There’s been some buzz about Etsy dropshipping lately. Dropshippers have been looking to promote trending products and find new products from different marketplaces, which makes dropshipping on Etsy – as well as sourcing products from Etsy – seem attractive. And with Etsy’s 2.1 million sellers, the marketplace appears to be a goldmine for quality products. But could Etsy dropshipping be too good to be true? In this article, we break down the pros and cons of Etsy dropshipping and more.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model where a merchant sells products without needing to manufacture goods, carry inventory, or ship products to customers.
The business model is popular among new and risk-averse entrepreneurs who want to start an ecommerce business.
Traditionally, entrepreneurs were required to buy products in bulk, at wholesale prices. If a product sold, great! If a product didn’t, you’re left with a box of unsold inventory. Yikes. Naturally, entrepreneurs hated the risk of having a box of unsold products, making dropshipping an attractive alternative.
Why? Well, for starters, you buy products from suppliers on an individual basis. So if a customer places an order on your store, you then order that product – and only that product – from the supplier, who will take care of the rest: manufacturing, picking, packaging, and shipping your product. So, not only do you save money – you also save a ton of time.
Benefits of Etsy Dropshipping
Dropshipping is popular on various platforms. There’s Amazon dropshipping, eBay dropshipping, Shopify dropshipping, and so much more. So, why are people interested in Etsy dropshipping in the first place? Here’s a quick rundown:
- Sell handmade products: The best thing about Etsy dropshipping is that you can sell handmade products (which other dropshipping platforms don’t have). So, if you own a maternity store, products like knitted blankets on Etsy may be worth selling. The downside to this is that handmade products take longer to make and you might not be able to sell the volume you’d like to sell to your growing audience.
- Etsy products are popular for certain niches: If you’re looking for handmade goods, printables, or wedding products, Etsy is one of the biggest marketplaces for those niches. Sellers looking to sell digital products or wedding accessories might be interested in dropshipping Etsy products.
Etsy Dropshipping Cons
While Etsy dropshipping has some pretty cool benefits, their cons can make you reconsider the platform. Here are just a few of the Etsy dropshipping cons:
- Retail price of products is high: The prices listed on Etsy are above retail value. For example, say you buy a bridal tiara on any traditional online store, you might pay around $91.97 for a really nice one (at least that’s how much I paid for mine – you can even see the review I left on their page). However, the exact one I ended up buying cost $153.02 on Etsy. That’s over $60 more than what I paid. Most online retailers buy products at wholesale prices. However, Etsy’s pricing is often far above market value, making it unattractive to the average shopper. Especially a shopper who has the time to do some extra research.
- Pay a listing fee: One of the biggest downsides of Etsy dropshipping is the listing you fee you have to pay to add a product to their marketplace. Listing fees are 20 cents per listing. But there’s a catch – Etsy listings expire after four months. So you have to keep re-adding your listing to their marketplace, adding more manual work than it’s worth. And you pay for the listing fee each time your product sells. If you use an ecommerce platform like Shopify, you can add products to your store without worrying about listing fees. Plus, your products stay hosted on your website for as long as you’d like.
- Your dropshipping capabilities are limited: Etsy’s seller policies don’t specifically mention “dropshipping.” Etsy does say, however, that reselling is allowed in some instances: “‘Reselling’ is selling an item that you, the seller, did not make or design.” (This doubles as a more or less spot-on definition of dropshipping.) “Etsy’s marketplace includes handmade items, vintage items, and craft supplies. Reselling is only allowed in the vintage and craft supplies categories.” So you can resell/dropship, but you’ll be handcuffed.
- Etsy isn’t sustainable: Maybe you’re not looking to sell products on Etsy but from Etsy. That has some pretty serious disadvantages, too. If you want to dropship Etsy products, you’ll find that the products that you can dropship don’t sell well. And if you find that big, life-changing winning product, your Etsy supplier won’t be able to sustain the business. A full-time, massive manufacturer can handle thousands and thousands of orders every day. But a handmade product by a part-time Etsy seller can’t handle that same volume level. And so you’ll never really score the jackpot you’re looking for.
- Wholesale option got shut down: Take a look at this update on the Etsy Wholesale program. In June 2018, Etsy made the decision to shut down their wholesale program, which allowed sellers to sell to retailers. Again, dropshipping on Etsy is still possible, but the platform has made moves that might make dropshippers nervous about future policy changes.
Etsy Dropshipping Rules
In it’s “What Can Be Sold” section, Etsy explains, “Etsy is a unique marketplace. Buyers come here to purchase items that they might not find anywhere else. Everything listed for sale on Etsy must be handmade, vintage or a craft supply.” They even clarify that the handmade goods must also be “made and/or designed by you, the seller.”
When it comes to selling vintage products, they need to be at least 20 years old to be labelled as vintage. And when it comes to craft supplies, you can sell them from another supplier. However, you must disclose where you got the products from and their environmental attributes, such as if it’s made from recycled material.
Etsy Dropshipping on Shopify
When it comes to Etsy dropshipping on Shopify, you’re able to promote Etsy products on your store via Shopify apps.
Remember that the downside to this is that sellers often sell handmade products, so quantities are limited. If you’re sending a ton of paid traffic to a specific product, the seller may be unable to handle all the requests you send over. And since the product is original, you won’t be able to find a replacement seller which can lead to unhappy customers.
Dropshipping from AliExpress to Etsy
Dropshipping from AliExpress to Etsy is prohibited. Why? Because goods need to be handmade, vintage, or a craft supply. For example, if you’re selling a t-shirt, the design on the t-shirt must’ve been created by you. While some sellers have been able to sneak their way in, often by having their own custom photos, you’re still not allowed to dropship on Etsy. And getting caught could have you banned from the platform.
So is dropshipping on Etsy allowed? If you’re running a print on demand dropshipping store where you design your own products, yes. If you’re dropshipping products that you did not create or design, no.
So, where should you dropship instead? Let’s dive into that.
Want to Dropship for Your Own Brand Instead?
Maybe Etsy isn’t the best marketplace to dropship products. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dropship successfully somewhere else. The best way to dropship products online is by having your own online store. That way, you gain full control over your business. Here are a few benefits of having your own store:
- Own your own brand: People will remember your store name, not the platform you sell on like Etsy.
- Own your marketing: Build your own email list, retarget your website visitors, own your customer list.
- Sell as many products as you’d like: You can choose from millions of products to sell on your store and with no listing fees you can add as many products without any added fees.
Dropshipping is one of the most sustainable business models for a long-term business. However, dropshipping on Etsy may not be the best choice due to seller’s inability to sell high volumes, expensive listing and shipping fees, high product pricing, and more. If you’re looking to dropship, feel free to browse our collection of millions of products you can sell today.