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Etsy + Printful integration

How to Sell Printful Products on Etsy

By Nora Inveiss - Reading time: 5 minutes

Welcome to the crafter’s paradise, we’ve just launched our direct integration with Etsy!

Etsy opens doors for existing stores who want to reach a new audience, and it’s also great for all you ecommerce newbies who want to open shop in an established marketplace full of potential buyers. Or maybe you already have an Etsy shop and want to expand your offering with print products. Whatever the reason, it’s possible to make it happen with Printful.

This blog post covers the basics of how to integrate Etsy and Printful. We’ll give you some ideas to figure out whether Etsy is the right platform for you, and go over some tips on how to make sales and get your products into the hands of Etsy shoppers.

An Introduction to Etsy

Etsy connects artists with customers around the world. The focus of this platform is selling handmade goods, vintage stuff, and craft supplies. So it’s a great place for consumers looking for unique products that aren’t available in big-name retail stores.

Etsy has grown astronomically since it was founded in 2005. Statista reports that more than 1.75 million sellers sold goods through Etsy last year, and 28.6 million buyers had bought something.

In 2013, Etsy expanded its definition of “handmade” and started allowing sellers to offer products made by outside manufacturers, but there are a couple of caveats:

  • The outside manufacturer must meet Etsy’s standards
  • Sellers must create the designs for their products
  • Sellers need to prove their involvement in the creative process
  • Sellers must be transparent about their products and how they’re made

So, products that are printed by Printful can be sold on Etsy as handmade items.

Is Etsy right for you?

Selling on Etsy gives you access to a new audience of people looking for unique, custom products. However, you need to consider whether the extra effort and fees are worth your time.

Your products and price

Would your products stand out on Etsy? Competition is stiff – there are a ton of other sellers that could be offering similar items as you. If your designs stand out and are unique from what’s already there, then great. If not, what makes you different? What’s your value proposition and why should customers choose you over the competition?

Also take a look at the average price of products that are similar to yours. What are they selling at? Can your prices compete? This is Etsy’s guide to pricing strategy, which goes over their recommendations.

Tip: You can sometimes get away with selling at a higher price point on Etsy, as customers can reasonably expect to pay more for a handmade item.

Your audience

Who are your customers? Is your target audience likely to shop on Etsy? Identify your niche and who you sell to, and figure out if Etsy is a good place to reach them.

Etsy fees

Setting up your store on Etsy is free and there are no monthly or membership costs, but there are still some fees to running the store. Sellers need to pay fees for creating and updating their listings, for checkout, etc. Take a look here for Etsy’s pricing structure.

Setting Up Your Etsy Shop

The first thing you need to do is register an Etsy account, which is free. Once your account is set up, you can click Sell on Etsy to open your shop. Etsy walks you through the process here. The steps are as follows:

  1. Set up the preferences of your Etsy store – language, country, currency.
  2. Name your store – it’s possible to change this later.
  3. Connect to Printful – check out instructions here here.
  4. Add and sync products – our product generator automatically creates products and their mockups when you upload your design. Choose your prices, edit the description texts, and publish your products.
  5. Set up billing, shipping, and taxes – enter your credit card information and billing address, create shipping prices and apply tax for your orders.
  6. That’s it! You are now an Etsy store owner. Congrats!

How to get sales on Etsy

If you do go the Etsy route and open your shop, you’ll have to work hard to get sales going and build a brand on this platform. These are some tips to help you get started.

Product photos and descriptions

We’ve written about this before. Regardless of your platform, you need professional photos that clearly show your products and descriptions that creatively and accurately describe what your customers need to know.

When people search for products on Etsy, the product photos are what they notice first. So it’s key to use photos that stand out. Use a photo that’s visually striking, with your product and design at the focus.

Etsy product listing

Write product descriptions with keywords in mind. Think of which words your customers are most likely going to use when searching for products like yours. And come up with a list of keywords you want to be associated with.

Make your products searchable

Make your products easily found on Etsy. As mentioned above, using keywords in your description is a good place to start, but there’s more you can do to get your products in front of potential buyers.

1. Tags

Tags help people discover your products in search. You have 13 tags to use per product, so think carefully. What are the main aspects of your products that customers should know about, and what are they most likely going to use to search for you? You also have 13 tags to use for the material of your products, so it’s another chance for buyers to find you.

Etsy tags

2. Product titles

Add keywords in your product titles as well as the descriptions – this helps customers see specifically what you have to offer. Keep the more important words near the beginning of your title, as longer titles get cut off.

