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How To Sell On Etsy: Beginner’s Guide To Etsy Setup & Success

Helen Golubeva
Helen Golubeva Author

Hey, creative and artistic souls! If you are here, it means that you’ve already heard a thing or two about Etsy, a place where 48.2 mln shoppers and sellers come together to exchange homemade items and craft supplies.

There are your potential customers, too. But where are you, then? On eBay or Amazon? You need to consider selling your handmade items on Etsy as well.

And if you still need a little push, here it is — my ultimate guide to selling on Etsy. It will equip you with all the fundamental marketing tools and teach you how to be successful on Etsy without much investment. You’ll also learn how to set up your first Etsy store, create product listings, establish a personal connection with customers, and start earning extra money from home.

To push you forward, let me point out a few business owners who already sell successfully on Etsy:

Bias Bespoke X-Cart store

Bias Bespoke Supply Co (NY, US). Carlos and Tova Moreno have been selling sewing supplies with X-Cart since June 2015. To make the sales strategy more efficient, they’ve tapped into multiple channels. Luckily, Etsy is among them. Moreover, they set up their Etsy store a year earlier. Since then, they’ve managed to make 23K online sales. Considering that the aveprice of their supplies varies from $1.45 to $57, they could potentially earn $667K selling products on Etsy. Not bad.

Bias Bespoke X-Cart store

WarlordClothing (North Hollywood, US). Bruce Reeves has been selling handmade horror punk and metalthemed clothing with X-Cart for over 10 years now. In addition to having an online store, he is selling products on Etsy. He has made more than 200 sales already and more than a hundred people added his store as favorite. 

Already thinking about setting up an Etsy account? Hold your horses.

Getting started selling your products on Etsy might seem somewhat confusing. Read this beginner’s guide to selling on Etsy first. I’ve made it comprehensible as possible to help you find success selling on Etsy as easily as taking candy from a baby.

If this information is not enough for you, welcome to check out Etsy’s seller handbook with over 600 inspirational articles for successfully running your Etsy shop. Inside this seller handbook, you will discover advice and recommendations about growth hacking, productivity, seasonal tips for successful selling on Etsy, and a lot more. All hand-written by the Etsy team.

  1. Is Etsy Right for You?
  2. Creating and Managing Your Shop on Etsy 
  3. Etsy Marketing
  4. How to Make Money on Etsy

But before we get into the details, let’s check if Etsy is the right platform for your eCommerce website.

I. Is Etsy the Right Platform for Your eCommerce Business?

Let’s face it. Not all products are suited for this platform. Etsy is not a run-of-the-mill marketplace, like eBay, where all types of goods can be sold, mass-produced or handmade. And it is not even close to Amazon, where your ranks and sales are dependent on the efficiency of buyer-seller communication

It has a unique ‘style’, exclusively created for artists and crafters to sell their handmade and vintage items online.

So before investing your time and energy in creating your Etsy shop, you need to make sure your potential customers might look for your products on Etsy.

If you discover that Etsy is not the right place for you, do not stress out, there is a bevy of other amazing places for artists and crafters.

Having a separate website outside of Etsy could be even a better idea. With X-Cart, you will be able to easily sync your inventory across all the sales channels you sell on, including Etsy, Amazon, eBay, and many others.

Ready to Start an Online Store?

Keep track of your products, orders, and customers in one place by connecting Etsy and other sales channels to X-Cart. Schedule a personal demo with our solution advisors to learn more.

Pros of Selling on Etsy

1. It’s easy to start selling on Etsy

You can launch an Etsy store in minutes, without any technical knowledge. Just fill out a few forms and you are ready to go.

This would be your first step to building an eCommerce business. However, you’ll still need a separate store of yours as you move forward. It will open up more opportunities for brand building and let you stay competitive.

Launching an online store with X-Cart boils down to just a few simple steps, too. 

You won’t have to rack your brains designing an attractive template and customizing it to get the look you need. There is a pile of pre-designed themes. Plus, we have a whole team of dedicated experts catering to one-of-a-kind needs of your eCommerce project.

You won’t even have to worry about security, performance, and all the other things making a mess of your life — our customer support team and solution advisors are one call away, day and night.

Note: You don’t have to choose between setting up an Etsy shop and building one of your own. You can handle both simultaneously. Do you need any tools? You bet. 

Multi channel synchronization is a simple app for X-Cart that will sync your inventory across many different channels, including Etsy.
Price: Free

Expandly Multchannel Management Software will let you manage your X-Cart shopping cart alongside other sales channels, such as Etsy. 
Price: Free

2. Huge customer base

Though Amazon has recently launched their own handmade community, allowing thousands of artisans to sell their handcrafted goods online, Etsy is still the first thing people think of when they want to buy something handmade.

As of today, there are 3.1 million active sellers and 60.3 million active shoppers on Etsy. 

Etsy stats
Source: Etsy Press

What’s more, 350 mln of users land on Etsy every month to purchase craft supplies and handmade jewelry. Some of these users start selling on Etsy, others — convert to active buyers.

