This article is part of my “How to Make Planner Stickers to Sell on Etsy” guide.
If you’ve been following along with this guide, you are probably getting ready to finally open your Etsy sticker shop. Rather than covering the nitty-gritty, step-by-step details involved in this process, I am going to be discussing some of the most important aspects of opening and running an Etsy shop, specifically as they relate to planner stickers.
Don’t worry though; I’m not just going to leave you hanging if you are looking for a detailed step-by-step guide.
You might be happy to learn that Etsy’s official website already has an excellent, in-depth beginner’s guide to help people get started opening and managing their stores. Etsy also has a Seller Handbook filled with articles covering a wide variety of topics, such as “getting found”, “branding and marketing”, “growth strategies”, and more! I highly recommend browsing these articles for additional education and content.
Choosing a Name
The first thing you will need to do when opening an Etsy sticker shop is choose a name for your store. Within the planner community, it is very common for shop names to include the owners real name, or append the word “Co” or ”Company” to the end. This is just an observation, not a rule, so feel free to be as creative as you’d like with your name! All shop names need to be unique across the site, so it is possible that your desired name may already be taken.
As a side note, you should be aware that in the United States you are free to use the term Company/Co in your business name, however you are NOT allowed to use a name that includes “Inc”, “Incorporated”, or “LLC”, unless your business is actually an incorporated or LLC organization.
Once you create your shop, the URL for your store will be yourstorename.etsy.com. For example, my store name is NElizabethMultimedia, and my url is nelizabethmultimedia.etsy.com.
Uploading a Shop Icon and Banner
Your shop icon is essentially your shop’s profile picture. Typically you will want to you use your store’s logo for the shop icon, assuming it is legible within the size limitations. If your logo does not fit nicely within the square or is difficult to read at the small size, it may be a good idea to create a simplified version of your logo that is consistent with your brand.
The shop banner is optional, but is a great way to showcase your products and establish a stronger sense of branding. Be sure to use a high quality graphics for the banner to prevent pixilation and maintain a professional appearance.
The shop announcement is a text area on your store’s homepage. Due to the high visibility, this is a great place to tell customers some basic information about your shop; such as whether you are ready-to-ship vs made-to-order, your standard shipping times, upcoming vacations/closings, and active coupon codes.
As a new shop owner, you will want to define a new shipping profile before you begin creating all of your listings. Although it is possible to define the shipping settings individually for each product, you will most likely want each sheet of stickers to use the same settings. By linking the same shipping profile to each listing, you maintain consistency, as well as the ability to update the information in the profile instead of needing to manually update all of your listings when something changes.
This profile is where you will specify your shop’s processing time. If you are new to selling planner stickers on Etsy, I recommend starting with the 3-5 day processing time option unless you are certain you will be able to consistently fulfill your orders more quickly. This length of time is generally long enough that if you unexpectedly ran out of sticker paper, ink/toner, or other raw supplies, you would be able to purchase replacements online and have them delivered with express shipping if required. This processing time also gives you a little flexibility if anything were to suddenly happen in your personal life requiring you to take a few days off.
Most people would rather be pleasantly surprised that their package shipped much earlier than expected, than annoyed that it took longer than specified.
Listing your Products
Although having a social media presence helps, I can almost guarantee you that most of your traffic will come from people searching for products within Etsy. Thus, the quality and setup of your listings are very important to the visibility and ultimate success of your shop.
To create successful listings, you will want to make sure you have at least 1 high quality image for each product; however, the more images that showcase your product, the better. At a minimum, your image should clearly display the entire sheet of stickers so that customers can see exactly what they will be purchasing. Ideally, each listing should also have an image that displays how your stickers can be used in a planner. Customers will be more likely to buy your stickers if they are able to visualize the product in their own planner, so these types of images can be extremely effective.
Next, you will want to make sure the listing description contains all the vital information about your product. I generally include a brief description of the product, the total number of stickers per sheet, the number of sheets that they will be receiving, and the dimensions of each sheet. This will ensure there is no confusion on the customer’s end.
Etsy listings allow for the ability to add variations. If you will be offering your stickers in different colors or materials (such as matte vs glossy), you should utilize this feature.
Lastly, and most importantly, you will want to add tags to your listings. Each tag is a single word or set of words that describe your product. If a customer searches for a keyword that happens to be one of your tags, your listing will be in their list of results. Thus, you should always utilize all 13 tags available to you, as these tags are directly responsible for driving customers to your products.
In your Etsy stats area, you will be able to see what keywords people searched that ultimately led them to clicking on your shop and listings. As you gain more data, you may want to capitalize on this information and develop a list of your most effective tags.
Configure Tax Settings
Don’t forget to complete this step! Etsy makes it very simple to calculate and keep track of sales tax they collect from customers. It is your responsibility as the seller to report and pay the collected sales tax to the state. If you do not set this up correctly in Etsy, then you will need to manually figure out the percentage of each sale that should be counted towards sales tax. The percentage collected could even be different depending on both the customer and your state of residence, so be sure to take advantage of Etsy’s built-in sales tax collection system to save you a lot of headache later.
Planning on having a grand opening sale? If so, now would be a great time to create some coupon codes for your shop. Etsy lets you select the starting and ending date of a coupon, so you could even create these beforehand and they will automatically become active on the correct date. That being said, remember that timezones may make the starting and ending date appear confusing to the customer. I have encountered situations where customers have emailed me saying that my code was no longer working, despite still being within the designated date range. To prevent future issues, I now always extend the starting and ending date by one day, while only advertising the restricted range. This will ensure my code should work the entirety of the 24 hours of the starting/ending date advertised.
Additionally, you should be aware that you can only use each coupon code name once, so I would avoid using something too generic like “JANUARY” for the code. Instead, try to be specific enough that you know you will not want to use the code again in the future, such as “JANUARY2017”.
Billing and Payment
Finally, let’s cover some of the financial information. Here is the official Etsy page that lists out all of their fees and costs for selling.
As a rule of thumb, anything that you are required to pay in fees will be added to your Etsy bill which is due at the end of each month. In my previous article, I mentioned that it might be a good idea to apply for a new credit card to use solely for your business expenses. You will need to attach a credit card to your Etsy shop, so having a separate card also keeps peace of mind knowing everything is separated from my personal expenses. To pay your Etsy bill, you will either need to sign in to Etsy each month and authorize each payment, or simply setup automatic bill pay and your card will automatically be charged.
On the other hand, anytime that a customer purchases an item, that money will go into your payment account to be accumulated and paid out every Monday. This means that you may receive 4-5 paydays each month, while only needing to pay your Etsy bill once a month.
The method which you get paid will depend entirely upon the types of checkout options that you make available to the customer. To give your customers the greatest range of payment options, you will want to enable Direct Checkout. If I’m not mistaken, Direct Checkout will require that you link a bank account up to your Etsy account, thus receiving your weekly paydays via direct deposit. If you feel uncomfortable hooking your bank account up to Etsy, remember that it is usually free and very easy to create a new bank account that you can use solely for your business.
It can be a little overwhelming taking the leap and finally creating your Etsy shop, but hopefully this article has made the process a little less mysterious and more exciting!
In the next article, I’ll be covering some tips for promoting your stickers and Etsy business!