The Parcel Monkey guide starting an Etsy shop
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Etsy is a creative marketplace where 29 million buyers from all over the world come to shop for unique and fresh items. Founded in 2005, it has become the go-to online marketplace for buyers who want to purchase something special from artists and creatives who offer great products at a fair price.
Unlike many other giant online marketplaces, there is also a powerful community around Etsy. Buyers are able to purchase items not available anywhere else, whilst sellers can sell their lovingly created wares to a wider audience. Below we have collated some key bits of advice on how you can tap into the power of Etsy, set up shop and achieve success.
Is Etsy for me?
Etsy is perfect for sellers looking to get going in the world of eCommerce or who are testing the waters of selling their art and craft items online to local or global markets.
A huge benefit of using an online marketplace such as Etsy is definitely the community plus a consistent flow of potential customers for you to tap into who are looking to browse exciting personalized or unique items.
You can set up your Etsy shop a for no cost at all, which is ideal for those looking for a low volume of orders, to begin with before they invest more time, resource and products. When it comes to marketing your creative works and building up your brand, Etsy is perfect and you can focus on those tasks without the hassle of having to maintain your own website.
Etsy provides all the order management tools you could possibly need to make the most out of your shop, but time will need to be invested in making your store and products stand out as there is plenty of competition vying to make sales.
The simple steps to set up your Etsy shop
If you want to sell your handmade, vintage or crafty items to the millions of shoppers browsing on Etsy, you need to set up shop. Simply click ‘Sell on Etsy’ in the top right corner to get going.
You will need to create an Etsy account, you can sign up using a Google or Facebook profile or set up an account by creating a username and password to register.
Now you have your profile, you need to select the language you want to use, the currency and country for the location where you and your shop are based.
Time for the name game - come up with a name that represents you and what you are going to sell on Etsy. This is going to be your brand, and in the world of Etsy, a great brand is very important.
Click on ‘Add Listing’ and add the relevant photos, prices, the number of items that are available and any additional information about your product. Think about using keywords to attract buyers and consider what your competitors use. If they run a successful Etsy store, the terms they use will be bang on the money!
Consider automatically renewing a listing if it expires, they last for four months but it may save you missing out on a sale at a later date.
Shipping options are next up. Which courier services are best to ship your items safely? Do you need a tracked courier? Do you need express or economy shipping? How much are you going to charge to ship your items?
Add your products. Keep adding all of your products to fill out your Etsy store.
Pick a payment option. How do you want Etsy to pay you? PayPal or directly to your bank - once those sales have come rolling in choose the payment method that suits you best.
Publish, put your shop live and you are open for business. The world can now come in and take a look at your beautiful creations.
Etsy provides a comprehensive overview of how to set up your shop so take the time to check this over properly and your store up and running on the front foot.
Do I need technical skills to create and manage an Etsy shop?
No major development skills are required to run an Etsy store, most of the heavy lifting is handled by the useful tools available to use from your account site plus there is a whole library of guides and helpful tools to have a read of as well as an active seller community to reach out to.
Etsy as with most online marketplaces is pretty intuitive and simple to use once you get to grips with the dashboard.
What can I sell on Etsy?
Etsy buyers are on the hunt for unique, custom made or personalized goods. The millions of visitors that come to browse the categories on Etsy are looking for items not available on the high street and want to purchase inventive, high quality and stylish products.
Etsy is well known for breaking the trends of normal, and the sense of community that has been built up around this marketplace lends itself to customers wanting something made with care and love. This also means they are willing to part with more money than buying generic mass produced items often found on the giant marketplaces of this world such as Amazon.
One of a kind items do very well on Etsy, who themselves curate products from sellers using their platform. There are certain restrictions and you can find a list of prohibited items here.
A picture says a thousand words
Quality pictures are key if you want to make a success of Etsy. It is your opportunity to showcase your products in the best possible light and convince buyers to purchase from your store. For each listing you can use one main photo plus four additional photos, so you can create a proper overview of your product.
The quality of photographs you can capture on smartphones are remarkable and more than good enough, but consider a background that really showcases your product and get some close-ups to show off your skills and attention to detail.
For items such as clothing why not get them modeled so buyers can see what they look like and for small items be sure to show the true size of the item through your photography.
Optimise your listing
To be found on Etsy you will need to provide accurate descriptions of your items and include relevant keywords about what your items are that people are likely to search for. You can really use the description to push the benefits and features of your product to convince the buyer to make a purchase.
You can also add tags to your item and include the relevant keywords, these tags will represent the keywords buyers with the intent of buying an item like yours, are using to find a product so you can be as specific as you like and highlight all the key things about your item like style, size, and color.
Pricing your Etsy items
When you have poured your love into creating bespoke products you are going to need to cover the costs of materials and very importantly, time. Many items are sold on Etsy for $50 or more, but Etsy buyers are also looking for value and Etsy sellers are mostly successful selling items for under the $50 mark. Lower prices bring in more shoppers, but you can fluctuate your prices to find your sweet spot.
You will also need to consider the time and costs involved in packaging and preparing your items to be shipped and then the costs involved to get your items safely to the recipient.
Shipping items sold on Etsy
An online marketplace such as Etsy opens the doors to reach new customers all over the globe who are on the lookout for cool items that nobody else has come across yet. Whilst this is exciting as a seller, you will need to consider how best to then ship to your customers.
When it comes to choosing the best courier service, you should consider what you want from the courier - the quickest transit time? A driver to come and collect? The best price?
Simply use our shipping calculator to compare delivery prices and you can be shipping the items you have sold on Etsy for a fraction of the cost it would set you back at the Post Office.
Not only this, you can choose to have a courier come and pick up your package from your home or work address, or if you prefer to drop off at the Post Office or FedEx store you can book online for a discounted price, print your shipping labels and drop them off at a time that suits you.
If you have multiple orders to fulfill from your Etsy account, you can use the Parcel Monkey CSV uploader and look out for the Parcel Monkey Etsy app coming soon, to seamlessly get shipping quotes.
Many items sold on Etsy are very fragile, so you will need to package them very well to be shipped through a courier network, so follow our packaging guidelines carefully.
What are the Etsy selling fees?
There is no monthly cost to use the standard Etsy package, only a listing fee for every item you list of around $0.20 per listing. When you put a listing live, they stay active for four months or until your item is sold. Etsy are now going to offer a Plus package with an expanded set of tools for those who are looking for a more professional offering.
As of 16th July, Etsy is increasing the transaction fees from 3.5% to 5% to reinvest in making their platform even better for sellers and to provide better customer support. If you use Etsy payments there is also a payment processing fee of around 4% when an item is sold.