If you’re an Etsy seller, you’re probably familiar with the controversy that has surrounded the famous handcraft juggernaut. Since 2005, Etsy has provided a valuable forum for sellers around the world bringing handmade products to a wide audience. Although there have been occasional pushes about brand deletion, non-craft products being resold on the platform, etc., this e-commerce platform has continued to gain popularity. However, with the flood of cheap, Chinese and other cheap goods flooding the previously untapped Etsy marketplace, many store owners who depended on Etsy for their livelihoods are forced to find other sales channels to stay. afloat. While some have touted the end of the made in China era, it is still alive and well on popular shopping engines.
After rubbing shoulders with several ecommerce clients and working closely with Etsy mainstay Bliss Stamped Jewelry, I have witnessed the serious implications these Etsy changes can have on a store owner. With that in mind, we have helped Bliss make the switch to direct selling and are advising other Etsians to consider the same. There are many reasons why selling on your own ecommerce site is beneficial, but here we’ll cover some of the main benefits.
Benefits of direct selling
While the appeal of a marketplace like Etsy is strong, there is tremendous value in building your own ecommerce site. You might not have the integrated audience that Etsy provides, but you also won’t have to compete with millions of other sellers or fight to maintain your branding. You will also be able to create a unique customer experience to accompany your unique products. Here are some of the perks you might miss as a pure Etsian:
o Sites such as Etsy restrict direct content with customers. This can make it more difficult to close a sale, track abandoned carts, notify customers of sales and promotions, or retarget them with Google Display or other retargeting networks. Using an e-commerce web platform allows you to easily implement retargeting solutions and maximize site conversion rate and sales.
o With the minimization of the branding of your Etsy store, it is very difficult to offer a unique experience to your customers or to encourage repeat purchases. It becomes especially difficult when you are not in direct contact with customers. It’s hard to differentiate yourself with quality customer service or to maximize customer value over time. Ecommerce platforms like Bigcommerce, Shopify, and Volusion provide in-depth analytics and customer insights to help you determine who your customers are, what they’re buying, and the information needed to contact them with promotions, inquiries. examination, etc.
o The inability to contact customers directly through Etsy has diminished the personal touch that should accompany handcrafted products. Highly tactile products often require highly tactile customer service, especially with personalized products. It can become overwhelming to correspond with clients and get them what they want when they want it. And, with so many built-in alternatives on Etsy, it can have a huge impact on the conversion rate.
o Your website allows you to interact with customers in various ways. With links to your social profile, the ability to subscribe to the newsletter, promotional banners, etc., your website is the hub of all internet marketing communications. It also allows you to maintain consistency in your branding across all of your social and sales channels to increase brand equity and recognition. As customers navigate from one channel to another, they’ll recognize your colors, fonts, slogans, and more. The website brings it all together.
o While there are still fees associated with an ecommerce website (platform membership, credit card processing, design, etc.), these costs are fixed and predictable, and the ads are free. Many sellers will create custom orders and then have to pay to list them on Etsy so the customer can purchase them through the site. Every time a product is added, relisted, changed, etc., you are charged a fee. In the craft product niche, changes are happening all the time. Why should you pay a premium to make your product unique?
While I certainly won’t advocate dropping Etsy, I would suggest taking some of your hard-earned money and funneling it to your own ecommerce website. If you can effectively leverage multiple sales channels, you might find yourself in the same conversation as other surprisingly successful businesses. There are many advantages to direct selling, and Etsy’s volatility is not conducive to a scalable and repeatable business model. Don’t ignore the writing on the wall. Be proactive and start selling directly.