3. Friendly community

The Etsy community is loyal. More than 40% of first-time buyers become repeat customers, coming back to Etsy over and over again. Also, there are a few useful resources where business owners can exchange their experience with their peers:

  • Etsy Forum, where they can interact with other members of the Etsy community;
  • Etsy Teams to share and get tips about running an eCommerce business in their area;
  • Etsy Blog adapted for different countries.

4. A greater chance to be discovered

Handmade items, listed on Etsy (or on any other trendy marketplace like eBay or Amazon) have a bigger chance to attract potential customers. Especially if you are new to Etsy.

5. Shipping overseas made easy

Even if you are new to Etsy, you can ship internationally. Once an order is placed, you can purchase and print shipping labels from the site. This is especially handy when shipping to international customers.

ShippingEasy cloud-based app for X-Cart makes international shipping easier providing you with the best shipping rates.
Price: Free

6. Etsy can help grow your existing business

There are lots of advertising options on Etsy, like promoted listings, which can help you highlight your products in Etsy’s search results and make them more visible to your target audience.

Promoted items on Etsy

7. Etsy puts a premium on machine learning

The Etsy team has done a lot to build an effective search experience for their users. In July 2015, they launched the so-called exploratory search, a feature that created a more visual search experience, especially on mobile devices. This technology increased click rates by 10%.

We’ve seen an increase in search engagement metrics by more than 10% with a more pronounced effect on mobile web.

A year later, in September 2016, the Etsy team acquired Blackbird Technologies to upgrade Etsy’s search engine with machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Now there’s a whole team of talented engineers and scientists, also referred to as Etsy’s Data Science & Machine Learning (DSML) organization. They do their best to make the life of sellers easier tackling questions in Machine Learning, Statistics, and Large-Scale Systems.

8. A mobile app

There’s a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch (requires iOS 9.3 or later) and all Android devices (requires Android 4.1 and up).

Etsy Mobile App

There are actually two apps — the first one is for sellers, the other is for shoppers. Considering that 65% of Etsy visits come from mobile, this is a good tool.

The ‘Sell on Etsy’ app makes it easy to manage your Etsy listings and orders on the go and stay notified when someone purchases your product or adds it to ‘Favorites.’

The Etsy app for buyers creates a seamless experience for online shopping from mobile devices and notifies your users when their item is shipped. It also accepts payments, displays shops nearby, and more.

With X-Cart, delivering seamless mobile shopping experience won’t be an issue as well. Get a native iOS or Android app for your online store. Once installed your app will always be at your customers’ fingerprints.

Need an App?

What to Watch Out for on Etsy

1. Fees

Listing your items on Etsy is not free. You should make a couple of payments to start selling on Etsy from scratch.

For example, $0.20 for each listing. Plus, a 5% transaction fee and other fees. Head over to the last chapter to find out more about your possible expenses.

2. Little to no options for personalization

If we compare a fully functional eCommerce website and an Etsy shop, the first one wins without question.

Why? Because all Etsy seller pages look pretty much alike.

Little to no personalization on Etsy

The only thing you can do to make your brand stand out is to take killer pics and spice up your item descriptions and bio with a powerful copy.

However, there is one more option. Etsy allows you to launch a separate website. With the help of ‘Pattern by Etsy’, you can quickly register a domain, personalize your template to match your brand, add a blog, and start sending email marketing campaigns to your users.

But it will cost you a pretty penny ($15/mo).

3. The fast and furious competition that is not always easy to overcome

Etsy was founded in 2005, and since then more than 3 million sellers have started selling their handmade stuff on this marketplace.

Are you ready to fight with this crowd? Well, you can at least try.

But if you are not listing a new product every single day, promoting your products, and refreshing them now and then, you are doomed to fail. You’ll end up with your ads rolled out at the bottom of Etsy search results.

4. Your Etsy account can be banned completely out of the blue

Please, read the Etsy seller policy carefully before you set up your store and start your first listing.

Did you know that you’re allowed to sell human remains, like teeth or hair? Have a look at this lovely jewelry:

Human teeth on Etsy

But if you make up your mind to sell ivory or bones from ivory-producing animals (tusks, for instance), you will be punished by Etsy’s moderators.

Here’s a prohibited items policy which demonstrates (with colorful pics and examples!) what items you can or cannot sell on Etsy.

Indeed, selling products similar to the ones included in the list of prohibited items is punished severely. Just google ‘etsy shut down my shop’ and you’ll discover lots of horror stories about Etsy shutting down shops after years of selling.

5. It’s going to require lots of work

Experienced eCommerce business owners know that adding an additional sales channel takes a time investment to be successful, and it’s difficult to juggle multiple storefronts and omni-channel marketing, especially as a startup.

Our advice on getting started? Take one step at a time. Or, at least, find an eCommerce agency and ask them for assistance. Our parent company, Seller Labs, offers Amazon selling services and is ready to help optimize your Amazon marketplace for as little as $39/mo so you can make a splash there before branching out. You’ll be free to enjoy four amazing tools as part of a single Seller Labs Pro subscription:

6. If you are not selling handmade items, this platform is not for you

Etsy is for crafters only. If your business has nothing to do with ats and crafts, consider selling on Amazon or eBay.

