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How to sell on Etsy

Find out how to start a shop and price your items.

If you're ready to make money off your knitting hobby, or want to find buyers for you classic book collection, Etsy is an e-commerce platform dedicated to selling arts and vintage items.

Before you list your goods, price your items, calculate delivery costs and factor in selling fees.

How do I decide what to sell on Etsy?

Etsy's best-selling items tend to be unique, imaginative and competitively priced. To sell on Etsy, your products must fit into one of three categories:

  • Handmade goods. Jewelry, clothing, accessories, greeting cards, home decor, dishware, pet supplies, baked goods and children's toys — anything you make or design yourself.
  • Vintage items. Vintage art, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, records and books that are 20 years or older.
  • Craft supplies. Etsy allows you to sell arts and craft materials, tools and ingredients. This includes supplies like beads, paint, DIY kits or occasion-specific items like cake toppers and confetti.

In general, you can't sell services or rentals on Etsy. Animal products, alcohol, tobacco and drug paraphernalia are also prohibited. If you have questions about whether or not your product is allowed, review the full list of prohibited items.

How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?

It's free to join Etsy and start your own shop. However, there are four types of fees you'll need to think about:

Listing fee

$0.20

Paid regardless of whether the item sells. After four months, you're required to pay the fee to list it again.

Transaction fee

5%

Sale price includes shipping. Payments made in a different currency than your payment account is converted at the mid-market rate with no margin or fees added.

Etsy Payments processing fee

3% + $0.25

Each sale comes with a commission that goes to Etsy Payment processing.

Currency conversion fee

2.5% of sale price

Fee for listing your items in a foreign currency.

Upgrade your Standard Etsy seller account to a Plus account for an additional $10 monthly. Tools include customizable shop options, bonus listings and advertising credit.

Crunching the numbers

Let's look at what these fees mean to your sales. Say you’re selling vintage band T-shirts online for $40 and your charging $10 for shipping. If someone from Canada buys one of your shirts, here’s how the transaction would shake out:

  • Listing fee: $0.20
  • Transaction fee: $2.50
  • Etsy Payments processing fee: $1.75
  • Currency conversion fee: $1.25

For this transaction, you'd pay $5.70 in fees. From the $40 T-shirt, you'll get to keep $34.30.

Is selling on Etsy worth it?

Selling items on Etsy can be a great way to earn some extra cash and even develop a solid business. However, many factors can affect your level of success — and making a profit isn't a guarantee.

There are several things you can do to mitigate this risk and increase your shop's chances of success:

  • Research the market. This helps you develop an in-depth understanding of what products are available, how to price your items and whether there's a market for what you want to sell.
  • Take high-quality photos. A picture is worth a thousand words. So provide clear, high-quality photos to showcase your items.
  • Use keywords. Optimize your shop and all listings for Etsy Search — Etsy’s internal search algorithm. Include keywords that match popular searches and use Etsy’s search analytics tools to find out more about how shoppers find your listings.
  • Market and promote your shop. Use paid advertising, social media posts and promotions to increase your shop's visibility. Running sales or offering coupons to loyal customers to help boost business.

How do I start selling on Etsy?

You can start selling on Etsy by following these steps.

  1. Create an Etsy account. Navigate to Etsy's homepage and click Register in the top right-hand corner. Provide your name and email address, and then create a password. Etsy sends a confirmation email within a few minutes.
  2. Add information to your public profile. Tell Etsy users all about yourself and your shop on your public profile. Log into your account and find the Public profile link under the Account settings menu. Type your bio and add a profile picture. Save your changes before exiting.
  3. Open your Etsy shop. Click Sell on Etsy at the top right of the Etsy homepage and then click Open your Etsy shop. Select your language, country and currency, and enter your shop name. Click Save and continue to complete the process.
  4. Stock your shop. Add listings to your shop and indicate how you'd like to receive payment.

Integrating Etsy with your e-commerce store

If you want to sell through multiple channels, your best bet is to sign up for an e-commerce platform that integrates with other marketplaces. Some major platforms, like Shopify and BigCommerce, offer apps that allow you to sell on Etsy, and other sites simultaneously, through your e-commerce store.

Compare e-commerce platforms

Name Product Products Monthly fees start at Processing fees start at Hosting
BigCommerce
BigCommerce
Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
$29.95/month
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Hosted
BigCommerce is an all-in-one e-commerce platform created to help you sell more.
Helcim
Helcim
Payment processing, POS software, POS hardware, Website builder, Inventory tracking
$20/month
1.92% + $0.08 per transaction
Hosted
Conveniently packaged into three service tiers for in-person and online sales.
Square Online
Square Online
Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
None
2.9% + 30¢
Hosted
Create an online store with beautiful layouts to help drive business.
Shopify
Shopify
Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
$9/month
2.9% + $0.30 online; 2.4% in person
Hosted
Shopify offers both e-commerce and in-person POS systems designed to help you build a new online store from the ground up.
Shift4Shop
Shift4Shop
Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
$29/month
None
Hosted
Helps businesses build online storefronts while offering a variety of service tiers bundled for businesses large or small
Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus
Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
$2,000/month
None
Hosted
A customizable solution for enterprise-level e-commerce stores.
X-cart
X-cart
Website builder, Shopping cart software, Shipping software
Free
None
Self-hosted
X-Cart is an e-commerce platform that can handle your store as it grows to an enterprise-level business.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to price your items

There are two things to consider when pricing items on Etsy: How to make a reasonable profit margin and how much you think buyers are willing to pay.

