Etsy is an online marketplace for small businesses producing unique and creative products. It’s currently home to more than 198 million sellers looking to establish a name for themselves on a global platform, so standing out can be a challenge. We asked the experts to share their most important tips and tricks for selling on Etsy.
Here are the top 30 tips for selling on Etsy:
1. Be Competitive
Kyle & Arielle Borcik, Co-owners, Borcik Jewelry
Once you can show up in someone’s search, you still have a huge obstacle. At least 20 other products showed up too. So, your goal is to look hands down the best. You have to know your market. Know your audience and look the best to them. You cannot sell if you don’t know about photography. It’s the way you tell your customers your products are better. Your products, at the quickest flash to the eye, have to cause the seller to stop.
This is why one of my tips is to scroll through Etsy often. Look at other shops. Is yours the best? What do the best shops look like? I recommend clicking on a few listings. Test yourself. Pick five products from a search query you did and see “are these shops popular?”
2. Use a Multichannel Ecommerce Platform
Maggie Aland, Editor, Fit Small Business
If you’re serious about selling on Etsy, you need to get serious about streamlining inventory management, fulfilling orders, and advertising. BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform that makes it easy to manage all of your listings in one dashboard. You can list your products on multiple channels, including Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, and automatically create ads on Facebook and Google Shopping to increase your sales.
3. Use the Right Keywords
Sara Hull & Phil Miner, Rocks and Salt, rocksandsaltdesign.com
One of the most important aspects of driving business to your Etsy shop is using the right keywords. Popular Etsy mythology claims that keywords in a listing’s title and tags should match, and word order is important as well. Your listing title is a sales pitch to the search engine optimization (SEO) bots, not a pretty caption. A 140-character poem utilizing the most effective descriptors in a calculated order. Websites like Marmalead.com have tools that integrate with Etsy’s application programming interface (API) to help shop owners find the strongest keywords for their products. You’ll have the opportunity in the ‘product description’ to romance your buyer, use your title well — you can’t make sales if you can’t be found.
4. Include a Business Card With Your Website Details When Shipping to Clients
Dave Hermansen, CEO, Store Coach
My wife and I attend arts and crafts shows whenever we can, and I am amazed constantly at how poor the artisans are at marketing their products. For sure, it is important to have a listing on Etsy; they are the best site in existence for exposing people to unique artists. Although a few of them also have a relatively static website of their own, close to 0% of the artists that I talk to also have their own ecommerce websites, capable of taking orders directly.
Why share a portion of your profits with Etsy when you don’t have to? Why expose people to your competitors on Etsy’s website, where they can get lost in a universe of possibilities and indecision? When you get an order from Etsy, you should toss in a few business cards that have your own website address on them so that new customers and their friends can re-order from your website directly.
5. Write Listings That Sell
Marc Prosser, Co-founder, Fit Small Business
Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, it can take some time to learn what kinds of product listings attract the most attention (and generate the most sales). You can shorten this learning curve by outsourcing your Etsy listings while you’re just getting started. Fiverr offers experienced Etsy marketers who can write product listings that sell starting at just $5.
6. Be Creative …
Andrea B. Sager, Attorney, Andrea Sager Law PLLC
My number one tip is to be creative. If you’re truly creative, then you won’t have to worry about copyright or trademark infringement. This is the number one reason for having your Etsy store shut down or being sued. Using images from Google and Pinterest for inspiration is fine, but using those images as more than inspiration is not okay. Also, purchasing licensed images from stores with a poor reputation will get you in trouble. I deal with infringers weekly that have purchased licensed images that did not have a valid license. If you’re creative and create your own work, then you don’t have to worry about infringement and being sued.
7. … but Understand Trademark and Copyright Laws
Chelsie Spencer, Attorney, Ritter Spencer PLLC
Before becoming an Etsy seller, you need to have an understanding of trademark and copyright laws. For example, if you want to start a T-shirt shop, you need to know that you cannot adopt someone’s registered trademark and print it on your shirts and other merchandise without a license allowing you to do so. Etsy is rife with infringement, and larger companies do pursue individual sellers on the platform. It is better to spend a small amount on a licensing fee than risk having your inventory impounded and paying thousands of dollars in damages. Etsy self-polices by allowing reporting of infringement and will shut your shop down for infringing another’s intellectual property.