II. How to Create and Manage Your Shop on Etsy

Starting an Etsy business requires more than just uploading your handmade items on Etsy and then crossing your fingers in the hope that something will come out of it.

It doesn’t work like that.

Selling products successfully on Etsy is about creating an emotional connection with your buyers through such things as great copy, stunning pictures, competitive pricing, and… a few little tricks. And you are happy to be in the right place at the right time to get some of these tricks.

But. Prepare to work your socks (as well as boots, sneakers, and slippers) off to get visible results.

1. What Items Can You Sell on Etsy?

The most challenging thing about launching your Etsy business is choosing products to sell.

Wedding jewelry?

Baby knitted socks?

A dead skull candle holder? Oh my… There are lots of weird stuff over there. Want to buy one for $87.36?

What to sell on Etsy

If you already have an eCommerce store or at least an idea of what to sell on Etsy, there’s nothing to worry about, just skip this paragraph. If not, take a look at the list of Etsy’s best sellers:

#1. Stickers

Yes, this might be surprising, but those sticky little pics are the most buzzworthy trends on Etsy. Stickers sell well because they are pretty cheap.

Moreso, there’s a handy Printful integration that will help you sell digital goods faster. You create the design; they handle the printing and shipping altogether. This is a good strategy that will save money and time on printing, packing, and sending items.

Here’s an example. Margaret, the owner of Etsy’s OnceMoreWithLove sticker shop (Vancouver, Canada), has been selling on Etsy successfully since 2015.

Stickers on Etsy

Just imagine — within just a few years she managed to sell 419K of her lovely pink stickers through her Etsy shop.

#2. Unusual charms and other jewelry

Jewelry is one of the hottest-selling categories on Etsy. And no matter what you choose to sell — a crystal keychain or an alexandrite solitaire ring — these are what your potential customers would be there for.

Bohemian Findings Etsy’s store (St. Peters Bay, Canada) is an excellent example of how to be successful on Etsy selling unusual charms, buttons, beads, and other creative findings.

Jewelry on Etsy

Hope and Sparky (chances are Sparky is a dog in the photo) are currently among the top sellers on Etsy. They started an Etsy account in 2010 to make their 17.5K handmade items accessible for craft lovers from all over the world.

These guys from Canada have won 6K followers and made (Holy Jesus!) 1.25 million in sales since the year of foundation.

#3. Craft supplies and tools

Instead of selling ready-made handcrafted items, some Etsy sellers prefer to list tools and supplies for crafting. And that’s also a good idea.

Considering that Etsy, as well as Pinterest, is the place where crafters land for inspiration, these things can be rather popular.

Well, what can you find in this category? Everything: from white birch logs (great for rustic-themed decor) to pressed wildflowers for candle making.

Craft tools on Etsy

Now turn your attention to The Velvet Acorn Etsy’s shop (Poulsbo, United States) that distinctly stands out from the crowd. They sell knit & crochet pattern designs for just $5.5 each. But it’s not the price that attracts. These are awesome pics. Have a look at this coquettish blond girl. Every knitted or crocheted piece of clothing looks perfect on her.

TheVelvetAcorn Etsy store

All crafted items, sold in this Etsy store, are designed by Heidi May and inspired by nature.

#4. Party deco

Personalization is what Etsy shoppers are paying attention to when looking for party decorations in Etsy’s search results. And there are plenty of personalized goods available over there.

For example, Hina from ModParty (Tustin, California) offers all sorts of gifts and decorations for birthday parties, weddings, and baby showers. Almost all of these handmade items can be personalized.

ModParty Etsy Store

Since 2013 she has managed to sell almost 755K handcrafted products. And it looks like Etsy visitors love this shop — 95K of them added ModParty to favorites.

#5. Items for men selling on Etsy

Yes, men can also be found on Etsy. What are they doing over there? They sell wooden door signs, for example.

Men Selling on Etsy

And if you also think that all that party and crochet-related stuff is for girls only, here is what real men can pick as a business idea for selling on Etsy:

Matt McCoy (Dallas, Texas) established his MiniFab store in 2012 to sell shaving sets, mustache combs, cufflinks, beard balms, straight razors, shaving brushes, and a variety of other specialized men’s items.

MiniFab. Men selling on Etsy

Mike Crowder (Pittsboro, Indiana) from MRC wood products has been selling on Etsy since 2009. And I should say that he has already got a crowd of followers — 23K Etsy users have added his Etsy eCommerce store to favorites.

MRC woodproducts. Men selling on Etsy

Douglas Donahue got rid of his banking career to start selling yoga clothing on Etsy. He thinks that creating handmade things brings more fun (and obviously more money) than managing other people’s money. 

Yoga clothes on Etsy

But wherever you go, it’s critical to choose your products carefully to sell successfully on Etsy. Pay particular attention to what you love — not to what seems profitable or looks trendy. Otherwise, it will soon bore you to death.

John Wesley said that a few centuries ago, and he was right:

John Wesley

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

John Wesley

Just make sure that nothing you love is on the list of Etsy’s prohibited items.

Is There Anything That You Cannot Sell on Etsy?

