How to sell on Etsy UK: The Ultimate Beginners Guide 2020

How to sell on Etsy UK: The Ultimate Beginners Guide 2020

As more and more people struggle to make ends meet due to the global pandemic, they are looking at alternative strategies to earn some extra cash and be more independent. This guide will teach you everything you need to getting started on selling your own crafts and handmade items on the biggest e-commerce platform for makers of all types. Simply put, how to sell on Etsy UK.

Whichever items you are planning to sell, it will require careful planning, research (you want to know if there is a market for your items!). You will need to work out how to price your items, calculate your delivery costs and factor in Etsys’ fees. You can use the free UK Etsy Fee Calculator on this website here.

This guide will help get you started, containing all the essential information you need to know for selling on Etsy UK.

What’s in the guide?

What do I sell on Etsy?

There are thousands of makers and products on Etsy everyday. All offering something unique. However it is important to note that your item needs to fall into 1 of 3 categories.

  • Handmade goods. These are items that you’ve made or designed yourself. Examples like jewellery, clothing, accessories, homewares, pet supplies and kids’ toys are popular.
  • Vintage items. These are items that are at least 20 years old. For example vintage artworks, collectibles, clothing, jewellery, records or books.
  • Craft supplies. Etsy’s terms and conditions describe craft supplies as “tools, ingredients, or materials whose primary purpose is for use in the creation of an item or special occasion. Craft supplies may be handmade, commercial, or vintage.” So this includes things like jewellery making and beading kits, sewing and knitting supplies and visual arts products.

You need to be aware which category your items fall into. This will help you start correctly when listing, researching competition and target audience. While you might think you item is excellent (so you should!) if there is no audience for the product then you wont make sales.

What does it cost to sell on Etsy?

It is completely free to sign up to sell on Etsy but there are a few fees you need to take into account when calculating profit. Etsy is notoriously for its difficult fee structure. But don’t worry! We explain it below and have the best up to date calculator on the web right here.

Fee typeAmountExplanation
Listing feeUS$0.20 (£0.16)Listing fees are in USD, so there will be variations based on current exchange rates. You’ll pay this fee regardless of whether the item sells. If your item doesn’t sell after four months, you’ll need to pay the $0.20(£0.16) to list it again.
Shipping transaction fee5% of the listed shipping costIf you choose to charge shipping fees, Etsy collects 5% of this. The best way to avoid this is to factor postage into your price and simply advertise as “free shipping”.
Transaction fee5%This is 5% of the sale price plus delivery and will be in whatever currency your listing is in. If this is a different currency to your payment account, it’ll be converted at the mid-market rate with no margin or fees added on.
Etsy Payments processing fee£0.25 + 3% (for domestic orders) or 4% (for international orders)Etsy Payments is the main way for you to accept payments through Etsy. If you don’t use Etsy Payments, your options include accepting payment by mail or arranging a different payment method directly with the buyer.
Listing currency conversion fee2.50%If you’re listing your items in a foreign currency, Etsy charges you a fee to convert it. You can reduce this fee dramatically which we will cover further in the article.

You can also subscribe and purchase a package. These are for the more professional seller and offers a range of customisation options for your seller page. You will have bonus listings and some advertising credit along with a host of other tools at your disposal. It costs $10 (Approx. £8) per month. If you do opt for this service make sure you are covering this additional cost with your sales revenue!

Is it worth selling on Etsy? Are there alternatives?

Selling your items on Etsy can be an amazing additional income and if there is demand for your item, become a successful business one day! But like all business’s, there are many factors which will dictate whether you are successful or not.

Reducing this risk at the beginning will give you an excellent start and mitigate common pitfalls along the way.

  1. Research your market! I can’t stress this enough. Being excited about making your product is great but what if you went ahead, made loads only to find no one is buying it? Your stuck with your stock, having used precious money and time. Look at others selling similar products. Don’t get put off if you see something similar. There is bound to be someone as competition but find what makes your item unique.
  2. High quality photos and listing. Your photos are the first thing a potential customer will look at. Meaning they have to be professional and enticing. There should be no grain or poor lighting. A high quality phone camera will suffice at the beginning but make sure there is excellent natural light. A lot of sellers photograph outside!
  3. Optimising your listings and shop. Just like a webpage being ranked on Google; when someone searches a specific keyword on Etsy those sellers who are writing descriptive, accurate listing with good keyword usage will be found first. Use Etsy’s built in analytical tools to aid in making sure your using popular and niche searches to be found for your items.
  4. Advertising and promoting your shop. You will need to use social media channels to promote your items. Facebook and Instagram being the most popular. You can also use paid advertising if you want to and create money off vouchers, discount codes and competitions for your followers!

Check out the Etsy Seller Handbook for a great guide to individual tasks to make your shop stand out.

There are alternative platforms to sell your items. This depends greatly on your product. Etsy is best for handmade items. Amazon Handmade is also another platform but the entry is more difficult for beginners. If you are selling vintage books or items you can also look at eBay to make sure you are getting the best prices for your items.

How to start selling on Etsy

Follow these basic steps to get started selling on Etsy!

