Last month I started an experiment. I opened a second shop in Etsy that is entirely in German. Why did I do this, when Etsy isn't translated in German yet? For a couple of reasons:
1. Why Not? With the exception of the listing fees it's basically free. I wanted to see what it was like to maintain two stores, and what the experience is like listing products in another language and currency.
2. Google rankings. Even if people aren't searching for products on Etsy in German, I'm assuming Google is. My guess is that Google indexes Etsy on a much more regular basis than my own www.empapers.eu/de site.
2. Etsy will be in German one of these days. I want to have my German-language shop ready to go when that day comes. The chances are good that when Etsy finally does launch in other languages, they will do a lot of heavy promoting and be looking for shops to highlight. I want to be able to piggyback onto whatever publicity and promotion they will already be doing.
3. I want to sell in two currencies. Most of my customers are in North America and the English speaking world. I think a lot of these folks may be a little 'scared' of Euros, and likewise Europeans would rather not pay in dollars. This way I can offer all customers a shopping option in a currency they are familiar with.
Creating the second store was easy. My biggest challenge is that my written German is not good enough to write my own product copy, so I worked with a German Texter to translate a lot of my product text. Once you have the basic text for a listing, if you have similar products it's pretty easy to write a little intro text that is specific to the individual product and then just use the new 'copy' feature on a listing to create additional listings with different pictures.
So far nothing much has happened, and I haven't had any sales. My guess is that it's because there aren't many German speakers shopping (or searching for German terms) on Etsy, and I don't log into the second store as much as I should. Now that there are so many more social shopping features on Etsy (circles, favorite feeds, etc.) the more active on Etsy you are, the more awareness of your products and store increases.
While I can't point to large sales, I still think it's a good idea, and something that Native speakers can easily do, even if it's just with a few products to start.
You can follow a thread on this topic (Auf Deutsch) in the Etsy Deutsche Community Team Forum