How to Sell on Etsy UK: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

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Maybe you’re a shopper looking for a unique gift for a friend – one that’s not from a retail store. Maybe you’re an artist looking to make some money selling your creations online.   

Either way, Etsy UK is probably one of your go-to platforms. 

Etsy UK is an online marketplace where crafters, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other creatives can list and sell their wares. However, like any online marketplace, it’s a competitive landscape – one that comes with a unique set of rules and best-practices. 

In this article, we’ll dive deep into how UK sellers can leverage Etsy UK, including strategies for setting up a shop, attracting UK buyers, and standing out on the ecommerce platform. 

What can I sell on Etsy?

Etsy is designed for selling artistic, vintage, creative, and/or handmade products. Some of the most popular product categories include:

  • Jewelry and accessories
  • Craft supplies
  • Clothing
  • Home decor
  • Toys
  • Collectibles 

For more specific information on what items Etsy allows, you can read their policies here

While almost anything can be sold on Etsy, the platforms does prohibit the following items:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, drug paraphernalia, medical drugs and devices, and items making medical claims
  • Animal products
  • Dangerous items or hazardous materials
  • Recalled items
  • Weapons
  • Hate items
  • Illegal items or items promoting illegal activity
  • Highly regulated items
  • Internationally regulated items
  • Nudity and mature content
  • Items that promote, support, or glorify violence

For more information on prohibited product categories, you can read their policy here

Setting up an Etsy Shop for UK Sellers in 4 steps

Even if you’re already started a business in the UK, you may never have sold on Etsy before. If so, you will first need to create a shop on the platform. 

Here are 4 steps to help you open your Etsy shop.

1. Registering for an Etsy seller account in the UK

First, you’ll need to create an Etsy account – or, if you already have one, sign into it. 

From there, go to visit Etsy.com/uk/sell and click the “Get started” button.

You’ll then be prompted to answer Answer a few questions about where you’ve resided, your business experience, and if you’d like to receive additional selling resources.

Once you answer these questions, select your shop language, your shop’s location (the country out of which you are doing business), and the currency you’d like to sell in. Click “save and continue.”

Finally, you must decide on a shop name (as long as it complies with Etsy’s naming conventions). Once you’ve typed it in, click “save and continue” again. 

Note: While Etsy doesn’t require sellers to have a business license, you must follow UK laws that apply to small businesses selling items online.

2. Setting up your payment options on Etsy UK

Your store exists – but buyers can’t make their purchases until you have set up a way to get paid. 

The simplest way to get paid on Etsy is through Etsy Payments. This involves connecting your bank account to your Etsy shop, as well as adding a debit or credit card so that you can pay Etsy commission and fees. 

To set this up, go to the “How you’ll get paid” page of your account and add your banking and debit/credit card information. If your bank is in the UK, put “UK” under the question “Where is your bank located?”. You will need to verify your bank details, so be sure to build in some time to complete this process.

You will also need to decide on your shop’s policies. Determine your rules on shipping, returns, exchanges, and payment methods, as well as any other unique 

3. Creating your first listings

With your billing set up, it’s time to add your products

Etsy’s newest, streamlined listing process directs you to go to “Shop Manager”, select “Listings”, and click “Add a listing”. You must then fill in your product’s information, including:

  • Title
  • Photos or videos
  • Digital files
  • Description
  • Customisation options
  • Price
  • Quantity
  • SKU
  • Variations
  • Details such as category, tags, attributed, and materials

Once you’re done, click “Save as Draft” to save the listing without it going live, or click “Publish” to push it live to your store.

You can also use the Etsy Seller app to manage orders and Etsy listings and respond to buyers in real-time.

4. Customise your storefront

Under the ‘Shop manager’ section, you can customise how your store’s page will appear to shoppers. You can:

  • Add a variety of banners (shop banner and order receipt banners), shop icons, and shop owner’s photo.
  • Write and share a welcome message and “About” section for your store.
  • Introduce any additional members of your team.
  • Share shop policies on shipping and returns, payments, and more. 
  • Rearrange products to attract customers and encourage browsing. 

