Sometimes you want to list the same item twice in your Etsy shop for various reasons. While it won’t necessarily benefit you, there could be a point to doing it. However, the question of whether this is “Etsy-legal” comes up a lot.
I couldn’t find anything specific about it in the Etsy manual, so I checked with Etsy directly to get clarification on what Etsy’s duplicate listing policy is.
As a general rule, Etsy doesn’t encourage the use of duplicate listings for the same thing. However, if the listings are in the same shop, and if the seller can fulfill both orders if both of them are purchased at the same time, it’s within Etsy’s policies to duplicate the listing. You may not have the same listing in two separate shops, and you may not publish duplicates of one-of-a-kind listings.
When I spoke to the Etsy help center, the representative had to get a few details about the question before verifying with his team, because there is no clear policy in the help manual.
He was finally able to confirm that it’s not against Etsy’s policies to duplicate listings, but he also had a few things to add about doing it!
Table of Contents
- What is a duplicate listing on Etsy?
- What duplicating listings on Etsy WON’T do.
- Another potential reason not to duplicate listings.
- What are some reasons to duplicate listings?
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What is a duplicate listing on Etsy?
A duplicate listing on Etsy is considered to be any listing where the seller makes a copy, then doesn’t change the other details. If the product in both listings is exactly the same, that’s a duplicate. Listings that are the same style but have differences in color or other specific details aren’t duplicates, they’re variations. Duplicate listings are exactly the same items with no design details changed.
An example of a duplicate listing is this set of listings that I created as part of an experiment I was doing for a YouTube video. These are exactly the same, and I wouldn’t have set them up this way other than for a specific purpose.
Remember that according to Etsy’s Terms Of Service, putting the same items in different Etsy shops isn’t allowed. When I’m talking about duplicating listings, I’m only talking about having the same listing in the same shop.
So why or why not would you want to create a duplicate listing on Etsy? What would making duplicate listings accomplish?
What duplicating listings on Etsy WON’T do.
According to the Etsy representative who I spoke to, listing the same item in multiple listings will not help your shop in search placement.
This makes sense, because as listings show up in search and collect clicks, favorites, and purchases, their listing quality score will increase.
As a listing’s quality score increases, the listing will perform better in search results. But if those quality indicators are split between multiple listings, the increases will also be split.
The individual listings won’t necessarily perform as well as a single one would, so that’s one drawback to splitting listings up into duplicates.
Another potential reason not to duplicate listings.
Duplicate listings can confuse customers if they have the same description but different listing photos.
I’ve done A/B testing before where I was trying out different listing photos, and someone ended up buying both listings. I had to write to verify that they wanted both and explain that they were the same thing, so sometimes people will end up doing that.
The chances that this will happen might be low, but if you have a lot of duplicates you may run into situations like I did. Just be prepared to contact customers and let them know that the listings are the same, or you’ll be getting some confused reviews!
Having said those reasons not to duplicate listings, it’s important to say that there are definitely situations where duplicating a listing would be a good thing.
And it goes without saying that you should NEVER duplicate a one of a kind item! If both of them sell, you won’t be able to fulfill both orders, and you’ll have a very disappointed customer.
What are some reasons to duplicate listings?
The main reason to create a duplicate listing on Etsy would be to A/B test different listing photos or different keywords. By making exact copies, you may be able to get insight into which keywords Etsy seems to show your listing for, and which ones tend to convert to sales better.
The problem with A/B testing on Etsy, though, is that the search placement algorithm can treat listings very differently even if they’re exactly the same, and you can’t always draw definitive conclusions from short-term results.
If you want to create duplicates to test something, you need to remember that you can’t ever really test anything on Etsy because you can’t control all the variables. You can draw conclusions but you can’t prove anything.
And even if you do draw clear conclusions, Etsy might change things next week, so you need to take the conclusions with a grain of salt!
Another reason to make a duplicate listing would be to change some details of a listing without risking “messing it up” in Etsy’s eyes.
Changing keywords, attributes, or photos on a listing can sometimes change how it’s treated in search placement, so it’s less risky to make a duplicate and change that.
You’ll be able to see how the edited version does, and if the changes turn out not to be the best idea, you’ll still have the original in play.
It’s less risky than just changing a listing without any backup!
One good reason to make duplicate listings is to put a listing in two sections of your Etsy shop.
Because Etsy only lets you put a listing in one shop section, you would have to copy it if you want to have it in two sections. Sometimes that’s a good idea.
If a customer comes to your shop and looks through your shop via the sections, you want them to be able to see anything that’s appropriate for that section.
Let’s say you sell knit caps. You might have a gender-neutral design that could go in both men’s hats and women’s hats sections, and you might miss out on sales if you only have it in one of them.
Duplicate listings will cover your bases when you have merchandise that works for different purposes or customers, basically.
In general, Etsy doesn’t encourage sellers to create duplicate listings even though it’s not technically off-limits.
If you’re going to create a duplicate listing, make sure that there’s a good reason to do it so that you don’t end up confusing customers. And make sure that all of your duplicated listings are in the same shop to comply with Etsy’s Terms of Service!
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