Etsy PRint on demand tips

Etsy Print on Demand Tips – How to Succeed on Etsy in 2022

Is Etsy good for print on demand?

Launched in 2005 as a place for selling and buying handmade, crafty goods, Etsy has exponentially grown into one of the biggest online retailers in the world. Last year, the number of active users on Etsy has increased to 81.9 million with currently 4.3 million sellers (1) (2).

In the beginning, Etsy only accepted handmade items. In 2013, Etsy changed its policies and expanded its definition of handmade products to include a wider variety of products. Etsy now allows different forms of products as long as they are “made and/or designed by sellers” (3).

According to the new definition, print on demand is acceptable. And since 2015, Etsy started Etsy manufacturing that allows third-party manufacturers to integrate with their platforms and offer print on demand services to sellers on this ecommerce platform. It has created an opportunity for print on demand sellers to enter Etsy market and start selling print on demand products.

Nowadays, Etsy is one of the best platforms for print on demand businesses to flourish. Let’s see what are the advantages and drawbacks of selling print on demand on Etsy

Pros:

  • Market-fit platform for selling print on demand

Most Etsy customers choose this platform to shop mainly because this marketplace offers a plethora of one-of-a-kind products. And print on demand products can meet this particular demand of buyers on Etsy.

Print on demand products, to a certain extent, are original and limited as they are made in order, not mass-produced. Print on demand offers space for Etsy sellers to transfer their digital assets into physical products and gain money out of their skills and creativity.

  •  Low maintenance fee

It is to register an Etsy account and start selling. It takes $0.2 to get your listing published on Etsy. Plus, Etsy charges 5% of the price on each sale. These are all the costs required to start selling print on demand on Etsy. The cost of Etsy is smaller compared to other major ecommerce platforms. And the growing popularity of Etsy also means that you can get more in return for what you paid for.

  • Tolerance of high-priced products

Another peak of selling print on demand on Etsy is that buyers on these ecommerce sites are willing to pay higher prices.

A survey done by Etsy in 2020 revealed that 88% of Etsy buyers agreed that this platform has items that you can’t find anywhere else (4). According to the law of scarcity, if we perceive something as limited in supply, its perceived value increases, which explains why Etsy buyers can be more generous in spending.

It creates an opportunity for print on demand sellers to increase their profit margins when selling on Etsy.

Cons:

  • Fierce competition

In 2019, the number of sellers on Etsy stood at 2.5 million. In the following year, this number nearly doubled, crossing the 4-million milestone. Such rapid growth in the number of sellers indicates increasing competition in this marketplace. It is estimated that this eCommerce market will get even more competitive in the future.

  • Limited option for building your own brand

Another con of Etsy is the limited option to establish your own brand. There is less room to customize the store, insert your brand identity, and raise brand awareness on this platform. Etsy only allows you to change your avatar and your store banner.

While there are a few drawbacks to Etsy, what this website can offer overshadows its lacking. It is still one of the best online marketplaces to sell print on demand.

Tips to set up your print on demand Etsy store

If you are ready to set foot on Etsy marketplace, the first thing you need to do is to set up your own store. No worry, it only takes a few steps to start selling and you will soon be all set to get your first sale.

How to make an Etsy account

To start selling on Etsy, you will need to create an Etsy seller account first.

  • Create an Etsy account for regular users first
  • Create Etsy Shop at Etsy.com/sell. Click “Get Started” button and you will be taken to the next screen where you will have to fill in the following information
    • Set Shop Preference (Shop language, Shop country, Shop currency)
    • Name your shop
    • Add the first listing to your store
    • Set up payment and billing details
    • Set up two-factor authentication

After registering your shop, it’s time to set up the appearance of your storefront. At the moment, Etsy allows sellers to customize banners, shop logos as well as set up the About section, Shop policies, and Shipping profiles.

Etsy store setup tips for print on demand business:

One of the biggest challenges for print on demand business is quality control and long shipping time. Since the production and shipping process is handed over to the print on demand partner, it is out of your control.

Besides choosing a reliable print on demand supplier, it’s best to provide detailed and clear policies for refunds and cancellation as well as shipping profiles. It offers a safety net for your store and dictates your actions to handle disputes from unsatisfied customers.

Creating a FAQ section on your store is also helpful to guide your confused customers and improve the customer experience.

At this point, your print on demand shop is basically set up and ready to sell.

