Opening an Etsy Store


You’ve decided to sell on Etsy! Chances are you’ve exercised your creative side to get to this point, so now it’s just a matter of using the left side of your brain and following a few simple instructions. Before you know it, you’ll be selling your products to buyers all over the world.

Step 1: Register for an Etsy account. It’s easy, and it’s free. Make sure you review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, and decide whether you want your full name displayed on the site. Carefully choose your username, as you won’t be able to change it once you’ve established your account.

Step 2: Sign up to sell. You’ll be prompted for your preferred language, currency and shop country location. As your shop expands, you may choose to adjust these as time goes by.

Step 3: Name your shop. Here’s the fun part! You’ve probably already given this some thought, but before you commit to a name, consider whether it reflects your merchandise and your personal style. You definitely want it to be original and it also has to be searchable – most of your business will come from searches on Etsy or in Google. You may want to include your product or service in your shop name such as “TieDyeDogLeashes” or “JNClayPottery”. While the shop name may be boring, the customer will know exactly what you sell from reading the name of your shop.

When choosing a shop name, Etsy will alert you if there’s another Etsy seller with your name, but also Google your choices to make sure they aren’t found elsewhere on the Internet. Do your homework about names that are identical or similar to corporate or other small-business monikers already in use, as you could encounter problems with paid advertising with a shop name already in use.

Step 4: Set up your shop. Now it’s time to make your store exactly the way you want it to look. A distinctive banner graphic immediately lets buyers know what to expect; choose a image that’s exactly 760 by 100 pixels. Next you’ll be prompted to compose a shop title, which is a short statement explaining what you’re selling. Keep in mind that you’re limited to 55 characters, so choose high-impact language that will grab the attention of customers on Etsy. Finally, decide if you want a shop announcement on your page. Located right under your banner, a shop announcement alerts shoppers to special listings, sales or periods during which your shop will be closed. (For more shop set-up information, see below.)

Step 5: Prepare to be paid. Etsy offers several payment options. Etsy Checkout accepts credit-card payments and Etsy gift cards; if you choose PayPal, a PayPal account not only provides lots of tools for your business but also a well-recognized name in e-commerce. There are also benefits to more traditional forms of payment, such as bank transfers, checks and money orders. Both Etsy and eCommerceWeekly provide pros and cons of all of these options so you’re armed with the information you need to make your decision.

Step 6: List your items. Etsy walks you through every piece of the listing process. Drop-down menus make it simple to specify the type of product, who made it and when, and under which categories it should be listed. If your product is available in different sizes or colors, Listing Variations allows you to specify those attributes. At this point, you’ll be prompted to add a photo and product description – make sure both of these showcase your product and highlight the important features! Finally, there’s an option to select potential recipients, occasions and tags, all of which can help your product show up in searches.

Step 7: Open for business. Hit publish, and your item is now live! Will it be weeks, days or minutes until your first sale? Repeat the process until your shop is fully stocked, and replenish your inventory as needed. Remember, every customer is a potential repeat customer as long as he or she is satisfied with your product and the buying process.

The steps above get your shop up and running, but there’s lots more you can do to customize your storefront, especially once you get a feel for your business style as well as customer preferences.

  • Add a bio. Etsy is such a personal marketplace that an engaging bio can draw in buyers. Share your background, inspiration and hobbies to help establish a connection with customers, and put a face to your business by uploading a photograph that represents you.
  • Set your policies. Ward off potential disgruntled customers – and their negative feedback – by establishing your policies regarding returns, exchanges, shipping and packaging. Customers appreciate knowing what to expect, and having it in writing protects you as a seller. Find guidance in Etsy’s DOs and DON’Ts section, and the Terms of Use.
  • Add shop sections. Make shopping easier by adding sections so buyers can easily navigate your store. For example, if you make custom clothing, consider sections for child and adult fashions, or list them seasonally, such as winter and summer wear. It’s easy to add or delete sections as your stock changes, too.
  • Create shipping profiles. Save a specific set of shipping information to make listing and editing more efficient. Go to Your Shop > Shipping & Payment > Shipping Profiles to create a new profile, which will include processing time and your shipping location.
  • Rearrange listings. In your account page, go to Your Shop > Options to rearrange your listings and keep your storefront fresh.
  • Add your shop’s “About” page. Share your business’ story with the Etsy community. Etsy provides prompts to help you create a narrative and add photographs to showcase your merchandise.
  • Connect your shop to Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you’re signed out of Facebook and Twitter on the same browser, then go to Your Shop > Info & Appearance and scroll down to the Links section. You’ll be able to link to Facebook and connect to Twitter to keep your followers apprised in real-time of new products and listings. Following these steps also puts handy Facebook and Twitter icons right on your shop page!

Enjoy the creative community of Etsy, and remember these tips as your business grows. How far you take it is limited only by your imagination!