How to start an Etsy shop

Whether you sell physical or digital products, Etsy can be a great place to get your products seen by a large audience. The storefront and transactions are taken care of, without the need to build an expensive or complex website.

If you’re looking to sell your crafts and wares, and need to learn more before opening your own Etsy store, then keep reading for our guide on how to start an Etsy shop. We’ll cover this in two parts:

●        What to do before you open on Etsy

●        How to open an Etsy shop

Before you open your Etsy shop

Before you open your shop, it’s important to prepare a few things before diving in.

Do your research

Start by researching similar products on Etsy. Make notes on a few shops that are already trading, and think about:

–          Their prices – are they high or competitive?

–          Do they charge for shipping, and how much?

–          What do their branding and packaging look like?

–          Do you like their branding, and what would you do differently?

–          Are the sellers active on social media?

Keep your notes so that you can reference them when making decisions for your own shop.

Identify trends and keywords

Use Google Trends to search for words that are similar to your product, and try to spot any upwards trends or ideas for products that you could capitalise on. Google will suggest similar phrases and trends that you could work with.

Your keywords are the terms that customers search for online to find the right product. You want to be using these keywords too.

Another easy tool you can use to find trends and keywords is Etsy itself. Start typing your product name or a trend name into the search bar and look at the suggested list. This should give you a list of potential products you could create and keywords you can use to name them. Make a list of these keywords and product ideas for when you open the shop.

Get feedback

If you have already made your products, give them to family, friends or colleagues to get some feedback on the quality, the look, and the price you’ve planned to sell them for. They will be able to give you valuable and objective advice so you can adjust things before you start selling.

Open a separate business current account

If you’re spending a big chunk of time working to make your Etsy shop a success, you’ll want to open a separate bank account for your new business.

This will allow you to clearly see your Etsy earnings, without getting mixed up with your personal transactions. A business current account will also be more useful when it comes to purchasing your raw materials because you will be able to see how much you’re spending versus how much you’re making. The Countingup business current account comes with free built-in software that gives your real-time performance insights, and automates tedious bookkeeping tasks too. 

Ensure you have the time to dedicate

Work out how much time you have to dedicate to the business to make it worthwhile. Consider how many hours it takes you to produce the product. And how much you are selling it for.

For example – four hours to create a craft product, at £20 each. 

To make £500 revenue a month from selling your crafts, you will have to sell 25 items (and maybe a few more to make a profit, to account for any charges and to cover your raw materials).

This means you’d have to spend 100 hours a month on creating the products, as well as extra hours maintaining the shop and shipping your orders too. This boils down to about 25 hours a week.

Set your expectations of how much time you will spend on your shop, to ensure you’re working at the right scale for your time available.

How to open an Etsy shop

Once you’ve done your research and understand a little more about the market and competition, you’re ready to open your Etsy shop. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Sign up

First, register for an account with Etsy. Simply fill in your details, verify your email address and go back to the Etsy site to start your own shop once signed in.

Find free offers

Etsy offers bloggers and sellers affiliate links, which means that the seller gets a little bit of money or other benefits for bringing more people to the website. You can find many affiliate links out there which offer you 40 free product listings when you start a shop. Have a search for these links so you don’t have to pay your listing charges when starting out (we’ll cover Etsy charges later).

Fill out your information

Find your way to the sellers’ centre and click Open Your Etsy Shop.

Fill in the requested information such as your country, your store name and the currency you’ll be selling in (for example, if you’re in the UK but your products sell really well in Europe, so you might choose to sell in Euros).

Carefully consider your store name. Choose something clear and memorable. This means you can use it on social media if you choose to promote it there too.

Add listings

Next, Etsy will ask you to list your products. There is a charge associated with each live listing, or as mentioned, you can find free ways to do this too. Here’s how to add a listing:

Step 1. Add quality images

Imagery is really what sells a product. So make sure you have clear and bright pictures of your product from different angles.

Etsy allows up to 10 images per product. Add as many as you like, but remember that the first picture uploaded will be the image shown in the search results. It will be the thumbnail, so make sure the product is centred and the picture is good quality so that it can easily withstand being cropped or zoomed.