How to connect to your print on demand supplier of choice

If you’re set to sell print on demand products, there is still one more step to complete before you can start selling. In order to fulfill print on demand orders, you need to connect your Etsy to your selected production partner platform.

First, you have to set up your own account on the print on demand provider’s website.

After registering an account on your print on demand supplier’s website, you can connect your print on demand account to your Etsy store. The print on demand website will direct you to your Etsy’s account and ask for your authorization to connect to your store.

Once you allow the POD supplier to access your account, you can create listings from the POD site. Most of the print on demand companies offer a mockup generator that allows you to create product images easily and effortlessly.

Each time a listing is created from your print on demand website, it will be automatically synced to your Etsy store as a draft, ready to get published anytime.

On each listing, always remember to list your chosen print on demand supplier as your production partner so that every time an order comes in, it will automatically be updated to your print on demand supplier and get fulfilled.

Note that not all print on demand companies offer direct Etsy integration. Some Etsy integration would require technical skills in order to process. On the other hand, some print on demand providers might offer the CVS bulk importer tool – which means that you need to import your order file manually instead of an automated fulfillment process.

In other cases, like TeeLaunch for example, the print on demand partner only allows Etsy integration if you already run your own Shopify store.

Check out our list of top print on demand Etsy partners to know more about each print on demand Etsy integration’s pros and cons.

Tips to choose the best print on demand product for Etsy

After finishing up your storefront, the next step is deciding what products and designs you are going to put on your Etsy store. Now we will get to the best tips to find products for your print on demand Etsy store.

Find a niche

Finding the right niche is the key to gaining success with your print on demand business, especially on Etsy, people have a high demand for particular products and niches that they rarely find somewhere else.

Putting your focus in a niche helps you have a better picture of your target customer base and makes your ideate process flow more efficiently.

On top of that, selling products for specific niches is the best way to avoid stiff competition. The supply for general products is saturated and mostly, they are dominated by strong competitors who have early starts. The only way to get around this harsh competition situation is to find less competitive niches.

In a market with high levels of competition, competitive pricing is what gets you ahead. Lowering your price also means cutting off your profits. On the contrary, Etsy customers are passionate about that specific niche and willing to pay to get the product that they can hardly find somewhere else.

Before start searching for niches, let’s see what defines a profitable niche?

  • Low competition: It means that there are only a few products and sellers in that niche. The more crowded a space is, the harder it is for you to stand out. You can estimate the competition by examining the market first.
  • Sufficient demand: Asides from having less competition, a niche can only be profitable if there is enough demand for it. Keyword search volume is a great indicator of the possible demand for a niche.

For more tips, check out our guide on how to find a niche for your print on demand store.

etsy print on demand tips

Follow the market trends

Besides doing niche research, another thing to keep on your radar is market trends. Your evergreen products can bring consistent sales to your store. However, don’t limit yourself to what you have already done well. Following what’s trending in the market can help you to keep up with the competition, explore business opportunities and gain more money. In the best scenarios, you can predict the trends and gain the advantages of first movers.

Trend research can also inform your design process, give you more ideas and inspiration. You can look for trendy colors, patterns, design styles, and products.

How can you find what’s trending in the market? Here are some places where you can get trend updates and assess a trend:

  • Etsy Trend Report: Etsy also keeps updating its sellers on the latest trend on this platform. This is a reliable source for you to know what the customers on this platform are interested in.
  • Google Trends: Google Trends is the most popular tool to detect what topics, events and keywords people are looking for on Google. By analyzing the huge search data gathered from the world’s most popular search engines, Google Trends can provide a pretty accurate overview of what people are interested in.
  • Etsy tools: Besides the free resource mentioned above, there are also various paid tools that provide Trend report features. You can see what products and keywords are gaining attention from Etsy customers. Moreover, these tools also help you to analyze other Etsy stores and see the best sellers of those stores.

To succeed with print on demand and business in general, you should always be on the watch for the next big things.

Offer personalized products

“Personalized gifts” was the most searched keyword on Etsy in 2020. And this demand for personalized products is still growing. The latest market trend report released by Etsy suggested that there was a growth of 81% YoY in searches on this platform for personalized items (5).

It is unlikely that the preference for custom products is going away anytime soon. This is a huge opportunity that you should not ignore.

With print on demand, it is easy to offer personalized options for your customers. Try to incorporate some sort of personalization into your designs – your customers will be happy to spend some extra money on something uniquely theirs.

