Etsy Dropshipping – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Etsy dropshipping is a great option for those who are passionate about handmade items.

Luckily, the handmade or homemade crafts community has grown into a full-fledged industry in recent years.

Whether you like to create your own unique products and satisfy your creative side, or you just want to resell in vintage and craft supplies categories, you have probably heard of Etsy.

But before we go any further, let’s find out what Etsy actually is.

What is Etsy?

Etsy is a global online marketplace, where you can buy and sell unique handmade and vintage items and craft supplies.

In addition, the products found on Etsy fall under many different categories like jewelry, arts, toys, clothing, bags, furniture and home décor, craft supplies, etc.

In a nutshell, the marketplace is home to a wide range of special, extraordinary products, from vintage treasures to unique handcrafted pieces. Unlike AliExpress and Amazon or other Wholesale Marketplaces, everything on Etsy is made, curated, and sold by its sellers.

The Pros & Cons of Etsy Dropshipping

Now that you know what Etsy is, it is time to look at the advantages and disadvantages of dropshipping with Etsy.

The pros of Etsy dropshipping

• Huge customer base

Believe it or not, more than 81 million buyers had purchased goods through the creative Etsy marketplace in 2020. According to Statista, in the same year, the marketplace generated revenues worth US$1.7 billion.

This means that you can sell your unique, handcrafted items to millions of customers worldwide and build a loyal customer base.

Wanna try other marketplaces too? Here’s our guide for Facebook Marketplace for Dropshipping.

• Uniqueness

Since dropshipping is highly competitive, it is getting harder and harder for dropshippers to sell dropshipping products that stand out in a crowd.

However, this online marketplace gives you the possibility to fill your virtual shelves with one-of-a-kind items that customers cannot find anywhere else.

Plus, this can provide you with substantial differentiation, which may be enough to sustain a long-term competitive advantage.

• Conscious and patient customers

Although handmade items do take longer to make, Etsy customers are conscious and patient.

Moreover, they value uniqueness, craftsmanship, and quality. They know that all products sold on the marketplace are made with love and that every single creation incorporates an element of creativity. They simply value the creative spirit of Etsy sellers.

And that’s why they are accustomed to longer manufacturing times and willing to pay more for such products.

The cons of Etsy dropshipping

• Intense guidelines for the dropshipping business model

This is a very unique marketplace. Additionally, it enables buyers to purchase products that they may not be able to find anywhere else.

Still, Etsy allows dropshipping. But, the marketplace has strict rules on that matter. These strict rules may limit your dropshipping capabilities.

To be more specific, reselling or Etsy dropshipping is only allowed in the vintage and craft supplies categories.

But if you want to sell handmade products on the marketplace, you have to either make and/or design them. In other words, to start selling handmade products on Etsy, you have to design your product.

The good news is that if you have a unique product idea, but you do not have the technical ability or equipment necessary to create your product, you can work with a manufacturing partner that can create that product and ship it to your customer.

This means that Etsy allows you to build a responsible relationship with a manufacturing partner who can help you make the items you have designed.

Just remember that if you decide to work with a manufacturing partner, you have to disclose that you are working with one.

• Different types of fees

As with other online marketplaces, you are subject to some fees when selling on Etsy.

To set up an Etsy dropshipping store, you may need to pay a few types of fees. And the most common types of fees include listing fees, transaction fees, shipping fees, subscription fees, advertising & promotional fees, etc. 

For further information about Etsy dropshipping fees, check out this policy.

How to dropship with Etsy – Etsy dropshipping options

After weighing the pros and cons of Etsy dropshipping, you can approach your decision objectively, without letting your “gut feeling” affect your choice.

And once you have decided to start your dropshipping business on Etsy, remember that the marketplace does not support the standard dropshipping business model. To start dropshipping with Etsy, you have a few options. So, let’s explore those options.

1. Find a manufacturing partner to work with

As mentioned above, if you have a product idea but do not have the equipment or technical ability to manufacture products, you can find a manufacturing partner to make your product and help you grow your business.

Some of the approved Etsy manufacturers and production partners include Printful, Printify, Gooten, and Art of Where

But prior to contacting one of the approved Etsy production partners, it is imperative to ensure your concept and initial designs are ready for production.

Then, you need to determine whether your profit margin can absorb manufacturing-related costs. And, ultimately, figure out whether the manufacturing partner has the capacity to make your product. This is one of the Etsy dropshipping options available.

PRODUCT IDEA: Dropshipping Coffee Products With Suppliers

2. Build and sell your own product on Etsy

Perhaps the best way to sell on Etsy is to design and create your own product. Have you ever heard someone say to you something like, “Wow! This is amazing. You should open a DIY store!”?

