Should You Sell on Etsy or Build Your Own eCommerce Site

Should You Sell on Etsy, or Build Your Own eCommerce Site?

Word is on the street that you’re a talented crafter. After years of ignoring the pleas to start selling your wares, you’ve finally decided to become a crafterpreneur.

But which platform is best for a newbie like you? If Etsy is the first thing that comes to mind, you’re not alone—Etsy is the biggest and most popular site for craftspeople, and it can provide fast exposure. But there are downsides too, and many successful crafterpreneurs choose to sell through their own eCommerce sites instead.

So, which is best for you: Etsy or your own eCommerce site? Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches, as well as tips for success.

Selling on Etsy:

Pros:

1. Ready to go. An Etsy store is closer to being done “out-of-the-box” than any eCommerce site. This includes layout, design, freight tracking, web traffic stats, and the payment process system, which can be difficult to design on your own.

2. Instant customer trust. Linking your brand with Etsy taps into the site’s branding and business development. Etsy attracts high volumes of motivated niche customers, providing instant viewership and marketing.

3. Help is only a community board away. Etsy has an engaged community of sellers who are willing to offer assistance, guidelines, and marketing partnership opportunities.

Cons:

1. Lack of control. Etsy’s convenience comes at the cost of subjecting your store to policy changes or administrative decisions that can lead to store shutdowns, losing loyal followers, and starting from scratch.

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2. Limited design options. Etsy’s template store designs limit branding and differentiation from other sellers, making it harder to optimize for marketing with various calls to action.

3. Heated competition from other sellers. With many similar products listed on the site, it can be tough to keep a customer on your page, especially when competitor products are visible in the sidebar.

4. Costs. Each product listing on Etsy costs 20 cents, and Etsy takes 3.5 percent of the selling price. However, breaking out on your own also incurs web hosting costs and payment platform fees.

Building Your Own eCommerce Site:

Pros:

1. More control over design, marketing, and SEO. Operating your own site allows complete control over layout, design, branding, and marketing strategies. It also eliminates the risk of sudden policy changes or store shutdowns.

2. Fewer on-page customer distractions. On your own site, you won’t face direct competition advertising next to your products.

3. Media and customers take you more seriously. Well-designed eCommerce sites are viewed more seriously than Etsy stores. Customers also find it easier to remember your personal URL.

Cons:

1. You have to know what you’re doing. Creating your own site requires web design skills, including usability, shopping cart integration, fast loading speeds, security, and SEO. Hiring a designer may be necessary.

2. Increased marketing tasks. On your own site, you’ll need a comprehensive marketing plan to drive traffic and attract customers.

3. Web competition. Competing against other websites, including Etsy, can be challenging.

While you can choose to work solely on Etsy or use an eCommerce platform, many crafters start on Etsy and transition to their own site once they’ve developed their business and marketing skills. Some operate on both platforms for maximum exposure.

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Tips for Etsy:

1. Start with a guide to Etsy for a more effective approach.

2. Enhance branding on your page with detailed product and personal information.

3. Display high-quality product photos to increase sales.

4. Utilize the community boards for helpful tips and to raise your profile.

Tips for eCommerce Sites:

1. Prioritize usability over design. Ensure a user-friendly interface and a secure shopping experience.

2. Build your site around sales and marketing, providing compelling product descriptions and a content strategy.

3. Be clear on your policies to avoid customer confusion.

In conclusion, both Etsy and eCommerce platforms offer paths to entrepreneurial success in the craft world. Consider your goals, skills, and resources to make the best decision for your crafting career.

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