Dropshipping on Etsy is strictly prohibited. So, what’s the whole point of this write up and do you have to go blackhat to try and sell dropshipping products on Etsy? Even though there are a few sneaky buggers doing Etsy dropshipping from China, it is just not worth your time or effort.
Etsy is incredibly strict. They ban accounts without blinking twice. For those who do not know Etsy, it is one of the largest marketplaces online and it focuses on handmade products.
It started off as a place for people who make interesting one-off stuff at home to have an online place to sell.
It was a bit like a farmers market – but online.
Even though Etsy has evolved a lot, it still maintains this core idea that everything you sell on there has to be handmade and unique.
This is why you can not do Etsy dropshipping from China. You can not sell generic products that are mass produced. It’s not allowed so don’t even try it.
Does this mean selling dropshipping products is a no-no then?
You can do dropshipping on Etsy and there are two powerful strategies.
Dropshipping Print on Demand Products
Dropshipping print on demand products on Etsy is absolutely allowed. The fact that there is a “handmade” and unique element to what you are selling means that it falls within their strict terms of service.
In saying this, your designs have to be unique. Uploading a bunch of generic designs that you bought off 1000Designs will not cut it.
Etsy buyers are very discerning. They come to Etsy looking for something unique, different and handmade. A lot of people do not like to buy mass produced stuff and like the handmade quality of products like those offered on Etsy.
So how do you sell print on demand products on Etsy?
Dropshipping Print on Demand Products on Etsy
All you need to do is to open an Etsy store (its free) and then open a Printful account (you can read my Printful Review here). Connect the two and you are ready to rock.
With Printful it is incredibly simple as you can just create a product right from your Printful account (no need for Shopify) and then push the product to your Etsy store.
Printful takes care of (almost) everything. They have a great product catalog so you are by no means restricted to T-shirts and hoodies. In fact, I would recommend you stay away from those unless you have really great designs or a super unique niche.
What I like most about dropshipping on Etsy is that there is a huge market and all the traffic you get is free. This means no need to run ads (although you can) to get sales.
This allows you to sell products at very affordable prices given that you do not have to try and cover your ad costs. You can sell a T-shirt for $20 and still make $5 profit per shirt. This is a win-win for everyone.
Printful is not the only POD platform that integrates with Etsy. Printify and Gooten are two other ones that offer similar integration.
The reason why I do not like Printify and Gooten for Etsy dropshipping is that they do not print in-house. There is a lot of room for mistakes and from experience there are a lot of issues with print quality.
You do not want these issues with your Etsy store. A few bad reviews can ruin your store as Etsy buyers are quite savvy.
If you already run a niche store on Shopify with Print on demand then its logical to push your product over to an Etsy store as well. It can expose your products to a whole new market.
Products that flopped on Facebook ads could be a huge hit on Etsy. Its a different market and they respond differently to products than the Facebook crowd does.
One big problem with this is pricing.
Selling a print on demand T-shirt on your Shopify store will most likely be $25 to $30 plus shipping. You need that margin if you run ads to your products.
If you were to price your T-shirt that high on Etsy though you will probably not make any sales. You will p[robably have to sell for $20 and offer free shipping.
See the dilemma?
I don’t have a good solution for this yet but you can offer different prices on the two. Just be aware that you run the risk of people finding your products for cheaper on Etsy.
Its not necessarily a problem but make sure you do not use the same brand name on Etsy as you do on your Shopify store.
Dropshipping on Etsy From China
I know I’ve already said that this is a big no-no but wait. Its gets really interesting and what I am about to share with you is still very underground.
Once you see this you will soon start spotting these products all over Etsy – and you will see just how incredibly well they are doing.
Dropshipping on Etsy is not allowed for generic mass produced products but if the products are personalized then it is no longer a mass produced product. It becomes just another print on demand product.
In case you do not know, a lot of Chinese sellers offer amazing personalization options.
Apart from standard printing, they offer laser engraving, laser cutting and a variety of services that can turn dull products into desirable Etsy best sellers.
You can find some of these suppliers on Aliexpress. I prefer to use CJ Dropshipping. They have a huge collection of personalized products that you can sell on Etsy.
You will probably recognize many of these products now that you see them – and now you know where they come from.
Although this is completely allowed on Etsy, there are some issues.
The first is processing and shipping times. Any time something comes from CHina it will be slow. With personalized products it is acceptable that it will take longer but anything over 2 weeks will become a problem.
You need to be very upfront with your customers about processing and shipping times. You do not have to be explicit about where the products come from but you need to be upfront about it.
When you get refund requests you will have to refund them according to Etsy’s policies so be very careful with this.
A second grey area is what you tell Etsy about your “production partner”. They do not like it when products dropship from China.
I’m not going to tell you what to do here but you will need to be creative in how you phrase it so that you do not get in trouble with Etsy.
Etsy Dropshipping – What (almost) No One Else is Doing
Selling dropshipping products on Etsy is the way 99% of people are using Etsy. There is a very different and very lucrative alternative. That is to sell Etsy products on your Shopify store via dropshipping.
Obviously this is not as easy as selling dropshipping products via Oberlo and Aliexpress but it is a surefire way to give you an edge that no-one else has.
The vast majority of Etsy sellers are not marketers. They know nothing about marketing and advertising. If you have these skills then you can leverage their unique products and help them in the process.
Most Etsy sellers price their products very low as well. Their average profit margins are 20%. This allows you to add some fat to the margins and make a nice profit.
How To Dropship Etsy Products on Your Shopify Store
You will pretty much follow the exact same process as you would when you sell Aliexpress products. You will use the Etsy listing to create a listing on your own store.
Find interesting products in your niche and list them on your store. When you get a sale, you place the order on Etsy and ship it to your customer.
In the initial testing stage there is no problem doing this. Once you start seeing sales and potential with a product, you should contact the Etsy seller and strike a deal.
99.9% of Etsy sellers would agree to you re-selling their products on your store. They want to sell more and make more money.
You need to negotiate prices and most of all you want to get away from Etsy. There are a lot of great Shopify apps that will allow you to export orders to the seller. They can then fulfill it and send the tracking numbers back to your store with very little input from you.
This is how you can automate dropshipping from Etsy sellers.
Make sure you are upfront with them at all times. Tell them that you can sell X amount of products per day. Make sure they can meet the demand and make sure they know that you will up the prices to cover all your ad costs and still make a profit.
Make sure you tell them that they have no risk since you will be paying upfront once orders are placed.
You also want to have an arrangement for returns as things can get a bit muddy with returns and refunds.
Etsy Dropshipping Conclusion
Making money on Etsy with dropshipping is low risk and you get to tap into their huge marketplace. They have a lot of strict rules and they are known for closing accounts without warning.
Printful is an easy way to start. Avoid T-shirts as far as possible since it is so saturated already. Canvas art, posters, leggings and caps are great products to sell on Etsy via Printful.
Setting up an Etsy store is free but they do charge a $0.20 listing fee for each product. This is great for us because it prevents people spamming Etsy with thousands of crappy designs.
Do not try and dropship products from China unless they are unique – like the products we discussed. Personalized print on demand products work incredibly well on Etsy but you have to navigate the pitfalls of shipping and getting it done in China.
Finding unique products in your niche and selling them on your Shopify store is a great way to dropship from Etsy.
Do not sleep on Etsy. Selling print on demand products is low risk and only really requires an investment of time.