Choose a print on demand supplier with a wide range of products

Adding new products to your store is a good way to explore new business opportunities. Print on demand services are not limited to classic mugs, t-shirts, or hoodies. In fact, the print on demand industry is continuously developing, bringing a wide range of options for sellers to experience.

At the moment, the market for popular print on demand products like mugs or t-shirts is very saturated. The profit margin is lower and the competition is stiffer. In this situation, it makes sense to switch to other products that see less competition and offer more space to adjust your pricing.

How to find less popular print on demand products for your Etsy store?

Apparently, if you only use services from big and popular print on demand production partners, odds are a huge number of sellers are also accessing and selecting from the same pool of options.

In order to find unique, less common products, you should dig deeper and find new suppliers that offer a different range of products.

Here at Merchize, we have been working on expanding the variety of products for sellers. Check our full product catalog to find more unique products to add to your store.

Tips to sell print on demand on Etsy

After doing your research and knowing what products to add to your store, it’s about time to launch these products and promote them to potential buyers on Etsy. This is the most crucial part that determines the success of your Etsy store.

Create attractive images for your listings

Product image is the first thing that customers see when they encounter your listings. An attractive image will instantly capture the attention of the shoppers and help your products stand out from the vast variety of other products.

Images are even more important on platforms like Etsy where customers have keen eyes for aesthetic products. According to a survey conducted by Etsy, 90% of customers on this platform agree that image quality is “extremely important” to their purchase decision (6).

For print on demand sellers, delivering good photos for your listings can be a big challenge. Print on demand sellers do not store physical products. All products are manufactured and delivered remotely by the supplier. Plus, print on demand stores usually has a large collection of products that is updated frequently. It is a complicated and time-consuming process to get photos of actual products.

But don’t worry, there are a few tips you can follow to create attractive and convincing photography for your products.

  • Use various stock images for your mockup

Using the same stock image for a number of products can make your mockup look mass-produced and not trustworthy enough. Instead, add variety to the stock image folder – it will make your store’s collection more diverse and fun to look at.

  • Create lifestyle mockup images with human faces

This is particularly important with apparel products. A study shows websites with human images are positively perceived as more attractive, warm, and trustworthy (7). Plus, human faces are likely to attract the attention of online shoppers.

Order your best-seller products and have them photographed professionally: It is extremely hard to photograph all the products in a print on demand store. However, you can make some exceptions for the best seller products in your stores. Knowing that these products can actually sell, you can push the sales even higher by adding some great photos. It’s worth the investment.

  • Be consistent with your brand identity

Another pro tip for creating product images is to include elements of your brand identity into your photo. Etsy doesn’t allow much room for storefront customization and branding. In this situation, product images might be your fattest chance to introduce your brand and raise brand awareness. Don’t miss this opportunity to show your brand to your customers.

  • Make sure your mockup correctly represent your products

Statistics show that 22 percent of customers return the package because what they received looks different from what they ordered (8). You, as a seller, should make sure that the images correctly represent the real products to prevent miscommunication and lower the return rate.

  • Include key product information on your images

People can process and remember things better with images (9). If you want to emphasize something about your products for example sizes, variants, and usage details, you have better put the information in your product images. Chances are customers will notice and remember it better.

Write convincing descriptions

Product description is one of the key factors that influence buyers in making the purchase decision, along with product images and product reviews.

Here are a few tips to write a convincing product description for your Etsy store.

  • Include all important information about your product

According to a study by Nielsen Norman Group, 20% of the failed purchase could be attributed to “incomplete and unclear product information” (10). A well-written, informative product description can remove that barrier and increase your conversion rate significantly.

Put yourself in customers’ shoes to write a well-informed description. Ask yourself questions like what might confuse your customers and what they want to know about your product.

  • Keep your description short and sweet

It is important to be informative. But always keep your description clear and short. It has been proved that online users have short attention spans. Don’t try to burden their cognition load with too much information and walls of text.

  • Use a clear and scannable format

Structuring your description clearly helps customers easily follow the content and find the information they are looking for. Use bullet points to present key facts and features of your products.

  • Be conversational in your description

Remember that Etsy is a platform prioritizing independent sellers and small businesses. Your Etsy store does not represent a big corporation doing thousand- or million-dollar deals. So don’t be distant. Don’t use big words. Switch to a conversational tone when writing the production description.

  • Include keywords in your description

For Etsy’s ranking system, production description does not bear as much SEO value as other elements like titles, tags, and categories do.

