Social media pro: Etsy
LEARN HOW TO SELL YOUR BESPOKE PRODUCTS TO THE MASSES.
ALONGSIDE THE RISE of the word wide web, online shopping is something that continues to grow in popularity. Etsy is a global marketplace offering clothes, gifts, and one-of-a-kind goods sold by ordinary people just like you. While seemingly similar to sites such as eBay, Etsy stands out from the crowd thanks to its heavy emphasis on creativity — whether it’s unique jewellery, handcrafted toys, even vintage furniture. Think of Etsy like your local markets, albeit digital. We’ve put together a guide to finding the perfect gift for that special someone, along with the steps to setting up your very own online store.
SIGNING UP. Registering for an account on Etsy unlocks useful features such as the ability to message shop owners, along with the option to save products as favourites. From the homepage click Register and enter your first name, email address and a password, or alternatively sign up using your Google or Facebook account. Once done, be sure to verify your details via the message sent to the email address you provided.
BROWSING. If you’re unsure where to start, the homepage offers a wealth of inspiration to help get you on your way. Simply scroll to see a range of featured products and collections centred around different themes and occasions. At the top of the page you’ll find categories ranging from furniture, toys, and jewellery which you can use to narrow down your search. Also on the homepage is a list of your recently viewed and favourited items.
BECOMING A SHOP OWNER. Before deciding to sell your products on Etsy, it’s important to consider a number of the costs involved. Each item in your store is referred to as a listing — Etsy charges AU$0.27 for every product you have active on the site, with individual listings visible to customers for a period of four months (unless sold prior). It’s also important to note that Etsy will take a 5% cut from every sale.
SETTING UP SHOP. To create a store, click ‘Sell on Etsy’ at the top of any page. Start by choosing your shop’s language, country and currency. Next, you’ll need to come up with a unique store name — if what you want is already taken, Etsy will suggest alternatives. After deciding on a name, it’s time to add some products to your page. Each listing requires a photo, title, description and category, along with a list of tags and shipping information.
STEP IT UP A LEVEL
PROFILE. While by no means essential, filling out your profile will help others get to know both you and your creative abilities. Click the edit button on your profile and you’ll be taken to a page for adding a picture, birthday, and home city. There’s also space to write a brief bio — perfect for listing any craft-based interests you may have. A series of checkboxes at the bottom of the page allow you to adjust what’s visible on your profile.
SEARCH. When it comes to finding that unique one-of-a-kind gift, Etsy’s search tools are very impressive. You can look for both items and shop names, usually with great accuracy — even searches such as ‘blue arcade cap’ provide worthy suggestions. Searches can be sorted by relevance and cost, with the ability to further filter by category, shipping, price range and sale products.
FAVOURITES. Keeping track of interesting products and stores is easy thanks to the Favourites tool. While browsing, hover over an item’s thumbnail to see a heart icon appear. You can also favourite entire shops by clicking the same icon displayed on a store’s homepage. Lists go one step further, allowing you to organise your favourites into a series of collections — to do this, visit a product’s webpage, click the heart icon and select ‘Add to list’ which appears at the bottom of your browser.
SECTIONS. Many stores will have their products organised into different categories for easier browsing. This will be visible on the left-hand side of a shop’s homepage. You can create categories in your own store by navigating to the listings section of Etsy’s shop manager.
REVIEWS. While many of us have been raised not to trust every 5-star review we read, you’ll be more confident knowing that reviews on Etsy can only be made by those who actually purchase the product in question. Hence, if you’re feeling overly satisfied (or dissatisfied) with a purchase, then it’s best to leave a rating, which can be done by clicking your profile icon and selecting Purchases and reviews.
CONVERSATIONS. Etsy makes it easy to get in touch with sellers to ask questions or enquire about an existing order. To send a message, visit a store’s webpage and click Contact underneath the shop’s logo. You can also enquire about a particular product by clicking ‘Ask a question’ next to it’s listing. To access your messages, click the profile icon in the top-right of any page and select Conversations.
EDITORS’ PICKS. With so many products to choose from, sometimes deciding what to buy can be a little overwhelming. Luckily Etsy regularly provides curated collections of products coming from different sellers on the site. Editors’ Picks are organised around topics such as tech, weddings, and gifts for him/her. You can access a full list of picks by clicking the ‘See More’ option in the collections section of the homepage.
CUSTOMISATION. Many of the products sold on Etsy are made to be personalised — whether it’s engraved cufflinks, an embroidered purse or a customised cutting board, you’ll find it here. For the majority of these items you’ll need to add a personalisation request in the ‘note to seller’ box at checkout.
TEAMS. A feature common on many of today’s social networks, Teams (like groups) are pages set up by Etsy users who are passionate about a particular topic or interest. Examples include those who are fans of tie dye, or motorbikes, even Halloween.
SALES. Holding a sale is a great way to get people buying your products, as well as to help clear out old stock. Etsy provides shop owners the ability to offer customers a percentage discount or free shipping. You can also set up coupon codes to be sent to users who’ve added your product to their cart, or recently placed one in their favourites.
REFUNDS. It’s important to check what the returns policy is for each store. While many sellers are happy to accept returns, this won’t always be the case (especially for custom-made orders). You’ll also need to take into account any additional shipping costs involved, especially when purchasing from overseas.
FORUMS. As a platform that thrives off a community of creatives, it’s not surprising then that the site offers a forum open for discussion about both Etsy and beyond. Conversations range from how to use various features of the site, ways to run a successful store, even discussions on the difference between vintage and handmade.
WHILE MANY SELLERS ARE HAPPY TO ACCEPT RETURNS, THIS WON’T ALWAYS BE THE CASE. YOU’LL ALSO NEED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ANY ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COSTS INVOLVED, ESPECIALLY WHEN PURCHASING FROM OVERSEAS.
To register, enter your first name, email address, and a password.
On the homepage you’ll find a wide range of products and collections from sellers on the site.
Etsy will suggest a number of alternatives if the store name you want is already taken.
Filling out your profile will help others get to know you.
You can filter your search by category, price and shipping costs.
Many stores organise their products into categories for easier browsing.
Product reviews can only be written by those who’ve actually purchased the item in question.
Organise your favourite products into different lists.
Get in touch with sellers to ask questions about their products.
Visit the forum to join in on the various discussions happening on the site.
Be sure to check a store’s return policy before parting ways with your money.
On Etsy you’ll find curated collections based around a particular theme or topic.
Get people through the door by offering them a discount.
Many products on Etsy can be customised.
Teams allow you to connect and engage with fellow users that have similar interests.