Etsy.com vs the other handmade sites....
January 28, 2009 11:33am CST
I've been selling on Etsy for about 18 months now and as the holiday season was coming to a close, I decided that I wanted to spread out a little and not keep all my eggs in the same nest. So after opening a shop on 1000Markets three months ago and then on ArtFire 2 months ago, I thought it would be time to compare the sites to each other and share my findings. 1000Markets is a totally free site. There are no fees until you make a sale. The only catch to 100Markets is... the site is juried, which means the administration will want to see images of your work and they must approve the quality of your creations before you receive an okay to open a shop. The set-up of the shop is very nice. It's quite easy on the eyes, very clean and classy looking. Adding items to your shop is fairly simple...in all, a very nice site to sell on. Getting people to come to your site is tougher. 1000Markets is still in it's "sneak preview" stage and I haven't come across any ads for the site itself... even the banner that you can add to your blog or other sites, only lead back to the 1000Markets homepage, not your shop's page. IMO, most views are from other shop owners that are already on the site, so promoting off-site is crucial to any success on 1000Markets at this time. After 3 months, I have not yet made a sale, though a couple of my crafting friends from NJ have reported a sale or two early on, but nothing much since. Payment on 1K Markets is through Amazon Payments only at this time. ArtFire is another site in it's infancy. The home page says it's in a "Beta" mode. ArtFire will allow handmade crafters to list items for free (and of course there is a final value fee to pay) They also have a program that charges $7 a month for all fees and you may list as many items as you like. Though not as esthetically pleasing as 1000Markets or Etsy, they are advertising on the internet and in trade magazines, so they are beginning to build up a small following (whether it's just an overflow of Etsy customers remains to be seen) and views do come a bit easier at times. ArtFire does allow for cross promotion with Etsy and even allows an area in the shop page to keep track of my Etsy items through an RSS feed. ArtFire also allows stat tracking through Google Analytics and allows for promotions through networking sites (actually encourages these promotions) I have heard that the administration is very quick to respond to site issues, often returning emails within an hour...I haven't had any issues to report, so this is really 2nd hand info, but it has been said over and over that ArtFire is quick to respond. After almost 2 months, I've yet to make a sale at ArtFire, but for most of the time on the site, I have only had 2 items listed. That total has doubled to 4 over the last week and I'm planning on adding another item in the next day or two....but still, no sales. Etsy continues to be my main online site and 80%-90% of my listings go into my Etsy shop. Views tend to be much more frequent, especially on new items and while sales have slowed since the holiday shopping season came to a close, I still make a sale or two each week on Etsy. The simple fact that Etsy provides a forum in which to promote items, has me focusing much of my promoting time to my Etsy items and while I do promote my shops equally off-line, it seems that people are just more willing to buy from the site they have heard of (Etsy) rather than the others at this point. I had planned on reviewing a few more sites during the early part of this year, but with current state of the economy and the unequaled edge that Etsy seems to have over the rest of the handmade sites, it seems like a moot point to do so. Maybe one of the "other" sites I have a shop in will emerge as the best 2nd choice to Etsy...and maybe another site will top them to be Etsy's main competition, but for 2009, it seems that Etsy.com is safely in the lead when it comes to selling handmade items online. Hopefully there are others who can share their online experiences about the other handmade sites... Is anyone having success at another site? Please tell me/us a little more about any of these sites...what's good about it? Bad? How is the traffic and how are you promoting your items there?
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Jan 09
Thanks for the information. I haven't put anything up for sale yet but I have plans to. While 1000Markets may end up being worth the while, it doesn't sound appealing to have to go through a juried process with so little possibility yet of returns. Just FYI - Go Daddy (the domain name seller) has opened a market place now. It's like $5 a month to open a shop and 10% of the sale but that includes the payment processing which they do for you.
• United States
31 Jan 09
I did hear about Go Daddy and I suppose it's something to consider for the future. The problem with a site on Go Daddy, 1000Markets and ArtFire is you have to drive traffic to site and that means a lot of time promoting on networking sites, blogs, etc, etc. In my opinion, starting out on Etsy seems to make the most sense. They already have a built-in customer base (but understand, the economy issue is worldwide and many people that were buying, have know slowed down) but there is a forum where you can promote your shop on the site and begin to build a following. I like to think I have built up a small following from Etsy sales, craft show sales, promoting off-site, etc. But so far, the followers are only following me at Etsy, not at my other shops... but at least on Etsy, when I promote, I'm promoting to the masses. Hopefully at some point, the customers that follow my Etsy shop will migrate over to the other stores too. Thx for your response!
• United States
29 Jan 09
So far, my results haven't been very good, but I do need to give the other sites more time. Both 1000Markets & ArtFire are fairly new and probably won't have much of an impact until the spring of this year. I'll also be looking at a couple more sites in the very near future and look to share what I find out with the crafters here on myLot. Thx for your response!