Selling Your Crafts in an Online Shop
Like all online buisnesses, it is what you make of it. Some
do very well right off the bat, and some move slower.
A typical experience comes from Amy C. Sanders of raine studios
"I opened my shop just after Christmas last year with
about 5 things and it pretty much just sat there," she
said. "I slowly added things over the year and was doing
some business each month. Fast forward to Thanksgiving, when
I worked very hard all month to stock the store as much as
I could, so when I had my "black friday/cyber monday"
sale I was pleasantly surprised to get a nice handful of orders,
which continued into December. Just like a website, you need
to drive traffic to it."
We surveyed a number of artists about Etsy and Artfire:
- The biggest definitely, is the traffic. Etsy gets a lot
of traffic. I have sites on Etsy and ArtFire, and Etsy out
pulls ArtFire by FAR each month.
- There are outside tools to help manage your shop (look
into #etsyhacks and search the forums)
- Folks can be really helpful in the forums.
- Love the teams. The capital region has an Etsy team that
shares a lot of really good info not only on etsyEtsy, but
about local events for their business-- it's called CREST
and there's a yahoo group connected with it:
- $.20 listing fee and 3.5% fee on each sale made.
- You need to get decent pics of your product(s) or they'll
never really go anywhere.
- No coupon codes
- No way to put your shop into some sort of sale mode (everything
10% off!) so if you have a sale, you're either refunding
folks after the fact in paypal, or going in and changing
each listing's price by hand.
- Relisting your items often is sometimes the best way to
be seen ($.20 for each listing-same as when you list something)
- Things are mistagged often, and flagging them doesn't
seem to do a lot. So my chainmaille items can get lost in
a sea of NON chainmaille items, even though it's in the
- The big pro is a flat monthly fee of (right now) $12 (I
believe it's going up to $15 soon, but you can lock in the
$12 rate if you join before it goes up). Nobody is taking
a cut of your sales, which is nice.
- They seem much more proactive in taking care of their
- They have a decent system for flagging inappropriate items
and they actually get taken down (instead of being featured
on the front page!)
- Really nice podcast that talks about market trends in
the big players (ebay, target, Zappos, etc.) as well as
small ones. REALLY good information there, even if you're
not on ArtFire - it's called "Inside Handmade"
- They have a more "democratic" (read: RANDOM)
- Customizable storefront (colors & sizing, like 3 columns?
or 4?) pretty easy to set up.
- Coupon codes
- Sale modes
- Global editor (item all your things at once)
- It even has a tool to import your items listed on etsy
into your artfire shop
- Buyers can buy w/out having an account on artfire.
- The democratic front page means that even the badly photographed
items are there and can make the site look kind of unprofessional
- The design isn't nearly as clean or aesthetically pretty
as Etsy's, in my opinion.
- The biggest con -- not nearly as much traffic as Etsy.
When I joined, I had visions of ditching etsy, but even
driving traffic to ArtFire as much as I could, Etsy still
did better traffic. So now, I keep them both, and like them
both for their different strengths.
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