Thinking about selling with your own website instead of Etsy? You’re in the right place! I’m going to break down some of the pros and cons right here.
Easy To Use
Setting up and adding products to an Etsy store is very easy. It does not require any technical skills beyond basic navigation and typing. You simply upload your product listings, add your payment information, and your store is ready.
Etsy has a very large customer base. Its users are interested in unique hand-made products, gift items, artistic and creative products. Opening up a shop on Etsy gives you access to a marketplace with interested buyers.
Security And Trust
People trust Etsy because of its size and success. They may be more likely to buy something on Etsy than somewhere else. Especially if they don’t already know the person.
Etsy takes care of payments and ensures delivery. This has also helped them build trust among both buyers and sellers.
Lots Of Traffic
Etsy is huge. They already attract a lot of buyers from around the world. This makes it very easy to reach an international audience.
If you purchase Etsy Shipping Labels, you can qualify for up to 30% discounts on shipping costs from USPS, FedEx, and Canada Post.
They Can Shut Down Your Store At Anytime
Etsy can shut down your store without any notice. They do not have to give you a reason or the opportunity to dispute the closure.
Additional, Unpredictable Fees
Etsy charges 5.0% for each and every transaction. They also charge a $0.20 listing fee for each product every month. These fees can quickly add up. Click here to see a full list of Etsy fees.
For example, if you’re listing 100 products on your Etsy store and generating $1,000 in sales in a month, Etsy would charge $50 just in transaction fees. If you are collecting payment through Etsy or PayPal, they are going to take another 3% + $.25 (if you are in the United States). That’s another $55. That’s a total of $105 or 10.5% of your sales.
This doesn’t take into account “optional” free shipping or third-party advertising fees. You won’t know these totals until the end of the month, which can make it very difficult to budget.
No Design Control or Flexibility
With Etsy, there’s very little room for personalization or customization. If you’re trying to build a brand or differentiate your store, you will have a very difficult time doing this on Etsy.
Extreme Competition, Lots Of Clutter
With 30+ million items listed on Etsy, it’s difficult for shoppers to find your products. For example, searching for “mermaid wedding dress” returned 6,527 results.
Not only that, Etsy now allows manufacturing partners and resellers to flood their products onto common listings. This makes it that much harder to be found in the marketplace.
Lack Of Human Support
If you’re looking for help from a live Etsy representative, you’re out of luck. Selling on Etsy means that you only have access to online materials. You can only contact a human through an online submission. If you have an immediate issue, you will have to find the answer on your own or wait for a reply.
Selling With Your Own Website Pros
Ability To Customize And Build A Brand
When selling through your own website, you can control a multitude of design elements to create a truly unique brand, including color schemes, photos, website text, background patterns and much more. This amount of freedom and flexibility allows you to create a customer experience that’s tailored to your specific audience, helping further legitimize your business.
Fewer Fees, Better Technology
Several eCommerce platforms provide you with built-in selling tools to grow your business, and the better ones don’t charge transaction fees for it. Opening your online store with one of these providers instead of Etsy gives you a lot more power and flexibility to build and manage your business on your own terms.
Put The Spotlight On Your Products
With an online store of your own, there’s no competition from other websites or listings when someone is visiting. Instead, the full spotlight is on your items and your items alone. This means that you can better merchandise your crafts or handmade goods, including showing multiple images, providing detailed product descriptions and much more to help boost sales.
Personalized Customer Support
Reputable eCommerce providers offer free, real-time customer support via phone, email and online chat 24 hours a day. This is particularly helpful if you have any questions while building or managing your online store, especially if you’re expecting an influx of traffic or need assistance right away to support an upcoming promotion.
Having your own online store means you get additional access to customer data so you can make strong connections and build brand advocates. Even more, you have the freedom to reach new customers via email marketing, social media and search engines, and even have the opportunity to list your products seamlessly through Facebook, eBay and other shopping outlets like Google Shopping. Marketing through these various channels is proven to boost sales.
Selling With Your Own Website Cons
Depending on which eCommerce platform or software you decide to use, you will likely be more responsible for managing the details of your website, like backups, updates, and security issues. Most platforms have ways to help you automate these tasks but the responsibility will still be yours.
Switching to a new platform or software always involves learning something new. However, most platforms have a robust set of resources to reduce the amount of time it takes to learn the new system. There are always professionals available for any platform if you want to delegate all or some of the technical details to them.
Increased Marketing Responsibilities
As an independent website, you will be responsible for getting traffic to it. There are lots of effective ways to do this but it’s wise to be ready with a few marketing strategies before making the investment so there isn’t a large decrease in sales during the transition.
Customer Service Responsibilities
Selling with your own website instead of Etsy means you are the one responsible for taking care of any customer service issues. That can be a great opportunity to “wow” your customers but it can also be a challenge if you are dealing with someone who is less than reasonable.
The “Right” Answer Is Up To You
As you can see, deciding if you should be selling with your own website instead of Etsy can be a tough one. But if you narrow down what is important to you and how you want to run your business, it’s just a matter of prioritizing what is important and going with the solution that is a better fit.
Remember, sometimes the “right” solution can be a combination of both!
Don’t have time to figure out if you should be selling with your own website instead of Etsy? You’re in luck. Click here to see my article about the Top 5 Etsy Alternatives For Artisans Selling Online In 2020.