Etsy is a great platform for eCommerce beginners as it is simple to set up and Etsy provides lots of support and millions of active shoppers so you don’t have to worry about getting your own traffic.
It can be hard to decide where to sell, Etsy Vs Your Own Website. There are pros and cons to both. In this article, we take you through the differences so you are well-informed to make the decision.
The Two Approaches
Etsy is an online marketplace that enables people to sign up to become Etsy sellers and have their own shop in its marketplace. Think of it like a store at a street market.
Having your own e-commerce website on a platform like WordPress WooCommerce, Shopify or BigCommerce is more like having your own store that doesn’t benefit from the footfall that a market-stall gets.
What Is Etsy And What Are The Rules?
What is Etsy?
Etsy is an online marketplace where people can buy and sell handmade, vintage, items designed by shop owners .e.g POD, as well as craft supplies.
How do you sell on Etsy?
If you want to start selling on Etsy, you’ll need to set up an Etsy shop. Once you’ve done that, you can start adding items for sale. To list an item, you’ll need to create a listing, which includes a title, description, price, and photos.
What are the rules for selling on Etsy?
Etsy sellers are required to follow the policies, which include guidelines on what can be sold in the marketplace. For example, Etsy allows sellers to list handmade, vintage, and craft supplies items, but Etsy doesn’t allow sellers to list items that are not handmade or designed by you. If you break the rules Etsy can shut you down and stop you from opening another shop, forcing you to leave Etsy.
Is it cheaper to sell on Etsy Or Your Own Website?
In most cases, it is cheaper to sell on Etsy than on your own website.
Etsy – Whilst there is no monthly charge to sell on Etsy the platform charges between 10% and 14% of your revenue per sale.
Over time this can add up, however, if you optimize your Etsy SEO, the 10% – 14% can be a lot cheaper per sale than the cost of accruing customers via google or Facebook ads. Check out our article on What It Really Costs To Sell On Etsy
Your Own Website – Most eCommerce platforms will charge you a monthly hosting fee to use their service. Most are around $24.99 to $29.99 for a basic plan.
If you are using a platform like Shopify there may be apps that you need that are also chargeable. But once these fees are paid, then there is only a small ~3% payment processing fee.
Once you get to a certain scale, selling on your on-site becomes the cheaper option. But if you are just starting out Etsy is cheaper as you don’t pay much at all if you don’t sell anything.
Traffic and Customers
Etsy and your own website are both great ways to sell your products online. However, they each have their own pros and cons when it comes to traffic and customers.
Etsy gets millions of users per day, which is a great place to get started if you’re looking to sell online. You can get your toes in the water and see how much traffic to your website comes to selling online.
As there are so many sellers on Etsy, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.
When running your own website you get more control over your branding and marketing, so you can attract the right customers for your business.
However, building up traffic to your website can take time and require more effort than on Etsy.
Building Your Ecommerce Site
Building your eCommerce site can be a daunting task, but with a little planning and the right platform, you can have a successful online business.
Etsy is a great eCommerce platform for sellers who want to build their brand and expand their customer base. Etsy has done a great job in making its platform both user-friendly to buy on and also user-friendly to list products. Etsy store owners do not need to be technical to run an Etsy store. As long as you can undertake some basic tasks on your computer, phone, and or tablet you can get selling on Etsy.
If you use a platform like WooCommerce for your own website, you will need some technical knowledge and skills to install and set up the website and create the website design and branding etc.
Whilst there are lots of Youtube videos out there on creating your own website it can take a lot of time and get in the way of actually getting your products online and ready for sale. Other eCommerce platforms may be easier, but they all have a steeper learning curve than setting up an Etsy shop.
Search Engine Optimization
On Etsy you want to make the most of the repeat customers that come to the platform in order to have a successful Etsy store. On your own website, you want to bring traffic to your site via a number of methods and shouldn’t solely rely on advertising otherwise it starts to get very expensive.
Search engine optimization is a marketing technique that is used by website owners and Etsy sellers to increase the number of visits to their website and Etsy shop and/or rank better in search engines like Google and Etsy’s own search results.
This means that your website will show up higher in the search engine results when someone is searching for a particular keyword.
There are a number of different techniques you can use to optimize your website, including using inbound links, optimizing keywords, creating content, and using social media.
Payments and Taxes
Popular eCommerce platforms and Etsy all provide trusted payment processors for you to use so they are similar on that front.
However, Etsy also takes some of the hassle and complexity out of online selling as they will collect certain sales tax and VAT and submit them on your behalf.
Help and Support
Whilst Etsy has customer support, I’ve always found the support offered to Etsy sellers is limited. The Etsy Seller Handbook becomes your bible and gives you a lot of information but the ability to ask questions and get reliable answers just isn’t there.
With your own personal website the support, you get for your online store would depend on which platform you use. If you choose to use one of the major eCommerce platforms then there is likely to be a level of support available directly from the platform.
The service offered does vary drastically though and you find the smaller players offer better service than the larger platforms that have become complacent.
For both Etsy and your own website don’t dismiss the value you can get from Facebook groups and Youtube channels.
As long as you are using one of the larger platforms you will find lots of how-to videos to help with things like website building, marketing, and setting up your shopping cart properly.
User reviews are a great way to increase your trust factor which is key for selling online.
Etsy provides functionality for buyers to leave reviews for everything they purchase. Etsy even contacts buyers asking them to leave reviews. Buyers are good on Etsy in that they are used to leaving reviews and often do.
If selling on your own site, then you will need to ensure that the functionality is available which can sometimes mean paying for an add-on app or installing an additional plugin. You then have to encourage buyers to take the time to leave a review, which can be challenging at times.
Etsy Vs Your Own Website: Conclusion
Selling on Etsy or your own website both have their own benefits and drawbacks. Millions of people shop on Etsy but getting them to visit your shop can be difficult. When they do, Etsy also shows alternative products alongside yours making it difficult to stand out. However, the low cost to get started makes it a great place to get going.
Selling on your own website can be a little more challenging from a technical and driving traffic perspective, but if you manage to build a successful store, it may be cheaper in the long run.
Etsy owns the customer data and prevents certain types of messaging and marketing, but on your own site, you can market your products any way you wish e.g. using an email list resulting in greater customer loyalty and increased lifetime value if you get it right.
Is an Etsy Shop worth it?
I have sold loads of items on Etsy making thousands of dollars in profit in the process so I really do think that and I think it is a great website. The fees are reasonable, and it is easy to use. I would recommend Etsy to anyone who is interested in buying or selling handmade or vintage items.
Where can you link to your website in your Etsy shop?
Etsy allows you to link to your shop in the Shop Story page. This can be found at the bottom of the page when you go to Settings >> About Your Shop >> Story.
Can You Have Both Etsy and Your Own Website?
Yes, you can have both an Etsy shop and your own website.
I’ve done exactly this. I test designs out on Etsy, if I find designs that sell or a niche that is working I create a niche store on Launch Cart. So I run both an Etsy shop and my own website.
Is it better to use Etsy or your own website?
There is no definitive answer to this question – ultimately, it depends on what you are selling and what your goals are. Etsy may be a good option for you because it is a well-established marketplace with a built-in audience of potential buyers.
On the other hand, if have a proven product and have a social media audience already, then having your own eCommerce website may be a better option as you own the customer and have more flexibility on what you sell and how you market to your customers.