Is Etsy Worth It? 8 Signs It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Etsy & Hello To A Better eCommerce Option
When artists, crafters, and designers begin selling their wares online, they often start in the same place: Etsy. Etsy is a great place for hobbyists to test the waters and see if their products have a following. New sellers can find their voices, decipher the complexities of shipping, and begin to build a customer base.
However, many Etsy sellers become disillusioned as their shops grow and they get closer to Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” ideal.
They realize that with so many sellers in one place, it’s difficult to establish themselves as a full-fledged business owner. Their work is getting lost in the flurry of new product listings from other sellers, and Esty’s seller fees are starting to add up. At this point, many begin to consider making the switch from Etsy to traditional online stores and with good reason.
Perhaps you’re reaching this point too, but you aren’t exactly sure you’re ready for the switch. In that case, it might help to examine why other merchants have decided to ditch Etsy and go their own way. In this article, we’ll discuss eight key signs that you’re ready to leave Etsy and give you tips for starting your own online store when you leave.
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8 Signs You’re Ready To Leave Etsy
Do you feel like it might be time to try your hand at something new? Here are eight signs that you’re ready to leave the Etsy platform.
1) You’re Tired Of Paying Etsy’s Seller Fees
One of the biggest complaints sellers have about Etsy is the number of fees you have to pay to sell on the platform. Each item is subject to a listing fee, a transaction fee, and a payment processing fee. Here’s a very quick representation of those fees:
- Listing Fee: $0.20 on each product listing
- Transaction Fee: 5% of each transaction
- Payment Processing Fee: 3% + $0.25 per transaction
If you’re tired of paying a listing fee for each product you add, and you’re sick of paying a 5% transaction fee on all your sales, it might be time to open your own eCommerce site. eCommerce software typically costs around $30/month, and many do not charge any transaction fees. (You will, however, still have to pay a payment processing fee to your payment provider.)
For more information on Etsy’s pricing, take a look at our article, The Real Cost Of Selling On Etsy: Etsy Fees, Pricing, & Offsite Ads Explained.
2) You Can’t Afford Etsy Ads
This year, Etsy rolled out its new Offsite Ads program. With Offsite Ads, Etsy places advertisements for your products on major sites, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing. If a customer clicks an ad that features your products and then buys from you within 30 days, you are charged for the advertisement. This charge is between 12%-15% of the purchase, depending on your annual revenue.
The big issue with this new program is that Etsy currently requires all sellers with over $10,000 in annual sales to participate. Many sellers are frustrated that they cannot opt-out of the program, and some say that the advertising fee is far too expensive.
3) Your Store Gets Lost In The Sea Of Competition
Competition is the number one problem with marketplaces. While it’s easy for customers to find your products, it’s just as easy for them to hop from your Etsy shop to someone else’s. On a marketplace such as Etsy, your products are constantly being compared to your competitions’, and sadly, lower prices often win out regardless of product quality.
By building your own site, you differentiate yourself from the competition and make it less likely that customers will look elsewhere.
4) You’re Done With The Threat Of Cancellation
Etsy is a company in its own right, and any shop that exists within the marketplace is under its authority. If Etsy decides your products don’t meet its standards and it shuts your site down, there isn’t much you can do about it.
To comply with Etsy’s requirements, you have to make sure that the products you sell are not included in Etsy’s list of prohibited items or prohibited services. Your account can also be suspended or terminated if you violate copyright laws, sell manufactured items, or avoid Etsy’s seller fees. Read Etsy’s seller policy thoroughly to see all of the regulations that you must follow to remain on the platform.
If, however, you’re sick of renting space on Etsy (and living in constant fear of eviction), it may be time to get your own place. Create your online store and try it out on your own.
5) You’re Tired Of Charging Less
Because there’s so much competition on the Etsy platform, many sellers are forced to continually reduce their prices to attract buyers. These reduced prices make it much harder for you to earn a profit, and eventually, the earnings may not be worth your time.
6) You Want Your Store To Rank In Google
It is very difficult for an individual Etsy seller to rank in Google search results. When Google displays Etsy on the first page of search results, it tends to lead to an Etsy search page, not an individual store or product. What’s more, users with Etsy’s Pattern sites also have difficulty ranking on search engine results pages, especially if they still use an Etsy subdomain.
While it’s never easy to figure out SEO, you may have a better chance with your own independent store than you do on Etsy.
7) You Want To Build Your Brand & Expand Clientele
One of the best ways to encourage repeat business is to establish a brand. You want customers to connect to your company and your story. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to develop a sense of identity on Etsy.