If the answer is yes, then you should consider turning your DIY craft hobby into a real business. With creative energy pulsing through your veins, you can make money online with ease.

Sure, whatever you sell on Etsy has to be within the marketplace’s guidelines. Having said that, you can also dig deeper and do your research to find out what sells best on the site. You can find the best-selling items on Etsy here.

Now, you can turn your idea into a marketable product.

3. Sell your Etsy products on Shopify

Many sellers on Etsy are multi-channel retailers. That’s to say, they sell their products on multiple platforms or marketplaces. So, if you already have a storefront on Etsy but also want to build your own brand identity outside of the Etsy world, you can sell your Etsy products on Shopify.

Before discussing Etsy dropshipping on Shopify, it is important to tell the difference between Etsy and Shopify.

• As we have already said, Etsy is an online marketplace for unique and creative items. With about 81 million active buyers and a small entry fee for sellers (US$0.20 to list a product), Etsy is a good choice for first-time online sellers.

Shopify is a very popular e-commerce platform offering a lot of control in terms of features and flexibility. Many dropshipping apps are available on the site. Therefore, Shopify is unquestionably one of the best options to create a dropshipping store.

  • If you are completely new in the game and you are looking for an easy solution for web creation, consider using Wix for Dropshipping stores.

When it comes to Etsy dropshipping on Shopify, there are multiple apps out there that can help you link your Etsy products with Shopify to avoid duplicate listings. One of these apps is called “Etsy Marketplace Integration.” And it allows you to do just that.

Just keep in mind that if you do not create your own products but source them from another Etsy seller, they may not be able to handle all the requests you send over. The main reason for this is that Etsy sellers make their products with their own hands.

What’s more, as products are unique, you will be unable to find an alternative to source products from if you stop working with the seller. Also, make sure the seller is able and willing to ship products directly to your customers.

Is dropshipping from AliExpress to Etsy allowed?

Again, everything sold on Etsy has to be handmade, vintage, or a craft supply. Thus, dropshipping from AliExpress to Etsy is not allowed. Simply put, you cannot buy a product from AliExpress and resell it on Etsy.

Needless to say, you cannot also dropship from Wish, eBay, Amazon, etc. to Etsy. Otherwise, you will be breaking the rules, and you may be likely to lose access to your Etsy account.

4 pro tips on how to sell more with Etsy

You should do more than just set up your store in order to become a successful Etsy seller. And here is what you need to do.

1. Join the Etsy community

Being part of an excellent community of sellers is what makes this marketplace such an exceptional place to run your business.

You can join the Etsy community to discuss ideas, share knowledge, find inspiration, keep up with the latest Etsy news, and build relationships. The community consists of Teams, Forums, and the Seller Handbook. By joining it, you can grow your creative Etsy dropshipping business.

2. Take high-quality product photos or put your trust in a professional photographer

Customers are visual – they like to see, touch, and feel products before they buy them. So, as an Etsy dropshipping store owner, you need to post quality product images.

There is one thing to keep in mind when taking your product photos. Make sure your product photography includes lifestyle and hero shots.

To clarify, hero shots are product images that are enriched with props, lighting, and background to impart brand spirit, infuse mood, and provide context to the photographed product.

And lifestyle shots are images of people using the product. For instance, if you are selling handmade rings, you or your photographer may want to take a photo of a smiling woman wearing your ring while holding a glass of wine at a restaurant.

3. Market your Etsy dropshipping business

It goes without saying that marketing is an essential component of running a successful Etsy business.

Let’s say you have just made an earth-shatteringly brilliant product. But even if that is the case, no one will buy your product without a good dropshipping marketing strategy. Just do not overlook the two important marketing tactics like Instagram marketing and influencer marketing for dropshipping.

4. Make your products even more desirable with creative packaging

Once upon a time, packaging was durable and served its purpose. But, nowadays, online stores are becoming increasingly aware that the more beautiful the packaging, the better.

Just think of the influx of people sharing ‘unboxing’ or ‘package opening’ moments across social media sites, especially Instagram. You should not be judgemental of those who have taken the time and effort to make package displays and take photos of them. Some of those people might be your customers.

And this can be a powerful marketing technique that may take your Etsy business to the next level. That’s why creative and stunning packaging should be high on your marketing priorities.

The bottom line

Fortunately, people love to spend money on creative, handmade items. And the world needs creative entrepreneurs like you. So, Etsy dropshipping may be a good way to show off your creativity and create a customer experience that goes beyond the ordinary.

Evidently, Etsy does not support the standard dropshipping business model. However, it allows working with production partners. Also, you can design and make products yourself.