Opening an Etsy shop

22 Tips to a Successful Start on Etsy

Etsy is a creative selling platform for creative entrepreneurs. If you were wondering how to set up an Etsy shop, how to increase sales on Etsy, and is Etsy worth it, we have good news for you – you do not have to learn it the hard way. Read our comprehensive list of steps with tips and implement all them in your own Etsy business.

1. Research Your Niche

This point is for new sellers on Etsy. Start looking for what sets your products apart. Today Etsy has 3.1 million active sellers. With this much competition, you need to find something to stand out. You don’t need to invent something totally new. But you should have some idea of how to position your products against others. For example, you might use higher quality materials or include more colorful options. Your niche should be evident to anyone who looks at your shop. You can include multiple products, but they should all fit into a category that is clear to your customers.

Get inspired, but do not copy. Remember to:

  • Never use the name of an artist who inspired your work as the artist may claim that your sales are a result of their brand.
  • Avoid tagging your items with a specific luxury brand in an effort to describe the quality of your product.
  • Using the brand name in the title, tags, and description of vintage products is allowed, but avoid guessing if you’re not sure.
  • Always check for copyright when using someone else’s photos even if the product on the image is generic.
  • Avoid purchasing licensed images from stores with a poor reputation.

2. Research Successful Etsy Sellers

Etsy is full of buyers and sellers. Some of the top Etsy shops are tracked by a free website called CraftCount. They started tracking sellers early on and separating them into categories (for instance, vintage versus supplies).

You can look up top Etsy shops to see tips of the trade. Look for items that are similar to the niche you are considering jumping into. Although, you shouldn’t copy their style, because if you do, chances are you will fail. You must come up with your own style! The top Etsy sellers are the ones who have worked hard to build up a good repeat customer base. Find out how to do this:

  • Are the items desirable?
  • What is the price range?
  • Are they offering free shipping and a higher price, or a lower price and higher shipping?
  • Are you paying attention to tags, titles, and keywords?
  • What kind of pictures are they taking? Will yours be as crisp and clear?
  • Does the shop (which is doing great) have social networking?
  • Could that social networking be helping them?
  • How are their customer service reviews?
  • Do they run sales?

It is best to learn from good examples and realize some of these shops have gone viral thanks to Etsy’s publicity or being found by an outside article or source. This is how you can find out what you need to do.

3. Create an Etsy account

First of all, every Etsy seller and customer needs a basic account. You may sign up with your email address and password, or your Google or Facebook account (as shown below).

The information you have in your profile is not what will appear in your Etsy shop profile. But keep it professional, as your future customers may click on your profile from your shop.

In case you already have a customer account, you may just log in.

4. Become a Part of the Community

The Etsy community is vast, and it’s in your best interest to join it. Try participating in the site’s forums by providing feedback to other sellers and reaching out to your favorite Etsy sellers for advice. To build in-person outreach, search for local events in your community to participate in. Attending events within your own community, such as meetups and pop-up shops, are opportunities to spread awareness and network with other sellers and potential buyers.

5. Set Specific and Attainable Goals

Rather than creating task lists based on your long-term goal, you may identify small milestones that would lead you where you want to be in a manageable, achievable way. With a clear focus on reaching one smaller objective, your task list will become much more manageable.

Read our article about creating an actionable business plan step by step for your e-commerce business and learn how to set goals and achieve them.

6. Choose your Etsy Shop Name

Your shop name will be your brand. A good name will help your store stand out from other shops, and should be memorable enough to type into the search bar. Etsy allows you to use 20 characters for your shop name, which is required when setting up your store. Although you’re free to change your Etsy store name down the road, you wouldn’t want customers to forget your brand because of multiple name changes.

Brainstorming and testing are the two main steps to coming up with the best store name. Start by making a list of options. Descriptive names like “Dan’s Handicrafts,” is the easiest strategy. You can also try abstract ideas for a more creative and unique name. Try combining words or phrases to showcase a point of interest related to your product.