That being said, it is regarded highly by Google’s search engine. Including important keywords into the product description might help boost the visibility of your listings on search engines.

Set your price smartly

Getting strategic with your pricing is the key to winning the Etsy game. In the face of harsh competition, pricing can make or break your business.

With pricing, you want to remain competitive and reasonable while still maximizing your profit margins. Here are some practices you can apply to find that sweet spot.

  • Check your competitors

Competition is the biggest factor determining the retail price of your products. If the market is saturated and full of rivals, keeping your pricing on the affordable side is one way to beat the competition.

On the other hand, if there is little to no competition, it is completely fine to increase your profit margin.

  • Access your product’s strengths

It’s about how much value your product can offer. If you are confident that your products are original, of high quality, this can justify a higher price compared to your competitors.

Reversely, when your products possess no unique or valuable feature, it makes no sense to put up the price.

Find print on demand companies that offer good price

Lowering the base cost is one way to maximize your returns. Your base cost depends on the print on demand supplier you choose. Do your research and find a supplier that can offer a good price and high product quality.

Here is another pro-tip for you – Find new and small print on demand companies. These suppliers usually offer better pricing to attract sellers.

At Merchize, we also offer a wide range of products at a very competitive price that allows you to increase your bottom line.

> Read our blog: 15 Best print on demand companies and sites in 2021

Pay attention to your Etsy stats

Reading and analyzing stats can help you to understand and leverage your business. Undoubtedly, It is an essential skill that every business owner should have a good command of. On Etsy, store owners have access to all the key metrics of your store like visits, the number of orders, conversion rate, and your bottom line. Etsy Stats Tool also shows what sources and keywords are bringing traffic to your store.

Analyzing and comparing the metrics helps you access the performance of your listings. Based on this knowledge, you can make adjustments and improve your listings.

Offer free shipping

In a survey conducted by Etsy, 50% of the buyers said that they might abandon a product if the shipping cost is too expensive (11). Another survey published on Statista suggests 73% of online buyers in the US agree that free shipping can greatly influence their purchase decision (12).

The bottom line is that customers are enticed greatly by free shipping. Offering free shipping can remove the traction that prevents buyers from completing the payment.

You might wonder if buyers get free shipping then who is going to pay the shipping cost? Don’t worry, there is a way to go around this without paying for it out of your pocket.

Solution 1: Adding the shipping price to your retailed price

Basically, buyers are still paying for shipping. The shipping cost is included in the retailed price. Buyers can get free shipping at the expense of higher product prices. There is no loss from your end.

Solution 2: Offer free shipping if buyers spend a certain amount of money

This offering initiates customers to purchase more products, hence increasing your profits. The added profits can totally make up for the shipping costs you are paying.

For your information, in a 2020 survey, nearly one in two US customers claimed that they expected to spend from 30-50 dollars to get free shipping (13). You can refer to this standard to adjust your pricing and free shipping policy.

Solution 3:

Rather than offering straightforward free shipping, you can subtract the shipping costs to an acceptable rate and add the same amount to your final price. This way, you can minimize the cart abandon rate while keeping your pricing competitive.

Promote your store on social media

Social media is a powerful tool to draw potential customers to your Etsy store. With social media, your customer base is no longer limited to Etsy users. Showing up across social media allows you to approach new customers as well as maintain and nourish relationships with loyal customers.

In addition, social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram also allow you to strategically promote your products to your target audience through paid advertising campaigns.

Collect good reviews for your store

Statistics show that nine out of ten online buyers read reviews before making a purchase. In another survey by Namagoo, when asked “What makes a great online experience?”, 78% of respondents who are frequent online shoppers choose product reviews (14). It is the second most selected answer, just behind clear product images.

Reviews are particularly crucial for online businesses because the buyers can’t physically experience the products. The only way for them to evaluate the quality of your product is through other customers’ reviews.

If you think that authentic reviews should be organically received, you are mistaken. In fact, to collect reviews for your Etsy store, you should put in the work and be more strategic. Especially with new stores, it is very important that you take the initiative and ask customers to leave their feedback on your store.

  • Here are some practices you can apply to get reviews for your Etsy shop.
  • Send emails or messages to your customers to say thank you and politely ask for their reviews. Of course, this should be done once the package is successfully delivered in time, undamaged and the customer is happy.
  • Include a thank you card on your package: This is an effective tactic to collect reviews. Telling your story can help you connect with the customers and convince them to leave positive reviews for your shop on Etsy.