Step 2. Write effective descriptions and titles

Look at some of the competitors you researched and see how many products they’ve sold. And look at the descriptions of the best sellers. This should give you some ideas for effective descriptions of your products.

Always include your keywords in the title and early in the description. This is important for SEO – search engine optimisation. It means that your product can be found easily by someone searching for this term because your product title and description best fits what the customer is looking for. This can improve your sales because you’ll appear in the search results for this phrase.

Step 3. Choose category and listing type

Listing types

On Etsy, you’ll need to select what type of listing you need for each product, and you can choose between manual listing renewal or automatic renewal.

Manual listing means that you’ll have to input how many of your product is available, and once that stock runs out, you’ll have to renew the listing yourself, again to set how many you have available. You might choose to do this if you have handmade products or limited stock, but you will have to pay a charge each time you renew.

Auto-renewal is where your listing continuously rolls over each month, and there is no set stock level that needs replenishing. You’ll pay a charge every four months to have this listing, but it won’t need to be renewed manually – it will automatically be renewed for you. This may be the best option if you sell digital products, such as sewing patterns or templates, because you won’t be able to run ‘out of stock’ for this type of item.

Choose your listing type carefully, and once you open, be sure to keep a close eye on each product to make sure your stock level is correct and your shop’s listings are correct and paid for.

Categories and subcategories

Next, you’ll be prompted to select a category, which you will need to do for each individual listing. You can start typing a few keywords and Etsy will suggest the correct category and subcategory for your product to be featured in.

For example, let’s say you make Christmas tree ornaments and decorations. Start describing the decoration that you are listing, such as ‘Felt Christmas Pudding Tree Decoration’, and Etsy will suggest the path:

Home & Living > Home Decor > Ornaments & Accents

It may also suggest a specific Christmas category if you list a product in the winter months, but even though it’s a Christmas product, it can still be listed appropriately in the home decor section.

Your products can still be found via search regardless of their category, but choose the category and subcategory path that you think will be the best fit for someone looking for your product. Think about your target audience and choose what they would be likely to do, not just what you would choose.

Getting paid

Once you’ve created a listing, repeat this process for each of the products that you want to list on your Etsy shop.

Now, you have to organise how you’ll be paid for your sales.

Have your business bank account card details at the ready, and simply input these into the required fields. Some countries may also require you to scan your ID to prove that you are the account holder.

You can also enrol in Etsy Payments, which is a process that allows your customers to pay through a variety of methods, such as:

–          Credit or debit card

–          Gift cards

–          PayPal

–          Apple Pay

–          Google Pay

–          Klarna (in certain countries)

There is a charge associated with using Etsy Payments, but it may be a good option to allow your customers an easy method of payment that suits them. It makes for a better customer experience.

Now you’ve filled in your banking details, you are ready to open your shop! Simply complete the banking section and voila – your store will be ready to trade.

Understanding your Etsy shop fees

No one likes surprise charges. To save any nasty surprises, we’ve listed the most common types of fees you might see on your Etsy shop,. Etsy charges three types of seller fees as standard:

Etsy listings fees

This is the fee Etsy charges you to list your items. The charge is 20 cents per listing and you pay once the item is listed. Charges are billed in US dollars, but if you’re operating in another currency, this will be about 15 pence in sterling or equivalent.

Your listing will expire after four months and you’ll either have to renew it and pay the charge again or remove it from your shop.

Etsy transaction fees

When an item is sold, Etsy takes a transaction fee of 5% of the total order cost. This will be charged in your listing currency, but if currency conversion is required you will be charged an extra 2.5% fee for the conversion process.

Payment processing fees

If you accept payment via Etsy Payments, you’ll also incur a processing charge when you sell an item. These fees vary depending on you and your bank’s location, but in the UK it is 4% plus 20 pence per transaction cost.

Etsy also has additional fees that are less common but may still apply to you. If you choose to use Etsy’s shipping labels, there are associated fees associated, as well as fees for add-on services such as advertising or using the Etsy Plus features.

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