Use these questions to test your store name:

  • What kind of feeling do you want your store name to convey?
  • Did it evoke that same feeling when you mentioned your store name to friends and family?
  • Is your store name easy to spell and read?
  • Does the name look good on your business card?
  • Does it have an alternative meaning in other languages?
  • Have you tried to search for similar names on Google?

7. Set your Etsy shop preferences

When you are directed to the “shop preferences” screen, you will designate the basic settings for your store.

First, you will set your default language, which is the language in which you will describe your items (after opening your own Etsy shop, you can choose to translate your page into other languages). Then, you will set your home country and the currency in which you’d like to list your items.

8. Add Relevant Categories and Attributes

Categories help Etsy match your products with the right buyers. Identifying your product’s most specific subcategory gives your listings a better chance of being found in search results. Attributes refer to characteristics that are best associated with your product such as color, use, and occasion. Like categories, assigning more specific attributes gives your product a better chance of being showcased to the right buyers.

The most basic strategy for identifying the best category and attribute for your product is to conduct test searches. Make a list of all possible categories and attributes then enter the words in the search bar. Check the search results and confirm which of the keywords came up with products similar to yours. The left side of the page will give you all the relevant categories and subcategories so feel free to explore refined results to find more matches to your product.

9. Write an Impressive “About” Page

Etsy is more than just a marketplace, it’s also a platform for creatives like you to showcase your art. However, as a seller, you need to let buyers know the value of your creations to convince them to buy. This includes both your technical qualifications and achievements, as well as your inspiration. Your “About” page should focus on the person behind the designs.

Here are some guidelines for creating the ideal “About” page:

  • Use a personal tone to easily connect with your reader.
  • Talk about your inspiration behind your designs.
  • Introduce any partners you work with to develop your products.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Include links to any publication that features you or your designs.
  • Include links to your social media.

You have 5,000 characters to talk about your Etsy business; go for a more personal approach when writing your story. Add inviting photos and videos that will help shoppers visualize and connect with your store. Include a link to your blog and social media or the landing page to opt-in to your email list.

10. Write Effective Product Descriptions

The product description is an integral part of your listing. It details your product’s measurements, condition, color description, age, and the different uses of the item. Apart from the images, buyers rely on the information you include in this section to make their buying decisions so you need to make sure that it’s descriptive and well-written.

Here are some ideas for writing product descriptions that sell:

  • Use similar keywords you’ve included in your tags and attributes
  • Specify who the product is best for
  • Mention unique materials or techniques that buyers should know
  • Include the age or year for vintage product descriptions
  • Mention the style and relevant solution-oriented phrases
  • Specify dimensions both of the product and the size of the package when shipped
  • Specify estimated production time and shipping
  • Include information on how to purchase the product
  • Name of your production partner (if any)

It’s important to keep the language of your product description short and simple. Use paragraph breaks when necessary to make it easy to understand. Repeat any promotions or discounts applied to the listing when available.


11. Take Eye-Catching Product Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and even more on Etsy. Be sure that you’re using quality, high-resolution photos that show your products professionally. Use different angles and depths to show the detail of your items.

It’s always a good idea to post multiple images, with at least one of those photos showing the product in action. While you don’t have to hire a professional photographer, you need to use a good camera and present your products in a good light.

12. Make use of Etsy SEO

Many of your potential customers will come from internet searches. It is important to make your Etsy shop SEO-optimized. Doing so will help your shop and products rank near the top in web searches.

Be sure to consider everything from your business name to the product titles and descriptions. When writing product details, every aspect of the product should be addressed (size, color, condition, uses, shipping, etc.) to minimize any concerns from a customer while satisfying the search engines. Additionally, keeping your shop updated by adding new content will also help to optimize search results.

13. Keep Your Shop Policy Simple

Your shop policies should outline exactly what customers can expect when they buy from your Etsy shop. These should include policies on shipping, returns, and exchanges. For Etsy shipping, tell customers what carrier you use, how often you ship products, and when they can expect them. These vary by seller, since some offer in-stock items that are ready to go right away and others make each item to order.

It’s also a good idea to offer some opportunities for refunds or exchanges. Just outline in what situations you’ll accept these. For example, you might require proof that an item arrived damaged or never got to its destination. Or you could offer refunds for anyone who contacts you within a specific amount of time. Just be sure to provide clear information and then stay consistent.

