I'm incredibly excited to share something that has been a game-changer for me—how to dropship print-on-demand products on Etsy. Now, I've been in the dropshipping game for a while, working across multiple websites, but Etsy has been a gold mine for many reasons.
The Allure of Automation
First and foremost, why Etsy? What sets it apart from other e-commerce platforms? Simply put, it's the automation. Once you set up your Etsy listings properly, the entire process is 100% automated. Yes, you heard me right—100%. I've aligned myself with a company that takes care of everything from printing my designs onto products like t-shirts and mugs (and other things), as well as boxing them up, and shipping them directly to the customer. They even go a step further, going into the backend of my Etsy store to input the tracking number for each order. This leaves me free to focus on the two main aspects that drive any business: product research and product creation.
Navigating the Right Way
Before we go any further, I need to emphasize that there's a right way and a wrong way to dropship on Etsy. The wrong way could jeopardize your Etsy account, and we don't want that. Instead, we'll focus on print-on-demand products, as they are considered handmade, aligning with Etsy's marketplace vibe and terms of service.
Graphic Design and Creativity
You'll need some graphic design skills, but don't worry; we'll get into that. It's so much easier than you think. (especially now with all the new AI tools available to us. And while you should definitely model your products after successful designs (a no-brainer), never steal or copy them outright. You'll also want to avoid using brand names or logos that aren't yours, as this can lead to your listings being taken down for intellectual property infringement. But again, as long as you're not putting up big brand logos (like target or walmart: for example), you'll be fine. And there are tools out there like Everbee that will run IP checks on your products for you so you can be sure (if you're worried at all).
Setting Up Shop
First, you'll want to connect your Etsy shop with a print-on-demand software; I personally use Printful. They handle all the heavy lifting like printing, packing, and shipping. Once that's done, it's time to populate your store with products. But not just any products (you want to identify hot-selling products with low competition (where you can launch something and rank really quickly - that's where the money is made). Then, you want to improve upon those existing PROVEN designs. Make the design slightly different, use it as creative inspiration...and also use something like chat gpt to improve their SEO (while still keeping all their best keywords - after all, they work!).
You can't just list your products and expect them to sell like hotcakes; you'll need to drive traffic to your Etsy shop. Aside from SEO and Etsy's built-in customer base, you can funnel additional traffic from branded pages that you create on social platforms. This can give you a ranking boost on Etsy as well. And you should also test out Etsy ads. They can help pour gasoline to ignite the fire that is a hot selling design (and turn it into a GOLD MINE). But they can also help rank a new product as well (with even just a little bit of ad spend).
Consistency Over Perfection
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, consistency is key. If you can manage to upload just a few well-researched and well-designed listings every day, you'll see far better results in the long run compared to adding hundreds of listings in one go and then going dark. Consistency trumps all in almost every business I've ever run. Consistently show up, consistently improve, and you'll start to see the sales rolling in....consistently!
So why am I so bullish on Etsy? It's a platform brimming with demand, but not so oversaturated that there's no room for you to carve out your own successful niche. Combine that with the complete automation I mentioned earlier, and you've got yourself a formula for a sustainable, profitable business. Now, all that's left is to get started!
If you'd like to learn more about it, check out this playlist loaded with tutorials and insight.