Once you’re happy with how your store looks, click ‘open your shop’ to push it live to shoppers.

Optimising your Etsy shop for UK buyers

Etsy is a global platform – but if you’re selling to customers in the UK, there are a few strategies you can leverage to make sure your target audience can easily find and purchase your products. 

Here are some ways UK sellers can optimise their shops for their regional UK market.

Preferences and expectations of UK buyers

Shoppers in the UK have their own preferences and expectations of product offerings, pricing, and shipping options. Stay up-to-date on consumer trends to connect with your target demographic and better meet customer demand.

Localising your shop and listings

Details matter to consumers, so it’s important to optimise the user experience for UK buyers at every turn. Use British English in your storefront messaging, from the descriptions to titles, and set prices in GBP or Euros (rather than in USD) to make the purchasing process more intuitive for UK customers. 

Leveraging Etsy’s search algorithm and SEO best practices

Your target shopper cohorts have very specific preferences when it comes to products. To ensure that your shop is prominently visible in search results for relevant UK-based queries, you must work on search engine optimisation (SEO) for Etsy and Google. The right keywords and products together will help improve your sales to UK buyers. 

9 tips and best practices to set your shop apart 

Whether it’s your main business or a side hustle, you want your Etsy shop to attract customers. But with so many other sellers on the platform, you’ll want to use these strategies to help your brand stand out from shops selling similar products.

Pricing tips

Research your competition

It never hurts to know what you are up against. Identify popular Etsy stores that are in your same product or category space, and periodically check your competition’s product lines, prices, and policies to see how they compare to yours. 

If you see a certain strategy working for their store, consider implementing it in yours as well. This will help you keep your brand relevant, even if competition is steep. 

Factor in all costs

When you prepare and price your listings, do not forget to account for all the costs you incur.  incurred by you in the unit price. This includes the cost of customisation, delivery, assembly, and more. 

When you know the total investment each product requires, you can price your products as competitively as possible without accidentally losing money. Plus, by including costs in the price for the customer up front, you avoid springing hidden fees on them later on. 

Test and adjust

If your products are unique, you may not have a pricing benchmark. In that case, base your initial product prices on the closest comparable product, and any other relevant research you’ve conducted.

If it sells quickly, see if there is merit in increasing the prices. If it doesn’t, reduce the price and see if the sales improve. Keep adjusting the pricing periodically until you find the ideal price. However, be sure not to fluctuate the prices too often, as it could annoy or anger your regular customers.

Product description tips

Be descriptive

A well-written listing is more likely to convert visitors than a poorly-written one. While your listing doesn’t have to be long or eloquent, make sure to thoroughly describe the product so that no feature is left ambiguous. This will also help set customer expectations before purchase.

Use keywords

You could write a beautiful product description – but if it doesn’t show up on visitors’ feeds, no one  will notice it. For that reason, as you’re writing your product listings and descriptions, it’s very important to research SEO keywords and include them in your listing copy. These keywords will make your listing more visible to potential shoppers, which may help boost conversions. 

Use high-quality images

Because customers cannot physically see the products they are considering purchasing, it’s critical to provide them with flattering product photos. These photos should be taken in good lighting with aesthetic surroundings, include multiple angles of each item, and present in high-resolution.

Shipping option tips

Choosing the right shipping solutions

When same-day or next-day delivery is the industry standard, it is important that you work with the right partners to ensure swift parcel delivery. Partnering with a third-party logistics company can help you secure the right delivery options to deliver quick and affordable shipping.

Provide accurate shipping information

Customers expect parcels to arrive on time, at the correct address. Merchants need to make sure that the parcels are labelled properly before handing it over to courier partners, and make every effort to correct any accidental mistakes in the submitted delivery address. This helps you avoid costly reshipments, as well as delight customers.

