Ever looked around for a handmade item and wondered if you should just buy it on Etsy? Have you ever wanted to build your own eCommerce site, but didn’t know where to start? If so, here is everything you need to know about the pros and cons of each.
The “can you sell on etsy and your own website” is a question that many people ask. It’s important to know the pros and cons of each option when deciding whether or not to sell on Etsy or create your own site.
It’s been said that you’re a gifted craftsperson. (Don’t be embarrassed; you know it’s true.) You’ve finally chosen to dip your toes into business waters after years of disregarding friends and family members’ demands to hurry up and start selling your stuff (because truly, people would pay big money for that!). You’re planning to start your own business as a crafterpreneur.
But, as a rookie, which platform is ideal for you? If Etsy is the first place that comes to mind, you’re not alone—the it’s largest and most popular site for independent craftsmen, and it may be a quick way to become noticed. However, the site has drawbacks, which are significant enough to drive many of the more successful crafterpreneurs to sell via their own eCommerce sites instead.
So, should you use Etsy or create your own eCommerce site? Let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of each technique, as well as how to perform each one best, so we can prove your family and friends wrong and transform you into a full-fledged success story.
Etsy is a great place to sell your handmade items.
- We’re ready to leave. Sure, you’ll have to put in some effort to get it up and running, but an Etsy shop is considerably more “out-of-the-box” than any eCommerce site. This is true not only in terms of layout and design—which is a huge relief for those of us who aren’t web designers—but also in terms of freight tracking, web traffic statistics, and the all-important payment process system, which can be difficult and time-consuming to design and navigate on your own.
- Customer trust is established right away. When you attach your own brand to Etsy’s, you’re taking use of all of the site’s branding and business development efforts to earn consumers’ confidence and respect. After all, there’s a reason why the site gets so much traffic. And, since motivated niche shoppers visit Etsy in greater numbers than on any other eCommerce site, going on Etsy means possibly exposing your items to an audience that would take much longer to locate on your own. That means you’ll have quick audience and promotion from the start.
- A community board may provide assistance. Etsy has retained an active, enthusiastic, and fundamentally helpful community of sellers as the site has developed. If you have any questions about set up, marketing, or anything else, you’re likely to find a fellow seller willing to help you out on the community boards. Community boards are also a terrific area to meet new people and trade tales, which may lead to future marketing collaborations (see the tips section below for more on this).
- Lack of command. All of that ready-made ease, of course, comes at a price. When you sell on Etsy, you’re susceptible to any changes in business policy or administrative judgments, and it’s not uncommon for well-intentioned merchants to have their shops closed down for unintentional or fabricated policy infractions. Even if the ruling is overturned, your business and devoted customers may be gone, and you may have to start again.
- Design possibilities are limited. Similarly, you’re restricted by Etsy’s template shop designs when you utilize it. This may be OK while you’re just starting out, but it makes it tough to identify yourself as you develop, making it more difficult to stand out from other merchants. It’s also difficult to optimize for marketing with several calls to action (CTAs), such as positioning email signups around the page. Again, this implies you’re entrusting Etsy with a lot more marketing than you are.
- Other merchants are putting up a fight. It might be tough to retain a consumer on your page when there are so many identical goods on the site, especially when competing products are offered in the sidebar. This is particularly aggravating if you’ve gone to a craft show in person, schmoozed a buyer, and handed them a card with your Etsy business on it, only for them to go somewhere because they see a better (though, you could argue, unjust) pricing.
- It requires a substantial sum of money (sort of). It costs 20 cents each item to list a product. Etsy also receives a 3.5 percent cut of the sale price. If you do it alone, you’ll have to pay for site hosting, and most payment providers, such as PayPal, charge a 2.9 percent (plus 30-cent) cost. So whether Etsy is more costly or not depends on how successful you are on the site. Of However, as we discussed in the benefits section, Etsy has a slew of advantages that may make any investment worthwhile.
Creating Your Own Online Store
- Design, marketing, and SEO are all more within your control. When you run your own eCommerce site, you have complete control over almost everything. You choose your site’s layout, style, and branding, and if those things change, all you have to do is update your site. Do you want to add an additional mailing list signup button to help you expand your email list? Make it happen. Do you want to alter your policies? Make it happen. You won’t have to worry about a sudden change in legislation, or having your shop shut down and having to start over if you have your own site. You’ll have significantly more search engine optimization (SEO) chances on both the back-end and front-end of your site. And, you guessed it, if you want to change your site to promote a major marketing campaign or product launch, you can.
- There are less consumer distractions on the website. You won’t have to worry about a rival promoting their goods right next to yours if you have your own website (essentially in your store). It’s your show, your page. The narrative comes to a close.
- Customers and the media take you more seriously. On your own site, the media tends to take you more seriously than on Etsy if your site is well-designed. That first element is a major caveat, and it only occurs if your site demonstrates that you’ve spent time and effort into branding and design—far more than if you just typed information and posted a few photos on Etsy. That won’t happen if your eCommerce site is shoddily constructed or old; in that case, you’d be better off using Etsy. For similar reasons, your own eCommerce site may be better for customer recommendations than your Etsy shop, since there is less brand confusion and clients are more likely to remember your own URL.