Etsy creators have a clear vision of what should and should NOT be listed on their online craft-supplies marketplace. Some of the items, like animal products or human remains, are definitely “not in the spirit of Etsy”. However, every rule has its exceptions. Here’s an in-depth article from Etsy creators about the way you can dance around the rules. Legally.

How Many Items Can You Sell on Etsy?

It stands to reason that you should have a clear business plan before you start selling on Etsy. And the first thing you have to clear up is how many items should be uploaded to your Etsy store.

9? 911? Or 2019?

There is quite a lot of speculation about this on social networking sites. And well… I’ve got bad news for you. There is no definitive answer to this question.

However, after doing the market research and digging through dozens of forums, I grasped a few essential facts that should shed light on the number of items sold in your Etsy shop.

1. A small number of Etsy listings may scare your potential customers away from your Etsy business. Try to add at least 20 items in order to look professional. 

2. Shoppers prefer to order several handmade items at once to save on shipping. An excellent opportunity to get extra sales.

3. It’s important to keep your Etsy’s store fresh. People love to see updates from time to time. Start selling seasonal items, for example.

4. You have more opportunities to be found on Etsy’s search engines if you have many products in your Etsy shop.

Some Etsy experts recommend uploading around 150-170 items into your Etsy account. But that might not work for small eCommerce businesses.

That’s why I suggest that you should limit your collection of vintage items to 100. Otherwise, you risk making your array of products too overwhelming for a regular buyer.

2. How to Create Irresistible Product Photos for Your Etsy Store

If you want to know how to be successful on Etsy, I’ll tell you — have a professional photographer create a few kick-ass photos of your products like all the top sellers. 

How else will your shoppers get an idea of what you sell?

They cannot touch your item. They cannot feel the material your vintage item is made of. They can only watch (and read, but we’ll discuss that in the next paragraph). Let them enjoy the browsing experience.

Have a look at these two handcrafted magazine holders below.

Photos on Etsy

Which product do you think has more chances to be purchased? Of course, the first one. 

The picture that was taken by a professional photographer, looks more seducing. Plus, you can imagine the way you can use this item when you bring it home. And it’s three times as cheap.

The second pic is lame. It’s dark, indistinctive, boring-looking.

One of the main advantages of uploading high-quality product photography to your Etsy profile is that your products have more chances to be discovered by potential customers.

You can find freelance photographers on Fiverr. They won’t charge you much, the price for their product photography services starts at only $15.

And if you do not have any resources to hire a photographer or to purchase an expensive photo camera, there are still a couple of options for you. We’ve put together this product photography guide chock-full of tips to help you learn how to take product photos for your Etsy store, the right way.

3. How to Write Stellar Product Descriptions for Your Etsy Products

Every sales superstar knows that when you meet face-to-face with your clients is when BIG sales tend to get made.

Alas, you cannot be in that many places at the same time and talk in person to your customers from all over the globe.

Einstein had other ideas, though.

So the only way to achieve visible results on Etsy is to start communicating through written language. How? Just make your item descriptions as appealing as possible. Yeah, it takes practice to master the creation of strong product descriptions.

Below are a few general tips for successful selling on Etsy with the help of bombastic item descriptions:

1. Stick to the point from the very first line

Forget those rules you learned at school — they no longer work for Etsy and other social media sites. Provide readers with all the necessary info they may need to make a purchase decision — size, color, materials. Often a single paragraph is quite enough.

Item descriptions on Etsy

2. Do not bore your shoppers with long item descriptions

If you sell a funny handmade item (like the one you can see below), do not waste your opportunity to add a joke to your product descriptions. 

Item description on Etsy

3. Personalize your product descriptions

People on Etsy are eager to feel a personal connection with the business owner and know what inspired you to set up your store. 

Tell them your success story. This should push your potential buyers to choose your products. Using personal pronouns, like ‘I’ and ‘we’, can also help you find success selling on Etsy.

Have a look at this beautiful product description. Nothing is too difficult.

Item description on Etsy

4. Use up-selling & cross-selling

I’ve got one more ‘secret weapon’ that should grow your online sales. Think of other items in your Etsy shop that coordinate with the item you describe. This can be an item of similar color, season, pattern, and the rest.

Item description on Etsy

This is it. Turn your fantasy on and go ahead creating compelling copy for your Etsy handmade or vintage items. It’s easier than you think.

4. Choose The Right Keywords

Much like when you create a blog post for your eCommerce site, you need to make sure that your potential buyers will find your products on Etsy.

And though Etsy’s search engine optimization works a bit different from Google’s, the main principles are the same.

Keywords and tags are very useful for showing your products when customers are looking for them.

Keep Keyword Density Natural

Sprinkle your titles and descriptions with your ‘keyword dust’ — this is your chance to help your item show up in Etsy’s search results.

But beware of over-optimizing your product listings, like Irina Schroeder did when describing her knitted items.

