Mixing It Up on Etsy: Printables Meets Physical
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The Etsy platform is known for its creative but diverse community of handmade crafters, artisans, and vintage sellers, and has undeniably become one of the leading online marketplaces for unique, handcrafted, and custom items.
But if you’re an Etsy seller primarily focused on selling digital downloads and printables like we are, you might be wondering if there’s room in your Etsy shop for physical goods too.
In this blog post, we will take a look at mixing printables and physical products and answer the question many Etsy sellers ask: “Can I sell physical products along with my printables on Etsy?”
Can You Mix Physical and Printable Products on Etsy? Let’s Break It Down!
First and foremost, you should know that Etsy allows sellers to list items in various categories. These range from handmade goods and vintage items (at least 20 years old) to craft supplies.
Digital downloads, also known commonly as printables, are downloadable files that customers purchase, download, and print at home, or at a printing service of their choice.
Now, to the heart of the question: Yes, you can sell physical products alongside your printables or digital downloads on Etsy. There’s no rule against offering digital and tangible items in your store.
Once you have established your Etsy store, you’re not limited to selling just printables or creating digital products. Digital downloads and physical items can also sell well in an Etsy shop.
However, jumping into the physical product space does come with its own set of challenges. There are a few things you should take into consideration before you make these changes to your Etsy printables business that we will outline below.
by Julie and Cody
Want to learn more about selling digital products on Etsy? Our E-Printables course has helped thousands of people start their own Etsy side hustle selling printables and other digital downloads!
The Perks of Both Printables and Physical Products
There are several reasons you may want to consider adding physical goods alongside your digital printables in your Etsy shop.
Offering different types of products will allow you to appeal to a broader audience and potentially increase your customer base and increase your sales. Choosing to sell digital products or physical ones will bring in and meet the needs of two different types of customers. In addition, some niches pair well with offering both a physical and digital product such as knitting.
Increased Shop Visibility
With more product variety, you are more likely to attract different types of customers from the Etsy marketplace, which can boost your shop’s visibility and bring more traffic to your Etsy store. This can lead to a better shop ranking and potentially higher sales.
Building Your Brand Presence
When someone physically touches or uses a product, it creates a deeper bond with your brand. It reinforces your brand in their minds, making them more likely to remember and return to your shop.
Things to Think About Before Taking the Plunge
If you sell digital products, deciding to jump into the world of physical goods is like diving into the deep end of the pool. It’s thrilling, but there are things to be mindful of before you make a splash.
Whether it’s inventory checks or the complexities of shipping, here are some factors to consider as you expand your Etsy offerings.
Unlike your unlimited digital products where you make the item once and can sell it again and again, you’ll need to monitor how many physical items you have created and are ready to sell.
Shipping and Handling
Offering and selling a physical product means mailing stuff out. You will need to take into consideration things such as packaging, postage, and tracking numbers and potentially dealing with international customs if you ship globally. This also means that there will more customer service interactions as well as the potential for lost or delayed shipments. While no business is ever truly passive income, there are more expectations associated with shipping goods as opposed to selling printables.
Etsy sellers that primarily sell digital downloads will find that there are often higher associated costs to making, storing, and sending physical items as mentioned above. Many sellers choose to include these additional costs in their prices to ensure that they still making a profit.
Returns and Exchanges
Etsy has a sitewide policy that digital downloads are nonrefundable. With physical items, people might want to return or exchange physical items, so you will need to have a plan in place for how to handle refunds and exchanges, as well as if they receive their item damaged.
It can take a lot of effort to ensure your items are sent out in a timely fashion, as well as your Etsy business will shift from a passive income to an active income, meaning you are putting in more work yourself.
In addition, if you are receiving a high volume of orders, you’ll want to make sure you are keeping up with your orders and sending them out on time, or you might face Etsy placing your shop in a forced vacation mode until you catch up.
Ideas For Combining Digital and Physical Items
If you’re eager to try adding physical items alongside your digital products but aren’t sure how to integrate them with your digital offerings, here are some creative ideas
Printed and Delivered
Instead of only selling printables, you can offer your customers the option to have it professionally printed and mailed to them. There are several sites like Prints of Love that you can pair with both your physical and digital offerings.
Kits and Bundles
Some Etsy sellers create kits and bundles that combine a physical item that was created and include printables within it as well, such as gift tags. You can also offer a bundle that includes both the physical version and the digital download version of your product. This works great in niches such as wall art.
If you sell digital planners, you can consider offering complementary items such as physical stickers, bookmarks, or pens. In addition, if you choose to sell physical planners, it makes sense to offer digital stickers, or even digital versions to complement your item.
Another idea to combine both physical and digital products would be to offer custom-made, or personalized physical versions of your digital files for your potential Etsy buyers.
Tips for Success While Offering Both In Your Etsy Shop
Here are some tips for selling digital products, printables, digital downloads, and physical items.
Clear Product Descriptions
One of the most common issues I have experienced as a digital product seller is when customers thought that their digital item was going to be mailed and shipped to them. I had to make my descriptions very clear of what my customers would be receiving. This same concept applies if you choose to sell physical goods. You will need to ensure that your customer knows precisely what they’re purchasing and the appropriate shipping time.
Did You Know?
You can use AI generators like Chat GPT to help you create descriptions for your listings. Using AI can help you to really come up with an engaging description that is sure to hook your customer. Try it out today!
Quality over Quantity
If you decide to expand your Etsy store beyond printables, don’t rush to add a bunch of physical stuff. Start with a few items and make sure they are of the highest quality.
With the addition of physical products, organization becomes very important to the success of the Business. Etsy shop owners use various tools or apps to manage inventory, track sales, and handle shipping.
Engage with Your Community
One of the great things about selling digital products and physical goods is the ability to engage with your audience. You can use social media such as Instagram and TikTok to showcase your product or even share the behind-the-scenes footage that goes into your product creation. You can also use any feedback from customers to make adjustments to your products based on their preferences and needs.
Stay in the Know
Just like selling printables, e-commerce is ever-changing. It is important to keep up with any changes in Etsy’s rules, guidelines, policies, shipping regulations, and industry trends.
Combining printables and digital products with physical products can elevate your Etsy store. It does include a bit more work on your end, but the reward can be a great tradeoff.
Whether you’re aiming to expand your shop, reach more peeps, or have fun with new products, or printable ideas, Etsy offers the flexibility to create an Etsy shop that reflects your overall vision and business goals.
Go on, get creating and selling!