How to sell on Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace focused on selling unique, creative, and handmade items. It connects small business owners, artists, designers, and makers directly with buyers looking for special and personalized products. Founded in 2005, Etsy has grown into a global community of over 60 million members.

Some key facts and statistics about Etsy:

  • Etsy sellers offer products spanning dozens of retail categories, including art, jewelry, clothing, home decor, furniture, toys, paper goods, pet supplies, and more. However, vintage and handmade items are Etsy’s specialty.
  • There are over 4.5 million active sellers on Etsy, ranging from hobbyists to full-time business owners. Over 90% of sellers identify as women.
  • In 2020 alone, Etsy facilitated $10.3 billion in merchandise sales and had approximately 81.9 million active buyers.
  • Etsy attracts a predominantly female demographic, with women making up roughly 70% of buyers according to surveys. The majority of users are between the ages of 25-44.
  • Etsy is popular with millennial and Gen Z shoppers seeking one-of-a-kind items not found on mainstream e-commerce sites. There’s a strong preference for sustainable, eco-conscious products.
  • Etsy operates globally, with nearly 50% of active sellers and 40% of active buyers located outside the United States. Top international seller countries include the UK, Canada, Australia, France, and Germany.

In summary, Etsy is a massive online handmade marketplace, enabling DIYers, crafters, artists, and vintage sellers to connect with buyers worldwide. Its focus on unique and creative goods makes it popular for gift shopping and adding personality to one’s home.

Why Sell on Etsy?

Etsy provides a unique platform for makers, artists, vintage sellers, and crafters to reach targeted niche audiences globally. Here are some of the key benefits of selling on Etsy compared to other e-commerce platforms:

  • Access to Etsy’s marketplace of 66 million active buyers: Etsy attracts a highly engaged community of buyers looking specifically for handmade, vintage, and craft products – your perfect target audience.
  • Low fees: Etsy’s 5% transaction fee and 20 cent listing fee per item are very reasonable compared to other sites. You keep the majority of each sale.
  • Keep your creative independence: You have total control over your shop, policies, and how you interact with customers. Etsy doesn’t dictate or limit your business.
  • Opportunity to build a personal brand: Creative sellers can share their unique story and build recognition for their brand on Etsy through compelling shop profiles and product listings.
  • Tools to manage and grow your shop: Etsy provides an intuitive dashboard, marketing features like promoted listings, pattern software, and more to run your business.
  • Receive support from a connected community: There are opportunities to get advice and help from successful Etsy sellers through teams, forums, guides, and other resources.

In summary, Etsy provides a tailored platform where creative entrepreneurs and artists can turn their passion into a successful global business with lower fees, more independence, and access to a built-in audience.

Signing up for an Etsy shop

Signing up for an Etsy shop is the first step in getting your business up and running. While it may seem daunting as a new seller, the process is quite straightforward.

Creating an account

To open your Etsy shop, you’ll first need to create an Etsy account if you don’t already have one. You can sign up with your email address or connect through your Facebook or Google account.

When creating your account, you’ll need to provide some basic information like your name, email address, and password. You’ll also need to confirm your email to complete the signup process.

Choosing your shop name

One of the most important decisions when opening your Etsy shop is choosing your unique shop name and brand. This will identify your business and products, so take some time to think it through.

Your shop name should be short, memorable, and representative of what you sell. Many sellers include their name, their style or niche, or popular keywords that buyers would search for.

Etsy’s naming guidelines require shop names to be appropriate and not misleading. You’ll get the option to list a few choices in case your first pick isn’t available.

Providing required information

To complete your shop setup, Etsy will ask for some additional required information like your bank account details and tax information. This is necessary to process any sales and payments you earn.

You’ll also need to provide an Etsy shop description, profile picture, cover photo, and listing details to customize your shop home page. Take time to make your shop stand out and reflect your brand’s story and offerings.

With your account created, personalized shop ready, and the required info provided, you’ll officially be open for business on Etsy!

Setting up billing and payment

One of the first steps to getting your Etsy shop ready is setting up billing and payment. This allows you to get paid for your sales and manage any fees Etsy charges.

Connecting your bank account

  • You’ll need to connect a bank account to receive payments from Etsy sales. This is done under Settings > Payment settings.
  • Etsy offers direct deposit into U.S. bank accounts. International sellers can use PayPal.
  • Make sure the name on your bank account matches the one on your Etsy account.
  • It takes 1-2 days for Etsy to verify your bank account before it can be used.

Understanding Etsy’s fees

  • Etsy charges transaction fees when you make a sale. This covers payment processing, support, and other business costs.
  • The fee is 5% of the item price plus listing fees. Payment processing fees also apply.
  • Fees are deducted from your payouts automatically.
  • You can reduce fees with Etsy Plus subscriptions or offsite ad credits.

