Etsy was home to some 5 million sellers and 80 million buyers in 2020. The number of people who bought something on Etsy almost doubled between 2019 and 2020.
This is an excellent ratio of buyers to sellers, which is partly why Etsy has succeeded as a platform for both.
Some shrewd early entrants to Etsy have already turned their small craft businesses into multi-million dollar enterprises and whilst selling on Etsy is obviously competitive, there’s still ample room for ‘niching down’.
The diversity of arts and crafts is pretty much endless anyway, so it’s quite unlikely the platform will reach a saturation point anytime soon, if ever.
If you’re thinking about launching a product on Etsy, it’s crucial that you get your early fractions right. Establishing the right tone for your business from the get-go can help ensure more long-term success.
One of the golden rules of sales is knowing and understanding your product inside out. If you make your product with your own bare hands then this is a no-brainer, but with dropshipping and print-on-demand, it’s possible to sell products you’ve never handled before.
Selling a product you’ve never seen or handled is rarely a good idea, but on Etsy in particular, your buyers will quickly find you out if you don’t know your product.
If you’re dropshipping or using print-on-demand services, always order samples and scrutinize them for quality.
Getting some real, genuine photos of your products instead of just mockups is also a tremendous advantage.
Product photography can be time-consuming and frustrating, particularly if you don’t own a quality camera, have a hard-to-photograph item, or can’t otherwise seem to get it right. Etsy is a visual platform, though, and first impressions are made on how your products look in the search results.
Before you launch your product on Etsy, take multiple photos of your items, including close-ups. Etsy will compress images to minimize file sizes when you upload them, so your original images should be high-res. Avoid dead space in your images – keep them focussed on the product and ensure the product fills the frame if possible.
You might need to consider building a DIY photo light box if you’re struggling to get good results.
If you’ve been creating your products for a while then you might have some idea of how much they cost to make already, but it’s still worth rigorously costing every product up so you know exactly how much each costs you to make. You’ll also have to factor in the time it takes you to make each item.
If you’re buying wholesale, dropshipping, or using print-on-demand services, you’ll still need to work out the total cost of each product taking into account taxes and shipping, and you might have some one-off design fees to consider too.
Etsy will also take one-off listing fees and sales taxes which vary throughout the countries they operate in. Factor these into your costs.
Once you’ve costed your products, research your competitor’s pricing. Your final profit margin is what pays you for your time.
Over-costing may stunt sales but under-costing may make you question a product’s long-term variability, particularly if you’re making it yourself. There will be a happy medium.
Relying solely on internal Etsy SEO will be difficult, you’ll need to drive traffic to your Etsy from other channels. Leverage Etsy-related hashtags to get your products in front of a wider audience quickly, e.g. #Etsysellers.
Consider running small-scale Instagram ads, e.g. with a budget of just $20 to $50. Getting a few early sales on the board will do wonders for your confidence and will give you an idea of what techniques work for driving traffic to your Etsy.
If you find social media management time-consuming then consider using a social media management tool like Buffer, Hootsuite or Sendible – read up more about those tools here.
Another Etsy selling tip is to add yourself to some Facebook groups that allow you to share your links and network with other sellers. Even though you’ll be networking with other sellers, those sellers can still become buyers somewhere down the line after you’ve ‘favorited’ your shop and ‘liked’ some of your products.
Etsy has its own internal ads system. You set a daily budget and Etsy will promote your products to a wider audience. People generally experience mixed results from Etsy ads, but experimenting with a $1 a day budget for a month or couple of weeks isn’t too costly.
Etsy ads are worth doing when your profit margins are already healthy, as they’ll obviously eat into your bottom line.
When launching a product on Etsy make sure you’re well prepared and well-versed in how the platform works. Focus on the SEO of your listings, which means working on your titles, tags, and descriptions.
Research the competition and know how much your products cost you so you can easily set and adjust your margins. This will also help when you’re assessing the effectiveness of your Etsy ad campaigns.