plus Plan for $10 per month. You’ll gain some advanced features for that price, and some credits and discounts you may find appealing. Etsy fees sometimes change or increase, so you’ll want to stay on top of the latest information about Etsy pricing.
What You’ll Need To Start Your Etsy Shop
It’s easy to get your Etsy store up and running, even if you don’t have much experience with eCommerce or coding. Before you log on to the site, though, you’ll want to gather some information, including the following:
- Business name
- Your bank routing and account numbers
- Credit card to leave on file for fees
You won’t need to enter all this information right away, so hold onto it while you get ready to launch. Follow the steps listed in the next section, below.
How To Start An Etsy Shop
Once you’ve decided to set up an online store through Etsy, you’ll find it’s an easy process. The first thing you need to do is sign in to your Etsy account. If you don’t have an Etsy account already, create one. Then follow these steps that show you how to set up your online store through Etsy.
Sign Up To Sell On Etsy
On the Etsy page, right next to the search bar, you’ll see the words “Sell on Etsy.” Click on that link, and you’ll have taken the first step toward becoming an Etsy vendor.
That link takes you to a new page with information about Etsy. Take some time to explore the links you’ll see, and you’ll learn about:
Once you’ve made your way around the page, click on the black button at the bottom, the one that says Open your Etsy shop.
When you click that link, you’ll be taken to a new screen, where you’ll be asked to enter some basic information, including your country of operation and whether selling is a full-time or part-time gig for you.
Create Your Etsy Shop
When you press Save and continue, you’ll be asked to enter a name for your Etsy shop. That name can include only unaccented Roman letters, with no spaces. Be aware that it’s highly likely that your first choice of name will be already taken by an existing Etsy user. Fortunately, Etsy has a handy name generator that will take your first choice and generate closely related suggestions for alternative names that are available. For example, I tried to claim the store name “KatesCorner.” That not-so-original name was taken, but I could see that KatesCornerUS was available, among other names suggested. If you see one you like, type it into the name box exactly as it appears, then hit Save and continue.
Add Products To Your Etsy Shop
The next step is to add products. When you add a new listing, you’ll be allowed to upload as many as 10 images. There are even helpful suggestions for how to take and choose the best photos. You can perform basic photo editing on the site, though you probably have better editing tools on your computer already.
You’ll be prompted to enter more information about each item, including a listing title that includes keywords buyers can search for. You’ll also be asked who made the item. Be aware that Etsy allows listings for handmade items only if they were made by you or by a production partner whom you will have to identify in your About section. The only exceptions include certain vintage items that are at least 20 years old and craft supplies. Etsy members can flag listings that appear to violate listing policies, and if your listing is flagged it may be removed. Your listing fees will not be returned.
As you enter your product information, take special note of the Renewal options. The default is Automatic, meaning the listing will renew after a four-month period, if it hasn’t already sold. Your account will be charged the $0.20 listing fee each time the item renews. You can change the option to Manual, and renew expired listing yourself if they don’t sell within the four-month listing window.
You’ll also be prompted to enter Tags, the words that will show up first when users search for items like yours. You can enter your own tags to describe your item’s shape, color, style, function, and so on, or you can ask the Etsy system to make suggestions. If you’re unfamiliar with tags and other SEO terms, spend a little time reading up on them to improve your listings.
Price Your Items
Before you’re done listing items, you’ll need to assign a price to each. Etsy offers some helpful suggestions that can help you assign a fair price, including shipping and the cost of materials and labor. Once you decide on a price, enter it, and then enter how many of that item you have available. Again, note that you will be charged a new listing fee of $0.20 for each unit as it relists after a sale.
Set Your Shipping Prices & Policies
Before you publish a listing, you’ll need to think about how you’ll deliver items to buyers. You can leave it to Etsy to calculate the shipping charges, or you can decide to set fixed price shipping fees for each item. If you choose the Etsy option, your buyers will see shipping costs based on their location and the information you enter for each item including product weight and dimensions when packed for shipping. You can set a custom shipping profile for each item you’re listing, once you decide:
- Processing time
- Where and how you’ll ship
- Will you offer free shipping
- Will you charge handling fees
Note that you can choose to ship worldwide. Etsy will calculate international shipping fees for you and take care of the details of international shipping, including customs paperwork.