Additionally, Etsy does allow for the sale of some mass-produced goods that were designed by independent shop owners. So your shop policies should provide an opportunity to be honest about how your products are actually made or manufactured.

14. Understand Seller Fees

Joining and opening an Etsy shop is free, however there are fees involved with running any business including Etsy. Sellers should always know how much they pay for using the platform to make sure their budget planning is right. Sellers should also know when and how to pay account fees to keep their Etsy store in good standing. Knowing what and when to pay will also help sellers plan to minimize their Etsy fees.

  • Listing fee. Listing fees are the seller fees Etsy charges to actually list your items in your shop. Etsy charges 20 cents per listing and listing fees are added to your payment account (which you set up in step six) when an item is listed.

You have to pay this Etsy fee for each product you list, regardless of whether or not the product sells. A listing expires after four months, and then, if you want to keep the listing in your shop, you’ll have to renew it and pay an additional 20 cents.

It’s important to note that listing fees are billed in U.S. dollars, so if you’re operating your Etsy shop in another country, your listing fee may be different based on the exchange rate.

  • Transaction Fees. When an item from your shop is sold, Etsy charges transaction fees. Etsy’s transaction fee is 5% of the total item cost, which includes shipping and gift wrap, and is charged in your designated listing currency.

Therefore, if your payment currency is different from your listing currency, Etsy will convert the fee amount from the listing currency to your payment currency based on the current market rate. With this, however, it’s important to note that if currency conversion is required, Etsy will charge a 2.5% fee for this process.

  • Payment Processing Fees. If you accept payments online on your Etsy shop using Etsy Payments, you’ll incur a payment processing fee for each transaction when an item is sold. The payment processing fees that Etsy charges will vary based on the location of your bank account. For U.S. sellers, Etsy charges 3% + $0.25 per transaction.

Moreover, if you’re a seller in a location that is subject to VAT, or value-added tax, Etsy will incorporate this tax, as required, in both their payment processing and other seller fees.

  • Other Fees. You may get acquainted with the full list of Etsy selling fees, which took effect on June 23, 2021.

15. Establish Prices

Product pricing is one of the most important decisions a seller has to make for their business. Determining a competitive price while keeping your business profitable requires developing a strategy that can only be learned over time. This can be particularly challenging to Etsy sellers as creative products, by nature, are almost always unique and the cost for materials and labor are never the same.

Etsy’s seller handbook offers a helpful pricing worksheet and useful ideas for developing a pricing strategy:

  • Make sure your price covers the cost of materials and labor.
  • Make sure to account for overhead costs like shipping, marketing, ads, and promotions when computing for profit goals.
  • Do research on competitor pricing.
  • Consider your target audience.
  • Consider the cost of shipping which is based on the dimensions of the package and not just the item.

While researching competitor price is helpful, it’s also important to note that having the lowest price is not always best. Most veteran Etsy sellers will tell you that customers are willing to pay more for better quality products.

16. Select Payment and Billing Settings

According to Baymard Institute, 6% of online shoppers have abandoned their carts in the last quarter because there weren’t enough payment options. It’s important to consider that while online shopping is becoming the norm, there are still potential customers that will hesitate sharing their credit card details online, no matter how secure your website. This lost opportunity can be easily avoided by maximizing available payment options for your store.

Etsy store owners should take advantage of Etsy Payments. This gives you the ability to offer a wide variety of payment options without having to open multiple merchant services accounts. Etsy payments can be used to accept:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit/bank cards
  • Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay

You’ll want to make sure you also provide options for in-person customers. Square has partnered with Etsy to provide sellers with a quick and secure way to complete in-person payments from your phone or tablet and sync your shop inventory. Simply go to the Shop Manager page, choose Square from the Add Channel options, follow the prompts and you’re good to go. You also get a Square card reader for free when you sign up.

17. Track Cash Flow

Financial health of your online business is essential for the future growth of your business. Make sure you simplify your business accounting by using Synder – the best solution for your accounting.

