Why you should create your own eCommerce site instead of relying on Etsy
If you are a crafty person, very often you will make something super cute for yourself. Ultimately, friends, coworkers, and family members notice the hard work, and ask if they could have one for themselves. At first, it may be fun creating custom work for loved ones. After creating gifts for your inner circle, however, it might soon become apparent that there is a market for your work, which means you could branch out and sell it to others!
When starting any eCommerce business venture, the immediate question becomes: “Where do I start selling?” With the popularity of the online marketplace Etsy, it can be simple to set up a store and offer your goods to a wide audience in a short period of time. But, is that the best route?
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of opening a store on Etsy versus creating a website and running your own online store.
Etsy contains a powerful search engine that somewhat serves as free marketing for your products. You don’t necessarily need to invest in advertising to have your shop found on the site. Basic search terms pull up any items that include those words in their listings, enabling your products to be seen by visitors.
Another highlight of using Etsy for selling your work is that you do not need a strong social media following for your store to get started. You may see other products featured by bloggers and on Instagram accounts, which can definitely boost sales, but it’s certainly not necessary. In the beginning of your social adventure, you most likely will not get thousands of immediate followers, so your lack of notoriety does not necessarily affect your sales potential.
With Etsy, each store template requires a few images, such as a photo for the store owner, a banner image, and a store icon. There are fillable fields for various information, and Etsy then automatically generates your store with the content you add. Each individual listing is created in the same manner – there are pre-set fields where you just fill in the needed facts.
While using Etsy’s store platform, you can quickly start an online store and follow the interest in your products through sales, favorites, and views. As time goes on, you can change your listings and tweak your search terms to see what draws in buyers the best.
However, there are some reasons you might not want to use Etsy for selling your goods online and why running a storefront on your own server may be the better choice for you.
Using your own site
Before you take the Etsy route, consider creating a WordPress site of your own. It will give you more control, flexibility, and will save you money on transaction fees.
Sometimes, Etsy has a very saturated market for your type of products, and it makes it very difficult for your listings to be found. An example of this is with jewelry. Even though your items may be absolutely amazing, if they are buried within two hundred pages of items that all fall under the search term “necklace,” they likely aren’t going to be discovered. And if no one is able to find your products, they simply will not sell. With your own eCommerce site, your clients would immediately be able to find your items once they are on your site.
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One of the positives of having an Etsy store can also be considered a negative. Since setting up a store is an uncomplicated process with set fields for images and text, your storefront will not be custom, and will look like all of the other stores on Etsy, with the exception of being able to add a few unique graphics. If you create your own store on your own site, you have the ability to create any design for it that you would like, and it will be completely custom to your needs. And with WordPress, finding a perfect theme for your store is also not difficult, as there are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from and each can be customized uniquely for you.
You will ultimately net more of your sale proceeds on your own server as well. With each listing that is placed on Etsy, there are fees, in addition to more charges once an item is sold. PayPal is used to collect money from your sales, and there are additional fees for each PayPal transaction. If you are running your own store, you won’t have those Etsy charges. This will give you a larger profit.
There are also some excellent plugins that will make running an eCommerce store on your WordPress site a breeze! Some popular shopping cart plugins include WooCommerce, Ecwid, WP E-Commerce, and MarketPress. All of these options are robust solutions for selling your goods and each has different key features. For example, shopping cart plugins can work with different payment gateways, such as PayPal, Google Checkout, or Chronopay. It is then up to you to choose which option you like best. Some shopping cart plugins also include shortcodes that will make embedding the cart into your WordPress site super simple. It’s best to research the options to see what would work best for you and your products.
Additional plugins also work seamlessly with WordPress to help you manage all aspects of your online business. WP Inventory helps manage your product inventory while KissHerder enables you to track traffic, comments, and tweets of your visitors.
Running an online store on your own might take a little bit more work upfront, but it is a perfect choice if you have outgrown Etsy and are able to generate traffic and buyers directly to your site. Having your own WordPress store also gives you more control to personalize your site, and gives it a unique personality that shows your distinct style and flair.
The various options all have pros and cons, and only you will know which is best is for your budding business. Get out there with your creations, and make your business a reality!