Do you have a knack for making high-quality handmade items? Selling them on your own website as a small business owner can be tricky — figuring out the tech, targeting active buyers and setting up your shop policies are just a few hurdles you must overcome.
If you’re a small business owner or pursuing this as a side hustle, it’s possible that all the effort just won’t be worth it. However, there is a way to become a shop owner without all the hassle of developing a website independently.
Are you interested in learning more? Well, look no further — Etsy is the platform for you.
What is Etsy?
Etsy is an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers interested in buying or selling unique handmade, vintage and craft items. Etsy buyers want to purchase the fruits of your creative gifts.
Etsy sticks out because of its ability to connect independent Etsy sellers to a global audience to sell their products online.
The best part of hand-crafted and vintage items is their unique story and origins; Etsy makes the most of this. With an Etsy business, you can sell various handmade products like jewelry, clothing and craft supplies.
What are the benefits of selling on Etsy?
Before diving in, make sure you truly understand the benefits and power of selling on Etsy versus other online platforms.
Because of its well-known status, Etsy allows anybody to increase visibility on their shop. Etsy reported over 96.3 million shoppers last year alone. Your shop will be exposed to all corners of the world via Etsy search. The opportunities are just waiting to be unlocked by your creativity.
Because of its broad reach and influence, Etsy provides any small business with massive marketing opportunities.
Selling on this online marketplace can establish you as a seller and help you build a loyal customer base once you open your Etsy shop. All you have to do is create wanted products and provide quality service.
Related: Branding 101: The Basics of Building a Successful Brand
Any successful Etsy shop can provide a financial opportunity for the seller while the seller does what they do best: create. This online shop can offer a flexible way to earn income. Successful sellers can generate significant revenue from their shops to pursue their goals, whether for their business or otherwise.
Not only can it be a side gig, but with enough success, it can become a full-time job supporting you and the business itself.
Etsy gives any successful shop the tools they need to grow. Continue providing your shop with improved products and a smoother shopping experience and you might have a sustainable business.
How to get started selling on Etsy
If these benefits interest you, setting up your unique shop on Etsy is the next step. Follow the steps below to make the best start for your future business.
1. Decide if Etsy is the right platform
Starting any business endeavor is intimidating. As always, carefully research what you plan to put your time and energy into.
Because they specialize in hand-crafted goods and services, ensure you know you cannot sell mass-produced items or any items that violate Etsy’s policy.
Other than this, the only problems that you may have with Etsy will be specific to your business. Be sure that Etsy is suitable for you before investing your time in this venture.
If not, consider other ecommerce platforms, such as Amazon or eBay, or utilize Shopify integrations on your own site.
Related: E-commerce Basics: 10 Questions to Ask When Creating an Online Store
2. Create your account and open your Etsy storefront
First, you’ll need to go to Etsy.com. Click “Sign in” in the top right corner of the page, next to the shopping cart icon. If you have an account already, go ahead and sign in (and you can go ahead and skip to “the selling page” below). If not, click “Register” to create a new Etsy account. Enter your first and last name, email and password.
To finish making your account, follow the instructions to verify your email address. Once completed, go ahead and sign in.
Once you have signed in, click your profile icon in the top right. The default is a gray silhouette, but you are welcome and recommended to customize your profile to be unique and recognizable to future customers.
The dropdown menu gives you many options that you should familiarize yourself with, but go ahead and click on the “Sell on Etsy” option. This will take you directly to the seller page. Press “Get Started” and follow the simple steps to create your page.
A couple of notes to think about when filling out this information. Etsy takes your answers and puts them in an algorithm.
Once your store is created and made public, it will use these answers to appeal to customers that fit the description. So be specific with your answers to maximize the tool Etsy uses for your business.
Additionally, make sure your shop name is memorable, easy to spell and reflects what you sell.
Related: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business
3. Upload your first product listing
This part is self-explanatory, and Etsy sets you up for success by requiring this listing before doing anything else on your store page. Etsy is very detailed on this part and lets you know what you need to get your first products out there for the world to see.
Even though some are optional, fill out as many product descriptions and listings as possible. The more detailed, the better.
Don’t worry about making this first listing perfect. Etsy uses this as a tutorial for uploading your products to the market and won’t show this product until you’ve made your store public. Make sure you understand the basics of listing on Etsy.
4. Choose your payment method
Once again, pretty self-explanatory on Etsy’s part. The main thing to note is Etsy’s mode of payment: Plaid. Plaid is a secure method of connecting your bank to Etsy for secure, quick and easily-received payments. Similar to a modern Paypal. So don’t worry about handing out your credit card information. Leave the security to Plaid and your bank.
Different online stores use other methods for various reasons, but Plaid is reliable. Follow the steps, fill out your information and connect to Plaid to continue registering as a store.
Don’t be concerned about security: They need information you wouldn’t usually share about your account with your financial institution, but they need it to access your bank account to pay you.
5. Customize your storefront
Now that you have officially opened your store, you have many more options to explore. It can be overwhelming, so look below for some highlights. A good business owner should know all the tools, but you can get a good start by looking below.
Start by customizing your online storefront, namely your store name, icon, cover and profile photos, banner and shop announcements. These are all specific to you and your business. If you are nervous about this part, consider using Etsy’s guide to starting a great Etsy shop.
Related: Selling Products Online? How to Build a Perfect Checkout Page
What are the fees associated with starting an Etsy store?
