Over the past 2 week, we evaluated Shopify and BigCommerce, two popular estore solutions for businesses looking to sell online. We found them to be very comparable — Shopify had a slightly nicer looking design, but BigCommerce had great customer service. This week we will be dissecting Etsy, a “handmade marketplace” for buyers and sellers. Etsy is different from both Shopify and BigCommerce in terms of the products sellers can offer and the distribution strategy for sellers. Here are a few of the main differences:
1. Everything on Etsy must be handmade, vintage (20+ years old), or a craft supply. You cannot resell items on Etsy. Shopify and BigCommerce, on the other hand, do not regulate the items their sellers offer.
2. Etsy already has an established community of shoppers, which means tons of traffic to Etsy.com. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easier to get traffic to your site on Etsy, but if you are skilled at marketing your product to look interesting and unique, having this community of craft-lovers will be good for your business.
3. Etsy does not offer much in the way of customization of your website, and you cannot customize a domain name — your site will end in “.etsy.com.” Shopify and BigCommerce will allow you to buy a domain or set up a third party domain name.
Etsy’s fees are very different from those of Shopify and BigCommerce. They charge $0.20 for each item listed, and a 3.5% fee for every order processed.
|BigCommerce||None||$29.95/mo + 1.5% transaction fee||$79.95/mo||Custom Price|
|Etsy||$0.20 per item listed, 3.5% transaction fee per order|
Etsy allows you to use PayPal, which has a 2.9% payment fee, or direct checkout which has a 3% + $0.25 fee for purchases made in the United States. Shopify and BigCommerce fees vary by which plan and payment system you choose.
I signed in with Google+ and allowed Etsy to view my basic information. I am then asked what is my main motivation for using Etsy, and what location and currency I plan on using in my Etsy shop.
Next is to name my shop.
Then add some products.
For each product I add, I must upload photos, fill out product details (who made the product and with what materials, etc.), and add shipping information (where it will ship from, processing time, etc.).
As the seller, I must specify domestic and international shipping costs of each item. There are no “real-time” shipping estimates like Shopify and BigCommerce offer. Etsy will estimate the shipping price based on my product dimensions and weight, but you cannot specify shipping costs to individual U.S. zip codes. In order to deal with this, sellers on the Etsy online forum suggest calculating the cost to ship to the farthest U.S. zip code or international destination from your shop’s zip code. The other option would be to use a USPS Flat Rate on all product shipments.
I can edit optional settings for my item too, such as variations to the product and searchable tags.
The third step towards opening my shop is to add payment options.
Adding a payment option requires your bank account information, such as account and routing numbers, as well as personal information like your address and the last four digits of your social security number.
There are a few different ways to increase your visibility on Etsy.
1. Promoted listings are incredibly easy to set up. All you need to do is select your daily budget (between $1 – $10 USD), and select whether you want Etsy to automatically promote new products when you list them.
2. Coupon codes are free to create on Etsy. For example, use “Thank You” coupons to keep your customers coming back — the coupon will automatically send to your customers after they make a purchase.
3. Shopping Engine Ads are free to enable on Etsy as of now, so take advantage of it while it lasts! As long as you have Shopping Engine Ads enabled, Etsy will automatically syndicate your products on Google Shopping, eBay, etc.
4. Etsy Badges are similar to coupon codes, but instead of offering a discount, you are offering a free gift to customers who make a purchase. You can use these badges on your blog, website, or social media sites. The link will direct your customers to your Etsy shop.
Etsy offers basic order tracking on the seller’s dashboard.
The dashboard is where you can track orders, manage your product listings, view your bill, and check on any promoted listings.
Compared to Shopify and BigCommerce, Etsy was incredibly easy to set up. There is nothing fancy about my store. In fact, it looks similar to any other Etsy store.
Etsy is very low-cost. You only pay when you sell an item (except the $0.20 listing fee), and the Etsy promotions have a maximum expense of $10/day.
If you sell or are planning to sell homemade or vintage items, Etsy would be a very good starting point — it is easy to use, low cost, and gives you a pre-existing audience of craft and homemade fans. We highly recommend Etsy for sellers that qualify!
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