How to Sell on Etsy using the most Profitable Print on Demand Services in 2020
Have you wondered how to sell on Etsy and make money? Over the last few years, Etsy has grown into one of the largest online stores for arts, crafts, and customization products. With more than 50 Million users on this platform and 30 Million plus consumers, it is obvious that you should start selling on Etsy as soon as possible.
Understanding how to sell on Etsy and how it can be profitable
Building an Etsy store is simple and easy when you compare it with setting up an e-commerce store of your own.
You need not worry about hosting, scripts, and maintaining the database, etc when it comes to self-hosted Ecom stores.
Etsy removes all that headache and enables you to sell faster, avoid development and maintenance periods.
Before we move ahead, we need to understand what the Etsy system is all about. Etsy is an eCommerce marketplace that lets you buy and sells creative goods like crafts, artwork, supplies, and rare or novel items. These are mostly artistic or crafted products that are not found on online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Most of the products on this platform are custom made and are not produced in a factory. it is obvious that most sellers are doing it from their home and do not have a supply chain or industrial setup. That doesn’t mean the business model is not scalable.
This makes Etsy an ideal platform for new entrepreneurs, small businesses, housewives, and even professionals who are looking forward to setting up a side hustle with their day job. Any with artistic skills or trading skills can make a decent income on Etsy with the right strategy.
The cost to start the business is negligible as you don’t even need your own website or subscriptions. Esty attracts the audience including the buyers which you can readily tap into. you can consider Etsy to be a trade fair or art fair that sells anything indie and crafty.
My plan through this tutorial is to show you how you can set up an Etsy store where ever you are in the world and start selling products through the platform. Also in this process, I show you how I do it and they promote this Etsy store.
Handmade and custom made products sell well on Etsy in general. That been said, I should let you know the of the disclaimer, the income potential is just from my observation and might not be true.
Throughout this post, As I proceed with researching, planning, and analyzing stores and products, I estimate the potential income but we will know that only once we execute those strategies.
These statements do not guarantee or do not vouch any of this income projected. you might be able to generate more money or no money depending on a lot of factors including products, marketing, etc.
You can read the entire tutorial (which I recommend) or jump to a particular section using the links below:
How to Sell on Etsy
Before you learn how to sell on Etsy you need to identify what kind of store you are planning to build. There can be different types of stores on Etsy for example, you could concentrate on segments like kids or another narrow segment likes cute animal t-shirts for kids. The more narrow the niche is the less audience you get but you can have a solid target audience defined.
The majority of sellers on Etsy prefer to have a very specific segment for selling their products because you could have multiple stores for multiple segments.
Another advantage of having narrowed down segment is that the audience you build can subscribe to your store and follow your new products. This means you do not have to worry about looking for new buyers every time you are producing a new product.
At the same time going wide has its own advantage. you can create a list of many products and categories as you want. This means you are casting your net too wide to capture a larger chunk of the Etsy audience.
You can create multiple stores on Etsy as long as you are not repeating the products in multiple stores.
You might have to compromise on the user experience and your audience’s quality when going wide. If you are collecting followers or subscribers from your Etsy store and have a wide segment store, then you will have difficulty in crafty emails for that specific audience since the audience is general.
While I was learning how to sell on Etsy, I found stores within a narrow niche had more sales than general ones.
Broad Category Etsy Store can give you data on what works and what doesn’t if you want to test multiple segments before you dive deep into mass product creation.
There are a lot of advantages of selling on Etsy too which we will look into later. I have heard a lot for Etsy store owners complaining about losing the stores for no reason and bad customer service from Etsy.
Another advantage of an Etsy store is that you can integrate it with multiple external platforms for product creation and fulfillment. We will look into those in the coming sections.
Let’s look at the model of business
Since 2019 and the market situation has changed drastically. E-Commerce websites are growing faster than before while offline businesses are slowing fading into losses since people are not making purchases in the mall and retail stores like before due to social distancing.
If you are a manufacturer, inventor, or supplier you can start selling your products directly through an online marketplace or your own store. For Etsy, since I do not have a manufacturer for products, I would use dropshipping.
The Concept of Dropshipping
Before we continue any further, we need to make sure that you understand what drop shipping really is because that would the business model that I would be following in this post.
Dropping in simple words is running an e-commerce store without actually stocking the products. When an order is placed by the customer, the order information is passed on to the supplier and then the product is shipped directly to the end buyer.
The reason why most entrepreneurs this day prefer a dropshipping model is because the risk of stocking products in bulk that doesn’t sell can be avoided and this gives an opportunity to test 1000s of products without buying them beforehand. This gives anyone a low-cost entry to the e-commerce market.
In the past, business owners had to invest in acquiring large inventory to start a store and it is still relevant for offline stores. With the current global situations, even offline stores are moving to an online store.
