Having your own online store is Easier & More Affordable than you might think
If you have been with Etsy for a while, you may have mixed feelings about it, excitement and frustration, on a daily basis. If you are at the point where you are searching for an Alternative to Etsy, maybe websites like Etsy or Selling sites like Etsy, you might want to consider having your own website.
Before we go further, I would like to be clear that I believe Etsy is an amazing tool for handmade businesses. But, it’s a tool and should be used as one and not as your “home” online shopping location.
Having your own website may be a bit intimidating but after breaking it down, it is actually quite straight forward and one of the best investments you will make in your handmade business.
Reason 1 – Competition
Competition isn’t a bad thing, but what happens today, when you work hard to bring outside traffic to your Etsy store, maybe traffic from your social media, or return customers, etc. There is a good chance they will be lost in the “Etsy Universe”. Meaning, they will start looking through the site and end up not buying or, buying from someone else.
If you have your own site, that isn’t going to happen! It could be that they don’t buy right away, but maybe they sign up for your newsletter, pin one of your images, book mark your site or see your product again in an ad and recognize it. A visit to your site is definetly brining you closer to a sale.
Reason 2 – Email list
You have probably heard about the importance of building your email list. This is a basic functionality for independent online stores and is extremely powerful. There are many ways to incorporate a signup sheet into the site (having it on all pages, specific pages, as a popup, etc.), so you can really make it work for you. As to why this is so powerful? Read more about How to use your Email List (beyond sending emails).
Reason 3 – Paid Marketing
Have you considered independently paying for marketing? Maybe Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Print Ads or even paying someone to do PR. It can get costly and if you are sending them to Etsy, there is, again a good chance you will lose the traffic into the “Etsy universe”.
Having your own site opens up a lot more viable options to paid marketing. Any external push to your business, such as PR or Paid online or off line advertising is directly to you.
Reason 4 – Branding
When you have your own site, you can really bring out your personality and stand out. Today, if someone buys it from you on Etsy, there is a good chance they will tell their friend “I got it on Etsy” instead of “I got it from <your company name here>”. This is a huge difference if you are looking at your business as a business and want to grow your audience and recognition.
Reason 5 – Cost
Etsy has quite a lot of fees, and those accumulate. In addition, if you have been with Etsy for a while, you know that their prices and structure can dramatically change. What happens if a change (such as being pushed to give “free shipping”) is wiping out your profit margin? If Etsy is your only store, you are stuck. I’m not saying that prices do not change at all when you have your own website but, you have a lot of control over it, especially if you have a WordPress site. With WordPress, your main cost is the hosting and there are many companies competing, which means that you have options.
Reason 6 – Constant Changes in Etsy
Don’t get me wrong, I say it again and again, Etsy is an amazing platform for makers, truly! but, Etsy is a business and it’s main priority is Etsy. Sometimes your priorities are aligned, for example you are selling a lot and since it’s good for Etsy when you prove you are selling, they will send more customers your way. Sometimes your priorities aren’t aligned, maybe you are just starting out and haven’t established that you can sell or maybe you can’t offer free shipping because your products are very heavy, etc.
Reason 7 – Competing prices
One of the hardest things to do is price your handmade items so that they are profitable. The issue with Etsy and pricing is that in the “sea of Etsy shops”, customers compare prices a lot and don’t necessarily have the patience to understand why your item may be more expensive. In addition, many sellers on Etsy sell “for fun” so their prices are impossible to compete with.
As previously stated, Etsy is a wonderful platform for the handmade seller, but it should be viewed as one source of traffic, not as your “home”. Having your own online store will give you more control over your business marketing strategy and finances. It is truly the best alternative to Etsy.