Item descriptions on Etsy

Neither title nor descriptions are in any way readable. But it looks like these keywords brought her items to the top of Etsy’s search results…

Here’s one more example of excessive use of keywords. This Baby sweater Baby cardigan Baby shower Unisex sweater Grey sweater Blue sweater White sweater Girl’s sweater Boy’s sweater Hand knit sweater, created by MagicKnittingNeedle was favorited by 1119 people and highly-reviewed, but lots of keywords make the listing unbearable.

Using keywords on Etsy

Don’t do that. Even if Etsy’s search engine loves it. Your customers won’t.

Don’t forget about tags

You have an option to add 13 product tags. So use all possible tags for each item, even with a broad meaning. This is another way to show how creative you are.

Here’s how tags look:

Using keywords on Etsy

However, there could be more.

Not sure what keywords and tags you should use for your craft supplies?

Go to Etsy’s home page and find other business owners selling similar items to see which keywords and tags they use in their store names, titles, and listings.

And do not be afraid that Etsy’s search system will ignore newbies. It will highlight items that are associated with the keywords or phrases users are looking for, no matter how recently the item was published on Etsy.

In addition to that, shoppers can manually sort their search results by recently added items, by relevance, and by price.

5. How to Price Your Products Like a PRO on Etsy

Pricing is the most prominent concern we hear from Etsy sellers. No wonder! Creative souls spend months crafting a unique item and they want to price it appropriately.

There are a few pain points that make selling on Etsy a bit complicated:

  • Etsy is pushing the lower-priced goods. If you want to be successful on Etsy, you need to keep your prices low. As low as $20 for an item or even less. That’s probably why $5 stickers are among the most popular items on Etsy.
  • You have to compete against other sellers, which means your price shouldn’t be higher. And if it is higher, you should explain why.
  • You have to handle transaction fees, shipping costs, listing commissions, and other expenses. If you are not planning to be left high and dry in a few months after setting up your online store on Etsy, you might want to include these spendings in your price.

But don’t let that stop you from selling on Etsy. This marketplace is still a juicy place for small businesses. Calculate the cost of your supplies, your time, and fees. Find out what pricing strategies your competitors use to sell on Etsy. The price of your craft supplies should represent the real value of your item. If you value your crafts more than your competitors do, that’s OK.

Additional Resources: 
How to Price Your Product [Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners + 4 Steps] 

Let’s say, you are an oil painter and your cherished dream is to start selling your paintings on Etsy. Let’s do some market research. As I see the price of oil paintings can be higher than $20,000.

Setting up prices on Etsy

There’s more. Asimina & Eleni (Pátrai, Greece) from UberdenTraum store want $265,550.06 for their Surreal Oil Painting ‘The Path’. See the first pic below.

Pricing for oil painting on Etsy

Do not be afraid to price your craft as you see fit.

By the way, business owners that accept multiple payment options, like VISA, MasterCard, Discover, Etsy Gift Cards, and Etsy Credits, usually have nearly 50% higher sales compared to those who do not.

6. Speed-Up Order Fulfillment & Offer Expedited Shipping on Etsy

Yes, it would be quite a challenge to compete with Amazon’s Prime shipping.

Customers from all over the world, dazzled by one-day shipping, want to receive their products ‘right here, right now’.

Preferably within two days, or better within a couple of hours.

But do not be too scared. Many of the most successful Etsy shops do ship their items within 24 hours or even faster. And if you want to stay ahead of your competition and get more sales and traffic to your eCommerce store, you should speed up your processes as well. 

Here at X-Cart, our goal is to make your shipping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.

ShipStation integration with X-Cart will ensure you don’t lose your time and money shipping on Etsy. It will allow you to add unlimited number of selling channels while still keeping all your orders in a single place.
Price: Free

Shiplark addon for X-Cart will let you process orders and print shipping labels in a smart way. You’ll be able to set shipping rules, send timely notifications to your customers, and so may more.  
Price: Free

Stamps.com addon for X-Cart will help you automate your USPS shipping and automatically import your orders from anywhere you sell.
Price: Free

Let’s take a look at the following examples of Etsy ads.

1. Amanda Newman, the owner of MyWoodPhoto store (Grottoes, Virginia), sends her pallet signs within 7-10 days and offers a Rush Option for 1-3 days processing, which is quite fast. All domestic orders are shipped via USPS Priority 2-3 Day Mail or USPS First-Class. International orders are shipped via USPS First-Class International Mail. USPS 6-10 Day Priority Mail International is available for an additional charge.

Shipping Etsy

2. Jen and Brynnlee, the creators of PS Weddings and Events eCommerce store (Corona, California), are ready to ship their cupcake topper within 5-7 business days. Better!

Shipping on Etsy

3. Tyler Carlin is the fastest! He can send his “Over The Garden Wall” cassette within just 1-3 business days. Not bad for a small Etsy shop with only 101 products inside.

Shipping on Etsy

7. How to Catch up on Your Bookkeeping

Thinking about accounting as an afterthought is the rookie mistake that can doom an eCommerce startup to failure. Attention to the financial details is fundamental if you want to make money from your Etsy store.

You can manage your accounting tasks in several ways:

Simple spreadsheets. The easiest way to get control of your finances and inventory is to use a spreadsheet. I prefer using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. All services are totally free and are accessible through your browser or an app for your mobile device.