The Dropshipping concept is new to a lot of people even today and business owners wonder how it can be executed. The crucial part of this model is a reliable supplier with a good shipping partner.
Before you start any store online, you need to validate the scope of the product and target market. Market research is required to create a buyer persona and this will help in crafting the personality of the brand and the message it will convey to its target audience.
While choosing a niche, we need to look into a few factors depending on our objective. If we are looking for a long term project, we need to plan accordingly and if we are looking forward to tapping into the trend, we need to do our research accordingly.
Trending products can be a passing fad or upcoming market. You could use Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to identify trends and search volumes around the year.
Another factor that we should consider while researching the niche is the season. Does the products in this niche well during all seasons or are they limited to just one season for the year like Christmas season or thanksgiving.
If I build a site around Valentine’s day Products, I would be able to make sales only in the first two months of the calendar year and the site would sit idle for the rest of the year making no money.
Demand for the product throughout the year could mean recurring revenue or repeated purchases over the year and this will, in turn, increase the Lifetime customer value.
That brings us to the average product value in the niche. This is crucial because the lower the product value the lower the profit margin you can have after marketing and shipping expenses.
Finding dropshipping products to sell on Etsy is a good idea as long as you are able to find a good supplier who can deliver the product throughout the US, at a low cost.
Shipping products from Aliexpress or Other similar websites are out of the question of the shipping and delivery timelines. This is one of the reasons Print on Demand suppliers based out of the US is the best choice for a business like Etsy shop.
If you haven’t read my post on Niche Research, please look into this one.
Coming back to products or categories that you can sell product son Etsy, I would always stick with not so serious niches unless you are already into it somehow. For the store, I am planning to build I am creating products that are not too narrow or not too wide.
As we select a niche, we need to keep in mind the product designs. If we are going to design t-shirts are we passionate or do we have a designer who can keep churning out the designs for this niche. I am passionate about drawing and illustration as I am an artist.
I love anything to do with making graphics and I have spent a lot of my life and also did a degree in designing and visualization.
The store I am going to build would be suitable for family and kids. This is a niche that would have t-shirts ( for dads, mom, kids), mugs, pillows( mom & Kids), and also different kinds of bags.
So now I have a small idea of a niche now let’s see what I could design for this store.
After a few minutes of skill and interest analysis, I have noted a few niches down and I believe I should work on creating products that are based on fun, mystical, events, holiday, and nature.
Print on Demand for Esty
Now that we know we are going to sell on Etsy and are going to use the dropshipping model, lets see what Print on Demand is and how we can use it to our advantage without much investment in the early days.
Print on Demand or in short POD is something that has come into a worldwide trend in recent times even though it has been around for some time now. This is an opportunity to make passive income with very little investment and effort ( depending on what your effort definition).
POD is the process where a manufacturer prints/creates the product once you place an order with this. As a business owner, your responsibility would be just designing the product and promoting the product.
Once an order is received, you process the order through the POD supplier who produces the products and ships to the buyer after taking their cost of production and shipping.
The model enables a business owner to run a business without holding a stock somewhat similar to the dropshipping model for products.
There are a lot of Print on Demand companies available and new ones popping up every other day in the market. Two of the major print on demand services are Printful and Printify. We will be looking at them deeply later and also a few other providers.
Setting up your own Etsy Store
Etsy charges only 20 cents per listing. This is just the listing fee. When you start getting orders, you will have to take into account the costs like processing fees and shipping fees for the product.
You also need to consider the transaction fees of 5% along with the cost of the product that you buy from your supplier to calculate the approximate revenue and profits of selling this product.
The 20 cents listing is valid for a period of four months. Once this expires, you need to relist the product with another 20cents payment. The average cost per product listing per year is 60cents.
Ideally, once the store is developed and has some data on sales, you could decide on which listing to renew and which one to discard.
Now that we know the basics, let’s look into how can setup the Esty Shop itself.
The first time you create a shop Etsy will ask you for your preferences like Country and language.
Country Setting for Etsy
Language Setup on Etsy
There will be options to select also your preferred method of receiving payment and currency.
Etsy will also ask you if you are a full-time, part-time, or hobbyist seller.
The next stage would be naming your store. You can type in the name you desire and Etsy will show you if it is available or not. There is a limit of 20 characters set for the name of the store if it is available.
After choosing your page name you will be taken to the next step of creating a listing.
This listing can be edited later once created.
Adding a photo to the listing. This will be the cover image for the product. Images are really important on Etsy as it is one of the first elements a browsing buyer will notice about your product apart from the title and price.
For my store, the average product pricing would be around $30 to $50 range.
The profit margin would be around $5 to $10 depending on the product after the cost of manufacturing, marketing, and shipping. I believe that our audience would prefer quality over the price.
When creating a product listing, you need to consider including the keyword you would like to optimize the product listing page for. You could research keywords related to your product using many different tools in the market.
