The Best Etsy Alternatives for Online Sellers
Lately, the online marketplace Etsy has alienated quite a few clients by announcing some changes in regulations. Most recently, Etsy announced plans to begin pushing sellers’ products in the form of off-site ads. Sellers’ products will be advertised on sites like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing. Vendors will only pay for this advertising when a customer clicks an ad featuring one of their items and then purchases from their shop within 30 days. Then, the vendor will pay an advertising fee of 12%-15%. While this advertising will likely bring in sales that vendors would not have received otherwise, it is very off-putting that Etsy makes off-site ads mandatory for all merchants who made over $10,000 in the past year.
And this isn’t the first time Etsy has made a large change that affected their user base. For example, in July of 2019, Etsy began giving priority to sellers who offered free shipping, and in July of 2018, Etsy raised transaction fees from 3.5% to 5%! Before that, Etsy changed its regulations to allow merchants to contract outside help with manufacturing, making leading sellers worry that factories would jump in and take over the marketplace. While Etsy maintains that these policies are intended to open up opportunities for sellers, quite a few customers have responded by jumping ship and seeking Etsy alternatives.
If you are one of those artists looking for a new home for your store or if you are starting for the first time, here are some Etsy alternatives to consider. But before jumping into the comparisons, let’s get the low-down on some of the things that have made Etsy such a great platform for so many vendors.
- Easy sign-up with no priced plans
- Great opportunity for small vendors with handmade items
- Ability to gain potential customers who are simply browsing Etsy categories
- Gift cards
- Artsy culture
- A community of artists all visible from the same site
- Listing fees and transaction fees
- In-site competition — if you have a product, other Etsy sellers probably do too!
- Limited themes and page customizations
- Manufactured products are permitted
- Mandatory off-site ads for some users
As a vendor drawn to Etsy, you likely fall into one of two categories. On one side, you might prefer a smaller, community-based marketplace for your handmade goods. On the other side, you might prefer to go off on your own and build a store without the connections to a larger marketplace.
Don’t have time to read an entire article? Take a look at our top-rated eCommerce solutions for a few quick recommendations.
Table of Contents
Top Etsy Alternatives
Let’s start first with online store builders, and then we’ll delve into a couple of alternative maker marketplaces. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, superb web templates, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price. Read on to learn about all your alternatives to selling on Etsy.
Shopify isn’t limited to small stores; anyone from the smallest to the largest of vendors can make use of Shopify’s features. Here are some features that might appeal most to merchants seeking alternatives to Etsy:
- Shopify Lite Plan: $9/month (Buy buttons but no online store)
- Basic Shopify Plan: $29/month (Online store included)
- Buy buttons and Facebook shop
- No transaction fees (aside from payment processing fees) if using Shopify Payments
- Unlimited products, bandwidth, and storage
- Discount codes
- Excellent, responsive themes
Shopify vs Etsy
Shopify is an extremely popular online store for many reasons, but the robust nature of its Basic Plan is probably what will appeal most to ex-Etsy merchants. Although it may not be free, it’s cheap and feature-rich, with unlimited products and file storage!
Shopify’s theme selection is one of the best out there, and there are tons of other features (such as amazing discount codes) that are perfect for artsy, indie types. The Buy Buttons, in particular, are great for merchants trying to attract buyers on blogs, social media, or other sites.
On the downside, if you’re squeamish about big companies that endorse manufacturing, Shopify may make you uncomfortable. It is one of the largest shopping carts out there and has none of the manufacturing guidelines that Etsy once had. Shopify merchants commonly include AliExpress dropshipped products in their stores, not handmade items.
Shopify has a few other issues as well, especially the transaction fees you’ll have to pay if you are not using Shopify Payments. These fees are nothing new to Etsy users, but when you are already paying a monthly fee for a subscription, they can be pretty obnoxious.
