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Etsy is an online marketplace where consumers can purchase or sell various items. Selling products on Etsy allows you to reach a much larger audience than you might in a physical store. For instance, with Etsy, you can reach customers worldwide. If you wish to sell products on Etsy, there are some considerations you must first make. This article will explore: 

  • the types of products you can sell;
  • how to develop the appropriate policies for your Etsy store;
  • potential fees you may face; and
  • the importance of creating a solid brand for your online store.

What Can You Sell?

The first decision you must make is deciding what to sell on your Etsy marketplace. However, you should ensure you know the relevant terms and conditions around selling goods on Etsy. For instance, all products sold on Etsy need to be unique. This means that the goods you sell goods must be:

  • handmade; 
  • vintage; or 
  • relate to crafts. 

Unlike Amazon, you cannot bulk-buy goods and then sell them for a profit on Etsy. Etsy also prohibits you from marketing specific goods as unique. Furthermore, if you wish to market an item as “handmade,” you must create it yourself.

Additionally, Etsy prohibits sellers from marketing any old item as “vintage.” If you sell something “vintage,” it must be at least 20 years old. Furthermore, the product should be in good condition and in its original packaging.

Moreover, you may have an artistic talent that you want to use to create products that you can sell, or you might develop a new skill to produce goods that you can sell. However, you will need to take your own photos and descriptions of your products. So, you cannot simply use stock photos from the internet. In addition, you need to ensure that your advertisement clearly represents the products you sell. 

Create a Strong Brand for Your Online Store

Creating a strong brand is critical to the success of your online store. So, it might be a good idea to ensure that your name and imaging are unique and stand out. Many people sell on Etsy and will likely make similar products to you. Therefore, you need to prioritise what is unique about your brand. Additionally, you must ensure that you do not steal any branding or names from existing stores. 

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Develop Policies for Your Store

You will need to develop robust processes and policies for your Etsy business, including how your business will deal with:

New Zealand consumer law also outlines specific obligations you must fulfil when creating these policies. This means that if your business is ‘in trade’ (if you are selling goods regularly for commercial purposes), then you must ensure that: 

  • your products are of good quality; 
  • your products arrive within a reasonable time; and 
  • you can offer replacement, repairs, or refunds if any issues arise from the sale of the goods. 

It is essential that you fulfil these obligations when drafting your store policies. Further, you should also ensure that you comply with Etsy’s terms and conditions, including dispatch and processing times. For example, under Etsy’s terms and conditions, sellers need to dispatch an item promptly and communicate with sellers clearly and quickly after a sale. 

If you violate seller policy, Etsy may disable your account.

Be Aware of Fees and Finances

Moreover, you should be aware of any fees you may accrue during the selling process. Generally, the listing fee for an item is $0.20 for four months. Additionally, Etsy will take a 3.5% transaction fee on top of the sale price. 

Furthermore, you will likely have to pay shipping fees to get your goods to your customers. You can offset these to your customers, but you must make that clear when advertising the product.

You should also consider how you want customers to pay for your products. For example, Etsy Payments is a payment solution consumers may use specifically for transactions on Etsy. Additionally, you can request customers to pay through PayPay, another popular payment gateway.

Key Takeaways 

Selling products on Etsy is a great way to sell your creative products to a larger market. However, you must consider a range of factors before you start selling, including:

  • the types of products you can sell;
  • Etsy requirements when drafting policies for your store;
  • potential fees you may face; and
  • the importance of creating a solid brand for your online store.

If you need help understanding consumer law for your Etsy store, our experienced eCommerce lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. You will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents for a low monthly fee. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sell whatever goods I want on Etsy?

No, Etsy is specifically for vintage, handmade and one-of-a-kind items. Additionally, you cannot bulk-buy and on-sell goods. If you want to sell a broader range of goods, you might consider selling on Amazon or TradeMe. 

Must my online store comply with consumer law?

If your online store is ‘in trade’, you must comply with consumer law. So, if you regularly sell goods for commercial purposes, you must comply.


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