How to Start An Etsy Shop: 3 Of Your Biggest Questions Answered

Ready to expand your eCommerce shop? We're answering your most asked questions to help you get started (and get found) on Etsy.
Written by
Bailey Hahn
Published on
October 7, 2020

If you’ve been wondering how to start an Etsy shop, you might be intimidated by the process and unsure of how to even get started, much less how to enter the competitive marketplace and get in front of your customers. After all, Etsy is currently the top global eCommerce marketplace for creative, handcrafted and artisan products. It boasts an estimated 60 million active shoppers and over 3 million sellers using the platform worldwide.

But don’t worry, we are here to help. We're answering 3 of your biggest questions on how to start an Etsy shop: what do you need to get started, how much it costs, and how to optimize your shop to stand out.

Image source: Etsy, 2020

How to Start an Etsy Shop: What Do I Need? 

Etsy does a great job of walking you through each step of the Shop creation process. To break it down simply, listed below are 5 of the most important things to be prepared with as you learn how to start an Etsy shop. 

  1. Account. First things first! If you haven’t already, sign up for a free account on You can also click on the “Open Your Etsy Shop” button on the Etsy website to get started immediately.
  2. Shop Name. It is best to think ahead and have your shop name ready before opening, because you can only change it once later on. Choose a name that is easy to pronounce and reflects your products or mission. You might want to do additional research ahead of time like checking domain names or social media handles to match your business name. Note: Your shop name cannot be longer than 20 characters and cannot contain spaces or punctuation.
  3. Products. You’ll need to have at least one item ready to list as you make your way through the checklist to start an Etsy store. Etsy recommends having 10 solid products to start out with, and further suggests having 5-10 high quality photos of each item that show variation and detail of your product for customers to view. We’ll talk more about optimizing these listings later on.
  4. Bank Account and Credit Card Information. Etsy will ask you for the bank account that you will want funds delivered to as you make sales. Furthermore, you’ll need a credit card on file that will be charged for Etsy’s selling fees.
  5. Branding. The last thing you’ll want to have ready for when you start an Etsy page is a professional-looking brand that includes a logo, profile photo, and banner image. First impressions are huge, and as a new shop joining over 3 million sellers, you will want to stand out from the competition with quality visuals. We’ll discuss this further down below as well.

How to Start an Etsy Shop: How Much Does it Cost?

While it is free to create an account and start an Etsy store, there are certain selling fees that Etsy requires of business owners who choose to use their platform. Let’s break it down to the most important fees.

  1. Etsy Listing fee: $.20
    It costs 20 cents to post one “listing” in your Etsy shop, which expires after 4 months, or whenever it sells.
    For example: If you post one listing of an amber necklace with a quantity of 10, you will be charged $0.20. If none of the items sell in 4 months, then you will be charged an additional $0.20 to renew the listing. When a customer purchases a necklace, the listing fee applies since you have made a sale and now need to “list” again for the remaining items. Essentially, this more or less breaks down to being $0.20 per item that you sell. So if a customer bought 3 necklaces in one transaction, the cost to you would be $.60.
  1. Etsy Transaction fee
    Etsy charges sellers a 5% transaction fee for each order. The 5% is applied to the total price you charge your customer, which includes shipping, gift wrapping, and customization. For example, if you sell a $10 item with free shipping and the customer purchases gift wrapping for $3, Etsy will take 5% of $13 for a total transaction fee of $0.65.
  1. Etsy Payment Processing fee
    Etsy sellers in the U.S. can accept payment straight through the site with what is called “Etsy Payments,” or they can accept payment through Paypal. With Etsy Payments, the processing fee is 3% plus $0.25 for each transaction, and with Paypal it is 2.9% plus $.30 for each transaction.

Let’s recap quickly and break this down into a real-life example to understand the fees associated with one listing. Suppose you are selling a t-shirt for $22 and charge $3 for shipping. The fees for this listing would be as follows: 

  • $0.20 to list the shirt in your shop
  • 5% of the sale (the item price + shipping cost) =  $1.25
  • 3% plus $.25 if they paid with Etsy Payments = $1.00

Total Etsy fees for your t-shirt listing: $2.45

If you have your listings set to auto-renew, you would then be charged another $0.20 to list the t-shirt again, and the process repeats itself.

How To Start an Etsy Shop: How Do I Optimize My Shop to Stand Out? 

Now that you’ve learned the basics of how to start an Etsy shop, let’s focus on the next important steps: optimizing your shop to get it ready to be seen and loved by customers. Here are some key tips that will help your Etsy shop earn reliability, and gain traction. 