To determine your prices, you'll need to:

  • Add up your costs. Calculate the total cost of materials, labor and overhead expenses to produce your items. Factor in Etsy's listing, transaction and processing fees. Once you include delivery costs, you should reach a pricing goal that makes your venture worthwhile.
  • Consider your customers. Think about your target customer and how much they're willing to pay. Research similar products on Etsy to find out how much other sellers charge for similar products.

After some research, you should be able to find a competitive price point that keeps customers happy and your bottom line healthy.

What types of payment does Etsy accept?

Etsy Payments system handles payments. This allows buyers to pay you in their local currency using a wide range of payment options, including:

  • Etsy gift cards and credits
  • Klarna invoice payments (for buyers from Germany)
  • iDEAL (for buyers from the Netherlands)
  • Sofort (for buyers from Austria and Germany)

You can also accept payment by mail or to arrange another payment method with the buyer.

Funds from your sales are deposited into your account in your local currency. Choose from daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly deposit schedules, and request additional deposits at any time.

How to organize shipping

Research the packaging options available for your shop items from a shipping provider or dedicated international courier service.

Not only do you need to find the most affordable shipping option, but consider whether you'll offer express shipping. This allows you to include accurate postage costs and processing times on your listings.

If you're planning to ship with USPS, Canada Post or FedEx, consider opting into Etsy Shipping. With Etsy Shipping, you can create shipping profiles and purchase and print shipping labels right at home. You can also add tracking to shipped orders so your customers know where their order is every step of the way.

How do I market my Etsy products?

One way to increase your reach is through Etsy Ads. Etsy helps you advertise your product on its platform and search results. Etsy Ads charges you anytime someone clicks on your ad listing. Costs per click are added to your payment account the next day.

You can enable Etsy Ads through your Shop Manager. Set your daily budget at a minimum of $1, and click Start advertising.

Etsy advertises all of your current listings. Modify your daily budget, and which products you advertise, by selecting listings under Etsy Ads in your Shop Manager.

If you don't want to advertise through Etsy Ads, you can also market your products using a range of free tools, including:

  • Social media. Use tools to help you create social media posts.
  • Promotions. Run sales, offer free shipping or discounts on individual listings.
  • Thank-you coupons. Create discount coupons and send them to customers.
  • Etsy Local. Create or join a fair or market event through Etsy Local.
  • Etsy Team. Join an Etsy Team to connect with other members who live in the same area, sell similar products or share similar interests to you.

Pros of selling on Etsy

Here's why Etsy might be a good choice for your business:

  • Stellar mobile app. Etsy offers an app designed specifically for sellers, which has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating in the Apple Store, and a 4.6 out of 5-star rating in Google Play. It's known for being dependable and easy to use, so you can manage orders on your phone.
  • Low listing fees. Since it only costs $0.20 to list each item, you can get started without investing a ton of cash, which means there's little risk upfront.
  • Broad reach. Etsy has a strong reputation with buyers in the market for handmade or vintage goods, which means you'll get access to millions of buyers instantly.
  • Handy analytics tool. Even if you don't have formal SEO training, Etsy can help you understand which keywords people search when they find your shop. You can also pay for advertising, so that more people see your products.
  • Intuitive to set up and use. You can build your Etsy shop in a matter of minutes. There isn't a major learning curve, since the user interface is meant to be self-explanatory.

What to watch out for with Etsy

Selling on Etsy isn't without its risks. Be on the lookout for the following:

  • Limited range of products accepted. Etsy only accepts specific products, so other online marketplaces may be better suited to your business.
  • Transaction and payment processing fees. The transaction and payment processing fees add up to 8%, plus $0.25. That's pricey compared to a service like PayPal, which generally charges 2.9% + $0.30 every time you make a sale online, within the US.
  • Competition. Etsy is a huge online marketplace where you compete with millions of other sellers, so you may struggle to be noticed or spend a significant amount of money on ads.
  • Limited customization options. Some sellers complain about not being able to customize the design of their Etsy shop to suit their tastes.

Bottom line

Etsy is an online marketplace designed to help crafters market their wares. It’s easy to get create an account and start selling, but Etsy seller fees and marketplace competition could impact your bottom line. And if you want to sell your wares on multiple sites, you'll want to compare e-commerce platforms to find one that integrates with all your top sales channels.

Frequently asked questions

What's better, Shopify or Etsy?

Both e-commerce platforms are popular among online sellers, however, you may want to look at Etsy and Shopify side-by-side to decide for yourself.

Do I need a credit card to open an Etsy shop?

No. While you can provide your credit card details to be verified as a seller, you can also register using a debit card or your PayPal account.

Can I open a shop through the Sell on Etsy app?

No. The only way to start a shop is by using a desktop web browser.

Do you have to have a business license to sell on Etsy?

Whether you need a business license to sell on Etsy depends on whether you are running your Etsy Shop as a business or a hobby. If selling on Etsy as a business, you may need a business operation license or employer ID number. Contact your local Small Business Administration office and ask what the business licensing requirements are for your city and state.

Is there a monthly fee for Etsy?

No. However, there are paid monthly subscriptions available that allow you to access additional tools and features, such as customizable shop options and bonus listing credits.

What happens if I have a dispute with a customer?

Etsy has a seller protection policy and offers a mediation service to help resolve disputes or concerns about orders.

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