5 Tips for Selling on Etsy - Starting an Etsy Business

Etsy’s gross merchandise sales reached $4.97 billion in 2019. Significantly, only 18% of these sellers were full-time entrepreneurs. Artists, hobbyists, and even suppliers can have a thriving business on the platform with careful planning.

Whether you’re already selling on Etsy, or just starting out, having reliable, user-friendly, and cost-effective payment processing is critical for any Etsy seller. Etsy has a partnership with Square to offer sellers low-cost payment processing and access to multichannel sales. Visit Square to create a free account.

It’s easy for any business-minded person to open a store on Etsy, but before you start uploading products, it would be a good idea to know what you can and can’t sell. This will help protect you, your buyer, and the platform from legal issues, particularly against intellectual property. It also helps you understand the best way to categorize your product to make it more visible to potential buyers.

What You Can Sell on Etsy

  • Products you have created and have the rights to sell
  • Vintage items over 20 years old
  • Digital materials written or designed by you
  • Products you created with a production partner
  • Craft supplies

1. Understand the Difference Between Copying and Inspiration

Contrary to popular belief, there are no rules that specify what percentage of the original artwork must be changed to qualify for protection under the Fair Use Doctrine. There’s often a fine line between what’s copied and what’s inspired, and Etsy removes material subject to a complaint when given notice. This is why it’s crucial that you understand the difference even before you open your Etsy store.

Though there is a fine line, Etsy offers the following guidelines:
  • Never use the name of an artist who inspired your work as the artist may claim that your sales are a result of their brand.
  • Avoid tagging your items with a specific luxury brand in an effort to describe the quality of your product.
  • Using the brand name in the title, tags, and description of vintage products is allowed, but avoid guessing if you’re not sure.
  • Always check for copyright when using someone else’s photos even if the product on the image is generic.
  • Avoid purchasing licensed images from stores with a poor reputation.

2.Choose the Right Shop Name for Your Store

Your shop name will be your brand. A good name will help your store stand out from other shops, and is memorable enough to type into the search bar. Etsy allows you to use 20 characters for your shop name, which is required when setting up your store. And while you’re free to change your Etsy store name down the road, you wouldn’t want customers to forget your brand because of multiple name changes.

Brainstorming and testing are the two main steps to coming up with the best store name. Start by making a list of options. Descriptive names like “Zen Handicrafts,” is the easiest strategy. You can also try abstract ideas for a more creative and unique name. Try combining words or phrases like “Scentimental,” to showcase a point of interest related to your product.

Use these questions to test your store name:
  • What kind of feeling do you want your store name to convey?
  • Did it evoke that same feeling when you mentioned your store name to friends and family?
  • Is your store name easy to spell and read?
  • Does the name look good on your business card?
  • Does it have an alternative meaning in other languages?
  • Have you tried to search for similar names on Google?

3.Add Multiple Payment Options 

According to Baymard Institute, 6% of online shoppers have abandoned their carts in the last quarter because there weren’t enough payment options. It’s important to consider that while online shopping is becoming the norm, there are still potential customers that will hesitate sharing their credit card details online, no matter how secure your website. This lost opportunity can be easily avoided by maximizing available payment options for your store. 

Etsy store owners should take advantage of Etsy Payments. This gives you the ability to offer a wide variety of payment options without having to open multiple merchant services accounts. Etsy payments can be used to accept
  • Debit/bank cards
  • Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Redit cards

4.Write an Impressive “About” Page

Etsy is more than just a marketplace, it’s also a platform for creatives like you to showcase your art. However, as a seller, you need to let buyers know the value of your creations to convince them to buy. This includes both your technical qualifications and achievements, as well as your inspiration. Your “About” page should focus on the person behind the designs.

Here are some guidelines for creating the ideal “About” page:
  • Use a personal tone to easily connect with your reader.
  • Talk about your inspiration behind your designs.
  • Introduce any partners you work with to develop your products.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Include links to any publication that features you or your designs.
  • Include links to your social media.

5.Optimize Your Etsy Shop Profile

Your Etsy shop profile is a representation of your overall business brand. This includes everything from your shop banner to your shop policies. A complete and well thought out shop profile with professional looking photos and videos can quickly build trust with shoppers. 

So before you open your Etsy store, it’s imperative that you put in as much effort to complete your shop profile as with creating your product listings. Aside from your store’s “About” page, other sections of your store’s profile also play a role in building your brand:

  • Opt for a cover photo instead of a banner image, while it requires a bigger image (ideal size is 3360 x 840 pixels), cover photos are displayed on both desktop and mobile versions of your Etsy store.
  • Shop banners don’t show up on mobile. It needs to be exactly 760 x 100 pixels in size and no larger than 2MB.
  • Use a shop icon that’s consistent to your business brand and logo.
  • Research and use keywords for your shop title.
  • Use a short, compelling copy on your shop announcement section to let buyers know of your promotions and discounts.
  • Use the Shop Members section to briefly introduce your team.

Aside from reviewing your content before posting, you will also need to evaluate if the overall feel of your shop profile evokes the same emotions you want to have for your brand.