How to Start Selling on Etsy: 10 Steps to Open Your Etsy Shop in 2021

You love to craft and want to know how to start selling on Etsy? Welcome! If you don’t have previous experience with the platform, starting an online business like Etsy shop may seem a bit complicated. But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll walk you through ten simple steps on how to start selling on Etsy.

The below ten-step tutorial will enable you to create an optimal home for your products – either alongside an existing website or eCommerce platform – or as your primary online storefront.

Here are 10 steps to a Successful Start on Etsy:

1. Create an Etsy account

Etsy Seller Account Registration PopUp

As they say, first things first and the first step to starting an Etsy Shop is rather simple: You have to create an Etsy Seller Account. In order to set up an account, you can click the ‘’Sell on Etsy” link and enter your name, email address, and password in order to finalize registration. Alternatively, you can use one of your existing Google or Facebook accounts to associate your Etsy shop with one of your social profiles.

2. Set your shop preferences.

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The next step is to set your default language which will be used to describe items in your store (there is also an option to add additional languages once the store is opened). Then, you can set your home country and the currency in which your items will be displayed.

3. Pick your Etsy shop name.

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Finally, we’ve got to the fun part: coming up with your Etsy shop name. There’s an art to choosing the right name, however, there are few basic rules that one can follow. Good Etsy shop name should be:

  • catchy and easy to remember so that it sticks with your customers allowing them to quickly recommend your shop to their friends.
  • should be reflective of the items you sell and values your store represents
  • must be between 4 to 20 characters long with no spaces or special characters
  • cannot be use by another Etsy seller or already registered as a trademark

For more inspirations, check out Etsy’s tips for choosing your shop name.

4. Add items to your shop.

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It’s worth to mention that there are differences between listing physical and digital items (e.g. printable stationery, gift tags, patterns or stickers). For the purpose of this guide, we’ll solely focus on listing tangible items; you can read Etsy’s digital item guide if you’re intending to list non-physical products.

  • Upload photos: Etsy recommends using at least 5 high-quality pictures (at least 1,000px) per listed item to provide customers with a variety of angles that the item can be seen from.
  • Pick your thumbnail: Your thumbnail is the initial image of your product that your customers see in your shop, via Google search or browsing on Etsy. The first impression matters so make it count!
  • Fill out product description: Create a title for your item which reflects the nature of the product, considering 140-character limit. Also, don’t forget to include a detailed description, succinct overview of the product, and additional details like the product’s category and type.
  • Use tags: Make sure to use all 13 “tags” available per item. Etsy shoppers find your product by searching for specific keywords via the search bar. Do your research and find out what those keywords might be and include them in your tags.
  • Set your prices: Add your product’s prices, sales tax / VAT (if applicable), quantity (if you have multiple copies of the product in stock) and variations (in case of having different sizes, colors, etc. of the same product). *It’s an important step and we will revisit this aspect in a further part of our tutorial.*

Set your shipping price: Here, you’ll include all the necessary details about your shipping processes, like the shipping services you use, costs, country of origin, processing time, and item weight and size. Later on, you’ll have the option of setting “shipping profiles” so that you can quickly update items with the same shipping costs.

Publish your listing: You can preview your listing to see how it’ll look to customers before setting it live.

5. Choose your payment preferences.

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Once you’ve added your items, you’ll need to set up your Etsy payment preferences. First, you’ll pick how you’d prefer to accept payments—options include PayPal, check or money order, “other,” or Etsy Payments, which is the main way sellers get paid. With this option, you can accept credit cards, debit cards, Etsy gift cards and store credit, and more.

Currently, Etsy requires that any seller who is eligible (based on their location) to offer Etsy Payments do so. Along these lines, although Etsy used to offer PayPal as a standalone payment option, as of May 15, 2019, sellers in eligible countries, including the U.S., must use Etsy Payments with integrated PayPal. Standalone PayPal is no longer available in these countries.

Moreover, if you’re eligible for Etsy Payments, you’ll need to set this up as part of your payment settings—entering your bank account and residential address in order to receive your payment deposits from Etsy.

6. Set up billing.

When you’re starting an Etsy shop, this step will depend wholly on your country. In certain countries, Etsy will require that you provide a credit card for identity authorization purposes. You’ll also need a card on file so that Etsy can charge you for selling fees (more on that below). If you’re a U.S. seller, you have the option to enroll in auto-billing, in which case Etsy will automatically charge your credit card on file for the selling fees you incur, so you don’t have to worry about paying your monthly statement.

