How To Correctly Setup Your Etsy Listing For Print On Demand Products in 2024

By Chris Shaffer •  Updated: 10/29/23 •  24 min read

Setting up an Etsy product listing can seem like a daunting task, especially if you aren't used to doing it in a print-on-demand environment.

There are tons of different options and drop-downs to choose from and setting up your product listing incorrectly can result not only in missed sales opportunities but also in listing suspensions.

Fear not, with this simple and comprehensive guide, you'll be able to easily create product listings that are not only compliant with Etsy's terms of service for print-on-demand listings, but that will help you rank higher in Etsy's search algorithm.

Understanding Etsy's Product Categories:

Before we can dive into setting up your listing, I wanted to quickly cover the different potential product categories on Etsy.

Generally speaking, Etsy items will fall into one of The following three categories:

Since you're reading an article on how to create a product listing for a print-on-demand product, the only one that matters here is the handmade category.

It is important to note that Etsy splits this category into two separate subcategories, handmade, and handmade with production assistance.

Let's take a quick look at the differences between the two.

Handmade Products:

As the name would imply, handmade products are products that are made entirely by you without the help of anyone outside of your shop.

To qualify as a truly handmade product on Etsy, your product must be entirely designed and created by you.

You're allowed to purchase raw materials from other people, but to fall into this categorization, you would need to be making the product yourself.

Having our listings classified this way on Etsy is a huge misstep when it comes to print-on-demand products.

Not only does it mean we've misclassified the listing, but it can run us into a few other potential issues as well.

Handmade with Production Assistance:

By definition, products in this category involve production assistance.

 Essentially, all of the products in this subcategory are products that are designed by the seller (You in this case) and made with the help of another person or another business.

This subcategory would not include products that employees for shop members of your store help you make and it only applies If someone from outside your organization is helping, like with print-on-demand

For example, if the product in your Etsy listing is a t-shirt that was designed by you but printed by a company on printify, they would be the ones creating the product and would need to be properly listed as a production assistant.

It's important to know that this is the correct subcategory for all print-on-demand products.

 Although properly listing your product this way we'll put it in a different subcategory on Etsy, it also allows you a wider variety of options for your listing, including the potential use of mockups to represent the product.

Now that we've cleared up the difference between the two types of handmade products on the antique platform, let's dive into how to properly set up your listing for print-on-demand products.

Editing and Optimizing Your Listing

For the sake of this article, I will assume that you've already created the product and pushed it over to Etsy from your print-on-demand partner.

Although you can create products in the back end of Etsy by clicking the “add a listing” button inside of the listings tab of your shop manager, creating them with your print-on-demand partner and then optimizing inside of Etsy is usually a smarter way to go.

Not only does this skip a few steps in terms of making sure that every listing you create is properly connected to a product, but it will also help you shortcut the listing editing process by auto-filling many of the fields we talk about below.

Once you've created your listing at your print on demand partner, you can edit and optimize your listings at any point by clicking on the listings tab, clicking the gear icon of the listing you want to edit, and then choosing the edit option.

Add or Edit Your Media

Before you dive into adding all of your text and selecting all the options you will need to set up your listing, it's important to have your supporting media in order before you start the process.

Let's take a look at what you'll need in terms of photos and videos for your listing.

Listing Photos

Since Etsy is an e-commerce website, buyers will not have the opportunity to physically touch and inspect our product, this is where our listing photos come in.

Once someone gets to your listing, having great photos and videos is one of the biggest difference-makers in terms of whether someone chooses to buy from you or your competitors.

Although most sellers focus on the main image that they upload (since this is the image that shows in Etsy search results) You should be doing your best to fill out all 10 image slots.

Try Incorporating a variety of different angles of the product and a few examples of the product in use.

These different angles and use cases can go a long way to helping answer customer questions and increasing your conversion rate.

It's also important to note that although Etsy does allow the use of mockups for your print-on-demand products, they must accurately reflect the product being sold (e.g. the exact type of t-shirt you are selling) and you must own the rights to use those images.

