How to Be Successful on Etsy

how to be successful on etsy

Etsy is one of the top destinations for small business owners in the handmade industry. The marketplace lets you start your own online business and reach tons of interested shoppers without building your own site or selling products locally. Whether you want to focus solely on Etsy or use it as part of your strategy, here are tips for making the most of this powerful tool.

Should You Become an Etsy Seller?

Etsy is one of the top destinations for selling handmade items. If you’re thinking of starting your own online store, here are some benefits of choosing Etsy:

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  • Get started quickly: You can sign up for an Etsy account easily and start selling right away. This can be an ideal way to build up some early revenue before launching another store.
  • Reach millions of shoppers: There are more than 96 million active shoppers on Etsy. And they’re all looking for handmade products.
  • Enjoy powerful marketing tools: Etsy also offers sponsored listings, connections to Google Shopping, and other options for increasing traffic to your products.
  • Keep costs manageable: It’s free to sign up for an Etsy account. And listing fees are minimal. Most of the cost comes once you start selling. So you can factor that into your pricing strategy.
  • Scale beyond Etsy: Etsy may be the perfect way to launch a new handmade business. But you can always grow to open your own shop or sell to retail outlets as well, keeping your Etsy store to sell just to customers who find you via the powerful search feature.


How to Sell on Etsy Successfully

Pretty much anyone with an internet connection can start an Etsy business. But a few key steps often separate successful Etsy sellers from the rest. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you open a new Etsy store and start making sales and profits.

1. Create an Etsy Account

New Etsy sellers must first start by creating an Etsy account. It’s free to sign up. Just follow the prompts on the Etsy home page and enter a few personal details.

2. Open Your Etsy Shop Storefront

From there, you can select that you want to create a new store. You’ll need a unique shop name, which will serve as your URL. But you can change the design and description of your shop page later. Additionally, set shop preferences like your location and category.

3. Determine What to Sell

Most Etsy sellers have a particular craft or area of expertise already. But narrow it down further to select a specific item and target audience. For example, knitters may start by offering colorful baby blankets. You can always expand your offerings over time.

4. Source Materials

Purchase any materials needed for your products. This may include yarn, thread, paper, paint, and any materials needed to ship your products. Look for wholesalers or bulk options to keep the cost per product low.

5. Practice Your Craft

If you’re not already an expert in the type of craft you want to sell, take your time practicing and perfecting each item. Customers will generally pay for quality goods. But you should offer options that are relatively consistent in their appearance and functionality.

6. Take Product Photos

Once you’ve built an inventory, start photographing products for your listings. Include at least one image in front of a plain background and one that shows the item’s scale. For wearable products, include images of the item on a model so buyers can see the product in action. Phone photos are often fine to start. But investing in a professional photographer or DSLR camera may bring your listings to the next level.

7. Create a Pricing Strategy

To price products on Etsy, don’t just factor in the cost of materials. Consider how much time each item takes to produce and how much you want to earn for your time. Then factor in other costs and time requirements for running your shop, like shipping fees, accounting, and marketing. Additionally, look at what similar products sell for on Etsy, and be willing to negotiate or adjust prices over time.

8. Start Listing Products

With the basics covered, it’s time to start listing products for sale. Include photos, product names, descriptions, tags, and pricing details for each option in your shop. You can add long descriptions to answer any questions that potential customers may have.


More Great Ideas for Etsy Shop Success

Once you’ve created your shop and a few Etsy listings, it’s time to get your products in front of more potential customers. The following tips can help you reach more buyers and improve your chances of success.

9. Brand Your Shop

In the Etsy app or dashboard, you can add a shop name, description, and other elements to fill in your profile. Treat this like any other business, creating a consistent image that customers will remember. Then carry those elements to any other marketing materials you create, like packaging and social media. Research successful Etsy sellers in your niche for inspiration, but make sure your name and branding are different enough to stand out.

10. Master Etsy SEO

When creating product listings, add relevant keywords that may appear in customer searches throughout. This includes starting the title with potential search terms, adding them to descriptions, and using relevant tags and categories.

11. Create Simple Shop Policies

The Etsy community allows you to set policies for things like shipping costs and communications. Outline these in your shop manager page and product listings so customers know what to expect. For example, if an item is not eligible for returns, make that known upfront to avoid conflict.

12. Focus on Customer Service

Shoppers on Etsy expect personalized service. Respond to inquiries at least within a day using Etsy’s messaging feature. But you may also be available via email or social media. Then offer personalized notes or messages with each purchase to thank customers and let them know how to reach out to you with questions or concerns.

13. Promote Your Listings

You can pay to promote Etsy listings through the site’s advertising section. You may also optimize listings for Google shopping and then promote them through Google search ads. You can generally set your own budget and create goals for each campaign to bring extra online shoppers to your store and products.

14. Update Your Shop Regularly

Etsy search results usually prioritize listings from active shops. That means you should regularly update your shop with new products, or at least renew prior listings periodically. This can also refresh your options for repeat buyers.

15. Explore Other Selling Avenues

Etsy does not require shop owners to exclusively sell on Etsy. You just can’t direct customers who found you on Etsy to other storefronts to complete their purchases. However, you can have your own dedicated website or build a wholesale business. As you begin selling higher product volumes, this strategy may be more cost-effective than paying fees on each sale. However, your Etsy shop may still bring in tons of new customers through the marketplace.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell on Etsy?

The costs related to selling on Etsy vary widely based on what and how much you sell. It costs $0.20 to list a product on Etsy. But Etsy fees also include a 6.5 percent fee per transaction, along with any purchases of Etsy ads, shipping fees, and payment processing fees. Overall, seller fees on Etsy can fall anywhere from about 6.5 to 10 percent of your sales volume.


How Much Do the Average Etsy Sellers Make?

Etsy seller earnings vary widely, from just a few hundred dollars a year to six figures and up. Etsy doesn’t release specific numbers about how much shops earn. However, the company’s CEO stated in 2020 that the average shop owner brings in just under $3,000 a year. That’s likely due to the fact that most Etsy sellers run their businesses as a hobby or side hustle. The most successful Etsy sellers and those who work full-time usually earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year.

What Sells the Best on Etsy?

You can sell a huge array of handmade items on Etsy, from toys to wall art. However, some top-selling categories include clothing, accessories, home decor, bath and beauty products, and craft supplies. However, you can be successful selling nearly any type of product within Etsy’s guidelines, as long as you market your shop and offer attractive incentives like free shipping or personalized service.

Is It Hard to Succeed With an Etsy Store?

Selling on Etsy can be a fun and profitable business opportunity. However, it does take some planning and skill to turn basic Etsy shops into successful business ventures. The tips above walk Etsy store owners through every step of the process, from setting up their shop announcement to closing tons of Etsy sales. Follow the guide to get started. Then adjust as you learn what strategies work best for your shop.

Image: Envato Elements

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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