How to sell internationally on Etsy

Etsy is one of the top global online marketplaces, and it is especially favored by creative individuals who wish to sell their custom, handmade products and artwork online. As of early 2017, the site averaged 32 million unique monthly visitors, so Etsy is a viable platform for sellers who want to reach a wide audience and generate the profits necessary to sustain an online business.
 
Beyond selling domestically, Etsy also offers you the opportunity to expand into the global marketplace. But where to start? Thankfully, the site has made it pretty easy to launch your worldwide operation, and a few helpful tips and strategies are below so you can go global with confidence.   

The benefits of selling internationally

By expanding your Etsy shop into an international marketplace, you can harness the power of buying trends that occur throughout the year in various parts of the world. And that diversification could help you maintain profits even when buying activity slows down at home.
 
Plus, even if you are new to selling on Etsy, you can offer international shipping as a means to immediately open your business up to a larger customer base, especially since buyers from abroad may narrow their searches down to those sellers who are willing to ship internationally. And if you are located outside of the United States, shipping internationally will also allow you to access the U.S. buyers that make up a large portion of the shoppers on Etsy.
 
Even though you will need to make some adjustments to your listings by providing new shipping options and rates, as well as adjusting your delivery times, it will be worth your effort to go global.
selling internationally

Attract the attention of international buyers

In a few simple steps, you can convert your Etsy seller account into one that will attract global shoppers, as well as allow you to ship your orders internationally:
  1. Translate your listings with the handy “automatic listing translation tool.” In this way, your listings can be read by a wider audience.
  2. Add appropriate tags and keywords to your listings so that international shoppers will find your items, even if they go by a different name abroad.
  3. Set international shipping as an option on the products in your shop. Also, having clear ship-to destinations within your listings will help your items show up in the appropriate search results.

Establish your location and shop policies  

After filling in your location in your Etsy profile so that international shoppers will know where their orders will be coming from, it is also a good idea to provide the weights and dimensions of your products, in both U.S. and metric measurements. This information will help buyers know what to expect when they shop from you, as they will be responsible for the shipping costs.
 
The “Shop Policies” section of your profile gives you the opportunity to establish that you offer international shipping. You can use this section of your profile to concisely and clearly state what you are offering to customers, including shipping times, exchanges and refunds, duty fees and customs fees, and payment types. Keep in mind that these policies are meant to protect you and the buyer, but they are also designed to give the buyer confidence in your shop as well.
etsy shipping

Create your shipping profiles

A great way to save time when it comes to adding your shipping rates to your Etsy listings is by setting up shipping profiles. With this handy tool, you can update several listings in a shorter amount of time, and you can also set up different shipping profiles for the various items in your shop.

Setting up a shipping profile is pretty straightforward.

  1. When you are creating a new listing, visit Shop Manager and then click on “Listings,” followed by “Add a Listing.
  2. Find the Shipping section, where you can then select if you want to have your rates calculated for you or if you want to enter them manually.
  3. Fill in details, such as where you are willing to ship your item, the processing time that a buyer should expect, your location, the product’s dimensions, and shipping and handling preferences,
    including domestic and international fees or shipping upgrades.
  4. Click “Save as a Shipping Profile” to be able to use your new shipping profile on other listings as well.

As an alternative, you can set up a Shipping Profile whenever you want to by simply:

  1. Heading to your Shop Manager page.
  2. Clicking “Settings” and then selecting “Shipping Settings.”
  3. Selecting “Add a Shipping Profile.”

Regardless of how you first set up a shipping profile, you can always edit it later on if you change your mind.

international shipping

Consider the fees that come with international shipping

Whenever you ship an order internationally, it might be subject to fees that are set by the destination country, as well as customs duties and import taxes. Certain nations may even require that you provide specific documentation prior to sending your products abroad. As the seller, it is your responsibility to ensure that the package and its contents will comply with both import and export laws, as Etsy will not bear any responsibility.
 
When it comes to customs clearance fees, taxes, and duties, which can vary from one nation to the next, buyers are generally responsible for covering these costs. It is difficult to predict which fees, if any, will end up being applied to any of your shipments. Also, Etsy doesn’t expect you to calculate these taxes and fees, or collect them. That’s why it’s important to clarify that the buyer will be responsible, so make it a point to include this in your shop’s policies.

Receive international payments

After you have made an international sale, it is time to collect those profits and make sure you're getting the best possible rate when it comes to transferring foreign currency revenue back to your home account. OFX offer local currency accounts in USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY or HKD to funnel your marketplace profits into so you can transfer them home at the best possible rate (rather than letting some of the larger payment providers take a much bigger chunk off your bottom line). Be smart about how you taking international payments - managing your global income through OFX for Online Sellers could help you save upwards of 75% whenever you bring your money home.*
returning customer

Keep customers coming back

With an attractive inventory and an Etsy shop that states its international shipping policies clearly, you can keep customers coming back for more. In time, you could grow a global online business of your own.
 
For more tips on selling abroad, check out this Guide to Doing Business Overseas.