When it comes to your listing photos, no matter how many you choose to upload (you should TRY to fill out as many slots as possible), you’ll want to keep the following things in mind.

Listing Images Should Be:

It’s also important to note that Etsy does NOT currently support transparent PNG files or animated gifs and that uploading either of those will result in your images looking different on the listing than they do on your computer.

Alt Text For Etsy Images

Once you have uploaded all of your listing photos, you should take the time to fill in the “Alt text attribute” for each of your images.

Not only does this make sure you stay in compliance with disability laws, but this field IS used by Etsy when its SEO algorithm is considering displaying your listing in its search results.

The easiest way to think about Alt text is a quick written description of exactly what is contained in the image

If we use the above image as an example our alt text might read something like: “A T-Shirt Containing an Image of a Hooked Bass Fighting With A Fisherman” Surrounded by a variety of fishing gear including rods and tackle.”

If this was your listing, you could include additional details, like the exact type of shirt, etc.

To edit the Alt Text for each image, hover over the photo and click the pencil icon then fill in the alt text in the box that appears underneath the image.

Keep in mind that you have up to 250 characters to describe each image and while you don’t NEED to use all of that space, being as detailed as possible is helpful.

Listing Videos

One area of listing media that most sellers overlook entirely is including a product video.

Etsy allows the inclusion of one video in addition to Your 10 listing photos and has started to make this a much more important part of the listing after running an internal test that showed listings which include video get twice as many orders as listings with just photos.

Even in the case of a print-on-demand product, where you may not have the product in hand, it is possible to create videos in a variety of ways.

The first way to easily create a video to include with your pronoun demand listing would be to create one from the existing listing photos that you have using a program like Canva.

Additionally, for more popular products, We are starting to see a variety of video mockups pop up in different marketplaces.

Whichever route you choose for your video, you'll also want to keep the following things in mind.

The video must be:

If you haven’t already, take the time to create and upload videos to your new listings, it’s well worth the few minutes it takes.

Filling In Your Listing Details

Now that we have all of the media related to your listing out of the way, we can dive into the “meat and potatoes” of the listing.


Your item's title is not only important for helping buyers understand what your item is, but it's extremely important for search optimization within the Etsy platform.

Ideally, your title should be focused on the human beings who could be finding your Etsy product, rather than a random jumble of keywords that might be useful for Etsy's algorithm.

For example, a title that reads something like “Bass Fishing Is Life T-Shirt – Comfortable Gift For Your Favorite Fisherman” is likely to result in more sales and a better ranking than “Bass T-shirt, Shirt Bass, Fishing Shirt, Striped Bass, Gift, Comfortable Shirt”.

Although both versions of the title include essentially the same information (in terms of how Etsy looks at keywords), one is much more readable by humans and communicates much more information to the buyer.

With this in mind, you’ll also want to think about a few of the key requirements as you’re crafting your listing title.

Your Title:

About This Listing

In the “About This Listing” section, we need to give Etsy three key pieces of information so they can correctly categorize our product.

Who Made It?

The first drop-down you'll see is entitled “Who made it” and presents us with three different options.

 For print-on-demand products, the correct selection for this field is option number three (another company or person).

Selecting this option and only this option will drop you into the “handmade with production assistance” subcategory.

Although I've seen many sellers argue that since they've created the design, they are also the person creating a product.

Although I understand and sympathize with that argument, that selection is incorrect for selling a print-on-demand product on Etsy and can very quickly run you into issues.

Further down in the listing creation, there is a setting that will indicate you designed the product for production and the combination of these two settings is what Etsy is looking for for POD products.

What Is It?

The second drop-down should give you the choice between “a finished product” and “a supply or tool to make things”.

Footprint-on-demand products, you should be selecting the “finished product” option from the dropdown.

When Did You Make It?

The third and final dropdown is asking you when the item was made.