  • Create an Etsy account by clicking the sign in tab on the top right of the website. There you will see a black register icon. Provide an email address and new password as well your first name and your done! You will be sent an email to verify with a clickable link. Easy!
How to get started selling on Etsy UK 2020
  • Next is to add information to your public profile. You can tell others about yourself and your shop. To add information to your profile, log into your account and find the “Public profile” link under the “Account settings” menu. Type your bio and add a profile picture, and remember to click “Save changes” before exiting!
  • Open up your shop time! Click the “Sell on Etsy” link at the top right of the homepage. Then click “Open your Etsy Shop”. You need to fill in some details here including what language you use, what country you are in and the currency you want to use. After this you can select your shop name. Remember to use a shop name that is memorable, easy to pronounce and fits to the type of items you are selling!
  • Stock your shop and sell! Its time to create listings for your items and select how you want to be paid. Check out our article coming soon which helps you to create the best listing to increase sales!

How to price your items

There are two main things to think about when pricing items on Etsy: what you think is a reasonable profit margin on each item you sell and how much you think buyers would be willing to pay. It is sometimes difficult to strike a balance between these two points but this will come with time being a seller, thorough research into your audience and as you get used to the income and expenditure of your business.

You’ll need to do the following:

  • Add up all your costs. This means calculating the total cost of your materials, labour, time and overhead expenses in producing your items. You should also factor in any advertisement costs, an 10 percent unexpected cost and mileage if self employed. Don’t forget to factor in Etsy’s listing, transaction and processing fees. Once again you can use our calculator here to help you make sure your staying in profit! Remember that after all these costs you still need to make a return that you deem as worthwhile. But you also have to make sure that it is scale-able in case you see an increase in demand!
  • Consider your customers. You need to think about your target customer and how much they’re willing to pay. Research similar products on Etsy to find out how much other sellers are charging, and gauge the response from buyers to your proposed prices. Also think about if you were a customer purchasing an item from Etsy what would you be willing to pay? Does it compare to your competition? If you way off then you may need to be more realistic with your expectations and assess your competition in greater detail.

Unfortunately there is no other way but trial and error. If you push forward and don’t get disheartened you will soon find a balance.

What types of payments do Etsy accept in the UK?

Payments are handled through the Etsy Payments system. What this means is that buyers can pay you in their local currency without the headache of exchange rates and other difficulties. To do this properly Etsy has partnered with an array of payment companies including:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • Etsy gift cards
  • Klarna invoice payments (for buyers from Germany)
  • iDEAL (for buyers from the Netherlands)
  • Sofort (for buyers from Austria and Germany)

You also have the option to accept payment by mail or to arrange another payment method with the buyer but this is rare and comes with its own set of problems. It is best to use the built in Etsy payment system.

Funds from your sales are then deposited into your account in your local currency. You can choose from daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly deposit schedules, and request additional deposits at any time.

Getting paid internationally

If you choose to make it so your shop accepts currencies other than Pound sterling, you’ll need to find a cost-effective way to convert your profits into GBP. If you chose to accept a bank transfer, while simpler, it means getting a poor exchange rate and a high transaction fee losing you money twice.

There are now online money transfer websites who are growing in popularity and offer fast transfers with minimal fees. By using one of these you can open a multi-currency account making you able to send and receive payments in a wide range of currencies. You will also get a far better exchange rate and this means more profit!

One such company is UK based TransferWise. It is a user friendly service that tries its best to save you money on fees when transferring.

Postage and Packaging

Congratulations you sold an item! Now you need to prep and ship that item to your customer. You need to find a service which is reasonably priced but has an excellent track record at delivering parcels on time and without damage.

Make sure to research your weight, size of parcel, cost of packaging materials, whether you will provide express shipping and what level. For example if you post with the most common UK service Royal Mail they are able to offer delivery worldwide.

  • Guaranteed
  • Track and Trace
  • Special Delivery
  • Standard 1st Class/ Signed For
  • Economy 2nd Class/ Signed For

Like eBay, Etsy has a built in postage system allowing you to post and print directly in your shop. This helps to streamline when you have multiple orders to ship.

Reaching your audience

Etsy offers several tools to help you promote and market your products. Some of these tools come at an additional cost however:

  • Promoted Listings allow you to advertise your products in certain Etsy search results
  • Google Shopping lets you promote your products in Google search results

However, you can also market your products using a range of free tools and promotional strategies, such as the following:

  • Social media posts
  • Run sales, like free shipping or discounts
  • Create discount coupons
  • Create or join a fair or market event through Etsy Local
  • Join an Etsy Team to connect with other members who live in the same area, sell similar products or share similar interests to you. This is a great way to meet others like yourself and share ideas, growing together as a community! There is one here in Manchester, UK for example.

Pros and cons of Etsy

While the pros of selling on Etsy have been covered the cons have not.

Its important to note that only a specific set of items can be listed as previously mentioned. If you think your product will not meet that criteria then perhaps think about using another e-commerce platform to sell.

Etsy fees are notoriously difficult to work out when exchanging to another currency and if not calculated properly can cause unwanted surprises when an item sells. Use the calculator on this website to make sure you are making enough profit!

Etsy has grown to be truly massive. This means the competition is fierce with millions of other sellers. Chance are there are many with a similar item to yours. Don’t be disheartened. Make yours unique and follow the advice here to start beating the competition.