21 Sep 2018

How to Sell Print-on-Demand Products on Etsy

Nowadays it’s trendier than ever to shop for custom made or vintage items! Craft fairs are a weekend must-visit for the contemporary, stylish folk amongst us.

The online version of said trend is Etsy, ‘the global marketplace for unique and creative goods’.

But if you’ve always thought Etsy is just an online store for crafters and vintage sellers it’s time to revisit those preconceptions. It is in fact relatively simple to set up and sell your designs as print on demand products on Etsy!

Etsy was founded in 2005 and has grown quickly to having 1.75 million sellers and 28.6 million buyers- but why?

Etsy connects artists with customers around the world, the focus of the platform is selling unique products that aren’t available in big-name retail stores.

Amongst the handmade gifts and vintage items, there’s plenty of room for print-on-demand products. Here’s why:

  • People are shopping for unique designs- check!
  • Quick and easy shipping- check!
  • A good range of products- check!

In this article, we’ll walk you through the whole process of selling print-on-demand products on Etsy and cover how to make it work for your products!

Why Etsy?

In 2013, they expanded their definition of ‘handmade’ and started allowing sellers to offer products made by outside manufacturers, with a few of T&C’s of course:

  • The outside manufacturer must meet Etsy’s standards.
  • Sellers must create the designs for their products.
  • Sellers need to prove their involvement in the creative process.
  • Sellers must be transparent about their products and how they’re made.

These T&C’s shouldn’t stop any legit print on demand merchants, because any proof Etsy needs on the authenticity of your designs- you should already have! (And let’s face it, it’s in your best interests!)

Etsy makes positive steps to ensure all the products sold on their platform are authentic, so nothing is copied or mass produced. Providing proof of your involvement in your designs just helps to combat anyone else being able to take them.

Setting up an Etsy store is free, and there are no monthly or memberships costs (there are fees for creating and updating listings, but we’ll get into that later on!)

Selling on Etsy gives you access to a new audience, all of whom are already looking for unique, custom products!

One of the biggest reasons to choose Etsy is that you can sometimes get away with selling at a higher price point. Etsy customers can reasonably expect to pay a bit more, because they’re already shopping for a custom or handmade item.

How to Etsy?

The very first thing you need to do is register and Etsy account, once you’re set up, you’re able to sell pretty much straight away!

Visit etsy.com and click to sign up.

You’ll be asked for your personal details, and to setup your email and password. Your profile will then be created.

You’ll then be given the option to upload a profile picture, add your location and an ‘about me’ blurb.

Voila! Your profile is created!

So that’s your Etsy account made, now you just need to get your shop up an running.

Firstly, you need to name your store, it’s best to keep it on brand with your Shopify store to stay recognisable.

Then to get going, upload one product (you can delete this later, you just need at least one item in your store to be able to connect your Shopify account).

Adding a product requires details about the product, shipping and pricing.

Then add your billing information, so you can accept payments.

Once you have set up ‘how you will get paid’, your shop is open!

Next, we’ll move on to how to connect your Shopify store to Etsy so you export all of your products to your Etsy store.

Etsify

Whilst Kite.ly doesn’t integrate with Etsy directly- there is a simple work around. Just use Kite to add all of your POD products to Shopify (as normal) and then to sell on Etsy, you need to download Etsify.

Etsify is a plugin for Shopify that links both of your stores together, available in the app store.

The joy of connecting your Shopify store to your Etsy store is that it’s completely collaborative, once you install the app you will be redirected to Etsify where you can create your account.

Etsy and Etsify require you to authenticate your email address and also create a ‘two-factor’ authentication in order to keep your account secure (Etsy is very security conscious which is not a bad thing!)

Once Etsify is connected to your Shopify Store you literally just have to press ‘Export’ and the app does the rest!

The app requires a one off payment of $69 (approx £53) and you can test out five products before you’re charged.

Once you have the full version of the app, you’ren’t limited, you can upload as many products as you want.

A massive bonus when it comes to using Etsify is you can export all your product information, such as product photos, descriptions, tags, reviews and categories.

Etsify allows you to integrate with Etsy easily and quickly- Ideal if you already have a large number of products in your Shopify store.