At a small cost, many print on demand companies can make and insert cards into your package on your behalf.

Besides collecting positive reviews, you should also minimize negative feedback. Any unpleasant response from customers should be handled as soon as possible. Address these reviews politely and professionally in public. At the same time, send private messages to upset customers to see what can you do to reverse the situation.

Don’t be too upset about getting perfect full-star reviews. In fact, a majority of customers agree that less-than-perfect reviews appear more “authentic” to them (15).

At the end of the day, it is impossible to please everyone. Just around 95% is Ok.

Build relationships with your customers

Along with attracting new buyers, interacting and nurturing your relationship with existing customers is crucial to the future of your eCommerce business.

If customers remember and keep returning to your stores, it means you have successfully converted them into repeat customers. Let’s be real, a loyal customer base is the most valuable asset to any business.

They are highly valuable not just because of the actual monetary value they bring but also the power they hold in promoting your business. Growing this group of audience can help you save a lot of money putting into advertising and marketing in the long run.

Here are something you can do to make sure people will come back to your store:

  • Keep customer service your priority
  • Create loyalty programs or rewards for returning customers
  • Connect with your customers and keep the conversation going via social media
  • Work on your email marketing
  • Take your customer’s opinions and feedback seriously
  • Keep your loyal customers excited with new products

Keep learning from your competitors and the community

  • Even when you have successfully achieved stable revenue from your Etsy shop, never lose focus on your competitors and participate in communities of sellers. Always evolving and learning is the only way you can keep up with the constantly changing market.

    By watching out for your competitors, you can learn what practices are working for them and whatnot. It helps you to develop your own strategy and adapt to the market.

    Besides, engaging with people in the print-on-demand community keeps you updated on the latest news and market changes as well as seeing the bigger picture in the industry. Being in a community can also be a source of support for you. You can share your valuable experiences and consult people working in the same field.

References:

1. Marina Pasquali, Number of active Etsy sellers from 2012 to 2020 retrived from https://www.statista.com/statistics/409374/etsy-active-sellers/
2. Marina Pasquali, Number of active Etsy buyers from 2012 to 2020 retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/409375/etsy-active-buyers/
3. Etsy, Seller Policy retrieved from https://www.etsy.com/legal/sellers/
4. Etsy, 2020 Integrated Annual Report retrieved from https://s22.q4cdn.com/941741262/files/doc_financials/2020/ar/2020-Integrated-Annual-Report_final.pdf
5. Mary Kinney, Marketplace Insights: Early 2022 Trends retrieved from https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/marketplace-insights-early-2022-trends/1060546536815
6. Etsy, Why Product Photography Is Important, retrieved from https://www.etsy.com/ca/seller-handbook/article/why-product-photography-is-important/147451496051
7, Dianne Cyr, Bing Pan, Hector Larios, Exploring human images in website design across cultures: A multi-method approach
retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228966707_Exploring_human_images_in_website_design_across_cultures_A_multi-method_approach
8, Stacey Rudolph, E-commerce Product Return Statistics and Trends [Infographic]
retrieved from https://www.business2community.com/infographics/e-commerce-product-return-statistics-trends-infographic-01505394
9, Jesse Mawhinney, 50 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2021 retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy
10, Amy Schade, 3 Tips for Better Product Descriptions on Websites retrieved from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/product-descriptions/#:~:text=In%20our%20e%2Dcommerce%20studies,incomplete%20or%20unclear%20product%20information.
11, Etsy, Creating Listings That Convert
retrieved from https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/creating-listings-that-convert/366469719354
14, Ohad Hagai, Online Consumer Behavior Survey, retrieved from https://www.namogoo.com/resources/ebook/online-consumer-behavior-survey/
15, Trust Pilot, The critical role of reviews in Internet trust, https://business.trustpilot.com/guides-reports/build-trusted-brand/the-critical-role-of-reviews-in-internet-trust#downloadreport

How much money can you earn through print on demand Etsy stores?

There is no limit to how much you can earn through Etsy print on demand. Some sellers revealed to earn a 7-figure income from Etsy. However, it should be noted that there is a huge gap in earning between the regular shop and a successful one. Let’s face the truth. In the beginning, many Etsy print on demand sellers had only a few sales per month, which earned at best hundreds of bucks. But if you keep iterating and evolving to find what works best for your niches, you can earn more.