Google Spreadsheets for Etsy accounting

Accounting software. If spreadsheets seem too primitive for you, you can turn your attention to accounting software. It will help you keep track of your accounting details and taxes.

There are a few great tools available for the X-Cart merchants:

Unify for Xero by Webgility will simplify your accounting process down to just a few clicks and record sales across many channels, such as Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.
Price: Free 

QuickBooks Sync app for X-Cart will automatically record your sales across many channels, sync inventory, and much more. 

Highlight will facilitate your inventory and product managing by recording your sales across many channels in QuickBooks POS.
Price: Free 

Separate financial accounts. I strongly recommend that you keep your personal and business financial details separate. It is safe. To achieve this, you can set up a separate bank account or even register a credit or a debit card for your small eCommerce business.

Hire an accountant. One day, when you finally find success selling on Etsy, you will feel overwhelmed by financial details and sales (something tells me you will). Then, you will probably need a person who will take care of all your financial stuff for you.

All kidding aside when it comes to taxes!

III. Etsy Marketing Tips and Tricks to Drive More Traffic to Your Store

Many of Etsy’s beginners think that building your brand on this platform is as tough as turning up the cold soil with your bare hands. Yes, it is, unless you have a clear marketing plan (…and a contingency plan in case of force-majeure).

Here are a few tips that should help you boost the power of your listings and prepare for successful selling on Etsy:

1. Follow-up With Buyers

Do not forget to keep a personal connection with your customers after they reach the bottom of your sales funnel. Show your shoppers you care about their purchase by asking them:

“Hey, Jim! How do you find my storage basket? Did it fit well into your kitchen interior? Please, share your thoughts. I’m curious to know what you think.”

And, if they are happy about it, ask them for a review. Why not? You can also give them a discount on the next purchase. This may double your sales and improve the credibility of your Etsy store.

Reviews on Etsy

2. Tap Into the Power of Social Media

There are over 3.78 billion social media users in the world right now. It’s hard to believe, but that’s almost 40% of the human population, which is 7.8 billion people.

Let’s see which of the social media sites are the most popular:

  • More than 2 billion users log in to their Facebook accounts at least monthly;
  • 1.5 billion users enjoy videos on Youtube — this service is becoming more like TV for Millenials and Gen Xers;
  • Instagram announces 800 million users, with 500 million using it every day;
  • Twitter’s audience has reached 328 million monthly active users;
  • The number of Pinterest pinners has increased by another 25 million to 200 million.

And there are your potential customers as well. That’s why social selling is something you need to consider if you want to be successful on Etsy.

Connect your Twitter accounts to your Etsy shop, post your news on Instagram and other social media channels. This will make it easy for potential customers to keep in touch and learn about new items.

Tap into social media advertising and start selling on Facebook.

Facebook Ads & Instagram Ads addon will help you upload your products to Facebook Catalog and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns more efficiently. 
Price: Free

ROI Hunter Easy Ads addon for X-Cart will help you re-engage your previous visitors and send relevant people to your Etsy store.
Price: Free

3. Check Your Etsy Inbox

Just imagine your next sale is just a single message away. So don’t forget to check your Etsy inbox from time to time. Preferably, every few hours.

Messages on Etsy

Responding quickly to messages will give you an advantage over Etsy sellers who are slower than you.

4. Be Polite

On Etsy, like on any other marketplace, you can face misunderstanding. Don’t be offended by people’s demanding tone or rudeness. You never know how much money those ‘angry birds’ can bring you tomorrow.

Be the good guy.

5. Fill Your Etsy Profile From A to Z

Your personal profile is like your face. It can either help you sell successfully on Etsy or completely ruin your reputation.

Don’t be shy. Tell where you are from and what makes your heart go boom-boom-boom… People love stories.

Your favorite shops and items, Etsy teams you are in, the number of followers — all that is also displayed in your profile, so your potential customers will see it, too. Be careful with your activity on Etsy.

Sao De La Vega, the owner of SaoZenPlush eCommerce store on Etsy, is madly obsessed with making cute plushies and art. And she is not afraid of looking weird or silly.

Fill profile on Etsy

6. Add Clear Policies to Your Etsy Shop

Keep your policies straightforward. Shop policies usually include things like payment timeframes, shipping information, return and exchange options, and general info about the way you conduct your Etsy business.

For example, Crystal Kim that represents family-owned citrus & fruit tree farm (Lawrenceville, Georgia) on Etsy, included additional information about holiday and winter shipping.

It’s crucial because low temperatures can affect plant growth and development. Also, they cannot ship to Alaska or Hawaii for some reason.

Paying attention to this valuable information can save you from lots of misunderstandings.

7. Join Etsy Teams and Chat on Forums

Teams are an excellent resource for store owners.

Etsy teams

They can come in handy in multiple ways. You can use them:

  • To improve your skills selling on Etsy. Lots of experienced sellers over here can counsel you;
  • To get traffic to your eCommerce store and build favorites. It was a surprise to me when I got to know about this kind of ‘legal cheating’ on Etsy.
  • To apply for local craft shows and get additional sales;
  • To find like-minded fellows, network with them, and get ideas.

