In no way am I suggesting crafters and handmade business owners should skip Etsy. Etsy is a great site and resource for us but it can be difficult to get noticed. I tried Etsy for a while and to be honest I just couldn’t get into it. But because I do want to market myself online and build my brand I’ve made the decision not to continue my partnership with Etsy.
Here are my reasons for choosing not to list my handmade items on Etsy……Read to the end where you’ll find a great checklist/graphic to help you decide which site may best work for you!
1.) Too much competition. If you were one of the sellers and members that have been with Etsy since the early days, you’ve seen how the sellers on Etsy have changed from hobbyists to professionals. The photography is better, the shop descriptions are more robust. I mean it’s like a professional online store. For those that are just starting out it’s hard to get noticed not only because of the great shops Etsy users have set up but also because of the sheer number of shop owners. Imagine trying to get your products noticed when compared to thousands of others? Sounds difficult huh?
With too much competition also comes lower prices. It’s as simple as supply and demand. With all the sellers on Etsy some can argue that the supply has outweighed the demand causing prices to drop slightly. If you already have a loyal fan base your customers will want to buy YOU and you can in turn charge whatever you think is appropriate.
2.) More control. Wouldn’t you want to have full control over your shop and product pages? Though this means more work for you, having the ability to change the color and the font and the size of the words on your site and add as many pictures as you want is excellent. It allows you to make your store fit seamlessly with the online brand you have already created and gives you the option of how and where to display your products. In addition to having more control of your products you also have more control of your customers.
Having your own online store means you can now create mailing lists of your customers so that you can alert them of upcoming sales, new products etc. You can offer online coupons, product promotions…the possibilities are endless.
3.) No transaction fees.Etsy charges a very minimal amount to list products on their website plus a percentage of each sale. Not much but anything greater than 0 is still something! Plus at any moment Etsy could raise their fees and cut into your profits! As of now, you won’t be breaking the bank by just listing your products on Etsy, but selling your items on your own website gives you the ability to take down, upload and experiment with products at any time without incurring any fees. You can experiment with listings, pictures, titles, all sorts of things. Owning your own slice of the internet gives you the freedom to basically do whatever you like.
4.) Easier for the customer. If you are like me and are working toward building a brand for yourself, you want all websites with your name and brand to be familiar to your customers. You want the look and feel of anything with your name attached to it to represent you. It’s hard to do that if you have one site for your blog, one site for your products, another for who knows what. Customers want what’s familiar to them and as you start to build your brand having the customer go to different sites just to get to what your business is providing them may cause them to turn the other cheek. Plus…who can remember all that?! Having one place for the customer to go will better solidify your brand in your customer’s mind and solidification means more recognition for your company and more $$$$!!
5.) Better SEO. I know I know no one likes to think about SEO, well at least I don’t. You spend countless amount of time making sure you have a good keyword and the correct meta tags etc etc etc. My thinking is if you take the time to work on your SEO then why not increase your SEO by having your products page on your actual website? Here’s how it works….you list an item on your blog site, you advertise that item by using the permalinks and meta tags you created, people click on those links, search for the item, or even better backlink to the item and voila your SEO score is soaring!
Now that is a very oversimplified version of what’s really happening but you get my drift. Basically all roads lead back to your blog site which is ultimately the end goal. You can use the downloadable checklist attached to this post to help you decide where best to sell your items!!
Decide what ecommerce platform to use by using this worksheet!!
I pretty much just made this decision to close my Etsy shop and haven’t even transferred my products to my site yet lol! However, in my thinking of how I would expand my business this was my conclusion.
So I’ve chosen NOT to use Etsy – now what?
When I originally wrote this post I didn’t even think to look into offering my items on another ecommerce platform, like shopify or BigCommerce BUT after doing a little research, I wanted to not only tell you why Etsy didn’t work for me, but I also wanted to help you decide which platform WILL WORK for you. To do that I’ve created this fun little graphic that should help with your decision. I’ve also added a few details of some of the suggested platforms that may further your decision. Of ccourse this is only my opinion. I suggest you do your own research to really make an informed decision! Let me know how what you decide and I want to hear your success stories because I know you’re gonna make a great decision that will hopefuflly make you lots of money!!
As far as my decision, in December, I advertised some t-shirts I designed on Instagram and said if anyone wanted to purchase they could come to my website to purchase. And guess what, last month was the first month I actually made money from my creative business and it was from customers I didn’t even know! It was a very minimal amount but it was something and I accredit it partly to the fact that I was able to advertise on IG to customers (my IG name is the same as my blog) and even those who don’t know me personally could find and purchase my items. Plus I’ve seen an uptick in organic searches for my blog and my tshirts.
Now that I’ve begun to produce quarterly income reports I hope that I will better be able to show my readers how this decision is improving my business. Like I said, I just recently made this decision but the goal of my blog is to act as a diary as I grow my handmade business.
Here’s to another step on my journey.
Have you made any big business decisions lately? Are you seeing any increase in sales, blog views etc??
If you’ve found this article helpful please please share with your friends and if you have any thoughts be sure to comment! I’d love to hear from you!!