Unless you have a time machine (and if you do please send me an email …I'd love to use it), The correct option for print-on-demand products is going to be under the “not yet made” heading and should say “made to order”


Once you have the basic “about” information filled out, etsy will ask you to select a category.

This is done by filling in a search field.

If this field is not automatically filled in or you notice that your item is not correctly categorized, you should start by typing in the main word that describes your product (e.g. t-shirt).

Etsy will then try to find the correct category and subcategory for your product using the description you have typed in.

You'll want to double-check that not only is your item placed in the correct category, but also the most correct subcategory for the item.

For example, if you are selling a women's t-shirt, you will notice that there are a variety of subcategories for a t-shirt (like men's t-shirts and children's T-shirts), which may pop up.

Select the most appropriate category and subcategory for your item and move on to the next section.

Just as a quick reference point, I included a chart below of the main categories that are currently able to be sold on Etsy.

AccessoriesClothingPaper and Party Supplies
Art & CollectiblesCraft Supplies & ToolsPet Supplies
Bags & PursesElectronics & AccessoriesShoes
Bath & BeautyHome & LivingToys & Games
Books, Movies, & MusicJewelryWeddings

Primary Color and Secondary Color

If your color is mainly one or two colors, you should select the most appropriate color or colors from the drop-down.

Current color options include:

If you offer more than one color option you can simply select “ I offer more than one” from the drop-down.

Occasion or Holiday

In addition to color options, you'll see two additional optional fields for occasions and holidays.

It's important to note that these fields should only be used if your item is specifically for one of the occasions or holidays found in the drop-down list.

You should not be selecting an occasion or holiday from one of these drop-down lists, just because your product could be used for that.

For example, if your product was a Christmas sweater, you would select Christmas from the holiday drop-down.

If your product was simply an evergreen sweater that could be used because the color of the sweater is also a Christmas color, you should not be selecting a holiday from the dropdown menu.

Currently, Etsy has options for the following occasions and holidays.

First BirthdayAnniversaryBaby Shower
Bachelor PartyBachelorette PartyBack to School
BaptismBar and Bat MitzvahBirthday
Bridal ShowerConfirmationDivorce and Breakup
EngagementFirst CommunionGraduation
Grief and MourningHousewarmingLGBTQ Pride
MovingPet LossProm
Quinceanera and Sweet 16RetirementWeddings
ChristmasCinco De MayoEaster
HalloweenHanukkahIndependence Day
KwanzaaLunar New YearNew Year’s 
PassoverSt Patrick’s DayThanksgiving
Valentine’s Day

Renewal Options

Under the renewal options heading, you should see a radio button to choose between automatic or manual renewal.

For print-on-demand products, I highly suggest choosing automatic renewal so that as your product sells, it will continue to appear on the website without you having to worry about it.


Next, you'll find the option to choose between either a physical or digital product.

Although your designs for your pronoun demand products would be digital, once your product is printed it becomes a physical product that is shipped to buyers.

If the physical product button isn't already selected, give it a click and move on to your description.

Product Description:

Your product description is a chance to explain exactly what someone will have in their hands when they purchase your product.

Many sellers enter the bare minimum amount of information and simply repeat information from their titles and tags.

This is a completely wrong approach.

Just like with listing images, since buyers cannot physically touch the product before they buy something, you should be using this space to clearly explain exactly what the product is, what the product is made of, and what a customer can expect when they get the product in their hands.

You should be spending a good amount of time filling this section in and including any relevant material details, details about size and fit, and details about how the product is made and what the design of the product is.

Although this can seem a bit overwhelming at first, if you stick with the same few suppliers for your print-on-demand products, you can find yourself recycling large portions of your product description.

For example, if you sell a variety of different designs on t-shirts, but use the same print-on-demand provider to print all of those shirts, once you've created Your paragraph about materials and the size or fit chart for one listing, you can recycle that material on all of your other t-shirt listings.

Make sure to include all details here that might influence whether or not a buyer wants to purchase this product from you and most importantly write it in a human-readable format.