3. Product categories

Choosing your product categories helps your products pop up on broader searches, so narrow down all applicable categories.

Etsy categories

The bottom line is to always keep your customers in mind. Which keywords would they most likely use? What information is most helpful for them? And be creative – use different keywords for different products. This both attracts people in different audiences, and it helps you identify what works and what doesn’t.

Monitor your Etsy stats

The Etsy Stats Tool is an excellent resource to see where your traffic is coming from and the top keywords you’re being searched for across different platforms. Use this information to better understand what’s working, where you need to improve, and how to do it.

Interact with your fans and customers

The great thing about Etsy is the opportunity to connect and interact with your customers. Be personal, reply to messages, and show your personality. When possible, ask for your fans to leave reviews of your store. This goes a long way to build your store’s credibility and show other potential customers that you already have fans that like what you do.

Sell the right amount of products

Not only does it make your store look more thorough and professional, but having a lot of products also helps your store in terms of search. The more products (with keywords and categories) you have listed, the more likely you are to be found.

Plus, the more products a potential customer has to browse, the more likely they are to find something they love and want to buy.

There isn’t a specific number to aim for. It depends on how many products you have and want to sell. And you don’t have to add your products all at once. Start with what you have, and build your selections as you go.

The Etsy Verdict

Selling your products on Etsy can be a profitable way to get your products to more people who are looking to buy unique items. You just have to consider the extra time and expenses it takes to open an Etsy shop.

And remember to keep experimenting with keywords and marketing tactics. Don’t be discouraged if your sales start out low, it could just be that you haven’t found the ideal sales strategy.

Have you opened a shop on Etsy? Share your experiences in the comments!

Note: The term ‘Etsy’ is a trademark of Etsy, Inc. This application uses the Etsy API but is not endorsed or certified by Etsy, Inc.

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  1. Paul

    I just opened my Etsy shop manufacturing with Printfull. As the post states, competition is hard, especially because there are some out there producing items way way cheaper.
    In my experience in order to have successful Etsy shop you must be willing (and able) to spend on branding and advertising.

    When I spend on Etsy Promoted Items I see sales, but I am not profitable due to the costs of promotion and production.

    Anyway I am 1 month old there and made 9 sales (1 refund. Also be aware of scammers) and not profitable yet. I still have to find the way to crack Etsy. If you think it is opening a store and becoming rich then it won’t work.

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice – you bring up a good point about using Etsy Promoted Listings. Best of luck to your store.

  2. Make Love With Food

    I love this great blog on how to integrate Etsy into my e-commerce marketing strategy with ShipStation. There are so many different channels available with ShipStation and it is impossible to use them all. This article helps me narrow down the choices 🙂

  3. Tyler

    What if you don’t make but a few sales here and there, could you just skip the “ShipStation” process and list your Printful products on Etsy (after you apply and get an approval). Whenever a customer buys something from your Etsy store, you manually put in their order to Printful with their information as the receiver? It sounds like a lot of keeping up but, honestly, that cuts out $9 a month – especially if you’re not making any sales for an entire month(s). Would this work without using ShipStation?

  4. Tara, Heart of Life Design

    Thanks so much for sharing this information! I started a digital download Etsy shop in October of 2014 and, with lots and LOTS of SEO research and an extreme focus on great customer service, I’ve now reached over 3500 sales. The demand for offering the option of physically printed items is where Printful comes in for my Etsy shop.

    This blog is spot on in that getting a good start on Etsy sales is VERY hard at first. I experimented (and continue to) so much with keywords, and various marketing tactics. However, I can confidentially say that social media does not yet play a big roll in the sales I make, as I don’t have much time to do that type of marketing (two toddlers at home haha)! My sales are mostly from what Etsy brings in.

    Also, new shop owners should remember that perseverance and professional image thumbnails are the main ingredients to a successful shop, in my humble opinion, anyway. Once you get into a groove wth your shop, things often times start to take off exponentially before you even realize it. Just stick with it and keep researching and evolving!

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Thanks for your input! And I agree – professional thumbnail images are very important.

      Congrats on the success of your shop!

  5. Ryan

    How long does it take to set up ShipStation? I know it would depend on how many products you have, so how long would it take to set up one item with 35 variations? I currently sell on Etsy and submit all of my orders manually (which I don’t really mind and in some ways prefer), but it would be nice to not have to do that anymore.

    Thanks.