Package products securely

If your goods are easily damaged during handling and transit, be sure to pack them with extra care. Some categories of goods tend to have packaging specifications like bubble wrap and environment-friendly paper bags.

How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?

Like most online marketplaces, Etsy charges sellers fees. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common costs when you sell on Etsy:

Listing fees$0.20 USD (~ 0.15 GBP) per listing
The listing will last for four months, provided the SKU doesn’t sell before that.
Transaction fees6.5% of order total
Payment processing fees4% + 0.20 GBP for every SKU sold using Etsy Payment
Currency conversion fees2.5% of the total sales price, if the item is listed in a currency other than that set into your Etsy shop preferences. 
Regulatory operating feeIt is 0.32% of the sale amount for UK sellers. This is used to cover the operating costs of Etsy.
UK VAT20% of all your Etsy fees.
Etsy Ads (including offsite ads) and shipping costsVariable

Apart from the basic package (Etsy Standard), Etsy Plus is the only other seller account available. You need to pay around £7.80 per month for this subscription. Once subscribed, your account will offer:

  • Free 15 listing credits
  • $5 Etsy Ads credit 
  • Discounts on delivery boxes, custom Web Address Discounts, business cards, and other printables
  • Option for shoppers to sign up for alerts when items are back in stock

If you’re experiencing sticker shock, don’t worry. There are ways to manage your costs and maximise your profits on the platform.

  • Carefully track Etsy costs over time, so there are no surprises at the end of the month.
  • Use a 3PL to help you identify cheaper courier options, which will lower your shipping fees.
  • For products with low profit margins, reduce the number of countries you ship to reduce the charges levied by Etsy.
  • List products in the same currency as it will be paid to avoid currency conversion fees.
  • Remove auto-renewal of listing, which means you can be choosy about which listing to pay for and display after each sale.

Becoming a successful Etsy shop: how to ramp up growth

Setting up your Etsy store is just the beginning. To grow your Etsy business, build up a customer base, and increase sales, you’ll need to find ways to optimise your operations. Here are a few tips and strategies to help you scale your Etsy shop to new heights. 

1. Double-down on marketing and brand awareness

Competition on Etsy will almost always be high. To stay competitive, you will need to consistently revise and improve your marketing strategy to maximise revenue while minimising costs. 

For example, your brand can maximise revenue by:   

  • Allocating more time and money to channels that generate more sales. 
  • Leveraging free shipping thresholds to attract customers and improve AOV.
  • Bolstering email marketing campaigns to keep customers loyal and engaged 

Similarly, you can lower costs by:

  • Substituting expensive ads for more creative custom acquisition methods. 
  • Using free or inexpensive social media platforms to boost brand awareness.

2. Make your online store mobile-friendly

In the age of omnichannel commerce, you want to be able to meet your customers wherever they shop. Make sure your user experience translates well to Etsy’s mobile app, so that customers browsing and purchasing using their mobile phones can have just as good of an experience as any other consumer. 

This may involve minimising text or increasing text size on product pages, shortening load times, and presenting clear navigation tools on your storefront.

3. Showcase customer reviews

When a satisfied customer compliments your brand and products, you can leverage that feedback into extremely effective marketing. Spotlight your best customer reviews prominently on your Etsy store, so that potential customers can see it while deciding whether or not to purchase. 

4. Get a logistics partner

No matter how beautifully designed your Etsy shop is, you cannot scale your business without the right fulfilment and logistics strategy. If your brand struggles to manage inventory, pick and pack orders, or deliver orders on time, it will impact the customer experience and make it difficult – if not impossible – to effectively grow your business.  

That’s why many brands selling on Etsy choose to partner with a professional 3PL like ShipBob. Depending on the 3PL, these partners can help your brand:

  • Achieve flexible inventory storage.
  • Process orders more efficiently.
  • Streamline picking and packing.
  • Gain better, real-time visibility into data across your operations.
  • Negotiate bulk discounts with major shipping couriers.

