Opening an Etsy shop can be super stressful if it’s your first time delving into online sales. Clicking that Sell On Etsy button and adding some basic info used to be all you needed to start selling in an Etsy shop but today it’s a bit more complicated especially if you’re planning on making the shop a success and possibly quitting you’re day job.
While I have had a Etsy shop as far back as 2007 with a few additional shops added over the years, I most recently late in 2015 opened a new Etsy shop for planner decorating printables and supplies. I was amazed at how many hoops I had to jump through this time around before I could open for business. There is definitely a lot more to think about. If you’re anything like me, I prefer to have everything in place before launching a new venture. Not perfect but planned out.
If you’re looking for a stress-free Etsy shop start-up, I have put together a list of 12 essentials for opening an Etsy shop. If you gather the items and info you need beforehand, opening your shop for business will be quick and pain-free. I have added a to do checklist that you can download and print to help you on your journey.
If you’re opening a new Etsy shop and would like to get 40 free listings, use this referral link here and we will both get the 40 free listings. Now on to the 12 essentials.
Shop Name & Domain:
This you might expect to be the easiest part of opening your Etsy shop, but with all the shops on Etsy it is hard to find shop names that aren’t already taken. If your business name is something super unique, this won’t be a problem. If it is something like Cute Creations, you will need to add something to this. Try adding your name like Cute Creations by “your name” or Shoppe to the end. Something not to forget when choosing your name, is selecting a matching domain name. You will thank yourself if you make sure to purchase a matching domain now. You never know what the future will hold for your business and even if you don’t want your own off Etsy website now, you can still forward your domain name to your Etsy shop. It’s a lot easier to tell your customer to go to XYZ.com than it is to get them to remember XYZ.etsy.com. Domains can easily be searched and purchased on Bluehost.com or Namecheap.com.
Credit or Debit Card and Checking Account Info:
Unfortunately a necessary evil of selling on Etsy is paying for Etsy fees. Before you open your shop, they require the addition of credit card or debit card info to pay your fees. Your credit/debit card account info is also used to verify your identity. You will also need to add your checking account or savings account numbers. If you accept Etsy direct checkout, which I recommend you do, they will need this info to transfer money from sales. It is also helpful to accept Direct Checkout because you can pay both your Etsy and shipping fees with this money.
While you can just use direct checkout, I still recommend giving your customers the option of using Paypal. Customers may not always have their credit card info available but have it stored on Paypal. Giving the option of Paypal might get you some extra sales. I personally offer both and still find 20-30% of my sales go through Paypal. It also is convenient when I need quick access to funds from sales utilizing the Paypal Debit Card.
Etsy Shop Header Image, Avatar, and Shop Icon:
Branding your shop through your shop graphics is a great way to give some personality. Make sure the shop graphics have a similar feel to the items you will be selling. You don’t want to have a gothic header image when you’re selling cute baby clothes. Seems like common sense but have seen it happen. If you aren’t camera shy, use a picture of yourself for your avatar rather than a logo. It humanizes your brand and helps customers realize there is a person behind the business. Graphic dimensions include:
- Etsy Header: Small Banner 760 x 100 pixels or Cover Photo 1200 x 300 pixels (coming April 5th)
- Shop Icon: 500 x 500 pixels
- Avatar: 400 x 400 pixels
First, filling out the shop pages gives you a bit of a bump in search results compared to other sellers who have not completed them. Whether you are going to use Etsy’s boiler plate policies (coming April 5th with the stores new redesign) or create your own policies, many buyer’s won’t even purchase from shops without a filled out policies page. Many customers won’t read them unless something goes wrong with their purchase, but others like to know what to expect from the seller. Many sellers like to keep it short and sweet on the policies page but I have always been very thorough. Make sure you list clear concise shipping and return policies and how you handle returns like does the buyer pay return shipping, how long do they have to return, and condition of returned item. Do you ship internationally? This is the place to spell it all out. The policies page is there to protect both you and the buyer.
Your about page gives you a chance to highlight your story and talk about your process. Some customers like to get to know the artisan they are purchasing handmade items from and this page gives you a chance to do that. Let them know what inspires you or how you started making your items. Tell them a bit about yourself – what makes you get up in the morning. Show pictures of your art studio and workspace or some of the pieces you are most proud of. This is also the place where you list if you have any helpers or employees that contribute to the running of the shop. My husband helps me with pulling and packaging shipments. Etsy requires me to list him on this page. Also, be sure to fill out the links section if you have a coordinating website or social media pages.
