How to Use Etsy to Benefit Your Retail Business
What is Etsy?
Etsy is a marketplace that allows entrepreneurs to sell unique products, and keeps interactions between buyers and sellers at the forefront. The website offers a space for selling handmade products, vintage goods, and crafting supplies. Customers buy products directly from Etsy, and sellers are charged a small fee for every product listed and sold.
How Does It Work?
Anyone can sign up for an Etsy account and create a shop. Still, it’s important to research the types of products that can be sold on Etsy, and what products are prohibited. For example, Etsy doesn’t allow sellers to list a product as being handmade if they weren’t involved in designing or producing the item.
When opening a shop, you’ll be able to set your shop name, language, prices, and payment details. Then, you can start listing products. Your listings should include product photos, search engine friendly descriptions, and other relevant information.
Etsy makes it easy to set up your shop, but you’ll still need to put in some effort to attract customers and maintain your shop. For example, you should keep your shop stocked with inventory to keep customers interested. In addition, you should strive to provide excellent customer service, which you can do by responding to comments and shipping items quickly. If you show your customers that you care about their shopping experience, they’ll be more likely to give you positive reviews and could even refer your shop to other patrons. Although building a positive reputation take time, it will allow you to grow a long-lasting Etsy shop.
What Are the Costs and Fees?
Signing up on Etsy and creating a shop is free. When you’re ready to start selling products, you’ll have three fees to consider:
- $0.20 per product listing, which stays active for 4 months or until sold.
- 5 percent of the product sale price will become a transaction fee when the product is sold.
- 3 percent of the product sale price + $0.25 for each sale, if using Etsy Payments.
You’ll also want to consider the cost of production and the cost to deliver products to the buyers. If you can sell products at a cheaper price in your business’s brick-and-mortar or online store, it might not make sense to start selling on Etsy as well.
How to Use Etsy as a Marketing Tool:
While Etsy is a valuable tool for reaching a large audience, there are limitations that prevent it from being a sole source of income for most business owners. Although you can set up an Etsy shop quickly, it won’t give you much room for being creative with your shop design or product listings. You might also have a hard time outshining the competition on such a large site, especially if your competitors have well-established shops. Finally, the fees and costs, while reasonable, might be a deterrent to solely using Etsy to sell your products.
However, what Etsy can do for your business is attract customers who wouldn’t find your products otherwise. For those looking for unique or handmade items, Etsy is often a first stop. Thanks to curated lists and the company blog, different shops are always being promoted, which offers more opportunities for your business to be discovered. If you can showcase your products on Etsy, you may be able to direct customers to your business website to look at additional inventory and further connect with your brand.
Your goal should be to have customers discover you on Etsy, then learn more about you. By visiting your retail website, customers will see your branding, find information about your company that Etsy doesn’t provide space for, and potentially sign up for email updates or connect on social media. You can make that happen by promoting your website on your Etsy banner and including links in your product descriptions. Offering an incentive, like a discount for entering an email address, can help you make the most of each opportunity.
If you make a sale through Etsy, rather than on your retail website, use that sale as another opportunity to build the customer relationship and encourage repeat sales. Be sure to respond to customer questions and feedback to ensure a great buying experience. When you ship the product, make your branding part of the packaging to help your customer get to know your brand. Don’t forget to include a business card with your professional website included.
If your products fit within the realm of what Etsy allows users to sell, the online marketplace can be a solid addition to your marketing plan. With over 33,000 active buyers visiting the site in 2017, you’ll have ample opportunities to build your customer base and generate some sales.
Will you use Etsy to help support your retail business? Let us know in the comments!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.