Take Care Of The Financial Details
The best part about selling on Etsy? Getting paid! But before you can do that, you’ll need to enter some financial information:
- Your full name
- Type of account
- Routing and account number
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Home address
- Phone number
You’ll be asked to enter credit card information, as well. Etsy costs, such as listing fees, will be charged to the card you enter. After you enter card information, you’ll be ready to open your shop.
How To Sell On Etsy Now That Your Shop Is Up
You’ve created product listings and entered your financial information.
You could sit back and wait for the sales to start rolling in. But there’s a better way. Take these steps to make sure your Etsy shop is primed for success.
Step 1: Build Your Customer Base
Step 2: Manage Your Listings
If you’ve done everything right, the items you’ve listed will fly off your shelves. If you haven’t done everything right, don’t worry! Any kind of marketing or sales involves trial and tweaking. If you’re not seeing the sales you like, revisit the language you used in the listings. Research competitors on Etsy and elsewhere. How do they describe their products, and how can you use what you see on their pages to improve your own? Look at other elements, too, like price and delivery time. If your numbers are noticeably higher, you may need to lower your price and speed up your production in order to become competitive.
Step 3: Build Your Profile
While Etsy walks you through the process of listing items and posting them for sale, one thing is left out of the process: introducing yourself and your store to customers. Fortunately, it’s easy to do that once you’re up and selling. From the admin panel, under the heading Sales Channels, click on the edit button to the right. From there you can add a title for your shop, put in your location, add a profile photo for yourself and/or your shop, and add a banner photo. You can upload one video and up to five photos, giving you a chance to introduce yourself to shoppers and show them how you create your unique items. You can also list a tagline or slogan. Don’t forget to link to your website and social media pages too.
Step 4: Analyze The Data
From the Etsy home page, you should be able to see a Shop Manager link at the top, to the right of the search bar. Click on that to go to your shop’s admin. This is where you can manage all aspects of your shop, from listings to customers, and more. In the admin panel, there’s a link for Stats, and if you click on that you’ll see a lot of very useful information about who is finding your page and how. You’ll be able to see overall sales performance as well as how individual listings are performing. You can use this information to target your marketing efforts and to tweak your listings to attract more views and more sales.
Step 5: Activate Other Channels
Etsy isn’t the only channel you can use to funnel shoppers into your store. Think about connecting all your social media pages, too. From the admin panel, click on Marketing, then choose Social Media. You’ll be guided through the steps of creating a post to boost one of your listings, and the Etsy system will generate a link to your listing that makes it easy for buyers to find you. It’s easy to link your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
Step 6: Stay On Top Of Service Issues
Once the orders start rolling in, it’s finally time to celebrate and relax.
Or is it?
As customers place orders, you’ll need to stay on top of any service issues that arise. Use your admin panel to track orders, including any that are canceled or returned. Remember, while you will not be allowed to contact customers outside of the Etsy sales process, you can communicate with them and do your best to ensure a successful sale that leaves them satisfied — and likely to recommend you or return to shop again.
Step 7: Keep An Eye On The Competition
Whatever you’re listing on Etsy, it’s highly likely that you’re not the only one offering it for sale. So pay attention to what your Etsy competitors are doing. Etsy doesn’t allow direct copying of other vendors, but you can see what they’re doing to make their products stand out. Maybe they’re offering customization options that you could consider adding to your listings, or perhaps they are charging less (or more) than you are and enjoying greater sales. Put regular “window shopping” on your Etsy to-do list, and you just might find ways to make your shop and your sales better.
Go Forth & Launch Your Etsy Empire!
It’s hard to find perfection, and Etsy won’t be the right platform for every seller. However, it’s hard to argue with a strategy that made possible nearly $4.975 million in sales last year. If you’re making a killer product that you can’t wait to share with the world, do your research, and then don’t hesitate to jump in and start selling on Etsy.