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How to sell on Etsy: 10 tips for selling success

Try our expert tips for Etsy success and share your handmade creations with the world.

How to sell on Etsy Hawthorn Handmade
Published: January 27, 2022 at 12:20 am
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The big work and lifestyle changes of the last couple of years have led to many of us getting creative to top up our income. The pandemic saw online sales increase by 73% last January, compared to the year before. So if you’ve thought about selling your creations online, there’s no better time.

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When you're thinking about how to sell on Etsy, ask yourself what sort of customer would love your makes or designs. Where do they hang out, both online and offline? How do they like to shop? How can you make your products easy for them to purchase? Think about the products you make and your profit margins too. What makes the most practical and financial sense for you right now?

Many makers turn to websites such as Etsy, Not on the High Street and Ravelry to find their customers but it’s tricky to get noticed. We've asked Isabella Diaz – Manager, Seller Education at Etsy – to share her top tips for how to sell on Etsy. If you’re thinking of setting up an Etsy shop, here are 10 ways to get it right from the start.

For more advice on starting your creative business, check out our guides to How to sell your crochet, and Getting ready to sell at craft markets.


Grow your own creative business magazine

Grow Your Own Creative Business

This article is an extract from Grow Your Own Creative Business. Its packed with advice on how to set up your brand, price and sell, as well as how to use social media to grow your small business. It includes tips for promoting your products through Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You'll find out how to set up your online shop, grow your audience, create great content and much more. Whether you’re looking to launch or start a side hustle, this 132-page edition will help you on your way. Order your copy today.


1. Use the resources available

When you’re getting started, it feels like there are so many things to do for your new shop and brand, it can be overwhelming! The Ultimate Guide to Starting an Etsy Shop, part of the invaluable online Etsy Seller Handbook covers all the basics, from choosing a shop name to getting to your first sale. You can also subscribe to the Etsy Success newsletter for weekly updates, and the latest information on new features and personalised tips to help grow your business.

Get started with as many core products as you can, like crochet designs brand, To Be Adorned.

Becca Parker to be adorned

2. Keep track of trends

If you’re looking for ideas for new shop offerings, keep an eye on rising craft trends. It helps to watch out for what shoppers may be seeking out in the months ahead. Etsy’s Marketplace Insights reports in the Etsy Handbook are loaded with valuable insights. In each quarterly report, you’ll learn about emerging industry trends, what’s selling on Etsy, and get actionable tips for aligning with current trends throughout your shop.

A quick look sees early 2022 sees crafters searching for ‘Tufting’ products or tools, check out one shop who is nailing the trend at Allure Bath Fashion.

3. Refine your keywords for better Etsy search results

When shopping on Etsy, buyers typically enter what they are looking for into the search bar. From there, search results populate. The keywords you add to your listings are essential for matching your listings to those searches. The keywords you use in your tags, titles, categories and attributes work together to match your listings with shoppers’ searches. When there’s a match to a search query, your items have the potential to appear in the search results.

  • For your titles: think about what your buyer would type into search when shopping for a product like yours and use those words and phrases. It’s important your titles are descriptive and easy to read. Be concise and use commas to separate phrases.
  • For your tags: consider the finer details that describe your product. Use relevant phrases a buyer may search here as well. Be sure to use all 13 tags available to you. Each tag you add is an opportunity to be matched with a shopper’s search. Additionally, use multi-word phrases. Your tags can be up to 20 characters long. It’s better to use multiple phrases than to load your tags with single words. For example, “custom bracelet” is stronger than “custom” and “bracelet” and frees up another tag for you to use.
LinguaNigra.etsy store

Each jewellery piece featured on Lingua Nigra’s store has a detailed product name.

4. Prioritise product photography

Product photos that illustrate all facets of your item help shoppers to make confident, informed purchases. Check out the Product Photography Checklist in the Etsy Handbook for insights on everything from choosing equipment to lighting your product and editing your photos. As you put together your shots for each listing, pay extra attention to the photograph you decide to feature first. In order to draw in shoppers, make sure your product’s main image (or thumbnail image) is a clear, eye-catching photo.

Hitchin-based Boho Craft Studio takes shots of the completed embroidery kits from plenty of angles to help buyers see what they are getting. Overhead shots are a great way to show items and materials.

