How to Sell on Etsy: Creating a Professional Etsy Store

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During the last three years, the number of sellers on Etsy has exploded. The competition is stiff for just about every craft niche on the site. In order to get ahead, you must create a strong shop that is professional in every aspect. Take the time to learn the process of setting up a professional shop right from the beginning and then build from there.

I have divided this article into the following sections:

  • Setting Up Shop. There are a number of initial aspects of shop creation that can make or break the Etsy customer base's first impressions of your shop.
  • Take the Next Steps. Now that your shop is up and running, what do you do next? You're off the ground, but there are some more crucial tasks ahead for your shop.
  • Keep Your Customers Happy. Once you sales have started, you want your customers to keep the coming back.

Choose your shop name carefully. We have all seen shop names like NYCheerleader14 or LoveThePackers that look like screen names, not professional shops. Your shop name should represent you and your brand. Unless you want to be tied to creating very specific products, consider choosing a name that can accommodate change within your brand. Make the name unique and easy to remember.

If you created an Etsy account before you ever intended to open a shop, you can change your name after you've opened your shop. When you're signed in on Etsy, go to Your Shop > Info & Appearance > Shop Name. Click Change. If your desired name is not taken, you will be able to click Save.

Create an avatar. Like many online sites, you have the option to create an avatar for your Etsy shop. Don't leave this space blank. You should have an avatar. Many people choose to use a picture of themselves and/or one of their items. Either of these options is fine. If you choose to use a photo of yourself, keep it professional. What your friends may find amusing on Facebook or Twitter may not be so amusing to people considering buying one of your items.

List your location. Many people will be wary of ordering from a shop without a listed location. Additionally, people may be turned off by a silly location, such as "Never Never Land" or "Wherever I Want." Let people know where you will be shipping your items. If you don't want to use the name of your specific tiny town or suburb, list the closest large city.

This is one of my shop banners that I created with the Picasa collage tool.
This is one of my shop banners that I created with the Picasa collage tool. | Source

Create a shop banner. Not including a shop banner or using a boring text only banner is as much of a turn off for buyers as not using an avatar. If you are not very savvy with graphic design, consider using the Picasa collage tool or PowerPoint. Take the time to update your shop banner periodically.

How to design a banner for your website

Don't use cute spelling and formatting. I'm not talking about titles that are simply creative. I'm talking about something like putting spaces in between letters (i.e. "E a r r i n g s") in your shop sections because you like the way it looks. Keep your spelling and formatting straightforward for the search engines.

Use original content. Just writing that makes me cringe, but I need to include it here. Please don't ever use photos or any content that is not your own in your Etsy shop unless you have explicit permission. It's better to wait to open up shop until you can create your own avatar than to open it up and use a stolen photo.

Create a consistent shop aesthetic. You can see from my banner above how I've used the same background and similar poses for many of my item listings. Using such techniques will help people instantly recognize your items in Etsy searches, Facebook fan page postings, etc. Make your shop style recognizable.

Spell check and proofread all shop information, item titles, and listing descriptions. There is not much that makes me want to click away from a listing faster than a blatant spelling mistake in an item title. Yes, little mistakes will slip in there once in a while, but do your best to avoid them from the start. Take the time to fix mistakes as you do find them.

Posting an unedited image that really needs to be cropped and that needs a light adjustment will not impress customers.
Posting an unedited image that really needs to be cropped and that needs a light adjustment will not impress customers. | Source

Edit all listings photos. I know that I stress this all the time, but photos are so important when it comes to selling products online. If nothing else, please take the time to crop all of your photos and to do any needed light adjustment. You can do these edits in any free photo program, such as Picasa or PicMonkey.

Create a Shop Home link for all of your listings. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to navigate back to the home page on any web site. Make it easy for your customers by creating a Shop Home link right in your listing description. I like to put mine at the very end of the listing.

Create a Shop Policies section and stick to it. If you're not sure where to start, look at the policies of some successful shops for examples. Etsy's categories for the Policies section, such as shipping and returns, will also give you an idea what type of information you should include. Let customers know how your shop works and then follow through with these standards.

