Etsy Shop 101 - Things you need to know before opening an Etsy Store!
Opening an Etsy Store
For many of you, the Etsy website might be something new and you might have a lot of questions about becoming an Etsy seller and owning an Etsy Store. We are here to explain to you the basics you should consider before joining this community. Having an Etsy shop might be something challenging at first but very fulfilling in the end. There are many people who support themselves and their family through the Etsy platform. So, let's check together everything you need to know before opening an Etsy Store!
By their own definition, Etsy is an online platform that connects people looking for unique goods with independent sellers around the world. When you shop on Etsy.com, you can choose from millions of handmade, vintage, and craft supply items created and curated by millions of independent sellers.
At this point, Etsy has grown a lot and this small definition isn't that accurate anymore. On Etsy, you can also sell personalized items (engraved, hand-carved, etc.), digital items, E-books, digital services & others. You can browse through the various products and services to find out more. Opening a Store on Etsy might feel a little overwhelming given the millions of items already listed on the site but we will break it down so that you can have a more clear vision of the website, requirements and future plans of becoming an Etsy seller.
Is Etsy the right marketplace for me?
Etsy is not the only market out there. You should consider comparing all other platforms such as eBay, Bonanza, Artfire & Rubylane. The most important thing is the type of product you want to sell. If it is handmade, wedding-related, gift-related, Etsy is great for that. In terms of the vintage and digital market, competition is high, and Etsy is still growing, which might be either an advantage or a disadvantage.
Use the search engine on Etsy to browse products similar to yours. How many listings of this type are there? More importantly, how many sales do these sellers have?
Is Etsy saturated?
This is probably the most common question people have before they consider opening an Etsy Store. At first glance, the answer might be an obvious YES but I am telling you the real answer is NO!
For example, you might want to open a shop which sells handmade jewelry or vintage watches and your competition is huge, millions of listings. What you do not know is that every day hundreds of Etsy Shops close for various reasons such as:
- not having enough sales
- taking a long break from Etsy
- moving to other platforms
- opening their own website
- being closed by Etsy
- & more
These are just some of the reasons Etsy seller might consider leaving this amazing platform.
The second thing is that Etsy, just like Google, is a search engine and will constantly change its algorithms, which means new opportunities for smaller or newer shops.
Buyers and Etsy love new shops, new ideas, new products and this is once again an immense opportunity for you to be a part of the market! You might have a new product or a new variation for an existing product. This means you are unique on the market!
So, the answer is clearly NO! If you are willing to put in the work, time and be persistent you will succeed on Etsy as a seller.
Which product should I sell on Etsy?
People often want to start selling on Etsy, eBay and other platforms with the sole purpose of making money. I would say more than 90-95% fail because in the long run if you do not enjoy what you sell you will abandon and fail faster or easier.
What are you passionate about?
What are your skills?
Are you a good jewelry maker, knitting expert, painter, vintage collector or digital marketer?
Where do you see yourself and your shop in 3-5 years time?
Do you work alone or have friends, family or employees who help?
Would you afford to pay someone fulltime to help you?
Answering all of these questions might narrow your type of products and shop on Etsy. Having passion, experience, and skills behind your store will ensure your success.
What is the story behind your brand?
Etsy is a marketplace where the story of the business and the people behind it might be just as important as the product itself. People will support your journey if you make it very clear how unique and important for you is your product. My wife has purchased numerous times from Etsy and this has been a decisive factor. The story behind your shop matters!
Is this a family business?
Is your product eco-friendly?
Do you donate a part of the money?
What is your purpose? Do you solve a problem or a need?
The more questions you ask yourself before embarking on such a journey, the more clear it will be for you, thus making the entire journey easier and more enjoyable. If it's clear for you, it will become more clear for the buyer as well.
You have asked yourself all those questions and have a clearer image of how you want to tackle this journey on Etsy. Let's suppose you decided on handmade bracelets.
After a quick search, you will see that there are 282,738 search results. This means strong competition, but you can still tackle that with keyword SEO optimization, which we will discuss at length in some other articles.
From the first 2-3 pages you might get a feeling of what people search, buy, top sellers, prices and trending styles.
There are 2-3 ways to approach this:
- Try to copy what best sellers do
- Bring something unique to the market that only you thought of or are making
- A little bit of both
At first, getting "inspired" from top sellers and trending items is a great way to go. They will still own the majority of the market but you might start making some sales. But most importantly, start adding your own touch to the product. For example, use different materials, colors, shapes, sizes, variety & more. What makes YOU different?
Are all the results in the searched term "handmade bracelets" really handmade? No. Although Etsy claims to have only handmade, personalized and vintage products, a lot of mass production products have entered the market, neglecting the Etsy Terms & Conditions. Though some have been banned, one thing is for sure, cheap and low-quality products are out there.
I would recommend being truthful with what you sell as buyers will tell the difference and this might have a negative or critical impact on your Etsy Store.
There will be a lot more to think about as you move forward such as prices, price ranges, quality, quantity, shipping time & many more.
The first stage is to get started with a few products and then continue to add more and more, grow on a daily basis.
Two of the most important things on Etsy
Photos & Keywords!
The photos of your products will determine if your potential buyer will click on your product from the search results and the keywords will determine if you appear or not in the Etsy search results.
We will be discussing more in our future articles as Etsy SEO is something that needs to be tackled from a lot of angles.
This article has the purpose to make you understand how you should develop your strategy at first, by assessing whether or not Etsy is the market place for you and by learning from your competition.
After being an Etsy seller for 4 years, we have grown into building our own website and brand. Make sure to keep an eye on VintageRadar. Etsy is a great place to start!
Here are some of the Facebook Groups and pages we have created for all Etsy Sellers and Buyers. These will give you a great opportunity to learn from other sellers and connect with new potential buyers.
Facebook Pages (here we promote Etsy shops for free):
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