Item Attributes 101

This post is a quick guide to getting started with Item Attributes. It’s not perfect, because we don’t have perfect knowledge of this feature from Etsy yet, but contains what we either know or suspect. I’ll update it as I find out new info.

  1. Item Attributes are currently being rolled out to all shops (as of 24 Feb 2017)
  2. Attributes are optional but recommended
  3. Attributes vary by category, currently not by very much
  4. Attribute values in dropdowns are quite limited, but everyone will be in the same situation, so pick the best fit.
  5. IAR (Item Attribute Relevancy) either is now a factor in search or will be soon. You are likely to be disadvantaged if you ignore these fields altogether
  6. SKU codes are not attributes, but stand for Stock Keeping Unit – a unique ID you can specify to help you manage stock and listings. Most other shops support custom SKU codes, you can use whichever format helps you. For example I might use C_BD_JS_01 which is C for card, BD for birthday, JS for the javascript design, 01 for the first variant. But it’s really up to you. Amazon will suggest a SKU if you don’t have one, and this is separate from the EAN number.
  7. Use of SKUs has almost certainly no impact on search. If they do, I’m packing up, retiring and becoming a life coach.

Got anything else we need to know? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.


  1. Rob, as well as colour (which I can appreciate as an attribute and can use even though the list of colours is severely limited), there are additional attributes for my jewellery items relating to Celebration (easter, cinco de mayo, april fool’s) and Occasion (birthday, bridal shower, etc). If I dont fill these in, because my jewellery spans many different occasions and celebrations, will this also impact my search ranking? It seems a bit harsh if so, because few handmade items are that specific.


    1. Hi Sue! The simple answer, honestly, is I don’t know yet, sorry. I suspect that title and tag relevancy and listing quality (actions performed after search) will remain stronger than item attributes. I have the same occasion and celebration fields as you and I can do occasion ok with my cards, but not many for celebration. For items that truly span several, my only advice is to meet your biggest customer group for that item. Another tactic can be to duplicate your listing and use different attributes – this may be something they build into variations in the future, but they’re keeping their feature roadmap close to their chest so hard to guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Rob for that clarification. Also for spelling out the SKU meaning. So far, think I’ll try to not bother thanks. Just another set of stuff to remember! Will keep watching out for any updates you may come up with. At least I can understand you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi! I sell prints with size as a variation so should I leave the size attributes blank or fill in with most popular options? If someone is searching for a 16×20″ print I don’t want to be left out of that search if I’ve filled the attribute boxes in with 8×10″ – but 16×29″ is a variant. So far I have left it blank..


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