Etsy Success: How Etsy Sellers Make It Big

Etsy – the unique market for one-off, handmade and crafting products. At least, that’s how Etsy started life.

Over the years, it has become only slightly distinguishable from any major online marketplace. Scroll through the search results pages and you’ll see items that don’t fit the original bill. Recent additions like Etsy Offsite Ads show how this uniqueness is fading. Etsy has become yet another commercial giant.

But what a giant. In 2012, Etsy boasted over 9 million users, with 830,000 sellers. That’s about 10 customers per seller if shared equally. Of course, those with Etsy marketing knowhow get the lion’s share.

By 2018, nearly 40 million users bought quirky one-offs from just over 2 million sellers. While seller numbers doubled, buyers quadrupled. Great news for eCommerce.

Last year, in the midst of a global pandemic, over 4 million sellers competed for a record 80 million users. Etsy’s gross merchandise sales for 2020 was $10.3 billion.

What about sellers? A very low percentage are in it for the long-term. Only 13% had been on Etsy for more than 4 years in 2016, even though the majority managed their eCommerce activities from home. While over three quarters of sellers consider their shop to be a business, they don’t tend to last.


Lots of reasons. Some blame the expansion of permitted Etsy products that allow less unique items to be sold on this platform and hike the competition. Others can’t keep up with the Etsy search engine algorithm that is known to be high on personalisation and complex to manage. 

Yet Etsy offers huge opportunities for those willing to stick it out and maneuver through complicated Etsy-biased marketing strategies. The fact that this marketplace offers a highly-targeted audience that any seller can access simply by opening an attractive store is enough of a reason to sign up. But be warned … Etsy success requires hard work.

So what makes a successful career on this popular platform?

  1. Know Your Target

According to the Etsy website, most buyers treat themselves by buying gifts; nearly 25% want personalised or customised items. While most buyers are from the US, the site has enjoyed a 145% sales increase over the past year with a strong UK public. As Brexit has pushed Europe to UK delivery charges through the roof, British customers are willing to look further afield. 

Buyers might primarily be women, but Etsy caters for its male clientele, too. So there’s no reason to sell to one gender.

  1. Free Shipping

Charge higher than average shipping on Etsy, andyou will lose at least half of your potential buyers. All sellers up the retail price to cover this loss in shipping charges; this is one area where transparency doesn’t cut it. Either keep your shipping costs low or don’t charge any at all.

  1. Visually Unique

Scroll through Etsy search result pages for items similar to your own and you will see how important images are. Your target audience appreciates the aesthetics of your offerings;how you present your items is almost half the battle. Etsy search results give very limited information – about 36 characters of your item description, your star rating and review numbers, the price, your shop name, and perhaps an ‘only 1 available’ line. Bestsellers have an additional badge that holds a lot of sway. With such limited text, an attractive image is essential.

  1. Multi-channel Presence

You cannot achieve great Etsy success unless you advertise outside the platform. Whether you choose to take advantage of Etsy Offsite Ads or use less specific marketing knowledge and redirect traffic from a well-curated website, ignoring other channels is a huge mistake. Every successful Etsy seller uses social media, influencers, blogs, vlogs, informative content, backlinks and online partnerships to direct more visitors to their store. Although Etsy traffic is huge, your own sources have more impact. 

A website is obligatory. This gives you space to show your public who you are. It displays your logo, gives you the means to rise in the Google SERPs (that remain the number one traffic strategy for any serious online business). Any visitor to your website can be redirected to the product that interests them most – a highly-targeted individual that is more likely to convert. 

Getting visitors to land on your website is easier than getting outsiders to visit your Etsy store. This means SEO, relevant and unique content, and popularity count. One way toward rapid SEO results is the implementation of an advanced automated traffic bot – not any automated bot software, but an advanced automated bot generator that outfoxes the Google algorithm. Or you can buy Google clicks instead.

  1. Etsy Algorithm Knowhow

Naturally, you also need to focus on Etsy marketing to drive Etsy-derived traffic to your store. While this used to be a relatively simple affair, the Etsy search algorithm has become a source of frustration for many sellers. Check the forums and count the complaints from early successes who now have trouble making a single sale thanks to their inability to navigate the Etsy algorithm.

The Etsy search feature is highly personalised and – like Google – a vicious circle of popularity versus ranking. If you’re not popular, you don’t rank; if you don’t rank, you can’t become popular. 

It’s often best to leave Etsy marketing to the experts. The Etsy rank checker from the world’s first Etsy marketing specialist – Etsy Geeks – helps sellers rank high; they even offer a money back guarantee should they fail to get your items listed in the top ten. 

Etsy Success – A Winding Road to an eCommerce Rainbow

Making money on Etsy isn’t child’s play, but it does pay. Expanding your online presence and unravelling the mysteries of the Etsy algorithm take time and energy, yet this still a unique and targeted marketplace – one of the better places to host your online store.