Production Partner

For POD or print-on-demand products your listing MUST have a production partner listed. If you created your listing on the POD platform you are using, chances are this field is already populated. If it's not, you'll want to add (or double-check) the production partner for your product here.

You'll need to fill in:

Then You'll need to fill in a few details about the partnership that are private just for Etsy.

These details include:

In virtually every case with print on demand products, you should be selecting “I Don't Have The Technical Ability or Equipment To Make It Entirely Myself” option for “Why You Are Working With The Partner”.

Under the “What Is Your Role In The Design Process” section, you should be choosing that you designed the product yourself.

Lastly, in the “What The Partner's Role Is In The Production Process” you should select the “They do everything for me” option.

When correctly setup, your production partner screen should look like the image below.

You may also notice a small toggle switch labeled “Show This Production Partner's Name To Buyers”.
Although Etsy doesn't currently require you to display all of this information (you may toggle that switch to the off position) you still must completely fill in the details.

Shop Section:

This optional setting allows you to choose where your listing appears inside of your Etsy shop. We typically suggest that sellers choose a section whenever possible as it helps make sure your listing shows up when buyers visit your store.


Tags are one of the most overlooked sections by sellers who often mistakenly believe that they are not used by Etsy.

Tags are not only important as an additional source of keywords that Etsy can use to select your listing to show an organic search, but they're also important for how you show up if you are running Etsy ads.

Etsy currently allows you to select up to 13 words or phrases that describe your item.

Each tag can contain up to 20 characters, including spaces, and punctuation except the copyright or trademark symbols cannot be included.

There's also no need to repeat words or phrases that are already included in your title or description.

If you cannot think of 13 additional words or phrases, don't feel forced to fill out this field, but before you give up completely I would suggest taking a look at what your competition is using for their tags and make sure that you've already included all of those keywords and phrases.

One easy way of doing this is by using the EverBee extension to look at a competitor's listing and see their tags.


Although listing the materials used to make your product in this section will not necessarily help you rank in Etsy search, you should fill this section out as thoroughly as possible.

Not only does this give customers an easy way to understand what your product is made of, without having to read the entire description, but it will help them find your listing if they are filtering search results for a specific material.

Currently, you can list up to 13 individual materials at no more than 45 characters per material.

Inventory and Pricing

As with a few other sections of your listing, if you are creating your product inside of your print-on-demand partner, you should already see this section filled out and should only have to double-check to ensure that it's filled out properly.


The amount listed in your price field should be the maximum retail price You wish to sell your item for and any discounts or promotions you run for this listing will be deducted from this price.

If you're including free shipping, make sure to include that in the overall price you are charging.

We typically suggest that sellers shoot for a minimum of a $10 margin after accounting for all of the costs of production and shipping.


For print-on-demand products, you can typically set this value to as high as 999, since you don't usually have to worry about a limited quantity of the product.

Some sellers suggest playing games and limiting the quantity on your listing (e.g. setting the quantity to 10) to drive by urgency.

Although creating buyer urgency is usually a good thing, there are better ways to do this inside of the Etsy ecosystem without potentially limiting the organic reach of your product or having to worry about constantly jumping into your listing to readjust the quantity or avoid having the listing taken offline when you run out of inventory.


Your SKU or stock-keeping unit is a way for you to easily identify what a product is when someone purchases it.

If you're using a pronoun demand partner, such as printify, this field should be auto-populated for you.

If you are creating the product inside of Etsy's back end and not creating it in the back end of your print-on-demand partner, I would suggest coming up with a naming scheme that you can easily remember.


If you're offering any variations on the product, such as size or color, ensure that this section is properly populated with the details you set up when you created the product at your print-on-demand partner.

Double-check that all of the sizes, colors, or materials that you wish to sell are present inside of the listing.

Currently, Etsy allows variations on the following factors.

Primary ColorSecondary ColorDiameter

If none of those work for your type of variation, Etsy does allow you to create a custom variation by selecting the “create a new variation option” from the drop-down list.

