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How to Sell on Etsy: A Beginner’s Guide 2023
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Etsy is one of the largest online marketplaces for handcrafted goods. With a following of 96 million buyers, many of whom make repeat purchases, Etsy presents unique opportunities to its community of sellers.1
If you’re a small business or craftsperson who wants to sell their products online, Etsy might be an ideal way to gain visibility and reach markets that might otherwise be difficult to access.
But who’s eligible to sell on Etsy? How much does it cost? And aside from setting up an Etsy shop, what do you have to do to make your products really fly off the shelves? Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Is Etsy the best online marketplace for you?
Etsy is an online marketplace for unique, handmade, and vintage items. If your product doesn’t meet this description, you cannot sell your products on Etsy. But if you’re an artist or craftsperson of any kind, Etsy’s curated environment can be an excellent place to find customers and to promote your work to a wider audience.
Etsy’s unique marketplace has resulted in loyal shoppers who value artisan craftsmanship and are keen to support independent businesses. If your products are a match for this market, you could find plenty of repeat customers here.
How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?
Etsy is broadly considered to be a good value for artisan sellers, especially when compared to its largest competitor, eBay. While selling costs vary, Etsy’s low selling fees mean it’s usually cheaper than other marketplaces.
Etsy selling fees
|Listing fee||$0.20 per listing|
|Transaction fee||6.5% of the total item costs in your designated listing currency. Fee amount is converted to your payment account currency at the market rate where your listing and payment account currencies differ.|
|Value added tax (VAT)||Chargeable on both processing fees and seller services. Sales tax varies based on locality.|
|Etsy payment processing and deposit fees||Chargeable on both processing fees and seller services. Sales tax varies based on locality. Processing fees are chargeable on all transactions, and deposits made through Etsy Payments.|
|Deposit currency conversion||2.5% fee if payments from listings need to be converted into another currency to enter your bank account.|
Data as of 12/06/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
How to create an Etsy account
If you’ve decided tha Etsy is the marketplace for you, now’s the time to take the plunge and set up an Etsy store. If you have an Etsy account already (perhaps you’ve purchased something before), you can use that same account to become a seller.
If you’re completely new to Etsy, you’ll need to set up an account before you do anything else. This shouldn’t take long and only requires a few details to get started. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
- On the top of the Etsy homescreen, click “Register.”
- Fill out the form with your email address, first name, and a password.
- Submit the form.
- Wait for a validation email and click the link enclosed to complete account setup.
This process should take around five minutes. If you don’t receive a validation email, check your spam or trash folder before contacting Etsy support.
The email address you sign up with will be the one tied to your shop. There are also options to sign up with your Facebook, Google, or Apple account if this is a better option for you.
How to create an Etsy shop
Once your account is fully operational, you can set up an Etsy shop. This is a slightly lengthier process, but you can save progress and return at a later point if needed.
Note that you’ll need to set up your shop on a desktop computer. Once you’ve completed the process, you can manage your shop’s everyday activity using the Sell on Etsy app.
Once logged in, click “Sell on Etsy,” then “Open Your Etsy Shop” when prompted. Choose your shop language, country and currency, and then your shop name. This creates the shell of your Etsy shop—but you’ll need to complete a few extra steps to be able to sell effectively.
You’ll also be prompted to join Etsy Payments, which is the primary way sellers are paid on the site. This will allow you to accept a variety of payments, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, gift cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
Add a listing
Once you’ve completed these tasks, you’re ready to make your first listing. To add a listing, click on “Shop Manager” then “Listings.” Then choose the “Add a Listing” option. This will take you through the following process to start selling your goods:
- Add photos and video
- Choose your thumbnail image
- Add listing description
- Add your inventory and pricing
- Set up delivery
- Publish or save your listing
Add the final touches
Now’s the time to make your shop more appealing to buyers. Etsy shop owners should add the following for maximum impact:
- A banner and shop logo so that buyers get a strong impression of your brand
- A welcome message and brief description of your shop. This is called your “shop announcement”
- Your policies and timescales for deliveries and returns
- Any guidelines customers should know about before they make a purchase
How to promote your shop
Now that you’ve completed the administrative side of setting up your Etsy shop, it’s time to think strategy. In 2021, there were 7.5 million active sellers on Etsy—how are you going to sell on Etsy?2 How are you going to stand out from the crowd?
If you want to gain traction, you’ll need to dedicate resources to creating and maintaining a successful Etsy marketing plan. There are various channels you can use to do this—we’ve provided an overview of each below.