8. Write Your Product Descriptions Wisely
Magen Sanders, Content Manager, Promocodes.com
The worst thing you can do as a seller is to have a poor product description or, worse, no description at all. Be sure to be descriptive, and incorporate as many keywords as you can to help boost your shop’s SEO ranking on Google search. Additionally, you should include any relevant information that will eliminate guesswork from a potential customer, and will also eliminate the added step of an interested shopper having to message you to ask you for more information about a product, then possibly lose interest and move on. Include any product measurements, product condition, color description, age, and the different uses of the item. Try to envision what someone might ask about the item, and provide answers to those questions within your description.
9. Use Dimensions That Include Packaging
Joe Keilch, Owner, Tenon Design
Remember that the dimensions Etsy asks you to enter are not for the item you’re selling but the size of the item when it is packaged for shipment. If you enter the item’s dimensions and only charge buyers for shipping on that dimension and weight, you are very likely to lose money on shipping. Make sure you are covering the actual cost of the shipping, plus what you pay for shipping materials, or you will unnecessarily eat into your margins. One way to do that is by keeping a small selection of box sizes in stock and think about which size the item will fit in to ship when you’re setting up that item for sale. You can also add an additional handling charge in the Shipping Settings that can help cover the cost of materials.
If you want to get a little more advanced, set up multiple Shipping Profiles to cover items that require different packaging, handling time, or even for items that have to be picked up in person. Assign an appropriate profile to each item, and you’ll be taking care of business.
10. Use Custom Packaging to Improve the Customer Experience
Beth Owens, Content Strategist, NoIssue
One of the trickier parts of ecommerce is how to build rapport with your customers when you have fewer opportunities for engagement. The success of brands selling through Etsy rests in your ability to be memorable and stand out from the crowd. This means viewing the entire interaction from your customer’s position. Do you think your brand’s packaging engages customers and makes them feel valued, or will it quickly be discarded and ignored? If it’s the latter, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to showcase your branding and encourage social media sharing, recommendations, and more. Those extra efforts you put into your customer’s experience, such as clever, attractive packaging, will show them that your brand goes the extra mile in its service. That is a golden recipe for repeat business.
11. Take It Seriously
Amanda Block, Owner & Designer, Dwell 605
Treat your Etsy business like a job, and you will get paid like it’s your job. Treat it like a hobby, and you will get paid like it’s a hobby. When I first started three years ago, I didn’t think much about using all the tags describing my item with keywords, but once I started using them, my sales went up. Try to think how your ideal shopper would think and what words they would type into the search bar — use those words as your Tags. Also, you can’t go wrong with the excellent photography of your items. We live in a visual world, and your item will quickly get overlooked if it not photographed well. There are all kinds of YouTube tutorials on how to get professional looking photos from home when you are just starting.
12. Set up Your Mailing List
Morgan McBride, DIY + Home Blogger, CharlestonCrafted.com
When you are first starting an Etsy shop, it is so important to set up a mailing list! I recommend adding a link at the top of your shop for shoppers to sign up for your email list in exchange for a discount code. This is easy to set up for free on email marketing sites like Mailchimp. This way, you can gather email addresses right from the start. Then, use them. Alert your mailing list when you add new products to your shop. You can also promote sales or discounts to your list. Your existing customers are hot leads and very likely to buy again.
13. Allow Enough Time for Packaging & Shipping
Kristen McCabe, Senior Content Marketing Specialist, G2 Crowd
Your time is valuable; don’t underestimate how long the packing and shipping process takes! When I started my shop, I knew how long it took to make each item, and I knew the cost of my supplies. I wanted to apply the marketing principle of “surprise and delight” when recipients got their package. I included those fun bonuses related to packaging in my costs, but I didn’t include that in the time cost. My customers love the special details in my packaging, but I did not think through the process. Once you start a high-end packaging process, your regular customers will come to expect it.
When managing my store in addition to a full-time marketing role at G2 Crowd, the time those little extras take becomes substantial. The packaging details are what make the difference between my competitors and me. However, be sure you factor the value of your time into the price.
