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The Nuts and Bolts of Your Etsy Shop - Part I - Setting Up Shop Policies

So you've asked yourself the question {Is Etsy is right for you}, you've done an {Etsy vs. eBay} comparison and maybe a couple of other comparisons, and you've decided that it's time to open your Etsy shop (or maybe you've already taken the plunge)!

If you haven't yet opened up shop but you're ready, take a look at the post {How to Open Your Etsy Shop}. That post will help you get up and running. And you'll definitely want to check out the {Etsy Shopping List - What You Need Before You Open Your Etsy Shop}.

But there's way more to it than that!

Now we'll get into the real nuts and bolts of your new Etsy shop! 

I'll show you how to create an About page, amp up your profile page, create your shop policies, add sections to your shop, create shipping profiles, rearrange your items, and connect to social media.

I'm going to cover these in order of importance with what I believe to be the most important first. So today's post is about shop policies.

Part I - Shop Policies

Shop policies are very important to help your buyer's understand what they can expect when they choose to do business with you. Having this section also creates peace of mind for your buyers and assures them that you are professional about your shop! If fact, I know many people will not buy from a shop that doesn't have any policies.

Your policies will include things like shipping turnaround time, refund policies, and forms of payment you accept.

Before we get started, I created this free printable {Etsy Shop Anatomy} for us to use for reference as we are going through your shop in this post and many more to come. Click on the link above, in the brackets, to print a full size copy so it's larger and easier to read :o) If the link doesn't work let me know and I can email you a pdf copy.

This is what your shop looks like to your customers (with the exception of the blue bar along the top, only you can see that).

Etsy Shop Anatomy

So looking at the shop anatomy above (or your printed copy), customers will find your shop policies located in the left sidebar right under the "shop info" section and the picture of the shop with the little red roof.

Here's a close-up.

So let's get started!

To begin creating your policies click on "Your Shop" in the top, right-hand corner > Shop Settings > Info & Appearance > then click on the "Policies" tab along the top of this screen.

You have seven sections here; 1) your welcome message, 2) payment policy, 3) shipping policy, 4) refund policy, 5) additional information, 6) seller information, and 7) private receipt info. 

Let's start at the top! 

I will share my policies from my shop, Little Vintage Cottage as examples below. You are welcome to copy mine if you are drawing a blank, I don't mind! But make sure you adapt them to your shop :o)

1) Welcome Message

As you create a welcome message for your shop policies page think of a small brick-and-mortar shop where you enjoy shopping... what do they say when you walk in the door? I just stopped at one the other day and when I opened the door a little bell hanging on the inside of the door rang and someone from behind the counter said "Hello, welcome!"

Also think about how they made you feel. In that same shop I was in she asked me, "Are you looking for something specific?" and "Let me know if you have any questions". I felt like a valued customer and we want to try and give that same, personal feeling here in our welcome message.

Do not put personal information here, we will add that later in a more appropriate spot.

Here is what my welcome message looks like:

Hello, welcome to The Little Vintage Cottage! 

If you have any additional questions that are not answered here or would like additional information about an item listed in my shop please feel free to contact me. You can send me an Etsy 'convo' or email me directly at Pelletier4003(at)charter(dot)net.

2) Payment Policy

Specify the different forms of payments you'll accept here and any stipulations surrounding those options if applicable. 

I strongly suggest you offer as many payment options as possible... Most definitely Direct Checkout. The majority of my sales are paid through direct checkout. This payment option offers your buyers multiple payment options including credit card, debit card, Etsy Gift Cards, and most recently... integrated Paypal.

Everyone is different and there are still a few people who do not like paying online so accepting money orders and personal checks is also helpful.

It is also helpful to include a link to Etsy's help section for {completing a purchase} for newbies when you create your payment policy.

Here is what my payment policy looks like:

For your convenience I accept Etsy Direct Checkout where you can pay with debit/credit cards, Etsy gift cards, and select mobile and international payment methods. I also accept all forms of Paypal payments, and personal checks and money orders (US funds only).

If you need help completing your purchase please see here: https://www.etsy.com/help_guide_checkout.php

3) Shipping Policy

Include your preferred shipping methods here (i.e. USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.), any information about upgrades, deadlines, insurance, etc. Also include any other helpful information such as gift wrapping if you offer that, what kind of packaging you use (recycled, boxes, envelopes), etc.

A piece of advice... including shipping insurance... especially for fragile items.  Because as Ace Ventura so eloquently shows in this scene from Pet Detective, here is what sometimes happens to your packages...

I'm not even kidding!

Here are pictures one of my customers sent me of the damage done to her package. She said the box was taped up and there was no note, no explanation, nothing! There was a set of vintage plastic dishes inside and one of the bowls was broken... plastic my friends... not even fragile and they managed to break it!

Surprisingly you will find that Priority mail is now often the cheapest shipping option and fortunately it comes with insurance included! You can file insurance claims quickly online.

Looks like Ace was the delivery man for this package too! ;o)

Here are my shipping policies: 

Whenever possible I use recycled boxes and shipping materials (just trying to do my part to save the environment!)

I normally use USPS Standard Post or Priority Mail for US and First Class Mail International and Priority International. Fragile items will have insurance added automatically and the amount will be included in the total shipping specified for the item.

I ship within 2 days after receiving payment.

4) Refund Policy

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Include information here about your refund policy. Do you accept returns? I suggest that you do. If you are a handmade shop you may want to include whether you will accept returns of custom orders. Most do not.

Here is my return policy:

If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase please contact me, I want all my customers to be happy customers! I accept returns and will refund the cost for the item plus the shipping amount you were charged. Return shipping is your responsibility and the amount will not be refunded. The item must be received back within 7 days in the original condition.

If an item is damaged or broken please contact me and I will refund your purchase price. I will need pictures of the item and the packaging in order to file an insurance claim but there is no need to return the item.

I do not get very many returns so don't worry too much about this. If you find that your customers are choosing to return their purchases then you may need to rethink things… perhaps your descriptions are not clear or are misleading… you'll just have to see why people are choosing to return your item if that happens.

5) Additional Information

Include any additional policies that didn't fit anywhere else, information about custom orders and wholesale if you offer that. This is also a good place to include frequently asked questions. If you do custom orders discuss that process here (half down before starting work, remaining half down upon completion, how long custom orders take), etc.

I am a vintage shop so I do not do custom orders and not have anything in this section.

6) Seller Information

Sellers in the European Union are required to fill in this section with name, physical address, email address, etc.

7) Private Receipt Information

This section is geared toward the UK and Germany. You can find more information about it here.

To wrap up, be polite and courteous. Policies can sometimes come off as harsh and unfriendly so try to be extra friendly in this section! If you are having trouble let me know, maybe I can help!

If you want to look at my policies page in my shop, you can see it {here}.

Alright! Shop policies...

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The next post will be all about setting up shipping profiles and calculated shipping! Woot-woot!!


  1. Awesome information!! I LOVE the video! I'm quite sure some mail delivery people have used that for a training video! LOL!

    1. Bahaha! I'm pretty sure that is an OFFICIAL training video! ;o]