- You must understand what you’re doing. I’m not implying that you have no idea what you’re doing or that you are incapable of learning. Making your own website, however, might be a formula for disaster if you are unfamiliar with web design. Not only would you want your site to appear beautiful in general, but you’ll also want to avoid a few usability issues. For example, you’ll need a simple-to-use shopping cart and a quick method to add items to your basket, ideally from a reliable third-party platform that keeps up with changing financial requirements. You’ll want your site to load fast, be safe, and have a solid SEO plan in place. As a result, unless you’re a designer yourself, hiring one might be a significant additional cost.
- Increased marketing responsibilities. There’s no way you’ll be included in a popular retailer right away if you have your own website. To get the word out about your shop, you’ll need a complete marketing strategy. This might entail a presence on social media and a blog, flyers and printouts, and a lot of traveling to trade and craft exhibitions. While marketing is vital for Etsy shop owners, it’s much more so when you’re running your own business.
- Competition on the internet. We previously said that on your own eCommerce site, you would not face direct competition on your shop page. On the other hand, there’s a lot of competition out there, including all of those Etsy items. Because Etsy is so popular—for many purchasers, it’s the go-to spot for handcrafted crafts—getting people to come to you might be difficult.
Have you made up your mind, or are you more perplexed than ever? Don’t be concerned. The use of Etsy and eCommerce platforms isn’t mutually exclusive. Many first-time craft businesses get their start on Etsy before launching their own site after they’ve honed their business and marketing abilities and built up a dedicated client base. Other well-known craftsmen believe that “the more the merrier!” and sell on both Etsy and their own website, as well as other platforms. And, after all, why not? The more exposure you can obtain, as long as you’re not spreading your energies too thin or diluting your visitors, the better.
So, how can you get the most out of one (or both!) of these options?
- Make a primer for yourself. Setting up a basic Etsy business is simple, but to be really successful, we suggest beginning with an Etsy guide to give your approach a bit more knowledge.
- Make the most of your page’s branding chances. Buyers on Etsy want to know who they’re purchasing from, so fill up your shop profile with as much information as possible about your items and yourself (this will also be great for SEO purposes). Find or create a banner picture that reflects your personality.
- Showcase high-quality product images. It makes no difference how great your product is; if it doesn’t look nice in your shop, it won’t sell. Consider hiring a professional photographer or sticking to some fundamental guidelines, such as utilizing a high-resolution camera, soft lighting that doesn’t throw shadows, and shooting on a white or solid backdrop that doesn’t detract from the goods.
“Every day, we are bombarded with selfies and filtered photographs through social media and mobile devices. It’s easy to forget that snapping a fast snapshot of something lovely isn’t the same as shooting a great photo. So that their websites stand out enough for people to notice, brands must adopt high-quality, professional imagery and photography.” — Bigstock Photo’s Brian Masefield
- Use the message boards in the community. Not only will you discover a wealth of useful information here, but regular commenting will improve your profile in the community, attracting other vendors to your page and increasing your exposure. You may discover wonderful methods to co-market when you engage with other sellers, such as joining or creating a treasury or Pinterest group where goods are handpicked for a spotlight. This will increase your chances of being featured on Etsy’s main page.
Website Tips for E-Commerce
- Prioritize utility over aesthetics. Don’t get me wrong: you don’t want a clinker of a website that looks ten years old. However, whether you’re working from scratch or using a template, the most important factor to consider is usability. It should be simple to add items to your basket, and consumers should have confidence in the security of their financial information while making a purchase. The fewer clicks needed to complete a purchase, the better. Finally, include automatic upselling with related or complimentary items.
- Build your website with sales and marketing in mind. For both sales and SEO, provide each product on your site an appealing and keyword-rich description. Create a content plan as well, using a blog to publish items that may be shared over the internet. Of course, make sure you have an easy-to-find “About” page that contains all of your social media accounts so prospective clients can discover you online.
- Make sure your policies are clear. Are you willing to accept returns? How long will each goods take to ship, and how much will the customer be responsible for? Because you won’t have a neutral third party to mediate while you’re on your own, it’s critical to be as precise as possible.
There are various pathways to business success in the craft market, whether you opt to operate just on Etsy or also on an eCommerce site. So get started! Your future as a crafter is waiting for you.
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The “should i have an etsy shop and a website” is the question that many people are asking. There are pros and cons to both options, so it’s important to decide what will work best for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to sell on your own website?
A: Website is not a good way to sell products, it can be very expensive in the end and time consuming.
Is it worth it to have an Etsy shop?
A: If you want to be a business owner and make your own hours, it may be worth the investment. You can also find other ways of supporting yourself as an Etsy seller or work for someone else that runs their shop.
Is selling digital products on Etsy worth it?
A: This is a difficult question to answer, as Etsys prices are not fixed. Digital products have no physical product that you can hold and need to be delivered electronically.
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