Square Online Store
You may know Square for its ubiquitous Point of Sale services, which you can find in coffee shops and small businesses across the States. However, you should know that Square offers much more than just register services. One of these additional services is the Square Online Store, which allows you to quickly and easily build a simple online store.
The best part of Square Online Store is the price. With the available free plan, the only expense comes in the form of credit card processing fees at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. It’s important to note that no matter what eCommerce platform you choose, you will have to pay similar fees to your credit card processor. Square’s only requirement is that you use their payment processing services to accept credit card payments.
Why We Like Square For eCommerce
Build Your Webstore Quickly & Easily
Integrate With Popular eCommerce Software
Developer-Friendly Tools For Customization
Instant Account Setup
2.90% + $0.30 for online sales
Instant Account Setup
2.90% + $0.30 for online sales
Instant Account Setup
2.90% + $0.30 for online sales
Square Online Store is a very, very simple solution. They offer the basic features you’ll need to list products and fulfill orders, but that’s all. No bells and whistles here!
Here’s a bit of what Square Online Store offers:
- Free Plan Available: Only pay 2.9% + $0.30 credit card processing fee
- Affordable paid plans with more advanced features
- Free hosting and URL
- Sell goods, tickets, and services
- Accept donations
- Fulfillment options: Ship to door, electronic delivery, in-store pickup
- Drag-and-drop visual editor
- Mobile responsive storefront
- Inventory management
- Accept gift cards
Square Online Store vs Etsy
We see Square Online Store as a viable alternative to Etsy due to its low price. Many merchants are able to use this software on the free plan. Square Online Store gives you a place to list and sell your products for nothing but the price of credit card processing. There are also paid plans available that offer more advanced features for those who need them.
However, Etsy merchants may dislike the fact that Square Online Store does not function within a marketplace. You will have to work to bring traffic to your site, and you’ll have to maintain your site’s design, marketing, and SEO. This may be a huge change for some sellers.
As we’ve already stated, Square Online Store is not a robust eCommerce solution by any means. It is a very simple solution for small sellers. For some that may be frustrating, but for others, that may be a relief.
Perhaps one of Square Online Store‘s strongest features is its seamless integration with Square’s additional services. You can easily sync inventory between Square Register and your online store, and you can use Square’s customer engagement services to expand your reach.
We’re also pleased that Square provides customers with an easy to use web design tool. Square Online Store is built on Weebly’s website builder software. Sellers are able to use a simple drag-and-drop tool to add and re-arrange content blocks, easily creating a custom online store.
As we’ve already stated, the major disadvantage of Square Online Store is its limited features. What’s more, unless you’re on one of the higher tiered plans, you will be required to use Square’s payment processing services to handle all your card transactions. However, we still think Square Online Store could be a good option for some merchants. Head over to our review of Square Online Store for more information or go to Square’s website to sign up for a free store.
Like Shopify, Volusion is a widely used and popular cloud-based shopping cart software. They offer a wide range of features at a reasonable price. Some of the features you’ll have access to if you choose Volusion include:
- Personal Plan: $29/month
- Additional plans ranging in price and features
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited products
- Facebook store
Volusion vs Etsy
Volusion offers way more options for prospective vendors than Etsy is able to. High-quality customer service and an extensive knowledgebase make it easy to navigate this cart’s many attractive features. Want to showcase your online store on Facebook? Volusion’s got your back. Have some complicated customizations for your handmade products? Volusion’s the place to go. It also supports growing vendors, so if your business is increasing at a faster pace, Volusion might be for you.
However, when it comes down to it, Volusion is vastly different from Etsy. So if you’re looking for something very similar to Etsy’s platform, Volusion may not be the best option. Here are a few of the ways in which it is different:
- Volusion does not have a marketplace
- Volusion has no qualms about manufactured goods
- Volusion’s monthly cost is higher than some alternatives
- Volusion is more complex in its features
Volusion also offers a range of beautifully designed themes that are available for free and for purchase.