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Shipstation doesn’t require you to sync your product variants right away – the first order for every product (including product variants) will show up as an unsynced order. So you could sync each variant as orders come in. This video explains the process.

  6. Michael

    I opened my shop, followed all instructions, and was rejected for outside manufacturing with The Printful, and forever banned from using Etsy. I wasn’t given much reason why, either, as the explanation was quite vague. I am very discouraged by this… but I read online that Etsy has a record of closing shops for little to no reason with no explanation.

    Etsy is a great platform if you don’t have the resources to make your own website and drive traffic to it. Unfortunately, it is no longer an option for me…

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hey Michael,

      That’s too bad. We’ve found that Etsy’s approval criteria aren’t very consistent. We have customers whose stores were approved no problem, and others who’ve had to jump through more hoops, or who got declined.

      1. Dena

        I don’t understand how you could be banned for using Printful on Etsy when Printful is listed as an approved manufacturer on their website…

        1. Nora Inveiss Post author

          Thanks for bringing this up! At the time of writing, Printful wasn’t an approved manufacturer. So the process might be a little different now; we’ll look into it and update!

  7. Galit

    I need to fill out the “Apply to Work With a Manufacturer” and have some questions I don’t know the answer to regarding Printful:
    1. What types of materials are used in the production of your items?
    2. Are byproducts or waste generated during production? What are the environmental aspects surrounding the production of your items?
    3.Does your manufacturer have any certifications worth noting? (e.g. SA8000, ISO 14000, etc.)
    I hope you can help me answer these questions so I can submit the application.
    Thank you!

  8. soroush

    hello, thanks for your informative post. I had a question about my printful store & etsy integration. I have a lot of different products on my own website manufactured by printful, now If I want to list them on etsy, do I have to list the products one by one manually or shipstation will transfer my printful products from my website to etsy automatically? thank you

  9. Yaira

    So do I need to add Printful as one of my production partners on each Etsy listing?

    Per the listing manager: “A production partner is anyone who’s not a part of your Etsy shop who helps you physically produce your items.”

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hey Yaira! You can take a look at Etsy’s guidelines for editing and displaying your production partner info here: https://www.etsy.com/help/article/4717
      You do need to apply to use Printful as your production partner, but it doesn’t look like you need to disclose the name of your partner on each listing.

  10. AhmedBoual

    Hello, Please I want to know that can i sell my digital art on Etsy platform like business card, logo , with PSD,VECTOR and PNG file without shipping them to the buyer .
    Thanks in advance

  11. Pablo

    I just open Etsy account but cant get it to connect with printful, it always say Im trying to connect with other account (You are signed in as ibxed3ky.) that not my printful account. any help

    Thanks.

  12. Faraz

    Do we need any approval from etsy for selling printful products on etsy using new integration ? I would love to try some physical goods on my digital store.

      1. lakond

        Thanks so much for sharing this information! I have one question, can anyone around the world outside the US can use the integration and selling printful product on etsy? I little bit scared cuz I have a vintage shop on etsy and I don’t wan’t any issue that can be banned from Etsy. Thanks.

        1. Nora Inveiss Post author

          Yes, you can use the Etsy/Printful integration if you’re outside the US. We recommend listing Printful as a production partner.

          PS, sorry about the delayed reply!

  13. Benjamin Thomas

    I have a question regarding this:

    “5. Set up billing, shipping, and taxes – enter your credit card information and billing address, create shipping prices and apply tax for your orders.”

    So, the Printful integration does not take care of this shipping automatically e.g. as an Etsy shop owner, I would need to set up shipping fees & destinations for each product individually? If so, this would be rather a headache.

    I’m familiar with the Prinful integration with WordPress/Woocommerce and there the Printful plugin takes care of all the shipping fees and ordering procedure. The plugin automatically figures out the fees to the customer destination considering size/weight of the product and customers choose choose only the shipping option/speed.

    Thanks for your tip!
    Ben

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hey Ben! Good news – this isn’t as complicated as you might think. We don’t offer live rates, but our Printful flat rates automatically applied. Check out this tutorial for instructions on how it works.

  14. Cynthia

    Hi there! I already have an etsy shop, but I am looking to add some additional items from printful. I could have items from printful, that you all would ship for me, and items that I am creating and shipping myself all in one store. Is that correct? Or would I need to have 2 stores, one with just items from printful and one of my personally handmade items. Thank you!

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Cynthia! You can have one store with Printful items and non-Printful items. You can mark your handmade items as “ignored” on your Printful dashboard.