It is important to keep in mind that if you are using the custom variation option buyers cannot filter search results based on your custom variation type.


If you allow your customers to personalize or customize a product in any way, such as allowing them to add their name to the design, You want to double-check that this field is turned on.

Once turned on, you can fill in what type of personalization is allowed on the listing (e.g. Name) and get a quick preview of what your buyers will see.

You can also adjust the maximum character limit you will allow your customers to fill in to up to 1,024 characters.


Although you should see these values automatically filled in by your print-on-demand partner, if you created the listing and then published it to Etsy, it's important to understand what should be in each of these fields and double-check your settings.

Shipping Prices

Depending on how you set up your shipping profile, you'll see either one of two options selected.

Either a fixed price or an automatic calculation by Etsy.

If you choose to set a fixed price, you will have to select a shipping service for each of the locations you ship to and then choose either to enter an amount for shipping or choose the free shipping dropdown.

Although Etsy has indicated that free shipping is a small factor in their search engine algorithm and it can be a conversion rate booster for your listing, don't be afraid to charge a reasonable amount for shipping If you need to.

However, you should not be setting a low listing price and a high shipping price to attract more people to your listing with an enticing upfront price.

Not only can this be infuriating for customers when they realize you're going to charge them an arm and a leg for shipping, but it can tank your ability to show up in Etsy search results because it will lower your conversion rate.

Origin ZIP Code

The origin zip code for each listing should automatically be populated based on your print-on-demand settings, but if not add the correct ZIP code where you will be fulfilling the order from.

You should be able to find this located in your product details at your print-on-demand partner.

Processing Time

Double-check that your processing time is set correctly based on the settings from your pronoun demand partner.

It's okay for this to be in the three to five day range If it has to be, but the lower the processing time the better.

Where I’ll Ship

This section of the listing indicates where that particular listing can be shipped to.

You may want to work with your print-on-demand provider to ensure that they can ship to the countries you select in this field.

Shipping Service

Double-check that the shipping options you set up at your print-on-demand partner all reflect here. Ets you will offer a wide variety of different shipping options including a variety of USPS options by default.

Free Shipping

If you wish to charge for some shipping and offer free shipping in other situations (e.g. charge for international shipping but offer free shipping domestically), you can set that up here.

Simply check the box for either free domestic or free international shipping and Etsy will handle the rest.

Handling Fee

If there is some sort of handling or order processing fee that you are charging, for customization, for example, Make sure to include that in the handling fee section.

Customers will not see this as a separate line item on their bill, rather this amount will just be tacked on to the existing shipping you are charging.

Customs Information

If you have an international shipping setup for your listing you should see a value in the “Tariff Number” field.

If you don’t, you can check for the value from your print-on-demand partner or use this tool to find the correct value for the field.

Item Weight

The value entered in this field should be the weight of the item by itself in the field. If this field is blank, check with your POD partner for the correct value for the EXACT product you are selling on the listing.

Item Size (When Packed)

This field should contain the Length, Width, and Height (in Inches for US sellers) of the product when it is fully packed for shipping. This will help Etsy most accurately calculate the shipping cost of the product.

As with the weight, if this field is blank or you are unsure of the correct value, your best bet is to connect with your POD partner to ask about the specific make and model of the product you are selling on the listing.

Returns and Exchanges

Etsy’s default return and exchange policy is 30 days and requires that buyers are responsible for any return shipping costs. If you wish to set up a custom return policy (either store-wide or for particular items) you can do this in this section of the listing creation screen.

A Quick Recap

Although correctly setting up your Etsy listings for print-on-demand products can seem complicated it's a fairly straightforward process.

Start by creating your listing at your print-on-demand provider and then editing and optimizing inside of the Etsy back end.

For the most part, you're just going to be double-checking settings and making sure that everything is up to snuff.

Beyond that, take the time to create solid listing images, a listing video, and a well-crafted title and description.

Once you've done it a few times this process will become second nature and you'll find yourself moving through it faster and faster each time.

Chris Shaffer

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.