5. Add more listings to your store

A well-stocked shop shows customers your business is legitimate. Put yourself in a buyer’s shoes: how likely are you to purchase from a store that contains only one item? By stocking multiple items in your shop, you communicate to buyers that you are actively investing in your business. With each item you add to your shop, your perceived credibility as a business owner grows. When you’re just getting started, you may not have a lot of products yet. Consider whether you can maximize your listings by creating separate listings for any variations you offer.

For example, if you sell knitted caps available in several colours, consider listing each colour separately. Fitz and Gwen, who make bold and bright lampstands and shades from London, showcase different colour and style options as separate listings.

6. Tell your own story

The About section of your Etsy shop lets buyers and browsers alike know more about you and what makes your business special. Developing a robust About section featuring your shop’s story, photos of your workspace or process and information about shop members not only engages customers, but also makes your shop more attractive to editors and bloggers.

Etsy store PegandAwl

Philadelphia-based store PegandAwl give their handmade bags, jewellery and journal store an awesome family feel, like you’re there in the studio.

7. Inspire confidence with good customer service

Providing a good customer experience from start to finish is essential to the long-term success of any business. You can build buyer confidence (and encourage repeat customers!) by responding to messages quickly, shipping on time, and maintaining positive shop reviews. On Etsy, glowing reviews let any buyer who visits your shop know that tons of happy customers have come before them – an important factor when they’re deciding whether to make a purchase. Read How to Get 5-Star Reviews in the Handbook to learn more.

Stationery and desk accessory shop AIMStudioCo has earned an Etsy Star Seller award from good customer ratings.

How to sell on Etsy Thank you
Take time to make packages special and thank customers

8. Convert shop browsers into buyers

When a potential buyer starts a search, the Etsy system reviews keywords to determine what products are eligible to appear in the results. Other factors also determine where listings rank within those search results – for example, your conversion rate (how often a click turns to a sale). Increasing your shop’s conversion rate can improve where your listings rank in searches. To optimise your listings, consider the quality of your product photos, listing description, price, shipping and processing settings, and anything else you think could play a role. Check out ‘Creating Listings That Convert’ (https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/creating-listings-that-convert/366469719354) in the Handbook for more tips.

The finished pics of Ilaria Caliri’s amigurumi makes are a great sell for her shop, AiraliDesign, of PDF crochet patterns.

9. Learn social media skills

Perfectionists are in good company at Etsy, but as seller Alexandra Ferguson reminds us, sometimes our obsession with having things ‘just so’ can be detrimental to the educational process of trial and error: “There are so many variables to capturing the buyer’s interest and ultimately inspiring them to Add to Cart.” Remind yourself that selling is experimental and if you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never get anywhere.

10. Get better all the time

Running an Etsy shop is a learning process. The sooner you embrace that, the better equipped you’ll be to improve upon your business. Use the information available in your shop stats to help refine your listings and inventory over time – including things such as your photos, product descriptions, tags and titles. Viewing your shop as a constant work in progress will help you stay nimble and position your business to evolve and succeed.

Interiors artist Candice Luter won Etsy Designer of the Year 2021, watch her story to inspire your own journey.

Etsy store candiceluter

6 Etsy shops to inspire you

1. Black cards and stationery brand by illustrator Cherelle Brown

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/kitschnoir

2. Lino cut prints are so on trend, see Melanie Wickham’s cute prints,

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/melaniewickham

3. Cross stitch designer Emma Congdon

Has a bright and bold range of pattern downloads at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Stitchrovia

4. Everyone loves a craft kit

See Georgia’s sewing box range at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SewYourOwnGB

5. Etsy Star Seller Madame Craig

Needle felts cute animals in Edinburgh, www.etsy.com/uk/shop/madamecraig

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6. Simply Sewing Patterns

Downloadable patterns for dresses, skirts, tops and more from Simply Sewing Magazine’s expert designers, www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SimplySewingPatterns

Authors

Vicki Editor
Vicki AtkinsonEditor - Special edition craft collections

Vicki is the editor of our special edition craft collections, covering a wide range of topics from stitching and quilting to Christmas crafting and yarn skills. She loves making cards and is getting to grips with macrame and crochet.

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