Selling Online

What to include in your Etsy listings: The Ten must-haves

Are you an Etsy seller looking for a simple way to increase sales and decrease customer service issues? Updating your Etsy listings will accomplish both. Follow this checklist of ten items to ensure you are maximizing your potential. // From MichelleHickey.Design

August 9, 2016

I’m Michelle.
A modern maker with a classic approach to design. Ever in search
of beautiful typography and
baked goods.
TOp categories
Get your Digital Brand Blueprint

As Etsy sellers, we are responsible for creating an experience for our customers that’s both easy and enjoyable. The secret to making this happen is not some complicated method, but a simple concept: education. In providing your customer with all the information they need to make their purchase, you will not only increase sales, but decrease customer service issues. Everybody wins! I like to cover my bases by answering customer questions before they can even think of them. Here are the ten things I include in each of my Etsy listings to boost my chances at making a sale, every time.

Are you an Etsy seller looking for a simple way to increase sales and decrease customer service issues? Updating your Etsy listings will accomplish both. Follow this checklist of ten items to ensure you are maximizing your potential. // From MichelleHickey.Design

1. Etsy Listing Images

This one is so important that I’m already planning to write a separate article about it. Product images will be the first thing that your customers see and are often what they use to make their purchasing decision. Even if you have an amazing product, if it’s presented poorly, your sales will suffer. If you’re going to make an investment in your business, this is where you should do it. Learn to take great photos on your own, use stock photography mockups (if this works for your items) or hire a professional to take photos for you. Your images need to be bright, clear, and show off the best features of your product. If you have multiple shots that can convey that, include them (Etsy allows up to five per listing).

2. Description

The first paragraph of text in your Etsy listing should be treated like a sales pitch. Many people won’t read past it, so you want to provide as much information as you can about why they need your product. If your item has been featured in a magazine, on a website, or elsewhere, lead with that (i.e., “Featured on The Today Show!”). Even if you are manufacturing your stuff in a space that doubles as a playroom for your kids, that doesn’t make you any less of a business. Look for ways to establish that you are an authority in your niche.

Include who it’s for, what makes it unique, and how it will benefit your buyer. If there is a genuine, personal story behind your item, including it is a great way to create an emotional connection— which will also increase the likelihood of future sales.  While it’s important that you get in as much of that information as possible, your Etsy listing also needs to be succinct. Pick and choose the most important points.

3. What’s included

In the section that follows, share a physical description of the product. This includes dimensions, weight, any fabrics that are used, etc. Outline exactly what will be sent as a result of making a purchase. For example, if you are selling a printed photograph, will it be sent in a frame? If you are selling digital files, what types of files are included, and at what size(s)? Another all-important sentence to include when selling digital items: a disclaimer/reminder that your product is not tangible, and that customers shouldn’t expect to receive anything in the mail.

4. Instructions on Ordering

For many products sold on Etsy, this is as simple as “add item to cart.” I happen to have a ton of items in my shop that include customization or other steps that need to be taken before the buyer can begin enjoying their product. If your items also require information from your customer to complete their order, provide detailed instructions on how they can get that to you. Etsy listings have improved in recent years with the addition of attributes right inside the listing manager, so your customers can choose options like “color” or “size” without having to send you a separate message with those details.

If you are unable to proceed with an order until you receive certain information (i.e., a name that you will embroider on a pillow), make sure your customer knows that your promised timeline is contingent upon them providing you with their details.

5. Shipping/Production Timeline

Everyone wants their order yesterday (thanks, Amazon Prime!) so this is the section where we temper those expectations. Let your customers know how long it takes to process, create and ship their order. I personally like to pad this timeline to account for any holdups from my printer, which are often out of my control.

6. Disclaimer

Use this section to protect yourself from any areas where you expect to get customer complaints. For my digital products, the disclaimer is all about how what you see on the screen may not necessarily be what prints out. If you sell something like handmade apparel, you may want to use this area to remind your customers that if they put your items in the wash, the colors will bleed (and if so, this information should also be included under the “what’s included” section). We can’t anticipate everything, so if you are seeing the same customer frustrations come in repeatedly, adapt your product to fix the issue, or add a big old disclaimer to this section.

7. Returns

Let your customers know whether or not you accept returns and/or exchanges. If you do, be sure to provide them with easy instructions on how to do so, including who will pay for the shipping and the timeframe for which they are allowed.

8. Terms of Use

This is where you include your copyright information, and any other notations about what your customers are allowed/not allowed to do with your items once they purchase it. For people who sell digital goods, a big concern is always unauthorized resale. Make sure you state that your items are for personal use only, and that they are not licensed to re-sell them. If you are a Wholesaler, you can include a link to your wholesale information here.

9. Coupon Code/Thank You

Use your Etsy listing as a marketing tool! Provide your customer with a place to sign up for your email list, and thank them by sending a coupon code or freebie after sign up. Having them as a subscriber will be the best way to stay in touch with them which can lead to great relationships and future sales.

10. Related Items

I don’t have these implemented in any of my product listing pages just yet, but plan on adding them! I keep hoping that Etsy will create a built-in way to display these as Shopify does, but in the meantime, I’d include links to three other listings that would complement the original listing (i.e., thank you cards, to go with invitations). Alternatively, you could include links to three other items that are in the same genre, (i.e., a coffee mug, to go with a coffee art print). This method of “up-selling” has been known to increase sales by over 30%, so it’s definitely worth trying it out.

With a growing number of shops that pop up every day, it’s important to stand out in any way we can. If our Etsy listings are thorough, it shows that we are professional and care about the needs of our customers. A first impression can go a long way. Make yours count!

add a comment
+ show Comments
- Hide Comments
  1. Great post – thanks for sharing – I think there are a few things in there even some seasoned Etsy Sellers could learn for sure! I have shared it on my networks – GREAT tips!

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you so much, Lisa! That means a lot coming from someone so experienced! 🙂 I appreciate you sharing!

  2. Alicia says:

    Thank you this was a great post to read. Now I’ll have to go back to my Etsy shop to tweak a bit. 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks so much, Alicia! Hope these tips helped you make some more sales and have made your life a little easier! 🙂

on the air

A Podcast for Creatives

Join me and my friend Steve King for a bi-monthly discussion about the complex, messy and beautiful experience that is being a creative.

LIsten in


Whether you need help developing your brand's aesthetic, or scroll-stopping visual content, I'm here to help you and your business stand out in the digital space.


Free download

Map out a month's worth of strategic content using this guided planner and calendar.


This two-page workbook will help you hone in on your brand's aesthetics so that you can easily create consistent content.

Get on the A-List

Once a week, I send tips and resources to email subscribers, designed to help your digital brand stand out online. Sign up for the inspiration you need to keep your content elevated.

Champagne optional. Popcorn always encouraged.

Receive my signature
Content Planner for free when you subscribe


Design. Champagne. Books. Travel. Film + TV. Scenes from my kitchen. And cats.