How to Sell on Etsy

Posted on February 9, 2022 | Updated on February 9, 2022

Learning how to sell on Etsy opens up another online marketplace where you can list your products and creations. The online e-commerce site is a bit different than some of the others out there. 

Etsy features around 1.8 million sellers listing 45 million different products. People head to the site to find unique, handcrafted or vintage items you can’t find in a big box brick-and-mortar store. They also have around 54 million shoppers at any given time. Of course, the numbers fluctuate a bit from month-to-month. 

If you want to stand out from the millions of other stores on the platform, you have to pay attention to both big and small details. How to sell on Etsy involves more than just hanging a digital shingle. 

How Much Does It Cost to Sell on Etsy?

Are you wondering about the fees involved in how to sell on Etsy? You won’t be able to list items for free. It runs 20 cents to publish a listing plus a 5% transaction fee based on the sales price. One thing some sellers complain about is Etsy’s policy of charging the transaction fee on the total including shipping. You’ll also have a payment processing fee of 3% plus 25 cents. 

Be aware of the additional percentage and calculate those costs into your shipping fees and product pricing. Selling on Etsy is still much cheaper than setting up a storefront or booth in a local flea market. You can get started today without any upfront costs. 

How to Sell on Etsy Best Tips

Designerly spent some time looking at successful Etsy shops and thinking through our own experience with the online marketplace. We broke down what you need to know as a newbie or an experienced seller to take your store to the next level. 

We will also look at a few successful Etsy stores and learn why they’re so popular. Here are our top tips we think will get you started and drive you to success. 

1. Understand What You Can Sell

As with any third-party listing site, there are some things you can and can’t sell on the platform. You’ll want to avoid:

  • Weapons or explosives 
  • Alcohol, drug and tobacco 
  • Copyrighted works you aren’t the creator of 
  • Anything promoting violence or hatred 
  • Things made from endangered animals, such as ivory

Basically, use a little common sense about what you list for sale. The site is known as a place for artists and creators to list their unique items. People respond really well to jewelry, wood products and original digital downloads. 

When learning how to sell on Etsy, spend a little time looking at the listings in the bestseller categories. You can learn a lot by seeing what sells and why. 

weathered heather screenshot how to sell on etsy

Weathered Heather sells wire wrapped jewelry. The retailer has over 4,746 sales and a five-star rating. The jewelry is handmade and fairly simple, but still beautiful. They’ve tapped into a market for Pride jewelry as well and have a number of sales of their necklaces in that category. 

2. Find Your Own Inspiration

It may be tempting to hunt out the most successful stores and repeat what they’re doing. After all, anyone can learn to make wire wrapped jewelry or paint a Christmas ornament. However, you want to come up with your own ideas and make them as unique as possible. 

Etsy doesn’t allow sellers to name brands as similar to what they offer either. You might be inspired by Tiffany jewelry, but you won’t be able to mention that your designs look just like Tiffany & Co. 

It’s always best to come up with your own creations and not just copy what others do. You’ll find one good idea leads to another. Over time, you’ll develop a loyal following of people who love what you do. 

3. Choose the Right Name

With millions of stores competing for consumer attention, you have a few seconds to make a first impression on your users. It’s vital you come up with a name people can remember but that stands out from other stores like yours.

At the same time, it should be clear what you’re selling based on your name. If you sell vintage vases, you shouldn’t call your store “Knick-Knacks by Rebecca.” Instead, go with something like “Yesteryear Vases” or “Retro Finds.”

Pay attention to what other store names are in your category so you don’t repeat what someone else is already doing. A big part of how to sell on Etsy is learning how to stand out from the crowd. 

4. Fill in Your About Page

Etsy shops have a standard layout and format, but you can customize them a bit to make them your own. Take the time to fully fill in everything you can on your About page. A completed profile allows potential customers to see who you are and learn more about you.

You have a story to tell and it is what makes you and your brand unique. Show your users your personality.

jt industrial designs screenshot how to sell on etsy

JT Industrial Designs does a good job with the short About space they have to let users know more about their company. They explain their names, they are a husband and wife team, their location and that they have a family. They also explain how much they love creating one-of-a-kind furniture. 

5. Create Guidelines

Your store should have some set policies on how you handle complaints and returns. The more upfront you are with potential customers, the less misunderstandings occur. Since many shoppers look to reviews before making a purchase, you’ll want to keep your ratings high by sticking to your word.

You might not think how to sell on etsy includes policies and procedures, but it should. 

mojo and boho screenshot how to sell on etsy

Mojo and Boho has a high rating for their shop. If you look at any listing, you’ll see their policies listed for shipping and returns. Some shop owners also add details to their listings, such as special packaging they use for recycling or how to contact them in case of damage. 

Keep in mind that you are limited on how many characters you can use in your description, so keep details short and to the point. 

6. Snap Compelling Photos

One of the most important features for how to sell on Etsy is taking photos that truly highlight the product. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Eliminate needless background clutter
  • Invest in a light box or make one from a cardboard box and white material
  • Ensure lighting is adequate but doesn’t cast shadows
  • Take images from different angles

Remember that the person is getting a feel for your product through your photos. They can’t touch it so you have to show them how it looks from the side, top, bottom and on the inside. It’s better to take plenty of snapshots and then narrow them down to the best choices. 

Trial and Error

The more you list on the platform, the more you’ll learn about how to sell on Etsy. Make notes when you have hiccups. What could be improved for your next listing? Find a successful shop owner who isn’t in your category and ask them for advice. Try new things until you hit on what works best for you. Before you know it, you’ll be making a profit and listing more and more items.

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