The Etsy forum is also a good place to learn how to sell successfully on Etsy. But be warned that admins keep strict watch over the things you write there. Never make comments against Etsy policy. Never use ‘C’ or ‘D’ words. The first word stands for China and the latter one for Douglas Erwin, a former Etsy seller who gained a reputation with his Etsy peers as an intelligent and helpful user.

Etsy's shops shut down

8.  Accept Requests for Custom Orders

People love ordering handmade items uniquely customized to their needs.

Say, you are looking for personalized bride & groom coffee mugs as a present for your friend’s marriage. Or you need to create a portrait of your grandma for her birthday party.

Luckily, Etsy allows for these types of products. There’s a very nice option on Etsy that lets sellers offer their services together with the products they sell.

Custom orders on Etsy

Some Etsy sellers prefer to charge upfront. That gives a certain guarantee that their time won’t be spent in vain and their buyer won’t change his mind.

Here’s what I found on Etsy:

Custom orders on Etsy

But before offering a custom handmade item, remember to give an example of what you can do and what materials you use. Otherwise, your customer will be left paralyzed by too many choices.

9. Take Advantage of All Advertising Options Available on Etsy

Officially, advertising on Etsy is done through Etsy Ads that are meant to attract more traffic to your Etsy store.

The whole process is quite straightforward: you set your daily budget and Etsy does all the work for you.

Bidding is carried out in several ways:

  • Etsy’s algorithm chooses the best bid for each of your listings automatically;
  • You manually set all your bids for all your promoted items.
  • You combine the two ways of bidding.

If you are just starting off, I’d suggest trying the automatic bidding for all your product listings. You will be able to see the results of your advertising campaign and see what works best for your craft supplies.

There are a few more options for advertising on Etsy:

Best-selling goods

Popular items are marked with a beautiful ‘Bestseller’ badge. Etsy editors consider this will help new buyers feel more confident purchasing on Etsy.

Bestseller badge on Etsy

X-Cart eCommerce platform allows you to highlight items with the highest conversion rate, too. Below is a handy tool that should help you:

Bestsellers addon for X-Cart will add a block featuring top-selling items on your storefront.
Price: Available for free in X-Cart Cloud Business & Premium plans

Low stock badge 

For listings with an item quantity of three or less, shoppers will see the information ‘Only 3 left,’ ‘Only 2 left,’ or ‘Only 1 left’ as the items sell.

Remained items on Etsy

This amazing option is also available for your X-Cart store. It will nudge your potential shoppers a bit closer to purchase and improve your conversion rates. 

Hurry Up add-on will inform your store visitors when the inventory level is going down, when the product is viewed by other people, when the product is selling like hot cakes. 
Price: Available for free in X-Cart Premium

Discounted products

Encourage impulse buying informing your shoppers about the available discounts.

Discounted items on Etsy

Still, remember to keep your pricing strategy coherent across many channels. 

Volume Discounts add-on will allow you to configure percent and fixed-fee volume discounts.
Price: Free

Etsy gift cards and Etsy credit

Sometimes it is too hard to choose the right gift among 72 million items available for sale on Etsy. That’s why people often choose to give Etsy gift cards as a present.

Unfortunately, not all Etsy stores accept gift cards, but you should.

Btw, do you happen to offer the ability to purchase Gift Certificates in your online store?
Price: $75

Accepting gift certificates will move your customers a bit closer to checkout and make it easier for you to stand the tremendous competition on Etsy.

To put it into practice, you should live in one of these countries and accept Etsy’s direct checkout form of payment.

All shops that accept gift cards can also accept credits. Etsy credits are usually given by Etsy to members as part of a special offer, promotion, or as part of a refund or other payment from Etsy.

Paga + Trade is among the most popular apps in Spain for instant financing. It will increase your sales by allowing shoppers to break the payment into installments.
Price: Available for Free in X-Cart Enterprise

Payfort tool will let you accept payments in 80+ currencies and installments. The tool is available for merchants from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, and Kuwait. 
Price: Free

Coupon codes and free shipping

There are two more ways to offer discounts on Etsy — offering a coupon or shipping your items at zero cost. These offers can be combined with other discounts.

Coupon code on Etsy

There’s an option to offer free shipping and coupon discounts in X-Cart, too:

Coupons addon for X-Cart gives your customers an opportunity to apply coupons on checkout.
Price: Free

Free Shipping and Shipping freights will allow you to assign a fixed shipping fee or ship your products for free.
Price: Free

10. Monitor Statistics About Your Sales 

Etsy stats will give you valuable insights into your store’s performance: visits, orders, conversion rate, revenue, etc.

With the help of this tool, you can see where your traffic is coming from and what are the top keywords you are being searched for. This is how you will get to know exactly where you need to improve and where you are already a winner.

There are a bunch of analytics tools in X-Cart, such as:

Integrate online store with Google Analytics to track and analyze your eCommerce transactions and traffic data.
Price: Free

Pointilist integrations with X-Cart will let you follow customer journeys across online, offline, and mobile channels.  
Price: Free

11. Stay Up-to-Date With Etsy Seller News

Etsy is growing rapidly, with new cool tools, like a gift wrapping or free shipping, showing up every month. 

