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How to sell on Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage items

Dave Johnson   

How to sell on Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage items
  • You can sell certain items on Etsy easily, though there are fees for each listing you add to the store as well as transaction and payment fees.
  • Etsy is a popular online marketplace for handcrafted and vintage products.
  • Here's what you need to know to get started creating your own Etsy shop.

Etsy is one of the largest and most successful online marketplaces, but it's not a general-purpose marketplace; the site specializes in creative goods such as handcrafted and vintage items.

If you have a product that feels appropriate for the Etsy community, it's easy to set up your own storefront and start selling on Etsy.

How to sell on Etsy

Getting started is simple - Etsy makes it easy to configure a storefront and list your first product.

1. Open Etsy's website in a browser and scroll to the bottom of the page. In the footer, click "Sell on Etsy" in the Sell column.

2. Click "Open your Etsy shop."

3. In the pop-up window, sign in (if you are already an Etsy user) or create a new account. If Etsy recognizes your email address, you'll be prompted to enter your password. If not, you can create a new account.

4. Create the settings for your shop. You'll start on the Shop preferences page, where you specify details like the shop language, country, and currency. In the lower-right corner, click "Save and continue."

5. Continue following the workflow to name your shop, add one or more listings, and set up payment and billing.

6. When you add a listing, be sure to include photos of the product and a short video if possible. If you're not sure how well a product will sell, you might want to choose a manual renewal in the Renewal options section to avoid having recurring renewal charges for an item that generates no revenue. Otherwise, the form should be fairly straightforward to complete, particularly if you have ever created a product listing on another marketplace such as eBay - you'll need to specify the price and shipping details, for example, so the buyer can be properly charged for the shipping fee. You can preview your listing and then click "Save and continue" when you're done.

7. Complete the initial setup by selecting your payment method on the "How you'll get paid" page and billing information in "Set up billing." After you complete this page, click "Open your shop" and your Etsy store is live.

8. At the top of the page, click "Shop Manager" to see a dashboard for your store, add new listings, manage sales and shipping, and more. You can also go here to fine-tune your shop's appearance, add a description and graphic, and track your store's performance.

Understanding Etsy's costs

There are three main kinds of fees you need to pay when setting up and maintaining an Etsy shop:

  • Listing fee is $0.20: A listing represents the overall product you are selling, even if the item has variations such as sizes or color schemes. So even if you sell a garment that comes in four colors, you only need to create a single listing for it at a cost of $0.20. The listing needs to be renewed for an additional $0.20 whenever an item within that listing sells or once every four months, whichever comes first.
  • Transaction fee is 5%: When you sell an item, Etsy collects 5% of the sale as a transaction fee.
  • Etsy Payments fee is 3% plus a $0.25 payment processing fee. If a buyer uses Etsy's payment system to check out of your store, you're charged $0.25 plus 3% of the sale price. This is similar to the credit card processing fee you would need to pay if you had your own credit card processing account.

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