Etsy is a hub for creatives, crafters, and eccentrics. Both buyers and sellers are known for having unique styles and tastes. That’s why Etsy is famous all over the world for beautiful gifts and one-of-a-kind crafts.
Surprisingly, many Etsy shop owners choose to stick to domestic sales. They worry about the hassle of international shipping and customs paperwork.
Nevertheless, Etsy has a presence in 83 countries. That means you could be able to reach a large market if you expand to international sales of your Etsy products. Currently, the most dynamic markets, as far as Etsy is concerned, are North America, Europe, and Asia.
Is selling internationally on Etsy considered exporting? Exporting is when an item is shipped from one country to another. So technically, Etsy is considered exporting. But that shouldn’t scare you out of becoming an international seller on Etsy.
Looking to sell your products on other platforms as well? Check out our list of the 9 best alternatives to Amazon.
Pros and Cons of Going International
Choosing whether or not to sell your products internationally on Etsy is a big decision. It may not be ideal for every seller. Here’s a list of the pros and cons to help you decide.
- Expanded customer base
- Global recognition of your products
- The automatic translation tool makes it simple to translate product descriptions
- Relatively little additional effort compared to domestic shipping
- Customs forms are required
- You need to specify the exact weight and dimensions of your products
- Potential complications with different address formats
- You need to calculate shipping fees if you are outside the US or Canada
Interested in shipping from Canada to the US? Click here for tips.
How to Sell Internationally on Etsy
If you decide to start selling your products internationally on Etsy, you’ll likely get more customers and greater exposure for your products. That’s what every seller wants, right?
The set-up process is relatively simple. Follow these steps from set-up to shipment to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
1. Weigh Your Products and Check Dimensions
To avoid the possibility of being required to pay extra charges, it’s important to weigh your products and measure the dimensions accurately. That way, you can make sure the customer pays the correct shipping costs and tariffs.
We recommend purchasing a set of scales so you can easily weigh all of your products (including packaging materials). Once you have noted the weight and dimensions of each product, you can easily calculate international shipping prices.
2. Change Your Store Settings
For your product listings to be viewed by potential customers in other countries, you need to specify that you’re willing to ship to those countries. Go to the Shipping Area section under Listings and select which countries you’re willing to ship to.
If you live in the US or Canada, you can use Etsy’s international shipping fees calculator to effortlessly input your shipping fees. You’ll still need to manually add your product dimensions and expected delivery times. If you’re outside the US or Canada, you will need to calculate your shipping fees on your own.
3. Translate Your Listings
You have two options for translating your product listings so they’re readily understood by shoppers in other countries. The first option is Etsy’s automatic translation, which can be enabled under Settings. The automatic translation might not be 100% accurate. That might not be too bad as the most important part of your listing is the photo of the product.
The other option is providing a manual translation of your product listings, which can be entered under Settings. For the best chance of selling your product, you might want to find someone who can help you translate your listings in a way that’s descriptive and appealing to customers in other countries.
4. Inform Your Customers About Import Tax
Don’t miss this step, as it will likely save you from future headaches or alienating customers. It’s vital to inform your customers that they may be required to pay import taxes and duties once the shipment arrives, for example, VAT in Europe.
Remember, the customer is the one who’s obligated to pay any taxes or duties on the shipment. Your job is to make that very clear so the customer doesn’t become frustrated by unexpected costs. Remind your international customers that it’s their responsibility to be aware of all import taxes and duties in their respective countries and pay them accordingly.
5. Choose an International Shipping Company
This choice could make or break your international shipping success. Be sure to select an international shipping company that is reputable both in your country and the countries you’re shipping to. FedEx and DHL offer international tracking that can be extremely helpful.
If you’re based in the US or Canada and you chose Etsy’s automatic shipping calculation option (see Step 2), you’ll need to use USPS, Global Postal Shipping, or Canada Post for your international shipments. If you’re unable to use one of these shipping companies for some reason, you’ll need to calculate your own shipping fees.
6. Print Customs Forms
You’ve received your first order from another country. Congratulations! Now what? Prepare your shipment and make sure all the documents are in order. When you download an international shipping label from Etsy, you’ll receive a customs form as well.
Etsy will often automatically fill in the customs description and item value for you. If the order is more complicated, you may need to add more to the description yourself. Do not state that the item is a gift–that’s illegal. You can also add a tariff number that might help get your package through customs faster. Print the customs form and attach it to your package.
7. Ship Your Package
At last, it’s time to send your products out into the world. Don’t hesitate to message your customers if you have any questions regarding their address, country regulations, or anything other small details. It’s good to be as transparent as possible to build trust with your customers. Maybe they’ll even recommend you to their friends!
With enough courage and commitment, you can make the transition to becoming an international seller on Etsy. As long as you keep track of all of the details and foster a good relationship with your customers, you can build an exciting international presence for your products. Happy global selling!
When you started your Etsy store, you probably never envisioned yourself becoming an exporter. Let BorderBuddy help you with the customs paperwork and import tax information. We’re here for you, no matter how big or small your business is. Give us a call today.