While selling on Etsy, there will be fees unique to Etsy that you should understand. These Etsy fees will affect profit but are mandatory for a seller on the ecommerce platform.
Etsy listing fees are required to list products for sale on Etsy. You’ll get charged a listing fee for each listing you post.
On Etsy, the listing fee is a flat rate of $0.20 USD per listing. This fee gets charged whether or not the item listed sells. This is important to consider in the decision of whether or not to list. It’s a small individual price but can quickly add up and negatively affect profits. This fee automatically adds to your payment account when you publish an item.
Transaction fees are the fees Etsy collects when a customer makes a purchase. Unlike listing fees, transaction fees are only collected on listings that sell. There are just a few basic things to remember on the subject of transaction fees with Etsy:
- The transaction fee is 6.5% of the total order amount in your listing
- This fee covers the total cost of the item, along with the shipping
- The transaction fee amount is automatically charged to your payment account for ease of viewing
Payment processing fee
Payment processing fees are a set rate of the item’s total sale price. It is important to note that this rate varies by country. The fees are taken from the item’s total sale price, including shipping fees and any applicable sales tax.
Currency conversion fees
If your listing currency differs from the currency of your Payment account, the funds you receive will be subject to a conversion fee by Etsy. Since this is a service Etsy provides, they have a certain fee based on the currency converted. However, you can bypass this fee by setting your listing currency to be the same as your Etsy payment account.
While you can determine your own shipping costs, Etsy provides multiple ways to calculate and charge shipping costs. This can be done by creating shipping profiles for different product categories.
Because of the variety of items sold on Etsy, they created this tool to help people ship their products efficiently and in a profit-oriented way.
Be sure to understand what each product needs for shipping and be able to utilize this tool when you need to determine shipping costs for your business.
All of the fees discussed above are described in more detail by Etsy on their help center, so be sure to utilize this resource as you build your online store.
What are some helpful features on the Etsy platform?
There are several features to consider when considering how Etsy sets you up for success. These are tools that very few other online marketplace companies offer, so be sure to know how to use these tools.
The stats tab on your store dashboard is a great way to analyze business data quickly. Etsy compiles all of it based on your online sales, giving you an easy view of your success and what you can do better.
As discussed, Etsy provides a great opportunity for growth because of its influence and reach in the online space. The marketing tab provides options for search analytics, Etsy ads, search engine optimization (SEO), sales and discounts, social media integration and custom web addresses.
All of these can improve your online store’s quality through marketing tools provided at the click of your mouse.
Related: 21 Ways to Market Your Business Online
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Etsy provides integrations with 21 partners specializing in their respective fields: marketing and promoting, maximizing listings and understanding buyer trends, bookkeeping, taxes and inventory analytics.
With all these tools accessible from your dashboard with a click, you can create an online store that would be impossible to do on your own.
Selling on Etsy FAQs
1. How to integrate an Etsy shop with a brick-and-mortar store?
This can be an intimidating task but also a significant milestone to set for your business as you explore your market.
Check out the “Sell in person” option in the bottom left of your dashboard. Etsy gives you another fantastic way to branch out — a physical store for your potential customers to visit.
If you’re successful enough, Etsy has this option for you to continue your business growth. Going from an online page to an in-person storefront is getting closer to the final destination in the business world.
Related: Lessons Retail Stores Can Learn From Successful E-commerce Sites
2. How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?
This question is a common question that many beginner sellers have. Unfortunately, this question can’t be simply answered across all businesses. Because of the uniqueness of Etsy’s target products, these pricing plans vary greatly.
However, there is a list that Etsy has a list of fees and taxes associated with selling on their site, some of which have already been discussed:
- Listing fees
- Shipping Label fees
- Transaction fees
- Advertising fees
- Etsy Payments and deposit fees
Spend time understanding which fees apply to you and which ones don’t. This can help you predict the cost of selling on Etsy and help you balance whether or not this tool is worth the fees and expenses.
3. What is Etsy Plus?
Etsy Plus is a plan provided by Etsy that comes with a subscription fee but also multiple perks to help your company get off the ground faster and jump-start growth:
- Sign up for Etsy Plus
- Access to custom web address discounts through hover
- Restock requests
- Advanced shop customization
- Access to discounts and perks
While these tools can be super helpful in the promotion and growth of your business, they also may be too large a step or too expensive a fee for the size of your business. But don’t completely ignore this tool.
Keep it in mind as you grow your business because it can be a powerful way to foster growth in all aspects, whether through customer retention or marketing.
Should you open an Etsy shop?
The big question: Should you open an Etsy shop?
Unfortunately, nobody can answer that question except for you. Considering Etsy’s ease of creating a business, it is a very valuable tool for beginners in the entrepreneurial world.
At the same time, there are many examples of success in other facets of the business world, even on other platforms.
Understand that your idea, business and platform are unique and will differ from any other business endeavor. You can attempt to recreate successful formulas but never have an identical company. So embrace that part.
Be open to different strategies. Stay committed to your decision, but make sure that decision is well-researched and backed with reasoning.
Always be open to growth. Be ready to grow with your business and be ready to face hardships. Remember that there are always tools to help with those tricky spots. Fortunately, Etsy has all those tools in one place. So what are you waiting for?
Check out Entrepreneur’s other resources for more details on this topic.
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