14. Take Steps to Engage Your Customers
Lauren Kilgore, Owner, BeautifulMesh
One of the top tips I give my clients is that Etsy does not exist in a vacuum. You can’t just list an item in your shop and assume it will sell just because it’s for sale. When I first began selling wreaths, I put an item up in my shop with a short title and thought people would find it. I didn’t know anything about keywords or even marketing. However, to sell well on Etsy:
- You have to make sure you’ve got great pictures and SEO
- Use social media — Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and so on — to drive traffic to your shop and your listings
There are so many free ways to get your business name out there and get that exposure to create more traffic. Doing a few Facebook live videos a week on my Facebook page has created a lot of engagement and traffic to my Etsy shop.
15. Don’t Compete on Price
Phil Forbes, Digital Marketer, Packhelp
With bulk manufacturers from Asia now being allowed to sell on Etsy, you won’t be able to compete on price. You will not win customers by having the lowest price, simply because you can’t have the lowest price. Instead, deliver a high-quality product each time, and you’ll delight your customer enough to keep them coming back. It’s not about the number of sales — it’s about quality. Ask your customer to share your name and pictures of your product on social media if they’re happy with their purchase. One person sharing your brand’s name among their friends can be a potent way of spreading your brand’s name and notoriety.
16. Research on Your Target Audience
Gigi Rodgers, Concept Alchemist, Kontrolld Khaos
The one thing a lot of sellers miss out on when selling on Etsy is knowing where to find their audience before they launch their store. No one tells you how to research your audience before you start, so this is how you go about it. You need to know as much as possible about your ideal customer. So, answer these questions:
- Are the majority of your customers male or female?
- How old are they?
- What do they do? What is their profession?
- Where do they hang out online? Facebook groups? Reddit? Online forums?
- What blogs do they read? What influencers do they follow on Instagram or online?
- What are some of their biggest pains that your service/product can fix?
- What are their concerns regarding services/products, like yours that they’ve dealt with in the past from other vendors?
17. Document Your Transaction Before You Ship Your Product
Lucas Horton, GIA Graduate Gemologist, Valeria Fine Jewelry
My advice is to document and explain everything. I had two customers file disputes for items not as described. One woman wore the ring for a month, beat it up, and then said it came that way. The other man was sent a custom ring that he approved the design upon, but he got buyer’s remorse. Etsy sided with both buyers and wouldn’t even consider my arguments. If I had taken more pictures of the ring that was returned after being worn for a month, I might have won the dispute. Additionally, if I had told the second man a detail of the ring that I assumed he was aware of, I might have won that dispute.
18. Get Permission to Use Photos That Customers Took of Your Products
Jeff Moriarty, Owner, Dog Christmas Stockings
We implemented a change to our own website first, saw the increase in conversion rates and decided to implement it on Etsy. We saw a nice jump in sales and conversion rates. The difference was the addition of our products with our customers. Instead of having the standard photos we took of our products, we added pictures that our customers took. In our case, it was with their pets. The more pictures we have, the better sales we get from those products. We believe that people not only want to see what other customers get, but they also trust us more seeing the product in the hands of other customers.
19. Find Your Niche & Add More Products
Deborah Rogers, Owner, The Gifted Rat
One of the easiest ways to gain sales on Etsy is to add more products. I started with 10 products. Frequently, I add additional products to the areas in which I sell. Each time I add additional products, sales increases. I set a goal to add three new products a week. You should also find niches in which there are not many sellers. I started selling miniature teddy bears as an add-on for my realistic but not real rats. I noticed that more people were buying more teddies than rats. The bears most commonly fall under dollhouse accessories. Many people sell dollhouse accessories, but not many sell a wide variety of tiny teddies.
20. Renew Your Listing & Stay Relevant
Ayana Miller, Founder, Jewelryosophy 360
Listings renew automatically after you have made a sale. However, if you don’t make a sale within a week, then it impacts your ranking in search results. In other words, you are less likely to show up in time on the first page of a potential customer’s search results even if your SEO tags are perfect, and you are using all 10 photos. Etsy wants all shops to have an opportunity to sell while balancing the necessity of showing customers products that are most relevant to their searches. Your goal? Stay relevant. At less than a dollar a listing, it doesn’t hurt to at least try renewing the listings that you want to bump in results to see if it has an impact.
