How to Be Successful on Etsy

how to be successful on etsy

Figuring out how to be successful on Etsy is crucial for artisans and crafters. As one of the premier destinations for handmade goods, Etsy provides a platform for you to start your online business, connecting with countless eager shoppers without the need for your own website or local sales.

Whether you’re dedicated to only selling on Etsy or incorporating it into a broader business plan, here’s how to maximize your success on this potent platform.

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:

  • 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 be successful on etsy

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

To embark on your Etsy selling journey, the first step involves setting up an Etsy account. Setting up is straightforward and won’t cost you a penny. Visit the Etsy website, and you’ll find clear directions right on their main page.

You’ll be prompted to provide some basic personal information. Ensure the details you provide are accurate, as they will be crucial for future transactions and communications.

2. Open Your Etsy Shop Storefront

Once your account is active, it’s time to establish your very own shop storefront. During this phase, you’ll be prompted to designate a shop name. Remember, this name not only identifies your store but also doubles up as your unique URL on the platform.

While initial choices related to your shop’s appearance and description can be edited later, it’s wise to spend some time contemplating these decisions. Further refine your store’s identity by configuring preferences, such as pinpointing your shop’s geographical location and defining its primary category.

how to be successful on etsy

3. Determine What to Sell

Etsy is home to a multitude of talented artisans, each possessing a distinct skill set. As a budding seller, it’s beneficial to identify a niche or specialization. Delve deep into your craft and think about the unique value you can bring to the table.

For instance, a knitter could focus on crafting vibrant baby blankets infused with unique patterns and soft textures. Remember, starting with a focused product line allows you to establish a brand identity, and you can gradually introduce a wider range of products as your shop gains traction.

4. Source Materials

Once you have a clear vision of the products you’ll be offering, it’s time to stock up on essential materials.

Depending on your craft, this could range from yarns of various hues, resilient threads, specialty papers, diverse paint palettes, to even packing materials that ensure your products reach buyers in pristine condition.

To enhance profitability, it’s a smart move to explore wholesalers or seek bulk purchase deals. This strategy not only ensures you have a steady supply but also aids in optimizing the cost per product, thereby maximizing your profit margins.

5. Practice Your Craft

Delving into the world of crafts necessitates dedication and an eye for detail. If you’re still in the early stages of mastering your chosen craft, prioritize investing time in honing your skills.

Remember, in the realm of handmade crafts, buyers are not just paying for the product but also the artisan’s skill, expertise, and the unique touch they bring. Therefore, aim for a degree of consistency in the look, feel, and functionality of each item.

This consistency not only establishes your brand’s reputation but also ensures customer satisfaction.

how to be successful on etsy

6. Take Product Photos

Visual representation plays a pivotal role in the e-commerce landscape. After you’ve amassed a sufficient inventory, the next step involves capturing these creations in their full glory. Your photographs should highlight the intricate details, vivid colors, and unique aspects of each item.

Ideally, begin with a straightforward shot against a neutral background, then follow up with images that convey the item’s relative size. For wearable crafts, photographs showcasing the product being worn can give potential buyers a clearer perspective.

While smartphones with advanced cameras can suffice in the beginning, as you grow, consider elevating your photo quality with professional photography or a high-end DSLR camera. This small investment can exponentially enhance your listings’ appeal.

7. Create a Pricing Strategy

Setting the right price for your crafts isn’t just a matter of arithmetic; it requires strategic thinking. Start by calculating the material costs, but don’t stop there. Account for the hours you’ve invested in creating each piece, and decide on an hourly wage you deem fair for your craftsmanship.

Furthermore, take into consideration the peripheral expenses associated with maintaining and promoting your Etsy shop. This includes everything from shipping charges to marketing campaigns. Conduct market research to gauge the price points of comparable products on Etsy.

This will provide a benchmark and help in determining a competitive yet profitable price. Lastly, remain flexible and open to tweaking your prices based on market demand, feedback, and evolving costs.

how to be successful on etsy

8. Start Listing Products

Having laid a solid foundation, your next step is to populate your Etsy shop with your meticulously crafted products. Begin by uploading the photographs you’ve taken, ensuring each product is depicted clearly and attractively.

When naming your products, opt for descriptive and catchy titles that instantly convey the essence of the item. A well-written product description is invaluable; it should be both informative and engaging.

Add the specifics of the product, such as the materials used, dimensions, care instructions, and any unique features. Incorporating tags will increase the discoverability of your items, so think about the keywords a potential buyer might use when searching for products similar to yours.