8. Customize your Etsy shop.

It’s not enough to simply have started an Etsy shop—just like a brick-and-mortar store, your digital store needs to be easy to find, beautifully curated, intuitively organized, and constantly updated. Here are a few more sections you can fill out to ensure that your Etsy shop opens (and runs) successfully:

  • Add a bio and photo: Your public profile is how visitors to the site can learn more about you, both as a business owner and as a person outside of your work. In your bio, you have free range to tell the public pretty much anything you want. Say a little about your background, your interests, your qualifications, and tell the story behind your products, your mission, and why you love what you do.

  • Set your policies: Here, you’ll answer any pertinent questions your customers may have about your manufacturing, processing, shipping, and payment processes. Be sure to include an estimated processing and shipping time so that your buyers have a clear idea of how long it’ll take for their items to reach them. Also, be sure to include your returns and exchanges policy, and the payment methods you accept. If you’ve indicated “other” in your payment settings, you’ll need to include information and instructions about this payment method in this section, as well as in each listing.

  • Add sections: Group your items into categories so that buyers can more easily sift through your products. A bit like a navigation bar, sections will appear on the left side of your homepage and include the number of products within each category.
  • Rearrange your items: Feel free to move your items around on the page.
  • Add your shop’s “about” section: Just like your personal “about” section, your store deserves its own bio, too. You have 5,000 characters to tell customers your business’s origin story—keep in mind that Etsy (and customers) value transparency and openness, so don’t worry too much about writing traditional marketing copy; just be genuine.

    You can also list anyone who helps you produce and create your products or run your store, provide photos and/or a video of your studio space or creative process, and add links to your store’s social media profiles.  

  • Use Etsy’s social media tool: Advertising your Etsy store via social media is essential for garnering new business and keeping your existing base in the loop about new products. Luckily, Etsy makes that really easy to do—with the platform’s social media tool, you can quickly update all your social channels with store announcements, new listings, store milestones, great reviews, or specific items you’d like to promote on social media via your phone or computer.

7. Start selling on Etsy!

Ta-da! Your shop is open. Next, to actually get started selling online you’ll need to…

9. Revisit your pricing strategy.

As almost any new business owner will tell you, pricing your products competitively is essential for garnering business and turning a profit, but it can also be one of the more difficult hurdles to overcome. Luckily, Etsy offers a few resources on this tricky topic, including an easy formula for pricing your products and a worksheet to carry out a couple of pricing strategies.

Don’t short sell yourself—price your products so that you can cover your material, labor, and production costs, and at a rate that accurately reflects the quality of your products. But keep in mind that one of Etsy’s major draws is the prospect of buying unique items at prices that won’t break the bank. Try to keep your costs relatively modest so that you don’t risk turning away a big chunk of the Etsy audience.  

Also, remember that joining the platform and setting up your shop is free—but once you start listing and selling items, the various Etsy seller fees will kick in, so account for these fees as you price your products.

10. Make your store searchable with SEO.

First, a quick refresher on SEO strategy: SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s a marketing tactic that, when implemented properly (which is admittedly complicated), launches your online presence—whether it’s your business website, blog, or social media platforms—to the top of any given search engine. In turn, that increases the likelihood that browsers will click on your link and visit your store.

Leveraging SEO tactics on Etsy will make your store easy to find, so it’s a surefire way of driving customers to your products. But even if you’re an SEO wizard for your website or blog, know that Etsy has its own set of SEO rules that you’ll want to nail down right off the bat. Vojinovic explains:

“Although many of our sales come from social media, most of them are from the Etsy search. SEO is complicated, but the basics are simple: Make a title that is suitable for your product and keyword-friendly. Add tags that make sense with the title and allow the search engine to make combinations that work. For example, if your title is ‘pink cashmere sweater for women,’ tags like ‘for her,’ ‘for wife,’ [and] ‘bridesmaids gift ideas’ make sense. The search engine will be able to combine these tags so that if someone searches for ‘bridesmaids gift ideas pink’ your product will be shown in the results. You should also use a tool like Marmalead or EtsyRank to help you find suitable keywords.”

As Vojinovic says, use as many keywords as possible in your tags, shop title, shop sections, and product titles and descriptions. For a more in-depth review of best SEO practices, take a look at Etsy’s social media and SEO guide.

Also know that if your store has more listings, it’ll be easier to find via search. Hill suggests aiming for at least 50. “I have had my Etsy shop for years and really didn’t give it much attention—it was more of a placeholder for my brand name,” Hill says. “Recently, I started adding more listings and saw immediate results from averaging one sale a month to one to two sales per week, and ‘favorites’ have increased significantly.”

Of course, it’ll take some time for you to build up to 50+ listings, but you can use the prospect of increased traffic as fuel to create more and better products.

Etsy Fees

Keeping in mind everything we just discussed regarding how to start selling on Etsy, let’s break down another important component involved with selling on the platform: Etsy seller fees. As we mentioned in steps five and six, you’ll need to choose your payment preferences and set up your billing information, both of which are directly related to the Etsy fees you’ll incur.