21. Make Use of Automatic Ads
Stacy Caprio, Online Blogger & Growth Expert, StacyCaprio.com
My number one Etsy sales tip would be to turn on automatic ads for all your placements at a maximum spend of 4 cents a click. I’ve found this has a huge increase in impressions, traffic, clicks, and sales at a very low cost and a huge return on investment (ROI) when paired with specific keyword targeting through Etsy tags.
22. Include Social Proof on Your Site
David Vallance, Marketing Manager, LeaseFetcher
The simplest thing you can do to build trust in your brand on Etsy is to include social proof. What is social proof? Think customer testimonials, reviews, endorsements, ratings, case studies, media coverage, and so on. It’s basically anything that proves people have bought a product in the past and, ideally, liked it. What you can add on Etsy is limited as you’re constrained to the default shop template, so I recommend you focus on generating and collecting user-generated content. In other words, have your customers take photos of them using your products and use those images on your product pages
Etsy is a great way for small business entrepreneurs to find a bigger market without spending so much. With the right strategy, the platform can get you the right exposure and show you the way to your target market both local and international. Before signing up, however. Be sure to know what it takes for you to start and run an Etsy store. This article will show you how.
Most online businesses will have a well-established email marketing campaign. But this marketing strategy involves many elements that require adjustment depending on the kind of business you run. Etsy sellers will need to find a unique approach that will help them stand out by learning the ground rules first. What better way to learn about email marketing on Etsy than from the Etsy team themselves? Check out this article.
Like other popular selling platforms, Etsy has its own sets of rules and guidelines. You might have heard of stories where shops are closed down after a while — sometimes, there are even claims that there was no warning. Don’t let this discourage you though, for aspiring business owners looking to sell on Etsy, the best thing to do is know the warning signs and what to do if you find your shop gets suspended. Find out more in this article.
26. Promote on Pinterest
They say that Pinterest and Etsy customers have a lot in common, so it’s no wonder that Etsy sellers have invested a lot of their time marketing on Pinterest. Those who search on this platform are looking for ideas on what to buy so your job is to develop your brand, and focus on getting click-throughs to your Etsy shop. This article explains how your Pinterest account becomes a mirror of your Etsy shop. Check out these tips before opening your own Pinterest business account
One of our experts mentioned how it’s important to for your Etsy shop to stay relevant if you want to succeed. A great way to go about this is to renew your listings, but the more important question is when. It needs to be at a time when your target buyers are active on the platform. Otherwise, your business will not get the visibility it needs. This article gives you ideas on how to find the perfect timing for renewing your product listings, plus more tips to boost your sales on the platform.
Maintaining your Etsy shop manually is fine at first. However, if your goal is to grow your business by getting more sales and finding loyal customers, you will want tools that can automate your tasks eventually. This helps ensure that you don’t miss out on your sales and shipping data as well as building relationships with new and returning customers. Find out in this article the list of top seven tools for a successful Etsy seller.
29. Know How to Market Your Etsy Business Offline
So, you’ve finally mastered marketing your business online, and sales have increased because of your campaign. If you think you can’t even go further, think again. It’s important to remember that just because you don’t have a physical shop, doesn’t mean there’s no market for you outside of the internet. There are still many potential customers who don’t go online, and marketing to them with traditional, offline strategies is important to increase your customer base. This article lists seven things you should be doing to market your online store in the real world.
For any online business, taking great photos of your products is crucial to convince customers to make a purchase. But, this article asks a very important question. “What does taking better photos even mean?” One has to learn how to set the mood, manipulate lighting, and use props to their best advantage, all while ensuring that your images do not encourage misrepresentation. This article shares more than 20 tips and real-life examples. So, whether you’re a craftsperson looking to show off your new line of design or an artist needing to showcase their masterpiece, there’s a tip just for you.
Over to You
After 13 years, Etsy continues to grow as one of the most popular selling platforms for small business owners looking to sell on a global scale. Keep in mind these expert selling tips, and reach your retail selling success in no time.
Did we miss out on your best tips for selling on Etsy? Let us know in the comments.