In terms of pricing, remember the strategy you’ve formulated and set prices accordingly. While the cost and the perceived value play vital roles, it’s equally important to be transparent about any additional fees, like shipping or customization costs.

It’s important to anticipate potential queries buyers might have about your products. Offering comprehensive descriptions and even a brief FAQ section for each product can build trust and reduce the need for back-and-forth communication, facilitating a smoother buying process.

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

Establishing a cohesive brand identity is paramount in the competitive landscape of Etsy. Access the Etsy app or dashboard to infuse your shop with your brand’s essence – starting with an evocative shop name that resonates with your offerings.

Craft a compelling shop description that weaves the story of your brand, ensuring it’s both engaging and informative. Consistency is key; every aspect, from your profile photo to the color scheme, should align with your brand’s narrative.

Extend this consistent branding to your external marketing collateral, be it packaging or your social media channels.

While drawing inspiration from successful Etsy shops in your category can be beneficial, always ensure your branding exudes originality to differentiate your store in the marketplace.

how to be successful on etsy

10. Master Etsy SEO

Visibility is essential. To ensure your products appear in potential customers’ searches, optimize your listings with SEO in mind. Embed relevant keywords seamlessly into your product titles, descriptions, tags, and categories.

Starting your product title with potent search terms can bolster your item’s discoverability. Remember, understanding and tapping into the keywords your potential customers are using can drastically enhance your shop’s reach and sales.

11. Create Simple Shop Policies

A clear and concise policy framework acts as a backbone for smooth transactions. Within the Etsy platform, you can define guidelines on pivotal aspects like shipping, return policies, and customer communication.

Draft these policies with clarity in your shop manager section and reiterate them in your individual product listings. For instance, if you have a no-return policy on certain items, it’s crucial to highlight this prominently to pre-empt any potential disputes.

12. Focus on Customer Service

Etsy patrons often gravitate towards the platform for its personalized, intimate shopping experience. As a seller, strive to uphold this ethos by delivering impeccable customer service. Aim to address queries promptly, ideally within 24 hours, utilizing Etsy’s integrated messaging system.

Additionally, being accessible through other communication channels, such as email or social platforms, can enhance the customer’s trust.

Personal touches, like handwritten thank-you notes with purchases or custom packaging, can leave a lasting impression and foster loyalty. Ensure your customers are equipped with all the necessary information to contact you should they have any further questions or feedback.

13. Promote Your Listings

Venturing beyond organic reach is often pivotal for significant growth. Etsy provides sellers with an integrated advertising platform, allowing you to amplify the visibility of your listings.

This pay-to-promote feature can be tailored based on your allocated budget and specific campaign goals. Additionally, by optimizing your listings for Google Shopping, you can further broaden your reach through Google Search Ads.

With strategic campaigns, these paid advertisements can significantly boost your shop’s traffic, driving potential buyers directly to your handpicked products.

how to be successful on etsy

14. Update Your Shop Regularly

Remaining active and relevant is key in the dynamic world of e-commerce. Etsy’s search algorithm tends to favor shops that consistently introduce new products or renew existing listings.

By refreshing your product range or revamping old listings, not only do you enhance your shop’s visibility in search results but also cater to returning customers looking for new offerings.

This proactive approach ensures your shop remains vibrant and enticing, inviting both new and repeat customers to explore.

15. Explore Other Selling Avenues

While Etsy offers a vast marketplace teeming with potential customers, it doesn’t bind sellers to its platform. You are free to diversify your selling channels; however, it’s crucial to ensure you’re not redirecting Etsy-sourced customers to other platforms for transactions.

Establishing an independent e-commerce website can offer a branded shopping experience and potentially reduce overheads associated with transaction fees. Furthermore, if you’re scaling up, consider delving into the wholesale segment.

Even as you expand through multiple channels, retaining your Etsy presence can still be beneficial due to its substantial user base and brand recognition, acting as a funnel to draw in a diverse array of customers.

how to be successful on etsy

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.

To better understand the financial landscape of selling on Etsy, here’s a quick overview comparing the costs associated with the platform and potential earnings. This will help you make informed decisions about your pricing strategy and set realistic expectations for your business.

Listing Fee$0.20 per product listing
Transaction Fee6.5% of the sale price
Etsy Ads (optional)Varies based on budget and campaigns
Shipping FeesVaries based on product and destination
Payment Processing FeesVaries based on payment method
Average Earnings (2020)Under $3,000 per year (most sellers)
Potential EarningsUp to $40,000 - $50,000 for full-time, successful sellers

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 and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.