How to Sell on Etsy

Buying the kind of unique merchandise that you find on Etsy is fun and all, but what if you want to join the selling side of things?  What if you like to paint, knit, or do other arts and crafts in your spare time, and think to yourself, “I could probably sell this stuff for some good money”?  Or what if you have an attic full of treasures from a time gone by, and think that a collector or two might pay you a handsome price for them?  This article will give you some instructions and tips on how to get your very own store up and running on Etsy.

Things to sell on Etsy

As you can probably tell from being a buyer on Etsy, there are lots of different things that you can sell on Etsy.  These include clothing, accessories, toys, jewellery, art, home decor, and more!  However, all items that you sell on Etsy have to fall into one of two classes, and each class has its own criteria.

Handmade

“Handmade”-class items are unique items that are designed and created by you and/or your business.  This means that you cannot buy or otherwise receive a “handmade”-class item from someone else and then re-sell it as a “handmade”-class item on Etsy.  

In the interest of letting Etsy and your customers know that your stuff actually belongs in the “handmade” class, it’s a good idea to provide information for each of your items regarding who was involved in the design and creation process.  This could be you, another member of your business, or an outside party that was contracted by you/your business.

For more guidelines on what constitutes a “handmade”-class item (and how to verify this for your items), see this help article on Etsy.

Craft Supplies

This is a sub-class of “handmade”-class items, and it includes tools and raw materials intended to help people create their own handmade items.  This can include things like pliers, do-it-yourself kits, beeswax, fabric, or pattern stencils.  It can also include design and pattern graphics that you create on the computer, or tutorials on how to create certain handmade items.  See this article on Etsy craft supplies and this article on Etsy services for more information on what you can or cannot sell as “craft supplies” on Etsy.

Vintage

All “vintage”-class items sold on Etsy have to be at least 20 years old (though they don’t have to be handmade).  You must be able to provide evidence that your items meet this criterion, including brand or designer labels, item closures/zippers, care tags, or other information from the original seller or supplier.  In fact, you might want to provide information like this up front in the item descriptions, so that Etsy and your customers won’t have reason to doubt you in the first place.  See this article on Etsy vintage items for further guidelines on what constitutes a “vintage”-class item on Etsy, and how to verify this for your items.

How to set up a store on Etsy

  1. Go to www.etsy.com in your web browser and log in.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Open a Shop.

  3. Click Open an Etsy Shop at the top of the page.

  4. Click the drop-down menus in the window that appears to select the primary language and currency that your shop listings display in, as well as where your shop is geographically located.  Then click Yes.

  5. You will next be asked what you hope to accomplish with your Etsy shop.  Click the answer that best describes what you want to do.

  6. After the window closes, your first step is to name your shop.  Click in the box labelled “Set Shop Name” and type in a name for your shop.  Then click Save.  (Note: if your shop name is already taken, Etsy will inform you and ask you to choose another one.)

  7. After this, you’ll have to add listings for items to your shop, choose the methods of payments from customers that you will accept (e.g. credit card, cheque or money order, online transaction service such as PayPal, and so on), and enter your billing information.  (We’ll have tutorials on how to do stuff like this coming soon.)

    When you’re all done, click Open Your Shop.  Congratulations!  You are officially in business on Etsy!

How to be successful on Etsy

Be honest and open with Etsy and your customers.

  • Be sure to include descriptions on your shop page about who you are and what you’re selling in your shop. 

  • Spell out your selling policies in as much detail as you can, and make sure to also provide some contact information in case a customer has questions or needs to return an item. 

  • Provide as much relevant and accurate information as you can about each of the items that you sell (including photographs of the actual item). 

  • Remember, the more you lay out in the open about you and your operation for Etsy and its users to see, the easier time they’ll have buying your merchandise and trusting that it’s genuine.

Don’t cheat Etsy, or otherwise break their rules.

The following is a partial list of things that you probably shouldn’t do on Etsy:

  • Don’t run more than one shop selling the same items.  This can confuse customers as to the availability of your items, and gives you an unfair advantage in terms of how many people notice your shop.  You can, however, have more than one shop as long as you sell different kinds of items in each; for example, having one store for women’s clothing, and another for children’s clothing.

  • Don’t steal someone else’s item or idea and sell it as your own.  (Also, report anyone whom you catch doing this to Etsy.)

  • Don’t cheat Etsy out of their fees by using your shop to direct people to buy items from another online store that you control (especially if those items are already listed on Etsy).  Also, don’t contact a customer and ask them to complete the payment for an item that they want to buy from you outside of Etsy.

  • Don’t sell “handmade”-class items not made by you or your (partner) business (e.g. bought from someone else on Etsy, bought on another website, or given to you as a gift) in the “Handmade” section of Etsy.

  • Don’t sell items that aren’t allowed on Etsy, including stolen or counterfeit items, items that use materials from endangered or protected animals, weapons or other overly-hazardous products, or items that are explicitly sexual/hateful/violent in nature.  See this Etsy prohibited items article for a list of the types of items that Etsy won’t let you sell, as well as some exceptions to these rules.

