Can you Drop Ship On Etsy?

by Doug Berg | Last Updated: September 4, 2019

Can you drop ship on etsy? Sure you can. In fact, that’s the only way I sell on Etsy.

However, there are a few things you should consider. Etsy is a marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. But what exactly does ‘handmade’ mean? Creating works of art and applying those works of art to products is definitely allowed.

In addition, you are permitted to customize products for your customers, even if you didn’t create the product yourself. You are free to find a supplier that will produce and ship those products to your customers without you having to ever touch the products yourself.

Etsy is for Creators – but that doesn’t mean you can’t drop ship products.

You do need to know Etsy’s Rules

There are some rules that you need to know about in Etsy’s terms of service when it comes to drop shipping. I’ll quickly run through everything you need to know in this article. 

What Kinds of Items Can I Drop Ship on Etsy?

You can drop ship pretty much anything you can dream up. Etsy’s rules are designed to protect the marketplace and the customers. What they don’t want you to do is list items for resale. If you can customize a product then you can probably dropship it to your Etsy customers.

As long as you’re representing yourself and your products honestly and you’re not breaking the other terms of service you’re free to sell almost anything you can think of. Copyright infringement and trademark violation will get your account banned. So make sure you have the rights to sell your products. 

What Can’t I Sell on Etsy?

Etsy has strict rules about selling weapons, drug related or illegal material or a number of other  questionable items. Make sure you check out the terms of service and Etsy’s Prohibited Items Policy before you list any questionable items. Etsy is a very different marketplace from Amazon or even on Ebay, what you cannot do is simply list products from drop shipping suppliers that you had no part in creating. 

What Do I Need to Do to Drop Ship on Etsy?

Drop shipping on Etsy removes the need to package and ship products.

Etsy requires that you list all your production partners on your shop. This makes it really clear to your customers that although you may have designed the product, you’re not actually hand making it. It is extremely important that you divulge all your production partners. Failure to do so may get your account banned.

Other than reporting all your production partners, it’s really as simple as creating listings for your shop. Many of the print on demand drop shipping suppliers have partnerships with Etsy itself and have created custom integrations that automatically notify your suppliers when a sales is made. Other than providing customer service and sending a thank you note to your customers there isn’t much more to do.

What are the Limitations of Drop Shipping on Etsy?

Reselling on Etsy is not allowed (With Two Exceptions)

The products in your shop must be created by you or a production partner and customized with your artwork. You may resell “Vintage” items, but Etsy defines vintage as items older that 20 years. You may also resell crafting supplies. This is the one exception to the salable vintage and art supplies, and the only exception to the reselling rule. You may resell crafting supplies, but make sure you list those items in the Crafting Supplies Category to remain in compliance with Etsy’s rules.

Etsy Fees

Etsy charges for each item listed at $0.20. Listings expire in 4 months if you don’t make a sale. You also pay a sales fee and a payment processing fee. Unless you turn off the option to re-list an item when you make a sale, you’ll also pay an additional $0.20. Etsy charges 3.5% on each sale, 3% +0.25 for each payment. 

As a simple example:

Let’s assume I sell custom tee shirts for $20.00.

Listing Fee0.20
Etsy Sales Fee 0.70
Payment Processing0.60 + 0.25
Re-Listing Fee0.20
Total 1.95 per item sold

As you can see, the fees can add up. This $20 tee shirt sale almost costs 10% of the total purchase price. Make sure you know consider the costs to know how much you need to charge per products to make a profit. If not, and you add in the cost of Etsy’s optional advertising, it’s very easy to find out after the sale, that you’ve actually lost money.

Can I Dropship from Aliexpress to Etsy?

Etsy explicitly prohibits drop shipping from Aliexpress. Aliexpress is quick and easy to use and there are a ton of available products. Unfortunately, shipping from China is slow and Aliexpress has a bad reputation for poor quality products. Both these issues translate into a poor customer experience. Therefore, if you want to dropship on Etsy you’ll have to consider another option. 

International dropshipping from china is often too slow for Etsy.

Can I Buy from Etsy and Resell?

You can certainly purchase products from Etsy and resell them. Etsy used to have a dropshipping service that allowed third parties to drop ship products directly from Etsy. Unfortunately, in 2018 they shut that program down. 

Although it’s possible to buy from Etsy and resell those products, you’re probably better off contacting the sellers and trying to negotiate a better deal. Many shop owners would be happy to have someone to help get the word out about their products and may even be open to drop shipping their products for you directly.

In many cases, this would be a win-win scenario. Plus, if you work directly with a shop owner, you may be able to avoid the Etsy fees.  Then you and the artist could make higher margins, so it may be worth it. You won’t know unless you ask.

Etsy Allow Dropshipping?

Absolutely, as long as you’re adhering to the high standards of their marketplace, not selling prohibited items and representing yourself and your products honestly.

Also, if you’re interested in selling products on Etsy but don’t know where to get started, check out my article on Printful and 8 of it’s competitors. Any one of those dropshipping companies would be happy to help get you started.

Doug has been an entrepreneur for years, starting several businesses. Doug is a web developer, father of 2 great kids and husband to the best wife ever. I've been working on building my custom tee shirt business for 3 years.