Brooklyn-based online craft bazaar Etsy boasts almost 20 million customers around the globe as of 2015. Buyers flock to the site for unique, hand-made items, vintage goods and craft supplies. The site is home to more than a million active sellers across a wide array of sub-categories, like photography, jewelry and clothing.
CraftCount, an independent site that tracks Etsy sales data, lists top sellers in Etsy’s various categories. Among those with more than 100,000 sales are shops offering bows and accessories for babies, custom T-shirts, custom embroidery, coffee mugs and original crochet patterns.
Before setting up your shop, you need to create an account with Etsy. The process is simple: From the home page, click the “register” button to access a form with your standard username and password requirements. No fees are associated with creating an account. Once your account is active, you can proceed to setting up your own Etsy shop.
Starting Your Shop
Choose a name for your online business. If you already have a craft business name elsewhere, keep the same name on Etsy to improve your brand recognition. You might have to try a couple different variations in the event that the name you chose is already taken. Your shop name does not have to be the same as your user name. Etsy will let you change your shop name later, if needed.
The next step is to add product listings. Etsy features an online seller handbook, which is a great resource for maximizing the impact of your product listings. It contains detailed information on keywords, tagging, photography, descriptions and pricing.
The item’s title appears in search results, so a basic understanding of search engine optimization -- SEO -- keywords is helpful. Your item’s description should clearly state what you’re selling, with product details such as dimensions. Etsy recommends developing a distinctive “voice” when writing product descriptions; the copy in your shop is your way of speaking to your customers.
Each listing must have at least one photo, and you can include up to five to showcase your product from different angles. Photos should be sharp and well-lit, with little or no background clutter. Show your item in use; for example, if you are selling clothing, include photos of the item on a model.
Another crucial step in this stage is pricing your product. Factor in the cost of materials, plus how much you want to pay yourself for the labor involved. To keep pricing competitive, check out the going rate for similar items in other Etsy shops.
Shop setup includes setting your payment preferences. Giving your buyers a variety of payment options increases the likelihood of completing a sale. Payment options include major credit and debit cards, PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and Etsy gift cards. You can also opt to accept a check or money order.
Etsy charges $0.20 per listing, and an additional 3.5 percent commission on each sale, at the time of publication. Listings expire after four months, so if your item has not sold in that time, you will need to renew the listing for another $0.20. Etsy bills for these costs once a month.
You can either charge the customer for shipping, or offer free shipping and pay for it yourself. Keep in mind that packaging costs may occur in addition to the price of shipping. You may also incur additional fees depending on the payment option your buyer uses. Remember to factor in all these costs when pricing your items.