Treat your customers right.

  • Lay out your store’s policies in such a way that they balance having as much detail as possible with being easy to read and understand by any potential buyers. 

  • Be sure to respond to any questions that a customer has about your store or items as accurately and promptly as possible.  Also, it’s a good idea to publicly respond to negative reviews when you get them, in order to let the buyer (and other potential customers) know what you’ll do to make things right the next time.

  • If you specify processing and shipping times in your policies or item descriptions, stick to them; customers hate it when their merchandise arrives late. 

  • If a customer has a problem with an item that they bought from you, try to work it out over Etsy first.  If you can’t come to a solution that you both can agree upon, contact Etsy’s Trust and Safety Team.

  • If you can’t fulfil an order for some reason, cancel it and let the customer know, and tell them how you’re going to make the situation right.

Participate in the Etsy community.

Get involved!  Read and contribute (to) discussions on the Etsy Forums, or see if there’s an Etsy Event being held near you.  You may also want to join an Etsy Team, which is basically a group of buyers or sellers who like or sell (respectively) similar items.  Read the Etsy Blog, or sign up for the “Etsy Success” and “Seller Seminars” newsletters.  Whether you’re totally new to the handmade business scene or your shop is just in a bit of a slump, these are all great ways to connect with people who can give you advice on how to run your particular kind of shop.  You may also be able to meet new customers, and spread the word about your own little handmade or vintage enterprise!

 

We’re going to have more tutorials in the future devoted to the finer points of running a shop on Etsy, but for now, this is a bit of information about how you can become a seller on Etsy!


How To Contact Etsy

Hopefully, nothing will go wrong with anything that you buy through Etsy, and every item you get will arrive just as you ordered it, and you’ll love them all.  However, there are still rare but unfortunate scenarios when your order won’t be right; an item won’t be like it was described, will be broken or missing parts, or won’t be delivered at all.

If you have a problem with an order on Etsy, the best thing to do is let the seller know, and try to work something out with them personally.  If the seller doesn’t respond to or doesn’t want to co-operate with your request, then you can contact Etsy customer service and ask them to step in.

To contact an Etsy seller:

  1. Go to www.etsy.com in your web browser and log in.

  2. Find the shop that sold you the item that you had a problem with (see our How to Search on Etsy tutorial for how to find a shop), and click on its name to go to its page.  Then under “Shop Owner”, click Contact Shop Owner.

  3. You can also contact the shop owner, while including a link to the item that you had a problem with, in two ways.  The first is by clicking You (i.e. your account) in the top-right corner and selecting Purchases and Reviews, finding the item that you had a problem with, and clicking Contact The Shop

    The second is by finding the defective item itself (see our How to Search on Etsy tutorial for how to find an item) — if it’s still listed, because the author is selling more than one copy of it — and clicking Ask A Question in the general information window.

  4. Click in the box labelled “Subject” and type in something like “Problem with [whatever the item is] — [Broken/Incomplete/Missing etc.]”, and then click in the box labelled “Message” and type in more details about the exact problem and any other relevant information.

    You can also click Attach Image to search through your computer files for a picture to send along with your message.  If applicable, you can use this to attach pictures you’ve taken of the item to show the seller visual evidence of the problem you’re having with the item.

    When you’re done, click Submit.

  5. If the seller responds to your message, it will show up in your “Conversations” system.  This is basically just Etsy’s internal version of email between its users.  To access it, click You (i.e. your account) in the top-right corner, and select Conversations.

    From there, you can open the message, read it, and reply to it, just like you would with your usual email client.

If the buyer doesn’t respond to your message, or you exchange a series of messages with them and can’t work out how to fix the problem you’re having, you might want to contact Etsy directly at that point.

To contact Etsy customer service:

If you want to get in touch with Etsy directly regarding a problem with your order, here’s what to do.  (We’ll assume that you’re still logged into Etsy right now.  If not, go to Etsy and log in now.)

  1. Scroll to the bottom of pretty much any page on Etsy, and click Help.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and under “No Luck?” click Contact Us and We’ll Get Back to You As Soon As Possible.

  3. Click the drop-down menu labelled “What Can We Help You With?” and click Buying on Etsy.  Then, when the drop-down menu labelled “Tell Us More” appears, click it and select I Have Not Received My Order.

    This will open up three contact options: Open a Case (which we’ll describe in the next section), Contact Us by Email, and Request a Phone Call.

  4. If you click Contact Us by Email, you will see a window like the one in the screenshot below open.

    Click the drop-down menu labelled “Which Order?” and select the order that you’re having a problem with.  From there, the process is similar to sending a note to a seller about a problem with an item: add a subject explaining your problem in brief, type a message outlining the context and details of the issue, and attach any pictures that could serve as evidence of your plight.