Promote your shop using existing social channels
Do you have an established audience on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media site? If so, let your followers know that your shop is up and running! Promoting your Etsy shop on established social channels is a surefire way to convert admirers into customers.
Use keyword optimization tactics
Etsy’s search function works just like any other search engine you use. It uses complex algorithms to match users’ search terms with pages it thinks are the closest match. Etsy is fairly open about how its algorithm works—great news for anyone wanting to optimise their listings for search visibility.
These are the top factors that influence search results:
- Tag and title relevance
- Item attribute relevance
- Listing quality
- Customer and market experience
- Free delivery options (primarily US shoppes)
But there are more ways that you can optimize your Etsy listings—and you don’t have to be an SEO pro to do it. Here are some useful tips to help get you started:
- Use all 13 tags available for each listing.
- Tag using precise phrases (e.g. “large hippo plush” rather than “hippo” or “animal plush”).
- Use a precise phrase for your listing’s title.
- Fill out your item attributes accurately.
- Use clear photographs.
Actively seek reviews from past customers and address problems promptly.
Etsy ad campaigns
Etsy reserves spaces in search results for paid ad campaigns. These can be a great way to give your listings a visibility boost to high intent-to-purchase shoppers, particularly if you’re new to the site.
Etsy Ads are relatively simple to use. You can start with a budget of up to $50, then sit back and let Etsy’s algorithms do the rest. Etsy will optimize your ad’s appearance across searches, category pages, and market pages across both the Etsy website and mobile app. It’s a pretty easy way to boost your chance of making a sale.
Etsy also advertises listings externally using search engine results, social media sites, and Google Display Network sites.
If you’re new to Etsy (or your Etsy store has made less than $10,000 in the past 12 months), letting your listings be included in offsite ads is optional. But you might want to take advantage of this exposure to wider audiences at no upfront cost.
While offsite ad fees are relatively steep at 15%, you only pay an advertising fee if you make a sale, and fees are capped at $100 per order.
If you're not sold on Etsy, we have other options. You can always start your own ecommerce site and build your brand online that way, or you can try out other marketplaces.
Business.org spoke with over 100 business owners about their favorite Etsy alternatives. Eight online sites and marketplaces came up the most.
Top Etsy alternatives
What is it?
|Ecommerce website builder||$29.00/mo.||View Plans|
|Online marketplace for sellers||$39.99/mo.||View Plans|
|Online store builder for artisans||$0.00/mo.||View Plans|
|Marketplace for handmade and craft goods||$0.00/mo.||View Plans|
|Ecommerce website builder||$23.00/mo.||View Plans|
|Online storefront and marketplace||$0.00/mo.||View Plans|
|Online marketplace||$0.30 per order or 12.9% per order||View Plans|
|Social media platform||$0.40 per product or 5% per shipment||View Plans|
|Ecommerce platforms||Varies||Learn More|
Data as of 12/06/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Of course, these aren't the only options for selling online. There are numerous places where artisans and small businesses can sell their goods, these are just the top choices beyond Etsy.
If you're curious to learn more about why small business owners chose these platforms, check out our piece on Etsy alternatives.
Also, it is possible to sell on multiple platforms. You can have an Etsy account and an online store and sell on Instagram. It's really up to you!
If you’re an artisan looking to sell your handmade or vintage goods, we suggest you create an Etsy shop. The cost of entry is relatively low, and it’s incredibly easy to get started. The most difficult part will be spreading the word about your shop, but if you dedicate time and resources to optimizing your listings, your shop might just take off.
Ready to grow your small business and need a business loan? Check out our piece on the year’s Best Small-Business Loans and get the funding you need.
How to sell on Etsy FAQs
The Etsy transaction fee is 5% of a total sale’s value, and each listing costs a flat fee of $0.20. There may also be further costs, depending on which services you opt in to. For example, if you use Etsy Payments you’ll need to pay processing fees for each transaction.
Etsy uses its own payments service, Etsy Payments, to collect money from buyers and reimburse sellers. This isn’t available worldwide, so if you sell in a country that doesn’t accept Etsy Payments, you can use a PayPal account to receive funds.
Beginners should start by setting up a free Etsy account. You can then create an Etsy store, add listings, and promote yourself to buyers via search. Beginners might find it helpful to use the Etsy Ads function to gain initial visibility.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
- Digital Commerce 360: Sales Spike 146% on Etsy’s Marketplaces In Q2. Accessed December 6, 2022.
- Statista: Number of active Etsy sellers from 2012 to 2021. Accessed December 6, 2022.