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As of 2017, 33.4 million buyers had purchased items through Etsy’s handmade and vintage marketplace. So if you sell any products in those categories, using Etsy can help you get your shop in front of a huge built-in base of buyers.

Tips for Starting an Etsy Business

Building a business on this platform comes with its own set of unique opportunities and challenges. So if you’re interested in selling your wares on Etsy, here are some of the essential steps involved.

Create the Perfect Product Combination

On Etsy, it’s not just about deciding what to sell, but also how you can create your own unique niche. While you can certainly offer multiple products within the same category, Etsy isn’t a great ecommerce platform option for generic storefronts that sell everything under the sun. So find your niche and stick to it.

As handmade business expert Elissa Carden explains in a blog post, “Think about this scenario: A customer is in need of a personalized silver necklace. She searches on Etsy, finds one she likes, and says, “Wow! I like this style. Let’s see what else this seller has to offer.” She clicks on the storefront and is then immediately confused. Where are the rest of the personalized silver necklaces? Why does she now see wooden growth chart rulers, industrial metal letters and planner stickers? She isn’t going to stick around in this variety store for long. Instead, she’s going to find an Etsy seller that specializes in the type of necklace she is looking for because she trusts a seller who looks like an expert in the craft.”

Master Etsy SEO

When customers go to shop on Etsy, they’re likely to enter a search term or browse within a specific category. So you need to take SEO into account as you create your listings. Think about the things people might search when looking for items like yours and include those terms in your titles, descriptions, and tags.

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Take Eye-Catching Photos

Photography is one of the first things a potential buyer will notice about your listing. So it’s important that you either learn how to take quality, high resolution images that highlight your products or outsource that part of your business.

Kat Jarman of Crafter Coach said in a post, “It doesn’t even matter if your items are of amazing quality. It doesn’t even matter if they are better quality than your competitors items. If your competition has better pictures then they will have to upper hand every time.”

Develop a Consistent Pricing Strategy

You also need to determine what to charge for each item. To do so, you should do more than just peruse the site to see how other sellers are pricing similar products. In this post, Lauren Brown of Daisy Cottage Designs offers a couple of suggestions for product pricing formulas. The exact formula you choose could depend on the price range of your items. But you should always factor in the cost of your materials and other expenses, along with the time it takes you to create your products and run the other aspects of your business.

Answer Customers’ Questions in Your Descriptions

When crafting your product descriptions, think about what questions customers might have about your products and try to answer them. Include any sizing information, materials used, information about shipping, and of course — relevant keywords.

Invest in Shipping Supplies

Once you have your actual products lined up, you need supplies to ship them to customers. Find some wholesale boxes or other packages that fit the size of your products. And then invest in some supplementary supplies like box filler and printable labels.

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Create Honest Policies

Your shop policies should outline what customers can expect when they do business with your shop. Tell them how you ship products, in what situations you accept returns or exchanges and in what condition your products should arrive. Additionally, since Etsy does allow for the sale of some mass produced items that were designed by independent shop owners, you should also be honest about how your products are actually made or manufactured.

Take Advantage of Community Features

Etsy’s forums offer a wealth of information for sellers. You can ask questions, make valuable connections and share tips and tricks you’ve learned in order to make the platform more successful overall. Etsy also has a teams section of its site. This gives you the opportunity to align yourself with other sellers to network and collaborate on marketing efforts and educational initiatives.

Create Processes for Managing Inventory

Once you actually start selling, you need to keep your inventory organized so you can quickly get orders out and get new products listed. Etsy has a system called Seller Hub for keeping this type of information in order all in one place. So you can take advantage of this offering or create your own system.

Use Apps to Grow

There are also plenty of third party apps you can use to shore up your processes and grow your Etsy businesses. From apps offered by Etsy itself to third party offerings, you can find tools for everything from updating your product listings to crafting marketing emails.

Image: Etsy

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