Source

Order business cards with an original design. Skip the temptation to order business cards with a pre-designed logo and create something yourself with images of your work. You can design an image with a photo program and upload it. Alternatively, some sites have options for creating your own designs right on the site. Finally, you can consider creating and printing your own business cards.

Graphic Design Techniques : How to Make Your Own Business Cards

Reply to all convos and other customer messages promptly and professionally. Ideally you should reply to all customer messages within 24 hours. If you will not be away from your computer for a longer period of time, put your shop on vacation or put information about your absence in your shop announcement so people know when they can expect to hear from you.

Keeping Customers Happy

Leave prompt, honest feedback for your buyers. Leaving feedback should be a part of every order transaction. There is some stigma on Etsy about leaving negative feedback. If you work with customers who are deserving of such feedback, such as customers who take two weeks to complete payment without any communication or who don't pay it all, you should document this in your feedback. Alternatively, make a point to leave glowing feedback about your great customers.

If you have made to order listings, be specific about your turnaround time and stick to it. Most people strive to keep turnaround times to 2 weeks or shorter. Be honest with your customers about your turnaround time. Figure out how you will handle large order loads, especially for the holidays. Be realistic about your holiday deadlines and communicate them with your customers through your shop announcement.

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Comments 43 comments

leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

Wow, Rose - this is a great guide for setting up an Etsy shop! I have thought about doing something like this, but had no idea where to begin. You have the steps outlined in such an easy and clear way: I love the advice about using quality photos to attract clients and choosing an appropriate store name!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Thanks much for a super guide to creating a professional Etsy shop. I'll be referring to this again.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Leah! I'm so glad that this is helpful for you. I'm certainly not an expert on Etsy, but I've been selling there for over 3 years and am always happy to answer questions if I can. Best of luck to you!

Thanks RTalloni! I'm glad that this is helpful for you, too.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia

I really like the way you present the topic, its easy to follow and will be useful for future reference. Voted useful and interesting and shared.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Thank you! I've been wanting to create an Etsy store, but was really unsure about how to start and how to look professional. I'm sure I will put your advice to good use. Voted useful!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

greatstuff, thanks I'm so glad!

Natasha, I'm glad that this will he helpful for you. Best of luck with Etsy! Let me know if you ever have questions.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

This is an excellent guide. It is information that every shop owner should know and do. I especially like your ideas about the banner and keeping a consistent look throughout the entire site.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much Marlene! I appreciate your detailed feedback.


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

i m new here...really enjoyed your topic...though this is a very new idea for me....quite informative indeed.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks dghbrh! Welcome to HubPages. I'm glad that you enjoyed this.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Thanks! I do actually have a question. How many items should I have before 'opening' my store? I've assumed I should have several offerings to make the store look more...storelike before actually going live. Is that true? Also, I have several items that are made from recycled aluminum cans, so each item is at least slightly different. Is it okay to show a picture and explain that the item will be in the same style, size, color set, etc, or do you think it's worth the 20 cents to list each variation on the theme?

Thank you so much.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

There is no magic number, but I recommend having 50 or so items ready to go before you open. You can list 10-15 the first week and then keep listing 1-2 more items every few days for a while without having to make new inventory every day.

It is okay to create listings for variations of items where customers can select a specific color, size, etc. when they check out. Without knowing exactly what your items are, it's hard for me to give specific details for the listings. But there are listings like this on Etsy.

I hope this helps! Feel free to shoot any more questions that you have my way.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Fifty - wow! That is more than I would have guessed. Thank you again for all the helpful advice!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

30-40 will be sufficient if you plan to keep creating new inventory right away. When you open up an online shop, you get busy with shop logistics, editing photos, etc. and aren't necessarily creating as much as you were before. I think it's easier to have a large inventory initially.


Kathy Roeth 4 years ago

Great post full of lots of helpful information. Nice job!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Kathy!


alwritetea profile image

alwritetea 4 years ago from Upper Left Corner

Wow, very thorough Hub fellow Etsy seller & apprenticeship teammate! Great job!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much alwritetea!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

This guide is so useful- and inspiring to boot! I kind of want to open an Etsy shop now just because it seems like a lot of fun and it would be really satisfying to be able to make and sell REAL, TANGIBLE THINGS!!!!!