Managing taxes

  • Etsy handles collecting and remitting sales tax for U.S. sellers. Non-U.S. sellers are responsible for taxes.
  • Make sure your shop policies and listings reflect your tax practices.
  • You can apply for an EIN and business license to manage taxes properly.
  • Use accounting software or professional help if needed to handle taxes for your Etsy business.

Creating Compelling Product Listings

Creating compelling product listings is one of the most important parts of selling successfully on Etsy. You want to make sure your listings showcase your products in the best light and attract buyers. Here are some tips:

Great Photos

  • Use high-quality, well-lit photos that show off your product. Take photos on a clean, simple background in natural lighting.
  • Take photos from multiple angles so buyers can see all sides and details of the product.
  • Show scale and add props if helpful. Place a ruler, coin, or other familiar object next to small items. Style home goods attractively.
  • Zoom in on important details. Get crisp close-ups of special features, textures, or embellishments.
  • Keep photo backgrounds consistent for your whole shop. This creates a cohesive look.


  • Focus on useful details, dimensions, materials, care instructions, origin, etc. Help buyers understand exactly what you’re selling.
  • Tell your product’s story. Share what inspired you, your creative process, etc. Help connect buyers to your product on an emotional level.
  • List key search terms buyers may use to find your item. But write for people, not search engines.
  • Proofread for spelling, grammar, and formatting. Clear communication builds trust.


  • Keep titles short, specific, and descriptive. Summarize the product; don’t just say “Necklace” or “Print”.
  • Include important keywords, but avoid keyword stuffing. Sound natural.
  • Write titles with customers in mind. What would they search for or click on?


  • Include very specific tags relevant to your product. Materials, colors, techniques, categories, etc.
  • Maximize all 13 tag spaces. The more relevant tags the better chance of being found.
  • Research popular search terms on Etsy for your product type and incorporate relevant tags.


  • Use variations for different sizes, colors, and materials of the same product type. Let buyers pick their preferences.
  • Name and organize variations clearly so customers can easily understand the options.
  • Link variations in photos so customers can visually see the options.

With compelling listings that showcase your products, you can attract more buyers and make sales on Etsy!

Pricing Strategies

One of the most important parts of selling on Etsy is determining the right pricing strategy for your products. You want to price your items competitively but also earn a profit. Here are some tips on pricing:

Competitor Analysis

Do some research on similar items in your Etsy category or niche. Look at the price range for comparable handmade or vintage products. Is there a common pricing structure? For example, some sellers base pricing on material costs plus hourly labor. Understanding the competitive landscape will help you position your prices strategically.

Pricing Models

There are a few basic pricing models:

  • Cost-based pricing – Determine your costs (materials, supplies, labor, shipping, fees, etc) and add your desired profit margin. The downside is that costs don’t necessarily reflect perceived value.
  • Value-based pricing – Price based on the value your product provides to customers, relative to alternatives. This gives you more flexibility but requires understanding your customers.
  • Competitive pricing – Set prices based on what competitors charge for similar items. Easier to implement but has less control over profit margins.
  • Psychology pricing – Adjust pricing strategy based on psychological perceptions of value. For example, pricing is just below round numbers.

Choose a model or combination that maximizes your profitability. Monitor and adjust over time as needed.


Discounts and sales promotions are a great way to boost visibility and stimulate demand. Here are some Etsy promotion ideas:

  • Run limited-time percentage discounts on your shop or specific products. This creates a sense of urgency.
  • Offer free shipping or discounted shipping costs on a minimum order value.
  • Provide bundled or bulk order discounts. For example, 10% off any purchase of 3+ items.
  • Provide coupons, promo codes, or loyalty rewards to repeat customers.
  • Offer flash sales or holiday promotions to align with gift-giving seasons.

Promotions help you acquire new customers, increase average order size, reduce excess inventory, and create excitement about your shop. Use them strategically and sparingly to maximize their impact.

Order fulfillment and shipping

Once a customer places an order, it’s time to get their purchase packaged up and shipped out promptly. Quick order fulfillment and fast, reliable shipping are key to keeping Etsy buyers happy.


Use high-quality packaging materials to protect items during shipping. Bubble wrap, tissue paper, cardboard boxes in various sizes, and packing tape can help make sure products aren’t damaged. Choose eco-friendly packaging when possible. Customize packages with branded tape, stickers, or thank-you notes to delight customers.

Properly package and seal boxes. Remove all old mailing labels and cover any barcodes. Place packing slips and invoices inside the package. Address shipping labels accurately and completely.

Shipping rates

Compare USPS, UPS, FedEx, and other carrier rates. Offer a range of affordable shipping options. Recovery shipping costs by building them into your item prices. Provide combined shipping discounts on multiple items.