The sad truth is that most Etsy buyers don’t pay attention to the shop from which they purchase an item. As a marketplace, Etsy has a much stronger identity than any of the actual shops it hosts.
When you have your own site, you can truly make the shop yours. You can fill it with content that’s entirely relevant to your products and design it to fit your vision.
8)You Want To Expand Your Inventory To Non-Handmade Items
Etsy allows sellers to list only handmade items, vintage items, and craft suppliers. You cannot list manufactured items that do not fit into these categories.
If you’re looking to add a few manufactured items to your inventory, you may be ready to create your own site. With your online store, you can finally sell those bracelets you found on AliExpress that go perfectly with your hand-dyed scarves. And you can do so without any fear of repercussion from a marketplace.
What Are Other Alternatives To Etsy?
Fortunately, for sellers who are looking to leave Etsy, there are plenty of alternatives out there! For those who are looking for another marketplace, there are options, such as Indiemade and Zibbet. And for sellers who want to set up an independent site, there are plenty of eCommerce software options available that make it easy to build a complete website from the ground up. Check out our article on The Best Etsy Alternatives for Online Sellers for more information, and take a look at our top pick below.
Shopify is one of the most widely used eCommerce software on the market. Small sellers and enterprise businesses alike can use Shopify to design and operate their online stores.
For Etsy sellers, Shopify is a great option because they offer affordable monthly pricing and incredible ease of use. You can build a full website from scratch with easy-to-use design tools (no coding knowledge necessary). Web hosting and security is included with your monthly plan, and all users gain access to 24/7 customer service. Take a look at our complete review of Shopify for more information.
Tips Before You Switch Away From Etsy
Are you ready to get started building your own online store? If so, my first bit of advice is this: wait.
Don’t abandon ship before your life raft is fully inflated. Before you leave Etsy, you should make sure that your new site is ready for customers. A slow transfer is better than a hasty one. So before you break up with Etsy for good, make sure you take the following steps.
Understand Your Niche & Market
One of the best ways to compete as an independent store is to establish a niche within the market. As you plan your new store, take time to identify your store’s niche and target audience. Who does your business currently serve, and what needs do they have that you can fill?
Because you have already been operating an Etsy store for some time, you likely have a good idea of what your niche is. Keep hold of those ideas as you build a new online store and design your marketing and communication to fit that niche. If you need help with this step, we recommend reading Entrepreneur’s article on defining your niche.
Learn The Basics Of SEO
When you leave Etsy, one of your biggest challenges will be generating a healthy flow of traffic to your site. In a marketplace, you don’t need to seek out web traffic. Customers just come to you. However, on the world wide web, visitors aren’t as easy to come by.
In order for your new online store to do well, you’ll have to optimize your site for search engines: write metadata, use long-tail keywords, and create custom URLs for every product.
Learning and applying SEO strategies can be time-consuming and frustrating, as search engine algorithms are constantly changing. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you learn, and some eCommerce software will make SEO easier to implement with built-in tools. We recommend spending some time researching SEO on your own. Experts such as Neil Patel can help explain the basics and get you started.
Get Your New Store Set Up First
Before you leave Etsy entirely, it’s important that you get your new online store set up first.
You don’t want to lose a dependable source of income until you have a new revenue stream to replace it. In fact, you may even choose to operate both an independent online store and your Etsy shop for a while, until you’re making good sales on your new online store.
We recommend that you explore your options for eCommerce software, and find a solution that works well for your business. For some good recommendations, take a look at our article, The Best Etsy Alternatives for Online Sellers.
So Is Selling On Etsy Worth It?
At the end of the day, is it worth it for your business to remain on Etsy? The answer is, it depends.
If you are looking to run an online store, and you’d prefer that someone else handles complex issues, such as payment processing and marketing, it’s probably best to stay on Etsy. Sure, Etsy has its issues, but it also allows small sellers the flexibility they need to run an online store as a part-time business.
However, if you are ready to begin working on your site full-time, it might be a good time to leave Etsy. Setting up your own online store requires a lot more effort and time than running an Etsy store, but it also frees you from the fees, regulations, and competition that are unavoidable on Etsy.
So if you’re ready to leave Etsy for good, we recommend taking a look at our article on The Best Etsy Alternatives for Online Sellers. Find excellent eCommerce software for your business and start setting up your independent site. And when you’re finally ready to fly the nest and leave Etsy behind, we hope you soar!