The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Etsy Sellers (2024)

First-Time Etsy Sellers

Hi there, it’s Tripti Chandorkar, associate producer here at Xiang Li Art. I became part of the team as of December 2023 and I look forward to sharing many of our learnings with you – as an artist and a creator, at any stage of your career!

Recently I helped Xiang Li set up her first Etsy shop. Have you seen it yet? Check it out here.

Li is a very accomplished and well-known artist from China. We realized the potential of Etsy to help reach a bigger audience for her work, and to make it more accessible in the US and the rest of the world. With that goal in mind, Etsy became the platform of our choice and an opportunity for us to consolidate all her merchandise on a single platform while working with multiple print-on-demand (POD) companies.

Etsy is a popular online marketplace that allows sellers to showcase their handmade, vintage, and unique items to a global audience. It has great brand recognition amongst people looking to buy unique, handmade products. However, with millions of active sellers on the platform, it can be challenging to stand out and attract customers. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the best practices I learned for first-time sellers on Etsy to set up shop and to help stand out.

First-time Etsy Sellers: The Ultimate Guide

1. Research before setting up an Etsy shop

Understand Etsy’s Product Policy

It outlines what can and cannot be sold on Etsy, including guidelines on intellectual property, prohibited items, and more. Knowing Etsy’s product policy will help protect you, your buyer, and the platform from legal issues. This task doesn’t take a lot of time. It is a quick read-through of Etsy’s product policy page

Identify what you want to sell. This can fall into two categories

  1. If you are an artist or a designer of unique, handmade products, that is good news! Shoppers go to Etsy (and not to Walmart or Target) to find unique and/or artsy products so you already have an advantage on the Etsy marketplace
  2. If you are not an artist or a designer with your own handmade products, but you want to become a seller on Etsy and build a profitable business – you will need to invest some time in researching trends on Etsy to find a product that sells well and that you can produce/create economically for selling. For example, you can choose to sell ‘metallic pet id tags’ in the broad category of ‘pet gifts’ or ‘personalized resin necklaces’ within the category of ‘resin jewelry’.  

2. Setting up your Etsy shop

Categorize your products

It is a very good practice to organize all your products into different sections. It is an easy way for users to browse your products and navigate to the specific product they are looking for. This step may not be intuitive as your products may or may not fit into broad categories.

Don’t get frustrated and take it one step at a time. Consider the most important categories first, and then create more as they become necessary. You don’t want too many single-item categories floating around.

The Ultimate Guide for First-time Etsy Sellers

Optimize the visual attractiveness of your Product Listings.

Optimizing the visual quality of your product listings is crucial to attract potential buyers. Use high-quality images with good marketing shots or mock-ups. Write clear titles and catchy descriptions of your products providing enough information for the user to make a decision about buying it

Keywords, keywords, keywords!

Ensure that your product titles and tags are relevant and include keywords that potential buyers might use to search for your products. It is very important to optimize the use of keywords and titles to maximize the chances of your product listings being found by search engines. Etsy provides 13 keywords for each listing, use all of them!

You can find many helpful online articles & videos regarding best practices for writing product titles and keywords

POD integration

Use one or a combination of available Print-on-Demand (POD) online platforms that provide integration with Etsy. We used a combination of Printify and Printful integrations for our Etsy store for the production and fulfillment process (for example, for posters, framed art, and wearable art).

Every platform has broad structural similarities but has some variations in the product offerings so choose the platform that works best for your products. The integration of Etsy with the POD platforms is very easy and user-friendly 

Offer Competitive Pricing and Shipping

To stay competitive, research the prices of similar products on Etsy and price your products accordingly. Also, successful Etsy sellers have shared their observations about the buyer’s tendency to cancel buying the product after seeing the shipping price towards the end of the checkout process. It is a fact that most buyers don’t like paying for shipping.

Hence offering free shipping or flat-rate shipping can be very attractive for buyers and any shipping discounts should be posted as shop ‘announcements’. However, the seller will have to account for the discounted shipping price from the total revenue of the shop so set up your retail prices accordingly. I am going to try the free shipping tip for our Etsy store in the near future! 

Utilize Etsy’s Gift Mode

Etsy has recently gone live with this new feature. Even more exciting news is that Etsy is planning to air a TV ad during the Superbowl on Feb 11, 2024, to show off Etsy as THE destination for great gifts to an audience of more than 1.5 million viewers that day! 

The Gift mode works by having buyers answer questions about who they’re shopping for, the recipient’s interests, and the gifting occasion. Based on the responses, Etsy suggests tailored gift guides showcasing relevant products. Using keywords with ‘gift’ and names of specific occasions can help with your products showing up in these search results.

3. Promote Your Products on Social Media and through Etsy marketing tools

  • One of the common themes I heard from first-time Etsy sellers is not to expect a sale for ‘months’ after you start the store. It takes a lot of time for your products to rank up organically in the Etsy search results (this is where the use of good keywords comes in!)
  • The other way to counter this challenge is by promoting your Etsy store by word-of-mouth to your family & friends and through social media. Use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or popular blog sites to showcase your products to an interested audience and start to build traffic to your shop. You can do this in many different ways like running Instagram ads and signing up for Etsy ads (Etsy offers this program for $1 a day for showing your product ads on Etsy search results)

Conclusion: What’s next for us on Etsy

I will post again after a few weeks with tips and tricks to optimize your sales and what worked well and what didn’t with all the best practices I have discussed above.

I hope you find this blog post helpful as you set on your path to set up your first Etsy store!

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