Are you an artisan who is looking to sell your unique creation to a bigger audience? Then, you’ve probably heard of this creative online marketplace called Etsy. How does it actually work? Can you make money selling on Etsy? Let’s find out more in this review.
What Is Etsy
Launched in 2005, Etsy is an eCommerce platform for independent artist to showcase and sell vintage, handmade and craft supply items online. It claims to have more than 50 million members and fetch about 1.5 billion page views per month. It’s also one of the most visited shopping sites after Amazon and eBay.
How Does It Work
To get started, you need to pick a name for your shop. If the name is available, the URL for your online store would read something like this – www.etsy.com/shop/ReliveRetro. You would then list your products using the templates that have been provided and optimizing it using keywords in the product title, description and tags.
Generally, the more products you list, the more exposure you would get. For receiving payments, you can opt for credit cards, PayPal or money orders. Once you have completed all the setups, the front end of your Etsy shop would look something like this;
How Much Does It Cost
It costs $0.20 USD to publish one item that will be valid for a 4 month period listing. After that duration expires, a renewal fee of the same amount will incur if the product has not been sold. For every successful sale, you will also need to pay for Etsy’s transaction fee, which cost 3.5%, payment processing fees, shipping fees and advertising fees (if you wish to purchase to run ads).
So, the actual cost of selling one item would look like this;
= Product cost + listing fee + transaction fee + payment processing fee +/- shipping fee +/- advertising fee.
What Etsy Is Good For (The Pros)
If you are new to online selling, you may be attracted to Etsy for the following reasons;
- Setting up an online store is easy. It requires zero technical skills.
- It’s a well-known marketplace for people who want to buy creative products.
- It gets a lot of traffic everyday so the crowd is surely there.
- Etsy does most of the marketing work (the technical side) for you through their own comprehensive search algorithm.
- You can easily manage your shop through the new mobile app feature.
What Are The Limitations That You Should Know (The Cons)
However, you do want to pay attention to some of these limitations as they could determine if you make any money (at all) on Etsy.
- The so-called online store doesn’t exactly belong to you because you don’t own the domain name.
- Every online store looks the same and there’s very little that you can modify to make it more attractive.
- Although sellers are encouraged to use keywords, these keywords are broad terms and highly competitive. For example, the term “engagement rings” alone has more than 200, 000 results in Etsy. How are you going to beat that kind of competition?
- The marketplace host more than 30, 000, 000 active listing – a feature that’s good for shoppers, but not so for sellers.
- The implication of various processing fees can make your products more costly than it looks.
- There are some controversies about the marketplace being infiltrated with mass producers and resellers who sell items at cheaper prices, thus adding more competition against original handmade items that usually take longer time to produce.
- Allowing Etsy to do all the marketing work could potentially put you in a passive position that won’t help to move your business forward.
- It’s been widely reported that Etsy’s rules for sellers tend to change from time to time without notification and this poses a very rigid online environment for creative businesses to thrive.
- In actual fact, sellers have very limited control of how products are being promoted or advertised within the Etsy platform.
So, Can You Make Money on Etsy
For someone who has never done any selling online, Etsy may seem like an easy platform to begin with. However, setting up a shop is not the same as getting online traffic. If you want to have a bigger audience, you need to multiply your sales channel instead of relying on one single marketplace.
You need your own storefront to attract people from all over the world and one of the best ways to do this is to create your own website.
These are some of the advantages of having your own site as an artist;
- You are able to market under your own brand (aka domain name) and not as ‘just another seller on Etsy”.
- You can customize your own online store and choose a payment system that won’t burden your cost.
- You can have better control of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and this means, you are able to use specific keywords to get targeted traffic online. For example, these are all high-searches low-competition keywords that you can leverage from;
- personalized outdoor wooden signs (competition = 22)
- pearl jewelry for bridesmaids (competition = 27)
- homemade candles without wax (competition = 14)
- rose scented liquid hand soap (competition = 16)
- antique railroad lanterns for sale (competition = 12)
Do you also notice that these keywords are more elaborated? They will help you find a more specific audience to your products. In case you are wondering where I found these high converting keywords, learn more about using my favorite keyword tool called Jaaxy.
Therefore, if your products are original (and valuable) and you are willing to come up with a marketing plan, having your own website is definitely more worthwhile than selling on Etsy. Check out the SiteRubix platform to learn how to create a WordPress website for free.
I hope this article has given you a better understanding on how to start an online business as an artist. If you need any help starting your first online business, just get in touch with me and I’ll be more than happy to assist. Hope to talk to you soon.
Do you have any thoughts or questions about this topic? Feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you.