Perhaps you don’t mind these basic differences, or perhaps you’ve been planning on upgrading to a larger, more traditional shopping cart anyway. In that case, Volusion is a great option!
Big Cartel is an excellent alternative to Etsy because it focuses on smaller, more artistic stores. Big Cartel is not a great choice for a large vendor with extensive growth plans. However, it has some truly excellent options for the smaller, independent and artistic merchants who are likely to gravitate toward Etsy. If you choose Big Cartel as your shopping cart platform, here are some of the benefits you’ll gain:
- Free Gold Plan: List five products
- Three more affordable plans for up to 300 products
- Clean themes with the ability to customize
- Artist and maker community
- Discount codes
- Facebook store
- Inventory tracking
- Sell in-person and online
Big Cartel vs Etsy
Of the three traditional shopping carts listed here, Big Cartel is the most similar to Etsy in mission and scope. If you were drawn to Etsy’s smaller size, free plans, and appeal to artists, Big Cartel is a natural next choice. In fact, Big Cartel may even be a cheaper option for some merchants; you won’t have to pay any additional transaction fees or listing fees (apart from the typical payment processing fees).
Big Cartel also offers more features than Etsy can provide. For example, you can expand your business to a Facebook Store, and you can sell in person thanks to a partnership with Stripe. Find an abbreviated list of features on the Big Cartel pricing page. You’ll notice it’s a shorter list than some of the other Etsy alternatives offer, but it might be just right for you. In addition to all these features, you’ll also benefit from a similar community and artistic culture.
Big Cartel currently offers seventeen themes, and all of them are mobile responsive. Fill them with high-quality images, and customize them to fit your needs.
On the downside, Big Cartel’s free plan is pretty limited; you can only list up to five products. So if you had a large selection of products available on Etsy, you may be turned off by the increased cost at Big Cartel. (Still, keep in mind that Big Cartel’s prices are lower than most of the other more traditional shopping carts.) What’s more, as nice as it is to have your very own hosted site, Etsy emigrants may miss the Etsy-specific community and the chance for customers to stumble across your store by a simple search.
Like Etsy, IndieMade is geared toward artists wanting to sell their products or handmade items. However, it offers much more independence for the merchant. While it doesn’t have as extensive or involved a community as Etsy, IndieMade is a great choice for vendors who are moving away from Etsy but still would like a shopping cart that focuses on the needs of artists. IndieMade is not a marketplace, but it is a shopping cart software that connects easily with your Etsy account. With IndieMade on your side, here are a few tempting features you can expect:
- Basic Plan: $4.95/month for 10 products
- Custom domain name available on all plans above basic
- Link products to Etsy using the Etsy connect feature (Pro and Plus Plans)
- Sell digital products
- Embeddable video, image galleries, and Google Analytics
IndieMade vs Etsy
For those seeking Etsy alternatives, IndieMade provides a nice transition from the community marketplace of Etsy to a more independent but still artist-centric environment. The ability to connect an IndieMade store to Etsy is an especially appealing feature for someone who might not be ready to let go of the Etsy community completely.
Since the pricing plans are determined by the number of products you sell, IndieMade might work best for vendors with a limited selection. The highest plan offers 300 products at $19.95/month, but if you need to list more than 300 items, IndieMade will work with you to increase your limits.
It seems bandwidth and storage are unlimited. IndieMade says, “We host your site, store your files, pay for your bandwidth, and manage the servers,” but no details beyond that are given.
In terms of other features, IndieMade is actually fairly vague on its website. Although it prominently displays the information that free templates exist, themes themselves are difficult to find unless you investigate the User Guide.
IndieMade has a lot of advantages for many crafters; however, it isn’t a perfect solution. In particular, you might choose a different shopping cart if you need access to advanced features or if you tend to sell many different products that might put you into a higher pricing plan. While IndieMade can facilitate the transition to independence as a merchant, you should definitely take these factors into consideration as well.
