Selling on Etsy (Part 4 of 6)

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Random Thoughts

My thought and ramblings on Photography and whatever and whenever something come to mind. What you will NOT find here is anything dealing with everyday photography topic that tend to divide people, cameras, lens, programs, Adobe, etc. This is my opinions and in todays world I do not have the time to deal with all the drama that it will generate

Selling on Etsy (Part 4 of 6)
Selling on Etsy (Part 4 of 6)

Now that we have the basic store set up, we can start to load our first image and set up a product template that you can use for most of the additional photos you may load. But first there are a couple of things that you need to think about and set up before loading that first image.

There are 5 sections to each listing, Photos, Video, Listing Details, Inventory and Pricing and Shipping. As I started writing this it grew to be more than I want to post at one time, so we will discuss the first 4 sections this week and next week we will discuss shipping and finally filling in the template.

 The photo section is where you will upload you picture.  You can upload up to 9 photos per listing, but they all have to be related to that first photo.  In other works you cannot put 9 different photos on one listing as only the first one will be the one you can sell.

 The video section is new this year. If you want to show your customer, say a behind the scene video of how you captured the photo, you can record a video and put it here.

 Decisions to be made first:

  • Listing Detail. This is the section where most of the details of the photo and listing will go.  It is also the section where 80% will be used for all your listings.  What will change for each listing will be the Title, Category, About you process, Renewal Options, Type and Description.

o   Category is the overall listing of you item.  Think of it as a section or aisle in the store.  I list my item as Digital Print. So it will appear in the categories of Art $ Collectable, Prints, Digital Prints, Home & Living, Home Décor, Wall Décor and Wall Hanging.  A customer using any of these categories will see my listing somewhere in the search results.

o   Renewal Option. As I stated earlier, initially I set all my 196 listing to automatic renew.  I would recommend you set it to manual review in the beginning until you determine how well the photo is received by the customer

o   Type: There are 2 types, Physical and Digital.  I do not list a selection as Digital as:

  • I charge over $100 for a digital file and I would never get a customer to buy that.
  • For other items that I have seen where a digital file is offered, the release and copyright statements range from very simple to very complex and it is not worth my effort.
  • Thou having said this, I did get a customer request a set of digital files and we were able to come to terms on price and use.  I treat this as a custom off line order that does not go through Etsy thus I have more freedom in pricing.

o   Description: Here is where you describe our picture. If this is a popular location I may give some history about the place.  If this is a still life I may describe the object in artistic teams to get the customer interest.  I always add a last paragraph that may say something like this:

o   Tags: Think of tags as Search Engine Optimization tool. Here you can list up to 13 word(s) that customer might use to search for your photo.  I use tags like Landscapes, City Art, Rochester, NYC, etc.  What I would suggest you do is go to the Etsy Customer store site and in the search bar put in a tag you are interested in, like Rochester, and see what come up. If the search results match what you are listing, then you have some tags to start with


  • Inventory and Pricing. Depending on what you are selling, prints, mattes, frames, etc, this is the section where you set all that up. Therefore, before filling in this section you need to sit down and list out, first what are the, as Etsy called them, Variations. In my case I only offer prints, so I have a variation of 5x7, 8x10, 11 x 14, 13x19 and 16 x 20.  The second item will be to determine selling price.

o    As we discussed in Part 2 about fees you can expect about $15-$20 (that has been my average, yours will vary) in Etsy/shipping fees.

o    If you have not taken the time to determine the Cost of Goods Sold, now is the time to do that.  Under COGS keep in mind that you need to include the cost of making you print. If you purchase your print complete then that is the starting price.  If you are like me and print most of the variations myself, then you need to take into account the cost of paper, ink, plastic envelope to protect the print, any label you may put on the back of the print, etc. You also need to take into account the cost of shipping materials if you ship the item yourself (all packaging materials) NOTE: If you use a service like Bay Photo to do your print you would include the cost of shipping, to you or to drop ship. (The only print that I cannot do in house is the 16 x20.  I use a local print shop for that and them do the shipping myself. )

o   So you starting price would be COGS + Etsy fees + Shipping. Now you need to determine how much you want to make. Now a long time ago I remember somebody telling me that you should charge whatever the market will bear.  On Etsy I am competing with 1000’s of photographer. Where at show, I may charge 4-5x my cost, on Etsy I have found that the break point is around 2-3x my cost.

  • Why you say that little. My goal with Etsy is to make up the money I have lost in 2020 due to no shows.  Now I could take the attitude that I am a professional photographer and my work is worth a higher price, and take the chance of selling one or two high price items a year. However, my prices have been selected to be on the higher end of my competition, and so far that has worked very well for me.  As of this weekend, if I treat Etsy as another craft show, it has beat out every show I have done since 2012.

o   Once you have determine the selling price, the only other fields that must be filled in are the SKU (Item Number) and the number of prints available for sale. I set my inventory for 2. The reason for this is that when I sell an item, even though I set auto renew to manual, Etsy will automatically list the item again until the second one is sold.

Next week we will discuss setting up a shipping profile, if you should off free shipping (it does draw more customer to your products) and creating the template.

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