Big changes! I've released new prints to add to my shop, but even more importantly, I've been redesigning my entire website, re-branding, and launching my own online shop separate from my existing Etsy shop. The re-brand was long overdue to better align my site and content with my current and recent works; however, launching a separate online ECommerce shop wasn't my initial plan until I weighed the pros and cons vs. my Etsy shop.
I've been an Etsy seller since 2016 when I first launched my shop and started selling prints of my artwork. Etsy has helped me immensely over the years and held my hand as I developed my art, brand, and products, but now I find myself at a crossroads. There are significant pros and cons to an Etsy shop vs. an ECommerce shop.
On Etsy, you can count on promoted listings, and being part of their large database of products available to existing customers who search on Etsy's platform. This built-in audience and existing web traffic are incredibly appealing to beginning sellers; however, this in itself is a double-edged sword as your products can easily be lost in the sea of lower-priced competing listings. Etsy takes 3.5% of all your sales for the privilege of having a shop on their site. There’s a listing fee of $0.20 for every item you list that recharges after every sale. These fees seem small, but for smaller ticket items like the stickers I sell, they add up fast. Depending on how your customers pay, there are also fees for accepting credit cards or PayPal payments.
Etsy's shop doesn't allow for much customization to showcase or develop your brand either without paying extra for a premium seller account.
Now that I've begun to develop reach on other social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and live streaming on Twitch, I've started wondering if I've been directing the sales to my Etsy shop or if my sales have come from Etsy's built-in audience.
Once you’ve started to grow your Etsy shop, there comes a time to explore other options and diversify your sales. It's now time for me to build my online ECommerce shop, free of the restrictions that Etsy imposes.
With my own ECommerce shop, I'm free to brand myself however I want and design the website and shop to reflect that, list products without paying listing fees, and better connect with my customers by sharing resources, insights, and maintaining an email list.
Instagram and Facebook have recently added the option to display your shop on your social media profile. Customers can view your products, prices, and product details all without leaving Instagram or Facebook. They provide the option to direct your customers to your website to check out or to allow your customers to check out without leaving the app for a small fee. Once your shop is visible and products listed, you have the ability to tag your products in social media posts and better direct your audience to purchase.
As you can see in the Instagram posts above, a small inobtrusive shopping icon is added to the bottom left of your post to allow your audience to easily view the listings for the products in your post.
This integration with Facebook and Instagram was the ultimate tipping point that pushed me to build my own ECommerce shop. This integration is only available for shops connected to your domain, not a shop hosted on Etsy or another site that allows you to create a shop on their domain.
I still intend to keep my Etsy shop for the built-in audience they provide, but now I'll be directing my audience to my website and shop. I hope sharing my thought process and Etsy experience has helped give you perspective for your own website, shop, and social media presence.