The Pros and Cons of Etsy Selling
There is no doubt that when it comes to selling handmade items Etsy are the giants of online marketplaces, but is it as easy to sell on there as everyone makes out and is it worth your time and money?
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of becoming and Etsy seller...
What do you think of Etsy?
Normally there is good reason why something becomes a leader in their industry. Here's why selling on Etsy could be a good choice for you...
- Its Reputation. Even if you're not in any art or craft business chances are you've heard of Etsy. Often referred to in blogs, magazines or even on TV, Etsy is the handmade alternative to eBay.
- It's User Friendly. To list an item is pretty painless. Choose your header, price and keywords, upload you photos and write your description.
- Its Community. The sheer number of people from around the world using Etsy whether for buying or selling means there are always people to ask if you get stuck, friends to meet and an audience to tell your opinion to.
- It's (Relatively) Cheap. Now I snuck in relatively there because it depends on what you're comparing it to. If you wanted to give selling handmade a try but weren't quite sure if it's really for you, using Etsy could be ideal. There are fees (see cons) but compared to setting up your own website from scratch or some of the other online venues (*cough* eBay), the fees aren't too bad and you only pay to list an item and when an item sells.
- It's International. There are sellers (and buyers) from all over the world.
- It's Interactive. With built in social buttons and favourites, it's a great way to get feedback on your items even when no-one buys. This also encourages people to stay on your page longer leading to a higher conversion rate (more sales :P)
- It Allows Digital Products. Some online venues (again *cough* eBay) don't allow the selling of digital, or, downloadable products but Etsy does! If you have created a knitting pattern, cardmaking image or other product that can be emailed to your customer, Etsy will let you sell it. This is fantastic as it allows you to sell the same creation multiple times and is in a sensepassive income.
Whether we like it or not there is no such thing as perfect *sigh*. With the good comes the bad and these are the things you need to watch out for on Etsy...
- It's swamped. It's popularity is also it's downfall. While it's wonderful to have a large audience of potential buyers, it's also easy to get lost in the crowd and highly competitive. One of the first things people do in tough economic times is look for ways to use their skills to make some extra cash. There is definitely more sellers than buyers on Etsy.
- It costs. Whilst Etsy can be a more affordable way for many to set up a business the fees are still there and you need to keep an eye on them. Especially if you outside the US, as though you can show your own currency on your listings you will still have to accept payment as US Dollars which Paypal and banks normally charge a conversion fee for. The basic fees are 20 cents per item listed and 3.5% of the selling price when an item sells.
- Its groups are not much more than free advertising. Now don't get me wrong the community on Etsy is huge and very helpful, but most of the groups in particular are often full of people plugging their own listings and not interesting in genuine conversation...sad but true.
- It doesn't allow HTML. Many may class this as a Pro but I've put it in the Cons because not being able to customize your shop and listings (other than your shop banner that is) can make you look less professional and easily forgotten in my opinion. This is one where eBay does win!
- It's not an 'easy alternative'. I used to sell art on eBay and used to do quite well actually but the world has changed! Back then (about 10 years ago) it was easy to just list an item and wait for the sales/bids. It is much more competitive online now and whichever route you choose you need to accept that you're gonna have to learn about marketing and networking. Many people think that Etsy is how eBay used to be...list an item and wait for the sale...and you may get a couple of sales that way but if you are looking to build a business you are still going to have to work hard at it. Many find they spend more time marketing than making products to sell in fact.
- Tips For Promoting Your Etsy Listings
Take advantage of an easy site to sell your crafts, vintage items and supplies. Learn how to promote your store and make your items more enticing to customers.
There are of course many other options for selling handmade online. I only found out about another one of them this morning in fact.
You may find one of these online marketplaces suit your needs more than Etsy:
Whichever path you choose for selling your handmade items I wish you luck! I personally found it took much time away from my writing which is my first passion (closely followed by painting) but there are many very focused and very successful sellers on there. If you need any help getting started Tim Adam at Handmadeology really knows his stuff and there's a wealth of helpful information on the Handmadeology Website.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Etsy whether you are considering trying it for the first time or have lots of experience with it, so please do let us all know below!
Thanks for reading :)