Like many artisans, you’re proud of the work you’ve created. Or maybe, you have a keen eye for finding amazing vintage items and your closets are getting too full. When you’re ready to share these creations or discoveries with the world, open an Etsy shop.
Why Start an Etsy Shop?
Etsy is a marketplace created especially for handmade and vintage items. Since its launch in 2005, it’s become one of the largest online marketplaces. Nearly 2.7 million sellers, 46.3 million active buyers, and over 60 million unique products occupy Etsy. If the numbers aren’t enough to convince you, here are some additional benefits of opening a shop on Etsy:
- Fast to set up. You don’t have to be a computer expert to start selling on Etsy. Navigating through the set-up process is user-friendly and doesn’t require coding.
- It’s cost-effective. Selling on the Etsy marketplace won’t break the bank. There are no domain/hosting fees and the fees for selling are reasonable.
- Provides onsite community support. Etsy has maintained a helpful and engaged community of sellers since it began 15 years ago. Sellers on Etsy community boards can answer your questions, exchange stories, and provide support when it’s needed.
How to Start Your Own Etsy Shop
Before you can start earning money for your art, there are several steps you must follow:
1. Get Started at Etsy.com
Go to the Etsy homepage and click the Sell on Etsy link. From there, click on Open your Etsy Shop. You’ll be asked to create an account using your email address and a customized password.
2. Set Preferences
On the Shop Preferences screen, you’ll set your preferred language, currency, and how you plan to sell (full-time, part-time, etc.). Click Save and Continue.
3. Enter a Shop Name
The name you pick for your shop should be creative and memorable, reflecting your personal brand. Make sure the name is synonymous with your product offerings as well. Click Save and Continue.
4. List a Product
Now, your shop is set up and you’re ready to list your first item. Here’s how:
- Add photos – You should include at least five images for each item listing (you can include up to ten). Take photos from different angles and distances, so buyers can see details and get a proper idea of what your item looks like. Make sure your images are high-quality and have a nice background.
- Adjust thumbnail image – This is the first image of your item that shoppers will see, both in your shop and on Etsy search, so make sure it’s a good one.
- Complete listing details – You’ll enter a title and description for your item here. The title has a 140-character limit. Try to use all available characters to give shoppers a detailed idea of what it is. Then, in the description, you can provide all the information about the item by choosing a category and type, creating a bulleted overview, and providing an in-depth description.
In the Renewal Options section, you can choose to have your unsold items automatically relisted every four months or select Manual to do it yourself.
Next, choose tags for your product. You’re allowed 13 tags for each item – so use them all. These tags work as keywords to help buyers find your item via Etsy search. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and include terms that you believe they’d search.
Now you’ll add the price for the item and how many you have in stock, as well as your shipping fee.
You can preview the listing at this point to see if it looks the way you want, or if you need to make any changes.
Click Finish, and your first item is listed.
5. Select Your Payment Method and Billing Information
Here, you’ll choose which forms of payment you would like to accept. The options are PayPal, check or money order, and Etsy Payments – which is the main way sellers get paid. With Etsy Payments, you can accept credit cards, debit cards, Etsy gift cards, store credit, and more.
6. Open Your Shop
Your shop is ready to open! Just click the Open Your Shop button and start selling.
The URL for your shop will be in one of two formats:
Optimizing Your Etsy Shop
Once your Etsy shop is up and running, you should spend some time optimizing it to attract more shoppers and increase sales. Here are some ways to do that:
- Add a bio and a photo – Customers like to know who they’re buying from. Create a personal connection with a short bio about yourself and a photo to go with it.
- Add terms and policies – In this area, you can include shipping policies, return policies, and any other information that customers might ask about.
- Write a shop bio – This section allows you 5,000 characters to write about your business and brand. Help shoppers learn more about your business by writing about your products, brand, and motivation passionately and transparently. You can also include links to social media pages here.
- Post high quality pictures – When displaying your products, the photo you choose needs to make a good first impression. If your competition has a better picture posted, they’re most likely to going to receive more traffic. Make sure your photographs have good lighting and clearly show the product you want to sell.
- Sell smart – Sourcing from a wholesaler can give you a leg up on your competition. You can also test new products to see how your audience likes them. From there, you can manufacture your own products once you know there is a demand for it. What we’re trying to tell you is to not spend a ton of time creating new products that may not sell and hurt your bottom line. Utilize your resources to sell smarter.
- Perfect your delivery process – With manufacturers selling in bulk, attempting to compete with their prices is unrealistic. Instead, focus on selling good quality products and having a reliable delivery process. Plan out your delivery ahead of time in order to ensure the package arrives on time and intact. You could even create a unique thank you card to put in every package that encourages customers to return. Another great item to add to your box is a free sample or a coupon off their next purchase.
- Optimize your listings – Having a unique title will help set you apart from the competition only if your target audience can find your listing. Optimizing your product title and description for the search engines (SEO) is detrimental to getting your products noticed. Just remember your audience – they aren’t Google robots. You want to create storytelling with your product descriptions.
If you’ve followed the steps above, then your Etsy shop is good to go, and you’re on your way to a successful Etsy business!
You probably still have some questions, but before you get too overloaded with confusion, check out these common Etsy seller mistakes to avoid. You can also get help from other Etsy sellers who have been in your shoes on the Etsy Forums. The Etsy community is knowledgeable and helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask your peers for advice. Lastly, Etsy has a pretty comprehensive Seller Handbook that covers many topics you might encounter selling on the marketplace.
Keep creating, keep listing products, and keep learning – you’ll be a successful Etsy seller before you know it!