Handmade artisans and E Commerce entrepreneurs are a group that are growing fast. As more and more stay-at-home parents are utilizing their talents and earning extra money, I am asked one question over and over again, and that is " What is the best site to sell my products on"? While each site I have listed below has both pros and cons, it is important to remember that you will never know which site is best for you unless you try them. No one can honestly answer this question for you. They can only give you their opinion based on their own experience. Your experience may be completely different from theirs.
Some, swear by Etsy whereas others swear by what Zibbet has to offer. It is a very personal decision and ultimately can greatly depend on what it is you sell. Some products that you can create over and over again and sell repeatedly may do better on Amazon whereas one-of-a-kind items may sell better on Etsy. The only way to really know is to list your products on one or several platforms and start to keep track of where you are selling the most, where a specific product is selling better and what you are having to do to generate the sales on each platform ( nothing but list it, PPC-pay per click ads - social media marketing etc) .
As with every site there is the good, the bad and the ugly. But, what might not be so bad for you, may be detrimental to someone else. This is why it is so important that you "jump in" and make an informed decision based on facts.
Below is a list of handmade sites that I have put together. I wish you the best of luck and success with your business and I do hope that you find the platform that works best for you and your business!
I still have to list Etsy as first. Etsy has both positive and negative attributes and below we will explore them. First, Etsy launched as a handmade site in June of 2005. It has allowed vintage, craft supplies and of course handmade items from talented artisans. One of the biggest negative impacts that many sellers report is the lack of transparency with Etsy. Between live tests that you are thrown into without warning, to fee and advertising changes to even algorithm changes. Etsy, throughout the course of the years have not been very good listeners to the sellers who helped carve the way for Etsy's success. The positive side of Etsy is that their listing and transaction fees seem to be much lower than some sites. Couple that with the 54+ million shoppers that frequent Etsy and you could have yourself a goldmine. Etsy is still a favorite among many handmade artisans. The site is extremely user friendly and it connects you to millions of shoppers and other like minded artisans.
Amazon Handmade launched in 2015 and it truly came out running. However, over the course of the last couple of years, AH isn't what it is cracked up to be, especially for sellers who create OOAK ( One of a Kind ) items. The algorithm on AH is nothing like Etsy, so discard anything you know about SEO when it comes to Amazon Handmade. I'm not trying to scare you, but from the way the listing is created to how the item sells is 100% different. One of the biggest downfalls to AH is the fact that they are EXTREMELY customer friendly. Unless your item is personalized you must accept returns, for any reason, within 30 days ( even if you find someone wearing the item they purchased on Facebook and then claim it arrived broken or whatever ). You are graded on everything: from shipping, to arrival, to feedback, all of it and you are expected to stay within a certain percentage of metrics or be at risk of losing your selling privileges. While there are no actual listing fees, Amazon takes roughly 15% of every sale. However, the buyer base is much farther reaching with nearly 150+ million shoppers worldwide. Keep in mind Amazon shoppers expect FAST, lightning fast delivery, so extended processing times can ( not always ) deter a customer from purchasing. AH also allows you to either process and ship your items by yourself or you can take advantage of sending any of your items to their warehouses ( fees apply ), earn the prime badge and have Amazon handle all of the shipping for you, including returns. While AH isn't for everyone, it is a huge marketplace that can benefit your bottom line if you sell on there!
Zibbet is an oldie but goodie if you want a simple interface and don't mind drawing your own traffic. Zibbet is basically $5 a month per sales channel. Zibbet allows you to list your items once and sell in many places at one time. They offer a collection of free business tools for handmade sellers which include worksheets, templates, printable's and more. Zibbet is extremely transparent in everything they do including any changes that will effect a seller. From their financials to their goals, they appear to be an open book. Zibbet has discovered, like many entrepreneurs in the E Commerce field, the more sales channels you are on, the more you sell because you have expanded your reach. But, they have also recognized the tedious work that is involved with manually updating inventory on each sales channel you sell on, including listing the products. They are basically taking the mundane tasks away from you with their new interface. It's worth checking out!
ArtFire was founded in 2008 and is considered a premier handmade marketplace. The prices for having a shop on ArtFire vary and are based on whatever plan you choose. The Standard Shop is roughly $5 a month with a .23 cent per item listing fee and 12.75% final valuation fee. Each plan has its "Best Value" depending on the amount of products you want to list, seller tools you want to take advantage of and any enhanced site exposure. The ArtFire marketplace is a site where you will really need to drive your own traffic to your store. With only thousands ( not millions ) of shoppers coming to ArtFire this can be a downfall if you are looking for built in traffic. However, if you don't have a problem driving your own traffic and would much rather prefer an easy to use interface, then ArtFire isn't a bad deal.
There are other handmade marketplaces. Some old, some new. Each bring something different to the creative table. Other handmade marketplaces worth mentioning are :Bonanza, Big Cartel, iCraft, Storenvy, Society6, Aftcra and IndieCart. I am sure that I am missing some, but that is the nature of the beast when so many talented people start handmade sites faster than I can talk about them :)
BUILD YOUR OWN E COMMERCE STAND ALONE WEBSITE
I've said it a thousand times: " Don't put all of your eggs in one basket". I am a firm believer in also having your own website regardless of the handmade platform you choose to sell on. Remember, on someone else's platform you are basically renting space. It is their site, their rules. They go, you go and so does all your inventory (listed) into thin air. Not to mention when you advertise your store and\or product you are driving traffic to someone else's site rather than your own, potentially driving sales away from your own store.
Below is a list of reputable sites where you can create your very own website. Some have easier interfaces than others and while all are good, I firmly believe you receive the most bang for your buck with Shopify. While there can be a learning curve, you eventually get use to it or they have a team of experts to help you along the way or to build your entire site.
Whatever site you choose to utilize you always have to remember that things take time. Rome wasn't built in a day. Nothing happens over night. Your business will only be as successful as the time you put it into it.