Shop Sections (Categories):
You can fill out the shop sections (or categories) as your listing the items but if your planning on having a lot of items in the shop, it is helpful to come up with a plan of attack before it ends up one big jumbled mess. Take a jewelry shop, for example, will the seller decide to separate by size, by type, or by design? It all depends. Maybe the seller is only carrying one type of bangle bracelet, separating by bangle size would likely be their best choice. Start your shop off with a plan now so it’s less confusing for you and the customer trying to locate what they want.
Figuring out your shipping costs and setting up shipping profiles needs to be done even if you’re planning on offering free shipping. You can choose to set up shipping based on weights or via a flat rate price. If you choose shipping based on weight, every time you list a new item you will need to know how much the product and packaging weighs as it will be a part of the listing process. If you choose flat rate shipping, select an initial price for the first item and a price for each additional item. You can set up multiple profiles and the highest initial shipping price will be used as default.
Product Packaging, Shipping Supplies, & Business Cards:
While we are on the subject of shipping, packaging and shipping products need to be planned and purchased – gift boxes, gift wrap, bubble mailers, boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, address labels, etc. The buyer’s first impression of your business will be in how it arrives. Even if it’s a $10 pair of earrings, they should arrive nicely packaged. Build the packaging fees into your S&H or in the item price.
For shipping via first class mail, you will be responsible for purchasing all your shipping supplies. For Priority mail, boxes are available for free through USPS and can be ordered online here.
Some identifying information needs to go with your shipment. I personally do not print out receipts for customers unless I am specifically asked for one. In this day and age, everyone utilizes online receipts and buyers can quickly reference their Etsy purchases online. I instead choose to send business cards with all my orders which include a coupon code, website info, and social media links.
I will be the first to tell you that I am not the most social person when it comes to social media. I struggle with self-promotion. It just feels weird to me – I am sure there are others out there like me. The truth is though using social media will help you get sales. Even if you don’t plan to utilize all the social media networks today, you might tomorrow and securing your business’ social media pages is similar to choosing a domain and Etsy store name. There are so many other people out there using sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that the username or page name may already be taken. If you can swing it, choose a username the same as your business name. If they are already taken, try to select the same name across all platforms. It will make it easier directing customers towards the pages if they only need to remember one username.
While most areas of your Etsy shop seller account have been filled out now, there are still optional areas that need attention. Some of them include:
- Shop announcements – A great place to include coupon codes and sales.
- Message to buyers – On the same page that shop announcements are set up under the info & appearance tab, sellers can write a message to buyers that are included in the receipt when buyers make a purchase. A separate message can be setup for buyers who purchase digital items here also.
- Promoted listings – Do you want to utilize Etsy ads? This is where you activate them and bid on placement for as little as 0.01 a click.
- Shopping Engine Ads – Etsy pays to advertise our products in Google advertising. This is where you can enable or disable this.
- Payment settings – In addition to setting up your forms of payment, this is the area in the seller account where Sales Tax and Currency are decided upon.
- Shop options – Under this tab, the option for a request custom order button, rearrange your shop, optional shipping upgrades, automatic translation, and hiding sold listings. Under this tab also vacation mode can be enabled, sales and shop items can be downloaded, and web analytics through Google Analytics is set up.
Products, Product Photos, and Product Info:
What would an Etsy shop be without at least one product. Etsy won’t actually allow you to open your shop for business without listing one item. Be sure to have at least one product ready to go with product photos (up to 5 photos at least 1000 pixels wide), a description, price, and an idea of what item tags to include.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that before you do any selling in your new Etsy shop, I would familiarize yourself with Etsy’s Seller’s Policy. Get to know them now and not after you get in trouble for something simple. It’s personally happened to me and it’s absolutely no fun.
Remember that some of the essentials above are required and others are extras that will help your shop be successful. Don’t think you can’t open your shop until you can check off all the boxes. Perfectionism will hold you back from starting sometimes and getting started is better that not starting at all. These are just guidelines to help you along your way and improve your shop’s chances.
I have created a free downloadable check list for you to print out and track your progress. Click the graphic below.