Zibbet started out as a marketplace just like Etsy. It was a place for makers to list and sell their products. While Zibbet still offers that same marketplace, it has since evolved to include much more. Zibbet now serves as both a marketplace and an inventory management system. Zibbet allows users to connect together multiple marketplaces (such as Etsy, eBay, Zibbet Marketplace and more) in order to easily manage inventory and listing across multiple selling platforms.
The Zibbet Marketplace is very similar to Etsy in that it is a community marketplace where buyers can browse a variety of artisan stores. Vendors seeking a similar experience to Etsy are likely to appreciate Zibbet’s easily browsable setup. If you’re interested in joining the over 50,000 merchants on Zibbet, here are some of the features you’ll benefit from:
- One pricing plan: $6/month per sales channel ($5/month when billed annually)
- Inclusion in a large, varied marketplace
- No transaction or listing fees on the Zibbet Marketplace (except for payment processing fees)
- Track inventory across multiple sales channels
Zibbet vs Etsy
A huge point in Zibbet’s favor as an alternative to Etsy is that it eliminates transaction and listing fees. Of course, with Zibbet you’re paying for a plan (and credit card processing), but depending on the number of items you sell, this could save some money.
Zibbet also has some of the same pros you get with Etsy. In particular, inclusion in a large marketplace opens up your store to many potential customers who might be browsing. Featured categories, such as Handmade, Fine Art, Weddings, Jewelry, Vintage, and Home & Living, make it easier for customers to search through product options.
On the downside, Zibbet does cost money. It’s still very affordable, and could easily cost less than Etsy, but it’s something to keep in mind. Additionally, like Etsy, Zibbet only offers limited themes and page customizations. Nevertheless, it’s a great marketplace and inventory management solution if that is what you’re looking for!
We love finding excellent software solutions for our readers. We have high standards for software and services, and sometimes an app will come close to ending up on a “Best of” list, only to ultimately miss the mark.
ArtFire is similar to Etsy in many ways. It is another global marketplace that allows users to sell their products with ease. ArtFire is smaller than Etsy, but it has many of the same features, including coupon codes, automatic shipping notifications, and mobile-friendly shops. Unfortunately, ArtFire is also similar to Etsy in its heavy fee structure.
Sellers pay a flat rate of $5-$40/month to access the software, and then there are listing fees of $0-$0.20 and a final valuation fee of 4.5%-12.75%. And ArtFire charges all of this on top of the payment processing fee that you’ll be paying to your credit card processor of choice. We’ve also noticed that many aspects of the ArtFire website seem to be out of date. While it’s certain that ArtFire is still an active marketplace, we worry that there is a lack of product development, which could put ArtFire behind the industry.
If you’ve become dubious of Etsy’s policies or if you’re simply looking for something new, there are some fantastic alternatives out there! Your choice ultimately depends on your own situation, but hopefully one of these six options can fulfill the needs of your store.
For those seeking a community-based craft marketplace, Zibbet is a great alternative to Etsy. But, if Zibbet doesn’t allow quite enough independence for your store, IndieMade might be the perfect happy medium (though you should keep in mind that IndieMade does not offer a marketplace). It connects to Etsy, offers cheap plans, and permits custom domains.
As the shopping cart software most similar to Etsy, Big Cartel is perfect for smaller merchants, especially artists. It maintains more of a community feel than other Etsy alternatives, and it even has a free plan. On the other hand, Volusion and Shopify both provide higher levels of customization, while still being relatively affordable and easy to use.
If you’re looking for a basic store builder and want to start selling your products and handmade goods from a custom-made online store, check out our comparison of shopping cart solutions.
Whichever platform you choose, best of luck in your store’s journey. Please let us know if you have any relevant experience with any of these carts or know of another online marketplace that ex-Etsy merchants may find useful. Enjoy your next phase as a vendor!