    When you’re done, click Get in Touch, and watch your email account for a response from Etsy!

  5. If you click Request a Phone Call, you will see a window like the one in the screenshot below open.

    Click in each box here and type in, respectively, your full name, your phone number, and an explanation of the problem you’re having.  Then click Request a Phone Call.

    As you can see in the screenshot, Etsy’s English-language phone lines are available 7 days a week from 10 AM to 10 PM, Eastern Standard Time.  Stay by your phone, because Etsy will likely call you back within 15 minutes.

To open a case on Etsy:

Etsy’s customer service department can help you resolve a problem with an order you’re having, provided that your request meets two time requirements:

  1. It is not filed before your order’s estimated delivery date (i.e. the time that the seller declares that it will take to process and ship the order after the date that you order it).

  2. It is not filed more than 60 days after the estimated delivery date of your order.

And, of course, taking your case to Etsy’s customer service department should be a last resort, used only if you have already tried and failed to reach a deal with a seller themselves.

To open a case against a seller through Etsy customer service:

  1. Click on You (i.e. your account) in the top-right corner, and select Purchases and Reviews.

  2. Find the order that you’re having a problem with, and then click either I Haven’t Received This Item or Item Isn’t as Described.

  3. Scroll down to the box labelled “File a Report with Etsy” and click Report It to Etsy by Opening a Case.

  4. Fill in the required information, choose how you would like the problem to be resolved (e.g. refund, exchange, replacement, and so on), and click Submit.

After opening a case against a seller on Etsy, you and the seller will interact through and update a special “case log”.  This will keep track of the progress that you both have made towards solving the problem.  It can include any communication between the two of you, any evidence submitted by either of you, as well as any updates in the status of the order in question. 

If, after one week, the seller has not responded adequately to your concerns or you have both been unable to work out a mutually-acceptable solution, you can ask Etsy’s Trust and Safety Department to step in and review your case.  They may ask you and/or the seller for additional evidence to help reach a decision, such as receipts, trusted observer opinions, or legal documents.  If Etsy eventually rules in your favour, they may offer you a refund on behalf of the seller.

Be aware that there are some situations in which you will not be able to open a case against a seller on Etsy.  See this article on Etsy cases for a list of scenarios in which you are or are not allowed to open a case.

 

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about getting in contact with an Etsy seller, or Etsy’s customer service department, if you have a problem with an order!


Etsy Coupon Codes

Between the price of items, shipping costs, and taxes, the amount of money that you pay for things on Etsy can sure add up.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could get free shipping on an order?  Or get a certain percentage off your order if it costs more than a certain amount?  With Etsy coupon codes, you can!

Types of Etsy coupon codes

There are three general types of coupon codes for Etsy:

  • Percentage Discount — This coupon code type allows you to save a certain percentage on your total order.  This does not include shipping costs or taxes.

  • Free Shipping — This coupon code type allows you to remove the shipping costs of your order.  However, it is sometimes limited to orders from shops in the same country as you.

  • Fixed Discount — This coupon code type allows you to save a fixed currency amount, such as $5 U.S., on the total cost of your order (including shipping costs and taxes).

There may be other special conditions for the coupon code, like your total order has to be over a certain amount for the coupon code to work, so be sure to read the terms of the coupon code carefully.

How to get Etsy coupons

Coupon codes on Etsy are custom-created by shop owners, so a coupon code only works on an item or items from the shop that created the coupon code.

The main avenue of getting Etsy coupon codes is by subscribing to emails from Etsy that contain these coupon codes.  To do so:

  1. Go to www.etsy.com in your web browser and log in.

  2. Click on You (i.e. your account) in the top-right corner, and select Account Settings.

  3. Click Emails, and make sure the box beside "Coupons, Promotions, and Recommendations" is checked.  (If it isn't, click it to mark it.)

This will occasionally allow you to receive coupon codes in your email from stores as a "thank you" for buying something from them.

 

You can also find Etsy coupon codes scattered across various virtual coupon code websites on the Internet, such as Goodshop, Coupons.com, and EtsyCouponCode.

How to use Etsy coupon codes

  1. Once you find a coupon code, write it down so you can remember what to type in later.

  2. Go to www.etsy.com in your web browser and log in (if you haven't already).

  3. Find some things to buy from the store that you have a coupon for, and add them to your shopping cart (i.e. do steps 2 and 3 of the "How to Buy Items on Etsy" section of our How to Buy on Etsy tutorial). 

  4. Once you are ready to check out (in step 4 of the "How to Buy Items on Etsy" section of this tutorial), click Apply Shop Coupon Code under the "How You'll Pay" section of your shopping cart.

  5. Now, type the coupon code that you wrote down into the box that appears, and click Apply.

  6. If you entered the coupon code correctly, you will see that your cost has been discounted.  Click Clear if you want to remove your coupon code and use a different one.  Otherwise, enjoy your savings!

That's all there is to how to find and use coupon codes for Etsy!