Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade, vintage, and custom goods.
Millions of people use Etsy to sell their goods and millions more view the platform as a go-to place to shop.
Selling on Etsy can be beneficial to businesses that are new to ecommerce or are looking for built-in customer loyalty.
Selling on your own ecommerce website gives you more flexibility and is more focused.
A combined selling strategy will work best for some businesses.
If you’re an avid crafter or consumer of handmade goods, you’re probably already familiar with the ecommerce marketplace known as Etsy. It is a hub for independent artists and makers looking to share their wares with the craft-inclined public, vintage collectors, and consumers looking for custom-made goods.
The growing businesses we see daily who are looking to break into the ecommerce space with a safe first step tend to question whether Etsy is a good place to start. Let’s explore that together.
Who are Etsy Sellers?
When the platform got its start in 2005, it wasn’t as easy to sell online as it is today, especially for small-time artisans. One of the Etsy founders, Robert Kalin, was feeling the crunch himself as an amateur furniture maker struggling to sell his creations.
Now, Etsy is home to more than 3 million active sellers with the same goal as Kalin: Put their unique products in front of the approximately 86.52 million active users browsing the platform for something special.
Is becoming an Etsy seller right for you? Well, that depends.
“At this point it was really hard to sell online. Etsy was a godsend.”– Abby Glassenberg, one of the first Etsy sellers and the stuffed animal seamstress behind While She Naps.
Do You Have a Website?
If you already have a website set up for your business – and you most definitely should – then you have some other options when it comes to selling online. Shopify, for one, is a great way to drop your products into beautiful templates and start creating a customized store on your own terms. WooCommerce can also upgrade your WordPress site into an online shop with a few simple clicks.
And using a website of your own comes with plenty of perks:
- Focused Calls to Action – Here’s a best practice for marketing your products: you want to funnel customers directly to products they can purchase or capture opportunities that allow you to stay in touch. Splitting people between an Etsy store and your website can be confusing for consumers and muddy up your analytics in the process. Sending all of your digital ads, email campaigns, and other marketing efforts to one ecommerce site is a smart move.
- More Control – When you sell on Etsy, you must play by their rules. Etsy also has a cut and dried format for products and store pages. While this may keep things simple for shoppers, it limits your ability as a seller when it comes to merchandising techniques, upselling strategies, and more. An ecommerce site of your own design gives you more flexibility in how you sell.
- Less Visible Competition – Etsy is incredible for its ability to bring the work of global artisans to one simple search for customers everywhere. However, that means that thousands of other sellers that make the same products as you are available for a side-by-side comparison. It’s easy for shoppers to get distracted amid the massively competitive market that is Etsy. With your own site, it’s easier to keep customers focused on you, your brand, and the brilliance of your offerings alone.
But websites can be a lot of work. If you already maintain a website for your business, then you know that constant updates to content, keeping an eye on functionality, and competing with the internet at large for attention is a handful. At least with Etsy, there is built-in consumer traffic and someone else around to fix the boo-boos if something breaks.
If you have the money to try both a website and an Etsy store, you may find that some products perform better in one environment. Test it out! Use the available analytics to decide what’s right for you and your catalog going forward.
How to Create an eCommerce Strategy That Converts
In short, the right answer for your business may not be as obvious as yes or no. There are pros and cons to an Etsy-exclusive approach, an ecommerce website strategy, or a combination of both. But don’t worry! Nailing your ecommerce strategy entails trial and error, testing and analyzing, and seeing what sticks with your audience.
We can help you find the perfect mix for a strategy that sells with our on-demand training sessions, and we would highly recommend 1-on-1 Marketing Mentorship for anyone exploring ways to sell online successfully. You can do this!