Etsy is an online marketplace for people focused on handcrafted goods, vintage products, and craft supplies. Here are a few of our tips for selling on Etsy, whether you’re just getting started or looking to grow your business.
Getting Started on Etsy
If you’re planning to start selling on Etsy, the vibe is a little different than other online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. As most of the products being sold are handmade, and often of a lower price point, it’s less likely that you’re going to be making huge amounts of revenue off your Etsy store, although not impossible. If you’re planning to grow your business, setting up your own independent e-commerce store to supplement your Etsy shop is a good way to go. Platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce can be helpful in this regard.
If, on the other hand, you’re just getting started, or you just want to make a little money off your hobby, Etsy is the place for you. Setting up an Etsy shop is easy and straightforward. Etsy has its own excellent guide for getting started, but below are a few of the most important tips and considerations if you’re just starting out.
Do You Need a Business License to Sell on Etsy in Canada?
Etsy doesn’t require you to have a business license to sell on it, but you do need to follow local laws regarding business registration. In Canada, if you are the sole proprietor of your business, you don’t need to register your business if you’re using your legal name as the name of the business.
However, there are advantages to registering a business name. Having a separate name makes marketing easier and also allows you to make and accept payments under that name. You may also need to register your business depending on the requirements of your municipality.
The Importance of Great Etsy Listings
The first important thing you need for a great listing is great photography. No one is going to buy your product if it doesn’t look nice, and a picture is worth a thousand words. And it’s not just the first photograph that’s important. Additional shots of your product or artwork from different angles can help improve conversions by giving a more complete picture.
After that, you want a title that accurately describes your product and have lots of tags for your listing. You can use up to 13 tags per product and we’d recommend using all of them if you can, because they’re key to people finding your products in Etsy’s search. Using phrases can be helpful as it’s easier to rank for “canvas tote bag” than “tote bag”, for example. At the end of the day, making your products findable on Etsy’s search is critical to your success.
Finally you want to keep your prices reasonable, but you also want to get a fair price for your products. You’ve likely put a lot of work into them! Pricing can be tricky to manage, but Etsy has an in-depth guide for figuring out how to set it for your products.
Making Your Customers Happy
One important aspect of selling on Etsy is getting good reviews. If prospective customers see that previous buyers have been happy with your products, then they’re more likely to purchase from you. So how do you get great reviews?
Provide Excellent Customer Service
The basics for getting good reviews is providing a great product and great service. Your delivered product should match your description and your pictures should be of high quality. When your customers message you, be sure to reply in a timely manner. The Etsy app can help you quickly respond to customer inquiries from your phone while on the go.
Set Customer Expectations
Having customer expectations match what you’re able to provide is vital for keeping them happy. That’s why Etsy recommends you set up shipping profiles so that your customers know what shipping companies you use. This also allows Etsy to give them an estimated date range of when they might receive your product. If they have a good idea about how much shipping will cost upfront, and how long it will take, then they’re less likely to experience sticker shock or disappointment.
Etsy also recommends having a clear returns policy as that increases customer confidence in your shop. Etsy provides templates for you to start if you haven’t created one before.
Add Some Flair
The final suggestion we’d give for getting good reviews is to put in a thank you note with your product when you ship. Leaving a personalized note about how much you appreciate a customer’s business will often push them into leaving a nice review. Handcrafted thank you notes are also a great way to build your brand! Etsy tends towards the artistic and the personalized, so embrace that ethos.
Growing Your Store: Marketing on Etsy
If you’re looking to grow your Etsy store past a few sales, you’ll need to do a little marketing. People won’t be able to buy from you if they can’t find your products or don’t know you exist. You have a few options available.
Social media provides you with a great opportunity to market your store and products for free. Posting updates about your products, your creative process, or promotions are all great ways to drive traffic to your listings. Instagram and Pinterest in particular are excellent platforms for showcasing your amazing products.
Etsy’s social media tools also allow you to integrate your social media accounts with your stores and use them to share new listings, 5 star reviews, promotions, and more.
Paid Etsy Advertising
Etsy offers two ways to advertise your products: Etsy Ads and Offsite Ads. The first only advertises your products within Etsy while the latter will create ads on other platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing. For both systems, you only pay if potential customers click on the ad to see your product.
All Etsy users are now automatically enrolled in the Offsite Ads program. Users who make more than $10,000 USD per year get a discount on the advertising rate, while those that make less than this can opt out. As the Offsite Ads program charges a steep 15% on any revenue generated by visitors it pulls in, you might not see a lot of benefits for your store, unless your profit margins are high.
Etsy internal ads, on the other hand, are optional. These will showcase your products throughout the Etsy platform in search results, category pages, and more. The trickier aspect of this option is that you have to bid for the keywords you want to show up for. If it’s a competitive tag, like “scarves”, you might have to spend a little more to break through the competition, or aim for a less competitive keyword or phrase.
Etsy Ads lets you set both a budget for this, so you don’t have accidental cost overruns. Etsy suggests that you let your advertising campaign run for at least 30 days to see the results and aim for a minimum budget of around $3-5/day to see the best results.
Shipping and Delivery
Shipping can be a major headache for any online business, especially in Canada, but it can also be a major opportunity. What you offer in terms of shipping can improve or hurt your shop sales.
Offer Free Shipping
If it works for you, we’d recommend offering free shipping/delivery. Thanks to Amazon, more and more e-commerce customers expect to get free shipping when they buy online. Removing shipping from the final price also prevents sticker shock and can sometimes boost your conversion rate by up to 50%!
Also if you’re selling to customers in the U.S. offering free shipping boosts your ranking in Etsy’s search. It’s really worth doing the research on this.
Find Ways to Save on Shipping
The negative aspect of offering free shipping is that you usually have to work it into your sales price and it often means a cut to your profit margin. That’s why it’s useful to look into alternatives to national carriers, like Chit Chats, that can reduce your shipping costs. We’ve partnered with Etsy to make it easy to integrate your Etsy store with our service.
Taking Your Time
Our final tip is a simple one: take your time. Building up your shop’s reputation and learning the ropes of selling on Etsy is a process that you won’t be able to complete overnight. Experiment as you go and see what works for you. The more time and effort you put into the shop, the better the final result will be.
Have any other tips for selling on Etsy? Let us know!
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