If your product has a size then that also needs to be entered here while creating the listing.
Next, you would be able to select a suitable category for the product. This is important because of some buyers on Etsy from products by browsing through the categories.
You will be presented with a few more options like choosing between digital or physical products.
It is best to have more than 3 images for your product listing but if you have only one don’t worry you still can set it up. Ideally, the different images should be from different angles and high quality in nature.
Once the product listing is filled in, you would require to set a fee for shipping. This should include all details like shipping fee, duration, and weight with size. This can be edited later in case you require any modification.
Customizing Your Store
Coming the most interesting part for me, we are at the branding and design of the store.
The products on Persly are custom designs and unique. This puts the brand into a segment above the low-cost mass-produced products. Thus a premium product pricing is applicable to the listings.
With the premium pricing in mind, I would like to have the brand establish a quality brand throughout its presence and design.
When it comes to the logo, I am envisioning a premium design that communicates fantasy, fun, clean, and simple. This is ideal for the logo and overall branding.
Since the brand is going to be targeting kids and family, I think it should have something more related to nature like a deer or bunny. After brainstorming for some time, I have come to a conclusion to run with the idea of a jumping deer or antelope.
Rough Idea Sketch & Completed Logo
One of the domains that I had purchased was Persly.com which I wanted to build a dropshipping store. I am planning to build the same store on Etsy.
Now we need to create the Banner for Etsy
Persly Brand Design
Cover Image – 1200x 300 px
Store Icon – 500x500px
Source products for Esty Store
Even though we are selling products through the store, the real value would be the designs that create the products with. A cup can be bought for $1 to $2 but when custom designs are added to it the value is much more.
I would prefer buying a $15 mug with a heart design in the middle than a plain white cup for my wife for Valentine’s day. For the store owners, the more the buyer can relate or justify the purchase the more profit can be made.
Creating designs for merchandise can be a bottleneck for some but it is just a question of finding the right graphic designer as it will be the cost of running the business. For me, I love designing myself and this was one of my dream projects.
Etsy Store Optimization
Esty Shop Bio is the section where you have 5000 characters to write descriptions of the store. For my store, I am planning to have about us, vision, and mission statements optimized for the target audience. Through this section, I wish to create a relationship with my prospects.
As a seller, you can create a profile with your bio and photo. This profile can increase trust and give personality to the store.
Remember that, any piece of content on your profile and store can be used for SEO optimization.
When it comes to design creation for POD products, I start with brainstorming ideas.
These are two designs I have sketched out for Halloween.
Once on Printify, I can create the product mockup for tote bags.
Promoting your Store
Creating a store and adding products to them is just one part of the process. The main part of the business is promotion. There are different channels of promotion and a few of them are:
- Etsy promotion
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Page
- Instagram Profile
Creating a profile for your Etsy store on social media can drive the target audience to the store. Being active and constantly posting content on the pages.
For further growth, you can use ads to promote the products to the target audience.
Selling print on demand products with custom designs on Etsy is not easy but everyone can start easily with it. Using the right promotional strategy and market fit, you could make money from the store once you learn how to sell on Etsy. I will keep updating this post with my progress with the Etsy store.
Just like any other business consistency in production, maintenance and marketing are crucial for its success.
Social Media Marketing for Etsy Store
If you don’t already know how to set up a Facebook page, you can learn more about it here.
-Setting up a Facebook page
The ideal size would be 850px by 315 px, you could learn more about it and download templates.
Other platforms are
So far everything looks good and I have a few products ready to be listed. The first step is said to be the hardest one.
The majority of the Shops on Etsy are run by solo entrepreneurs or an entrepreneur with a team of one or two. Congratulations if you have decided or have already set up a store on Etsy.
Frequently asked questions about Etsy Store
7 years ago, I had a client who was selling products on Etsy and that introduced me to the platform.
Even though I am setting up my store now, I have been learning through different courses and coaches about Etsy stores for the last few years. Below I have tried to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions I could find online regarding Esty shop management.
Question #1. – How do I organize my store?
Answer: The best way to organize the store is by categorizing the products in advance. Segment products into related ones at least to create a structure. This will be easy for customers as well yourself to manage and view the store.
Question #2. – How can I add more product images?
Answer: Ideally, if you are running a POD dropshipping store, you will have the option to generate mockups from the POD supplier website itself.
In case you do not have that feature, you might have to order a piece or two to your own address and get them photographed for the store.
Question #3 – How do I sell on Etsy and improve my sales without marketing or paid promotions?
The best way to increase sales to test different pricing strategies. Sometimes, changing pricing can increase the sales of the product instantly but can reduce your profit margin.
Question #4 – How do I know if the business is working or not?
Just like any business, you need to constantly analyze the revenue, profit, and costs of running the business to know where you are standing. Constant data study, store, and product optimization will help you grow your business.