  1. Fill out every section of your bio and shop information. From your new shop storefront page, click “Edit Shop” and make sure to complete every section. Add a profile photo, shop owner bio, and About Me section. You can even upload some photos and videos to have a more personal introduction or show behind the scenes. When customers visit your shop, they should be able to quickly learn the basics about what you sell, who you are, and why you stand out from the competition.
  1. Set up your Shop Policies. This is beneath the About section, and it includes important information like your shipping details, refunds and cancelations, and privacy policy. Make sure there’s clear communication so that customers understand the expectations when they purchase from you. This is where you might also want the help of an attorney to draft a professional privacy policy for you. Etsy has some helpful tips on how to write a privacy policy that meets GDPR standards, if you are planning on selling to the UK.
  2. Have professional branding across your shop. From the banner image to the packaging and business cards, your brand matters. Having a consistent logo, tagline, color scheme, and/or graphics across your shop can have a profound impact on the way people identify with your brand. Many shops don’t take advantage of the free “real estate” that is the banner image of the shop. This is a great place to “wow” potential customers with your brand aesthetic. If you’re struggling with the design process, contact us today for our professional branding and design services. 
  1. Start out with as many listings as possible. You’re only required to post one listing when you first start an Etsy page. However, it is a good strategy to have as many listings as possible ready for your customers when you open. Etsy recommends 10, but you can start with as many as you want. Not only does it help you look legitimate about what you have to offer as a brand new seller, but it also highly increases the likelihood that customers will click around your shop and be interested in other listings while they’re shopping. 
  1. Be consistent with new listings. To piggyback off tip #4, it is vital that you are regularly updating your shop with new listings. This will draw new traffic to your shop, help boost your search results, and increase your chances of being found by shoppers. In our research, we have found that generally it is a good rule of thumb to try to reach around 100 listings. Of course there are exceptions, especially if you sell more high-ticket or custom goods, like this shop’s handmade pikler triangles, for example.
  1. Purchase professional mockups to display your items. Another great way to stand out from the competition is to use professional mockup photos for your shop items. This is ideal for shops that are selling digital items, t-shirts, mugs, and other print-on-demand products that they will want to show off professionally. See this example of a digital painting, where the mockups show what it would look like hanging in a home. You can search on Etsy or sites like to find mockups that fit your brand and aesthetic. Most of the time they come with easy instructions on how to use them. 
  1. Have clear and comprehensive listing descriptions. What is included in your listing? What will the client receive? Is it a physical item, a digital download, and is it framed, or packaged, or does it come in a set? Make sure that it is abundantly clear within the first few sentences of the listing exactly what your customer is purchasing. From there, add more helpful details you think will be valuable. This includes tips like how to download a digital file, what kind of t-shirt fabric and sizing to expect, or how to care for the product. Finally, add a personal touch in your description that connects you with your ideal client. This could be a short sentence on why the product is important to you, or what went into the work behind the item. Once you’ve grabbed someone’s attention with a great listing photo (tip #6), this is the next most important piece to encouraging more sales.
  1. Connect your social media accounts and share across your platforms. Go to Shop Manager > Marketing > Social Media to connect your Meta, Instagram, Pinterest, and X accounts. From that page, you’ll now be able to quickly and easily share new listings, sales and coupons, and even fun shop milestones. Think about more ways you can be engaging with your ideal customers and link to your shop from your social media platforms. 
  1. Run sales and promotions and advertise across your shop. Also under the Marketing settings is an option to offer coupons or sales. This is a great way to welcome your customers to your brand new shop. You can easily set up a “GrandOpening” coupon code to kickstart your launch. Let everyone know about your sale in the “Announcements” section of your store front (you can find that when by viewing your storefront and clicking Edit Shop). Other ideas: place the coupon code in the banner image, add it into your listing descriptions, and promote it across your social media. As a brand new shop entering a big marketplace, you have nothing to lose by offering an initial discount to encourage new shoppers to purchase from you. 

That’s It!

We’ve covered all the basics on how to start an Etsy shop. If you follow the advice here, you will be well on your way to launching a professional-looking, credible Etsy storefront.

If you’re still feeling intimidated and would like professional help from an SEM Agency on getting your Etsy shop branded and optimized, work with a team you can trust! Summit Digital Marketing offers industry-leading SEO services as well as various PPC advertising management services for anyone looking to advance their business and brand beyond Etsy. Get a FREE proposal today! 

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