What are Etsy Fees?

Like any online marketplace, Etsy charges its merchants fees associated with listing and selling products. Although joining and starting an Etsy shop is free—unless, of course, you opt for a paid subscription plan—you’ll need to pay for the costs associated with actually doing business on Etsy. If you’re using Etsy Payments, these fees will be deducted automatically from your sales funds. If at the end of the month, you still owe additional fees, you’ll be responsible for paying them, as you would any bill. In this situation, if you’re a U.S. merchant enrolled in auto-billing, Etsy will automatically charge the credit card you have on file.

On the other hand, if you’re operating in a country that cannot utilize Etsy Payments, you’ll be responsible for managing and paying your monthly bill on the platform.

All of this being said, Etsy charges three main types of seller fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee, and a payment processing fee.

Etsy Listing Fees

Listing fees are the seller fees Etsy charges to actually list your items on your shop. Etsy charges $0.20 per listing and listing fees are added to your payment account (which you set up in step six) when an item is listed.

You have to pay this Etsy fee for each product you list, regardless of whether or not the product sells. A listing expires after four months, and at this point, if you want to keep the listing on your shop, you’ll have to renew it and pay an additional $0.20. It’s important to note that listing fees are billed in U.S. dollars, so if you’re operating your Etsy shop in another country, your listing fee may be different based on the exchange rate.

Etsy Transaction Fees

Next, Etsy charges transaction fees when an item is sold. Etsy’s transaction fee is 5% of the total item cost, which includes shipping and gift wrap, and is charged in your designated listing currency. Therefore, if your payment currency is different from your listing currency, Etsy will convert the fee amount from the listing currency to your payment currency based on the current market rate. With this, however, it’s important to note that if currency conversion is required, Etsy will charge a 2.5% fee for this process.

Etsy Payment Processing Fees

If you accept payments on your Etsy shop using Etsy Payments, you’ll incur a payment processing fee for each transaction when an item is sold. The payment processing fees that Etsy charges will vary based on the location of your bank account. For U.S. sellers, Etsy charges 3% + $0.25 per transaction.

Moreover, if you’re a seller in a location that is subject to VAT, or value-added tax, Etsy will incorporate this tax, as required, in both their payment processing and other seller fees.

Additional Etsy Seller Fees

Although listing, transaction and payment processing are the three main types of seller fees that Etsy charges, there are cases in which you’ll incur additional fees.

First, if you purchase your shipping labels through Etsy, you’ll have to pay the associated fees based on the shipping labels you choose. Shipping label fees, of course, will depend on location and other shipping settings.

Second, if you sell items from your Etsy shop in-person using Square that is not synced from your Etsy shop inventory, you’ll pay a $0.20 Square manual fee per transaction, in addition to the credit card processing fees from Square.

Finally, if you choose to utilize certain add-on services from Etsy, you’ll need to pay the costs associated with that service. For example, if you run ads for your shop and products using Etsy, you’ll be required to set a daily budget for the campaign and you’ll be charged per click.

Moreover, as we mentioned earlier, although opening an Etsy shop is generally free, Etsy also offers two paid subscription plans: Plus and Premium. These plans offer expanded and advanced tools to help you grow and manage your Etsy business. The Plus plan costs $10 per month and as of September 2019, Etsy has yet to actually launch the Premium plan or specify its monthly cost. With either of these plans, however, the standard fees discussed above will still apply.

Selling on Etsy: Bottom Line

As we promised, starting an Etsy shop is relatively simple, thanks to the easy to follow user interface and an extensive bank of internal resources such as Etsy’s comprehensive seller handbook. However, running an Etsy shop is like running a true business and it’s only after opening an Etsy store when the real work begins. It’s highly likely that your shop might initially open to little traffic or even no traffic. But don’t be discouraged – just like with traditional brands, it might take some time to build up a fan base and reputation which will grow steadily as you improve your SEO and expand your product offering with new amazing items.

Once you land your first sale, you’ll be super happy that you’ve stumbled upon our ‘How to Start an Etsy Business’ guide. At that point make sure to provide top-notch customer service by regularly checking your inbox, promptly responding to queries and asking existing customers for feedback. Excellent reviews are the best sign that you’re a trustworthy seller which will directly translate into higher sales and better SEO rankings.

Most importantly, focus the majority of your efforts on what you’re best at – creating unique, high-quality crafts as ultimately the items you sell are the key to attract new and retain existing customers. 

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Jack Steward
Jack is passionate about technology and has been building his own apps, plugins, and websites for over 5 years. When he’s not testing software, you’re likely to find him prepping for the marathon or backpacking in southeast Asia.

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