Handmade sellers keep looking for Etsy alternatives. It does not matter how satisfied you are with Etsy as a platform. It does matter to know what you can do better for your business.
As a creative entrepreneur, do you keep asking yourself – Do I need an e-commerce website? Then, you need to check out the following:
- 1. Trust And Validation From The Community
- 2. Ease Of Starting
- 3. Marketplace Advantage And Disadvantages
- 4. Huge And Confusing Fees
- 5. Too Much Competition
- 6. No Control Over Data And Consumer Information
- 7. Slow, But Solid Growth
- 8. Rules At The Whim Of Etsy
- 9. The Url Says It All. No Recall Value With Etsy
Etsy Vs Own Website: 9 Key Differences
1. Trust And Validation From The Community
It is one of the most pertinent differences between Etsy and any other platform. The large user base of Etsy brings auto-validation to the platform.
The mammoth site has about 7.3 million sellers and 93.9 million buyers.
On the other hand, there is no concrete data on how many artists have self-owned websites. Thus, bringing a trust deficit in starting a stand-alone website.
2. Ease Of Starting
If technology is a challenge, then for sure, Etsy is an obvious choice vs a website.
The idea of starting a website overwhelms artists. But as a matter of fact, it is not that difficult to do so.
The argument is similar to convincing an artist to begin selling on Etsy. The way selling on Etsy has become natural to artists. So, can become starting a website to sell art.
3. Marketplace Advantage And Disadvantages
Then comes the pros and cons of the marketplace economy.
It is probable to make a sale on Etsy the moment you list. It is possible because of the marketplace advantage of Etsy. The platform already has buyers eyeing products. Hence, you can make a sale within a few days or even hours of listing.
But the marketplace comes as a double edge sword. Over-saturated niches struggle for sales due to fierce competition. Sales in a crowded niche would require SEO skills and paid advertising.
For your own website, sales would depend on your marketing capabilities. So, the better you are at SEO and email marketing, the more the potential for sales.
4. Huge And Confusing Fees
Etsy confuses me all the time with its prices. It consists of 5 components:
Payment Processing Fees
Shipping Label Fees
The first three fees are mandatory, while the last two are optional.
The listing fee of $0.20 cents is regardless of whether or not the item sells.
Transaction fees are 6.5% of the selling price.
Payment processing fees differ for countries. But it is a minimum of 3% plus some fixed amount.
As you can see, selling on Etsy gets expensive over time. So, if you sell for $1000, you lose about $100.
Setting up your website to sell crafts is not the cheapest way to sell online. The costs include:
- Domain charges
- Hosting fees
- Email marketing expenditures
- SEO Apps
- Payment Processor Charges
It gets difficult to put prices on these as it depends on the company/plans you buy. But if you start with Shopify, the basic fee is $29 per month. In addition, there is 2.9% + $0.30 cents per transaction.
So, if you sell for $1000, you lose only about $30-50. That is because the monthly cost would average out on all your sold inventory.
I do not want to start on the gift-wrapping expenses that Etsy charges. The reputation of the platform is for handmade items. Hence, it is a given that most requests are for handmade gifts that require devout wrapping.
But if you offer wrapping and shipping as paid service. Then, it adds to the charges that you pay to Etsy. It becomes a problem when buyers filter out sellers who charge for shipping. That adds to the extra expenses of making a sale.
But that will not be the case with your shop. You pay Shopify on the final selling price. This weeds out a lot of confusion in the minds of the buyers. They either choose or do not choose gift wrapping.
5. Too Much Competition
If you are reading this, then, I am sure you suffer from dwindling sales on Etsy.
I get it because a platform ends up getting fierce competition.
The few possible ways to survive heavy competition are:
- Lowering Prices
- Advertising More
But both these tactics eat away your margins. Thus, bringing you back to square one.
With your website, it is possible to find customers who stick with you. The brand recall value is high when you operate as an individual store. That is one way to weed off competition from me-too brands on Etsy.
6. No Control Over Data And Consumer Information
This is the biggest difference between Etsy vs own website. As a seller on Etsy, you got little to no control over finding what fuels your shop.
Your e-store has analytics to know what search terms got you visitors. Or which location brings you the maximum customers.
On Etsy, it is difficult to get consumer data. The biggest hurdle is in getting the emails of customers. It hinders email marketing strategy that is a must to scale the business.
You can try putting QR codes on your Etsy cover picture. Or try to offer newsletter subscriptions by bartering a discount code in orders. But these tactics have a poor success rate. It might also attract a ban from Etsy if they update the rules in the future.
7. Slow, But Solid Growth
The same efforts on Etsy and an e-commerce store will bring different outcomes.
Years of a successful stint on Etsy do not guarantee further success. There are several instances where Etsy shut the shops of sellers. Sometimes the reasons were not even disclosed to the sellers by the platform.
Such situations make you realize that owning a store is your biggest asset. It may take a few years to scale. But the growth will be solid with an unshakeable foundation.
8. Rules At The Whim Of Etsy
Etsy’s rules and policies have undergone several changes over the years. The most prominent ones are regarding shipping.
Etsy states that they focus on sellers offering free shipping on products worth over $35. It is one of the recent changes that can hamper the margins of sellers.
Though some changes work in their favor. One of those is regarding the no-return policy on digital sales.
Thus, the mammoth platform works both in the favor of sellers and buyers. But in the end, these are policies that you as a seller has got no control over. As a seller, you got to learn to live with the Etsy pros and cons.
With your self-hosted store, you design the rules. So, you set the return, shipping, or sales policies. The freedom to operate the business your way sets marked differences.
9. The Url Says It All. No Recall Value With Etsy
This one is my favorite argument for all Etsy fanatics. Try asking any Etsy shopper to ask where did they make their latest purchase from? Without even skipping a breath, they will reply “Etsy” with excitement.
That is the foundation difference between Etsy vs own website. Your website-cum-store brings in branding and recall value which Etsy can never provide.
So, if you want to build a mind share in your customers. Then, think about moving from Etsy to own site.
Do you keep a track of your sales on Etsy? Does your profit make you question is selling on Etsy worth it?
If such doubts keep recurring. Then, you must look out for options that let you put eggs in different baskets. Selling on Shopify is one of those alternatives. It is unlike free selling platforms. But spending on it is an investment that brings fruit with consistent efforts.
Do let me know if you know of other differences between Etsy vs own website. I will add it to this list and give you the credits.
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