Use Etsy’s integrated shipping labels to save time and money. Purchase labels and tracking numbers in one step. Take advantage of USPS Cubic rates for lightweight packages.

Delivery times

Ship orders out within 1-2 business days. Set accurate processing and transit times in your policies and listings. Upgrade to faster shipping like Priority Mail when possible.

Send tracking numbers to buyers as soon as an order ships. This allows customers to follow their package’s progress. Proactively communicate about any potential shipping delays. Expedite an order if a mistake causes a significant delay.

Providing excellent customer service

Providing top-notch customer service should be a priority for any Etsy seller. How you communicate and assist customers can make or break your shop’s reputation. Follow these tips for delighting customers and ensuring they have a positive experience buying from your Etsy store:


  • Respond to customer inquiries as quickly as possible, ideally within 24 hours. Set up email notifications on your phone so you don’t miss any messages.
  • Craft polite, friendly responses. Thank customers for their interest, answer their questions thoroughly, and use a positive tone even when dealing with problems.
  • If there will be a delay in shipping or other issues, proactively reach out to customers to set expectations. Transparency goes a long way.


  • Create reasonable return and exchange policies, and post them clearly in your Etsy shop policies.
  • Make the return process as seamless as possible for customers. Provide return shipping labels, send prompt refunds upon receiving returns, etc.
  • If a customer is unsatisfied with an item, offer solutions like an exchange or store credit before agreeing to a return. This retains their business.


  • Follow up with customers asking if they’re satisfied with their purchase and invite them to leave an Etsy review. Don’t nag, but a friendly reminder helps.
  • Respond professionally to negative reviews explaining how you aim to improve. Other customers will appreciate your commitment to making things right.
  • Consider offering customers a small thank-you gift or discount on their next purchase in exchange for an honest Etsy review. This can help generate reviews.

Strong customer service improves long-term customer loyalty, leads to repeat business and referrals, and helps you stand out from competitors. Going the extra mile for customers is well worth the effort for Etsy sellers.

Marketing your Etsy shop

Promoting your Etsy shop is crucial to driving traffic and sales. Here are some of the top marketing strategies for Etsy sellers:


  • Optimize your Etsy listings with relevant keywords in the title, tags, and description. Research keywords people are searching for.
  • Write high-quality listing content that fully describes your products. Include details like materials, dimensions, and care instructions.
  • Link to your Etsy shop and popular product pages from your website and social media. Get backlinks to boost search rankings.

Social Media

  • Promote your shop and new products on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
  • Engage with your audience by sharing photos, behind-the-scenes content, and promotions.
  • Run giveaways and contests to grow your following and email list.

Paid Ads

  • Advertise on Etsy and Google Shopping to get your products in front of buyers actively searching.
  • Test small budgets and specific targeting to efficiently find your ideal customers.
  • Track conversions and optimize for purchases, not just clicks.


  • Offer discounts or free shipping for first-time buyers from your store.
  • Send coupon codes to your email subscriber list.
  • On holiday weekends, have sales events to increase orders.

Marketing provides the visibility needed to succeed on Etsy. Focus on low-cost strategies like SEO and social media along with targeted paid advertising.

Tips for Etsy Selling Success

Selling successfully on Etsy requires utilizing best practices and avoiding common pitfalls. Here are some top tips for Etsy sellers:

Optimize your shop and listings

  • Write clear, descriptive titles and tags to help buyers find your products. Research keywords that potential customers may search for.
  • Fill out all sections of your listings – thumbnail image, additional photos, full description, materials, dimensions, etc. The more info the better!
  • Refresh your listings often by renewing them, updating photos and descriptions, or offering coupon codes. This moves you up in search results.

Provide excellent customer service

  • Respond to convos and questions within 24 hours. Quick communication builds trust.
  • Ship orders promptly and include a thank you note. Follow up to ensure satisfaction.
  • Be flexible with customers. Allow returns if they are unsatisfied. Offer exchanges or refunds.

Price competitively

  • Research prices of similar items. Price on the lower end to attract buyers first starting.
  • Run sales, and offer discounts and coupons to incentivize purchases and promotions.
  • Consider free shipping over $35. Absorb small costs to encourage larger orders.

Avoid common mistakes

  • Don’t duplicate mass-manufactured products. The list is truly handmade, vintage, or craft supplies.
  • Steer clear of trademarks or copyrighted material. Disney, NFL logos, etc. will get your shop shut down.
  • Don’t buy fake reviews or pay for favorites. Let your products and services speak for themselves.

With excellent customer service, smart pricing strategies, and optimized listings, you’ll be on your way to Etsy selling success! Let your creativity shine through.

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