So do not stop learning new things about Etsy. There’s a special section on Etsy where Etsy’s editors post site updates for sellers. It’s created to keep you up to date.

Since October 2020, for instance, shoppers have been allowed to pay in installments, which is a great news.


Thank you for this information, I’ve had a Vintage/Antique Jewellery Shop on ETSY for 3 years now and find that there’s always something new to learn and help me be more successful. I really love to help my customers find the perfect Engagement Ring at the right price. It’s satisfying. I have a great time adding more and more Beautiful and Unique Jewellery and actually see my shop as an Artistic and Beautiful Pastime.

Lynette, the owner of AntiqueDecoRingsShop (Sydney, NSW, Australia)

I am gaining so much helpful and in-depth advice from reading thoroughly through all the Etsy advisers’ tips, I just opened my shop about a month ago and still have my learners L plates on. Now I feel like I have the right tools at my disposal to refine and polish my shop and start turning it into the successful shop of the handmade soft furnishings I’ve always wanted. So here goes time to get savvy and busy with my marketing and creating, thank you for your help, and don’t forget to visit my new shop at Cherteee on Etsy.

crubyclint, the owner of Cherteee store on Etsy

Check the last paragraph of our ‘How to Sell a Product Without a Salesy Bone in Your Body’ guide for more tips.

IV. How to Make Money on Etsy

How much can you earn selling handmade, vintage, or craft supplies on Etsy? 

Well… it depends. It depends on what products you decide to sell on Etsy, what tools you use to promote your items, and how many fees you pay.

Etsy Fees: How Much It Costs to Sell on Etsy

As previously said, there are several types of fees on Etsy. Don’t be scared. You won’t have to pay all of them at once.

First, Etsy has a listing fee — $0.20 for each product listing, no matter if it brings online sales or not. Every four months your Etsy listing expires, which means you’ll have to pay $0.20 once again. Plus, if you want to refresh your listing or add quantity, prepare to pay the same amount of money once again.

Then, transaction fees. Etsy charges shop owners 5% of the total item cost every time they make a sale on Etsy.

That’s not the half of it. Other fees include:

  • Payment processing fees are different for every country and only apply to sellers who use Etsy Payments. For the US users, credit card processing fees start at 3% of total sale price + 0.25 USD flat fee per order;
  • Shipping costs. Usually, it is the buyer who pays for the shipping, so you will only need to purchase a discounted shipping label through Etsy. If you choose a free shipping option, the cost will depend on the shipping carrier, weight, distance, etc. If you decide to charge your shoppers a separate shipping fee, you’ll have to pay 5% of the listed shipping costs;
  • Setting up a Pattern site for your Etsy brand costs $15 a month;
  • VAT fees. Here’s how value-added taxes work on digital and physical products on Etsy;
  • Currency conversion fees. If you list your items in a currency other than your own, you will be charged 2.5% over the current market rate to send funds to your bank account;
  • Advertising fees. If you make more than $10K/yr, you are required to participate in Offsite ads. You’ll be charged a discounted 12% fee for every order attributed to an Offsite Ad. in  If you are making less, ads are optional and the fee is 15%. 

How Much Can You Earn Selling Stuff on Etsy?

Let’s take a look at Rachel Byler, a watercolor artist from Dillsburg, PA, United States. She launched TheColorfulCatStudio in 2013 to sell her watercolor fine art prints & originals.

Etsy fees

There are around 270 items in her Etsy store, and the price starts at $12. The highest price is $1K for an Original Watercolor Whale Painting. The average price of Rachel’s items is $506.

Let’s count her expenses if, say, she decides to send her average-priced painting to Germany:

Cost: $80
Listing fee: $0.20
Transaction fee: $25.30
Payment processing fee: $15.43

$506 – $80 – $0.20 – $25.30 – $15.43 – $1.07 = $384

We should also add a shipping fee of $1.07 as a shopper will have to pay additional $21.50 for the item to be shipped to Germany.

Etsy fees

Also, if the sale is attributed to the Offsite Ad, she’ll have to pay an additional $60.72 offsite Ads fee. 

In this case, the total profit would be $323, as seen on the screenshot below.

Plus, additional fees may apply, such as VAT, currency conversion, and such. 

Now let’s count how much Rachel could have earned since the year of foundation. As we can see in her Etsy profile, she has made 18K sales. And even if all her sales were $12 worth, she could potentially earn $216K (minus fees and other expenses). If we take an average price, she could potentially earn $5.8mln. 

Not bad for an average Etsy seller.


Most of the people who have huge sales records are all ‘old-timers’ (they have been on the site for years, and I know a few of them have their own group of followers/collectors).


The Bottom Line

Do you sell on Etsy and have a great tip to share? I’m all ears.

Go to Chapter 4
Go to Chapter 6


Helen Golubeva
Helen Golubeva Freelance SEO and Content Marketing Specialist

Helen is an SEO and Content Marketing Specialist. She has been creating and planning content for over 10 years, with 5+ years specializing in eCommerce.

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