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What is Etsy? Pros and cons for new sellers

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Etsy is an online marketplace that allows anyone to sell their handmade or vintage items. Etsy is the world’s leading peer-to-peer ecommerce site for buying and selling unique goods from around the world. They have a unique, user-friendly system that makes selling on Etsy easy and affordable.

Founded in 2005, Etsy has become a top destination for creative entrepreneurs looking to make money by selling what they create.

Etsy’s vision is “to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world” as well as “reinvent the commerce experience to build a sense of community while expanding access to unique goods”.

A brief history of Etsy

Etsy was founded on June 18, 2005 by Robert Kalin and two friends who wanted a better way to sell their handcrafted goods. Since its inception, the site has grown significantly to accommodate a growing consumer base. In recent years alone there were almost 20 new major features released including: shop announcements, printing shipping labels from shop instead of sending as an attachment; advanced search filters for searching using price ranges or category items only; and a more user-friendly mobile app with chat support.

How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?

Etsy has a pricing model that is designed to scale with your business from zero to hero. There are no charges at all until you list your first product, so it’s completely free to register and try it out for yourself, no credit card required.

Here’s a breakdown of their current fees and what each fee covers.

Listing fee: You pay $0.20 to list one product, or item. This fee has to be paid regardless if the item sells or not. As all products are listed for a limited time of up to 4 months only, you have to pay again to renew (or re-list) the product, which can be done automatically.

Transaction fee: You pay 5% of the transaction value, i.e. the sum total of the customers’ order including shipping and any add-ons, for each completed sale. This fee includes pretty much everything you need to sell your goods on Etsy, but they also offer optional add-ons and extras which can come with additional fees.

How do these fees stack up?

Etsy provides essentially two things: the customers, and the payment processing. Both of these things can be expensive to get on your own if you’re just getting started.

If you were to set up your own website and sell your goods there, you’d be looking at one-off up-front costs in the hundreds or thousands to get started. After that, you’d need to pay for each transaction to get the payment processed through a payment service provider (PSP) such as Stripe or Braintree. Payment service providers normally charge in the range of 2-4% per transaction.

Marketing costs to bring in customers is harder to estimate, but most likely it’d be more per transaction than 1-5%, at least in the beginning, unless you have an established brand and online presence.

Thus, Etsys’ fees are ideal for beginners and smaller sellers, which is their core audience. However, if you’re already past those initial stages of the journey, you can probably save around 1-2% of your revenue by going entirely independent.

And keep in mind: Transaction fees will not necessarily have an effect on your profits because you can simply increase the price of your products to recoup this cost.

What is Etsy shipping label?

Etsy shipping labels help you ship things to customers without going to the post office. With the push of a button, shipping labels allow you to print out a label for any order and send it without having to go through the hassle of filling out any forms or going to a post office.

If you need a way to ship your orders with USPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal Mail or Australia Post right from your Etsy shop then Etsy shipping labels are perfect for you! They will save you up to 30% on shipping costs, and you can effortlessly ship worldwide.

If you’re shipping internationally, make sure that your products are fully described (including weight and dimensions) so Etsy can make sure the item(s) are properly declared for customs.

Alternatives to Etsy

Since it’s been around since 2005, there have been many similar companies who provide the same services and often call themselves “Etsy alternatives” because they want to piggyback on its popularity. Most have had relatively short lives, simply because it’s hard to compete with an incumbent. At the end of the day, there are so many reasons to sell on Etsy and so very few reasons not to.

While there are a few decent niche alternatives, the options with mass appeal (and thus a larger potential customer base) are relatively limited. Here are the current top 5:

  • eBay
  • Amazon
  • Storenvy
  • Dawanda
  • Artfire

What is Etsy SEO?

If you’ve been doing research about Etsy, or if you’re already an Etsy seller, you may have heard the expression “Etsy SEO”. Contrary to what it sounds like, this is not a service or add-on from Etsy.

Etsy SEO is the same as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. In order to have success with Etsy, you need to make sure that your products are well-organized and easy to search for. You can do this by following these tips:

– Use keyword phrases in your titles and tags

– Include keywords in tags that will be used by customers

– Choose a blog title that includes keywords

– Make sure you use relevant keywords throughout your product descriptions

– Use relevant keywords in your tags

– Include relevant keyword phrases in titles of your product listings

Doing this will not only help people find you through Google when they’re looking for items that you make, but it will also help customers to find you through Etsy. If you are able to rank higher in search results when customers type in keywords that describe your products, then you can potentially gain more visibility with little effort.

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