Etsy Seller Fees

Etsy listings last up to four months- or until the product is sold. Once your item is sold, Etsy takes a 5% transaction fee (per item) on the sale price plus the shipping fee you have set.

If you accept payments through Etsy Payments, another 4% is taken as a payment processing fee.

It’s well worth opting into Etsy payments because even though a little percentage more is taken, you’re making purchasing a lot easier for your customers! With Etsy payments, your buyers can pay by credit card, debit card, Etsy gift cards, apple pay and android pay.

**Note: Etsy Payments is only available in certain countries. To be eligible, you must have a credit card, bank account and a residential address in one of these countries.**

Top Tips to make Etsy work For You and Your POD Products

Like all eCommerce platforms, it can be a hard slog at first! You’ll have to work hard to get sales going and build yourself a brand.

  1. Product Photography

If we’ve told you once, we’ve told you hundreds of times, but how you present your product is going to make a huge difference to your sales!

With Etsy, you get multiple photo slots, with recommendations on how to use them. They suggest getting a photo from every angle and a zoom in shot of important details. It’s also recommended to show your product in use, show the scale of the product and present your product in a styled scene.

2. Product Descriptions

Writing good product descriptions is necessary on any eCommerce platform but is especially important on Etsy. Customers are shopping for unique items so they want accurate, informative descriptions.

You can use apps such as StepFreeDesigns to help you generate product descriptions.

3. Utilize Social Media

Sell on Etsy, but build your reputation on social media! It’s important to have presence on popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. That way you can not only lead people to your Etsy store but also start building your brand reputation.

4. Provide great customer service

You don’t necessarily have to provide anything fancy to create a good customer experience, just be clear about your shipping times, be responsive to messages and provide good quality products!

Pros & Cons of Selling on Etsy

There are many pros to selling on Etsy, but the main POD specific pro is the community feel. Because of how Etsy started, it’s a very supportive environment, with shoppers who genuinely want to support artists and designers.

So in turn, you get a friendly supportive marketplace, with customers who are generous with their reviews!

Etsy is also easy to set up, cheap to run and it’s a sleek, good looking platform.

Now to be balanced, the cons! Your Etsy listings do expire after four months if they haven’t been sold. So if your product doesn’t sell you do need to pay to renew your listing.

A few minor cons also include that you have to pay if you want to customise your store front, there is a blog platform included and Etsy owns your customers information.

Why Selling Through Multiple Channels is Essential!

More than 50% of sellers on Etsy, sell on other platforms as well, so it’s not unheard of for items on Etsy to appear on other sites.

Setting up up multiple sales channels can seem like a lot of hassle, but in reality it’s quite simple. With the likes of Etsify making it simple to export products that are already in your Shopify store to another platform, it’s almost a no brainer.

Setting up on multiple platforms can generate up to 190% more revenue than just having one. When it comes to eCommerce, it’s all a numbers game so if you’re not growing your online presence, you’re limiting your success.

Multi channel selling is said to increase buyers trust, 35% of consumers are uncomfortable buying from from merchants they haven’t heard of before. So connecting with ‘larger’ more well known platforms can help attract more buyers.

So instead of trying to lure customers to you- you’re meeting them where they already are! Multi channel selling simply allows you to reach an audience that may already be looking for your products!

SynCommerce

Marketed as ‘multi channel selling made easy!’ SynCommerce provides you with a platform to manage your online stores.

You can connect Shopify, Etsy, Ebay easily to track your inventory and have access to comprehensive and understandable reports to learn trends and performances to boost sales.

SynCommerce allows you to have multiple channel integrations, and puts you in better control, updating all your data in real time.

This is a good option if you want to integrate with Etsy and other platforms.

Conclusion

Etsy works for millions of people around the world, and there is no reason it shouldn’t work for POD sellers as well. POD products allow you as designers to easily put your unique work products that people will love- exactly what Etsy customers are looking for!

If you use the step by step guide in this article, you will be up and running with your Etsy integration.

With masses of customers browsing the platform every single day, for something unique that they can’t get in traditional stores- you can be the person that provides that product.

Once you’re up and running with Etsy, check out our guides on how to sell through Pinterest and Facebook to become the ultimate online seller!

Set up print-on-demand merchandise with the Kite Shopify App and then add them to Etsy - super simple

Shopify Merch Plugin