You may connect all of your sales channels and payment platforms to Synder and enjoy automated bookkeeping. Synchronize your payment data in your accounting books and receive error-free reconciliation and customized categorization. Synder’s reporting feature lets you receive detailed and 100% correct income and expense reports so that you can analyze your current situation and be able to do budget planning.

18. Follow Etsy Policies

It’s easy for any business-minded person to open a store on Etsy, but before you start uploading products, it would be a good idea to know what you can and can’t sell. This will help protect you, your buyer, and the platform from legal issues, particularly against intellectual property. It also helps you understand the best way to categorize your product to make it more visible to potential buyers.

You can find a copy of Etsy’s seller policy from the website. It talks about the rights and obligations of Etsy sellers including guidelines on what may be sold on each of their categories.

19. Use shop announcement option

Etsy shop announcement tells your buyers why they are here and what makes you great. It’s a way for you to communicate to your customers the main points quickly, you may sell yourself and make connections. When used correctly, it can be an excellent way to sell your shop items.

Your Etsy shop announcement is at the top of your shop under the main header. It forms part of your SEO on Etsy and should contain keywords related to your shop as the first few lines are searchable in Google.

There are lots of ways to use your shop announcement – mainly, to notify of significant changes or restrictions in the shop. Such as a change to postal fees, items which will come back into stock soon, etc. You may read more about how to make a shop announcement on Etsy.

20. Use Social Media

Social media is essential when you have an Etsy shop. In fact, Etsy now gives you easy access to connect your Facebook and Twitter to your shop so you can keep your fans in the loop! There are also sharing tools like a pin-it button for Pinterest users to quickly pin your items to their pinboards.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter can all be helpful for craft business owners. Just make sure you include links in your shop description so that customers can find you there.

With a million items on the site and thousands of storefronts, Etsy has become the most popular place to sell for the home business. The site allows anyone to make a living selling handmade, vintage, or art supplies, affordably.

So the only major barrier left between you and sales is visibility and getting people to focus on your items among all the other items for sale. Etsy gives you the storefront, but you must do your own marketing on Etsy, and social media is the way to do this.

21. Provide the Best Customer Service

Shoppers are more likely to buy from shops where they receive great service. Provide customers with the option to contact you by email, phone or chat. Keep your customers happy by replying quickly to any questions and feedback. Make sure to respond favorably to your customers if any problems arise, even if you feel that the issue wasn’t your fault. When on social media, be sure to reply to any comments or inquiries.

Throughout the buyer’s journey, follow up with your customers to ensure that they’re enjoying their purchase. Sending out thank you emails or asking about their shopping experience shows customers your dedication to providing excellent service. Your best marketing efforts will come from happy, satisfied customers that recommend your products to their friends through word-of-mouth marketing tactics.

22. Start accounting ASAP

Keep your accounting book accurate from the beginning to not regret at the end of the month. You certainly do not want to check all the Etsy sales manually and find out about a small mistake in your balance sheet that was made a few weeks before. 

In that case, Synder may become your lifesaver. This software will automatically synchronize payment history and provide you with a detailed report, so it will definitely be a win-win. 

Synder will take care of all your Etsy sales, so you don’t have to spend sleepless nights trying to find out which payment you’ve lost and why the financial statement’s numbers do not add up.

You may find more extremely helpful information on accounting basics for your small business.

Final Thoughts

Is selling on Etsy worth it? Absolutely! When you have the answers to all the important questions, starting an Etsy business and making money on Etsy is the easy part! With this guide on how to be successful on Etsy you have all the chances to become one of Etsy top sellers.

Are you ready to implement the best solution for your accounting? You may try Synder’s free trial and book a demo before you start seeing that Synder handles everything for you so that you can devote yourself to bigger goals.

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Veronika Nepevnaya

Veronika Nepevnaya

Veronika is a Сontent Writer with a focus on finance, fintech, and business management. She has participated in numerous business events and learnt the fundamentals of building successful e-commerce businesses. Inspired by financial psychology and behavioral finance, Veronika investigates human biases that stand behind money management.

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