  15. James McLean

    I’ve been using Easy and Printiful together for the last few years and have accumulated over 140 sales. Not enough to retire on, but definitely growing.

    I have experimented with pricing a lot and so far the formula that seems to be working is free shipping – which is just rolled up into the overall price. But the shipping options from Printful are far less then the options I have out of Canada.

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Thanks for your feedback, James! And congrats on your Etsy store! Free shipping is definitely the way to go if you can make it work with your margins. But you’re right that it’s trickier with international options.

  16. Anna

    How do I send my buyers a link to a t-shirt I integrated to my etsy store? I’m trying to get them to see that particular t-shirt.
    Thanks for all your help,

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Anna, I’m not sure I understand your question! Once you push products to your Etsy store through Printful and publish the draft through Etsy, you should be able to send a link from your Etsy store. Hope this helps!

  17. Ten Thousand Unicorns

    I just launched a Printful shop on Etsy this week! I have tried other PoD platforms as well, and I like the control I have over my designs, brand, and pricing with Printful. I sell Halloween & Party Masks and art on Etsy, and now I have a line of Costume/Party wear in the same shop! Printful has done wonders for my brand!

  18. Anne Garrison

    Hi Printful. I have two Etsy shops, one open and another opening soon. Both carry art prints. I would be interested in using Printful to fulfill print orders as well as take advantage of the other products you offer to expand my line. However I don’t see an 11×14 size listed. It’s a very common print size and used by many Etsy sellers. I really don’t want to alter all of my art though. Is it possible this size will be added anytime soon?
    Thanks:)

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Anne! We’re planning on expanding our poster sizes, but I’m not sure if we’re specifically planning on adding a 11×14 size. Our main focus will be on adding metric sizes.

      Feel free to leave a request here!

  19. Teo

    I used to have an Etsy store and traffic was 0. Something else that really bothered me was when I was reading how copy cats are stealing original ideas and making their own versions. That’s my biggest turn off about Etsy. I’ll stick with my own website.

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Good point. There are definitely arguments to sticking with your own store instead of a marketplace. Whatever works for your business and your needs!

  20. veronika frederick

    I just connected Etsy and Printful
    My question is this, The customer for isntance buys a Printful listing product, how it that product paid for and how do I receive my profit of that sell?
    Had no sales yet but I want to be prepared.

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Basically, there are two transactions that take place when a customer places an order:

      1. Your customer pays you
      2. You pay Printful for the product and fulfillment

      You can take a look at the Printful’s product pricing here – prices include fulfillment. Then you set your prices (what your customers pay you) and whatever is left over is your profit.

      1. Ivan Wainewright

        Hi Nora, does that mean that there is no “full end-to-end integration”? i.e. As the designer, I must always pay you myself when a customer buys on Etsy? Seems a shame that the Etsy payment can’t automatically feed through to you – one of the great things about Printful’s standard service is that I don’t need to get involved at all with any purchases!

        Thanks,

        Ivan

        1. Nora Inveiss Post author

          Hi Ivan!

          Etsy’s payments work the same as our other platforms. We don’t charge your end customer – you have a separate payment processor on your store to charge your customers. And then we charge you once the order comes through on your Printful dashboard.

          Hope this helps!

  21. Mc

    I just register to sell on Etsy by sync with printful. The first day I was close my account immediately. Is there anyone got a problem like me? They send me the based on inconsistencies we have a reason to believe that your business presents a significant risk to the market place… then they close my account just 1 day. I upload about 20 design within one day becasue I already have a stock of design that I keep it for long time ago. Is there any limited to upload to etsy per 1 day?

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hey Mc, that’s strange! It’s hard to tell why your account was closed without seeing what Etsy wrote. I’d reply to them and ask for more clarification if something is unclear to you. There’s no product upload limit, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

  22. AJ

    Thanks for the article. I have just launched a shopify store with printful but I’m going to use etsy as well to get my vegan shirts in front of as many people as possible.

  23. Robin

    Hi Nora,

    I already have an etsy shop and I am in the process of adding a section of for printful mugs. My question is if someone buys one of my own products that I ship from and buys a mug from printful how does that affect the shipping? Other than the obvious of separate deliveries to the customer.

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Robin!

      You set the shipping rate for each product when you list it. So if a customer orders a Printful product and a non-Printful product, Etsy calculates the shipping set for both products. And then yes, they’re shipped and fulfilled separately.

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