Selling Physical and Digital Items On The Same Etsy Shop

If you sell Digital Items on your Etsy Shop, and want to expand to Physical Items, one of the main issues I've seen is confusion from Etsy Customers. So if you do not make it very clear which items of yours are Digital and which are Physical, you'll likely not hear from customers. They'll simply leave your Etsy Shop because they're confused. So there are a few ways to help with clarity on this:

  • Use some sort or color coding technique on your Listing Photos. For instance, digital items have a white background and physical items have a black background.
  • Use text directly on your Listing Photos to the effect of "DIGITAL DOWNLOAD" or "PHYSICAL PRINT" and make it stand out, so it is super clear.
  • Of course, make your Listing Descriptions very clear that it is a Physical or Digital Item.

Do not rely on Etsy's automated system to tell customers if the item is Digital or Physical. Lots of customers will totally ignore that, or not even notice it, and think they are getting a physical item when it is in fact Digital. So do everything you can to make this super clear and blatantly obvious.


So how do you go about selling Physical Items on your Digital Download Shop?
If you have already sold physical items on your Etsy Shop, that's proof already that your concept works since real customers are willing to pay money for them.

If you're struggling to figure out how to sell Phyiscal items on your Etsy Shop, the best way to get started is to simply test out your ideas.  Melinda and I have tried several ways to incorporate Physical Items into our Etsy Shop, and most of them have failed. 

Also take advantage of Etsy's built in "Custom Order" request. The main thing that has worked for us in selling Phyiscal Items is allowing customers to ask for physical printed items in a Custom Order. We make it clear on all items that any artwork can be printed and shipped. They just need to get in touch with us to get them a quote. But by doing this, we only get a few requests per week. 

Also, our Physical Items have done much better once we hit Christmas time. A lot of our customers are willing to print artwork out for themselves, but when they give it as a gift to someone else, it seems like customers feel embarrassed about the quality and want a more professional option. 

So the best way to go about it is to test this out several times and record the results. Here are all the ideas I can think of in terms of laying this out on your Etsy Shop. Every Etsy Shop is going to find that different things do and do not work for them:

  • Add  a "Printed & Shipped" option on your Featured Items area
  • Make a separate section called "Physical Prints" in your Categories
  • List your top 10 best-selling printable items as physical items. Make sure to make the listing photo very different than your digital items
  • Include it in your About section or FAQ section and make it clear that physical items are available

Adding a brand new item to any Etsy Shop is almost like starting a business all over again. It targets a new set of customers, with a different price point, and there are lot of logistics that go into physical items versus digital ones. So this is going to be a long and experimental process for you. You're not going to be able to simply put up Physical Items on your Etsy Shop and see them start selling immediately. You have to set up everything just right, including the right photos, in the right spot on your Etsy Shop, with the right prices, listing descriptions, shipping options, and more. So take it one step at a time, just like as if you were starting your Etsy Shop from scratch all over again.

Justin Wood

Minimalist Website Designer