With the right logistics provider powering your day-to-day warehousing operations, your brand can save time while achieving peace of mind, knowing that orders are fulfiled quickly, cost-effectively, and accurately.  

“Fulfilment isn’t our forte, and we don’t want it to be. We want to focus on adding products and growing our online community. ShipBob is an amazing partner to our strengths.”

Sara Moradi & Amir Nizancevic, Co-Founders of iVYVERDURE

Discover how ShipBob can boost your Etsy store’s success

As a tech-enabled global fulfilment platform, ShipBob provides Etsy merchants with the best-in-class fulfilment solutions they need to scale their brands both in and beyond the UK. 

ShipBob’s software connects to your Etsy UK shop via integrations such as OrderDesk and the shipping app ShipStation, so orders placed on your Etsy UK store are automatically forwarded to ShipBob’s fulfilment teams. You can monitor order processing and fulfilment in real-time using your ShipBob dashboard, as well as access data on inventory, order, and fulfilment KPIs. 

Etsy UK merchants can also leverage ShipBob’s fulfilment centres in Manchester, Birmingham, and Swindon to achieve quick and affordable shipping within the UK. For US-bound orders, ShipBob’s dozens of strategically-placed fulfilment centres across the country enable you to store inventory locally, minimise cross-border complexities, and drastically reduce shipping times and costs. 

“For us, changing from a 3 week lead time to 3 days through ShipBob is what drove our sales. Even now, one of the primary reviews we get on Etsy is, ‘My order arrived really quickly!’ Having the stock locally in the US means that lead times and shipping times are minimal, and that you’ll get higher conversion rates because you’re offering better lead times.”

John Greenhalgh, Co-Founder of A Year of Dates

Interested in simplifying Etsy UK order fulfilment? Click below to receive a quote and optimise your Etsy shop’s logistics. 

Etsy UK FAQs

Below are answers to the most common questions about selling on Etsy UK.

How do I get paid on Etsy UK?

Etsy Payments is the main way Etsy UK sellers get paid. Using Etsy Payments, buyers can purchase wares using bank cards, bank accounts, e-wallets, Etsy Gift Cards, Etsy Credits, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Android Pay. The funds (minus any fees Etsy deducts) are then deposited into your bank account.

How do I market my Etsy UK shop?

Your shop on Etsy UK can be marketed through paid ads, owned ads, testimonials, Etsy search engine optimisation, email campaigns, and more.

How do I handle shipping and returns on Etsy UK?

Merchants can purchase shipping labels for major couriers through Etsy UK, print them from home, and arrange delivery themselves. However, each individual seller is responsible for establishing a return policy and coordinating returns. 

Alternatively, brands can partner with a 3PL like ShipBob, which will handle order fulfilment, shipping, and returns end-to-end.

What is Etsy’s “Direct Checkout” feature, and how does it affect fulfilment?

With Etsy’s “Direct Checkout” functionality, shoppers get the option to pay through Etsy gift cards, debit cards, and credit cards, as well as iDEAL, Sofort, and Apple Pay, where available. As long as the order can be processed, the Direct Checkout feature does not affect fulfilment.

Can I use my own shipping courier or do I have to use Etsy’s recommended couriers?

You are free to use your own shipping couriers when shipping orders are placed on Etsy.

Can I offer express shipping options to customers?

Etsy UK sellers can select different courier options to arrange for express shipping to end customers. ShipBob customers selling vintage items on Etsy, eBay, Amazon, or Shopify, can enable expedited shipping for customers at an added cost.

Order fulfillment services

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Warehouse management

Have your own warehouse? Get ShipBob WMS to reduce mis-picks, save time, and improve productivity.

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Written By:

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob, where she writes blog articles, eGuides, and other resources to help small business owners master their logistics.

Read all posts written by Rachel Hand