Thanks for sharing all your insider tips!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Simone! You're right that selling on Etsy is fun and can be very satisfying. For anyone who enjoys crafting, it's exciting to get your work out there like that.


brsmom68 profile image

brsmom68 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

I have had an Etsy account for several months now (perhaps even over a year - will have to double check). It is time I did more with it, and your tips will help me get it looking top-notch. Voted up and useful! Thank you!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

I'm glad that this is helpful for you, brsmom68! Best of luck with your Etsy shop.


kelleyward 4 years ago

I really got to try this soon. Voted up and shared!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Kelley!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey

Your article is very informative. I have been shopping around for the best ways to start selling my products. I was looking into Etsy but then decided to just another website from scratch. Now that is becoming too cumbersome, so I think I might go back to the Etsy idea after all. Thanks for sharing your insights.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

What a great resource for prospective Etsy shopkeepers! Awesome, comprehensive hub! I love your professional tips, photo ideas and getting started pointers. Voted up and shared all over. :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Stephanie! I'm glad that this is helpful for you. A website is a great option for a lot of people but it is considerably more work than running an Etsy shop. Many people who run a web site also sell through Etsy so you aren't out much if you give it a try now and pick that venture up later. Best of luck!

Thanks so much, Cyndi!


Heather Says profile image

Heather Says 4 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

This is a great list. I'm bookmarking in case I ever decide to take the etsy store plunge. Every time I think of something neat to craft and sell, ten people already do-- so maybe someday. Great article and thanks for the tips!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Heather! I hope that you're able to make the plunge someday. It is competitive, but I've found that as you start to build your niche, you bring a unique angle to a particular product or line.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I followed along by opening my Etsy shop and editing as I read. Great tips and my shop thanks you!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/MayanDreamArt?ref=si_shop

Formerly - Austinstar


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's awesome, Austinstar! Best of luck to you!


livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

So much of useful information. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Voted up and sharing!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia

Wow, what a great how to guide for Etsy. I've never shopped through Etsy. Your guide has made me feel I'm missing an opportunity in both buying and maybe a consideration for selling. It is sure information that is worth passing on to others here and among my friends. Maybe there is someone who needed just this to get them moving with their Internet business. Thanks! Sharing.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, livingsta!

Cyndi, it's great to hear that! Etsy is a wonderful site from both buyers and sellers. It's never too late to get on board with either option.


ct92 profile image

ct92 3 years ago from Denmark

Thank you for a good hub! My sister, who is the most creative and talented person I know, has been thinking about opening an etsy shop, and I am going to send her this link!

Voted up! :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, CT! That's great. :) Best of luck to your sister!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

Coming back to read again. I'm thinking about doing this, but still debating. Thanks for all the great tips! BTW your shop is beautiful!


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

I've been curious about using the Etsy site. You've provided great information for selling online whether it's Etsy or some other site! Yes, it's a business and crafters need to treat it as such. Thanks and have a beautiful Valentine's Day weekend!


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

Wonderful! I've always wondered about how to get involved in Etsy. This was extremely informative. Thank you!


Sheri Faye profile image

Sheri Faye 2 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

Great article!!! I am in the process of opening an Etsy store....I think you and I follow each other on Etsy. Also, writing a hub like this is a great idea to drive traffic to your store!! I hope you are doing well on Etsy...cute stuff!!!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 2 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Glimmer Twin Fan, best of luck with your decision! I hope that this article helps you with the process. Thanks!

Heidi, thanks, I'm glad to hear it! You're right that selling on Etsy or elsewhere online is a business. Many people don't understand that they will never make real earnings unless they treat it as such.

VVanNess, thanks, that's great!

Sheri, thanks! Best of luck to you. Writing these type of articles does drive some traffic to my shop, but it doesn't necessarily translate into sales. I get a lot of comments that are very similar to what you said. People like my work and hope that I'm doing well there. It's nice to hear that, but a sale or at the very least, a little more promotion (i.e. sharing my shop on Facebook) would mean a lot more.


madscientist12 profile image

madscientist12 2 years ago from Columbia, SC

Very nice hub! I have two Etsy shops and I am struggling to make them work, so any advice that I come across really helps.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 2 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

I'm glad to hear it, madscientist! Best of luck to you.

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