Etsy vs Building Your Own Website: The Pros & Cons of Each


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How do you know if Etsy is the right choice for you? Could you create a more profitable business by building your website with an ecommerce platform?

If you’re mulling over the “selling on Etsy vs. building your own website” question, you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of each, how to advertise on Etsy vs your own site, how to decide, and ultimately, why selling on your own website is better.

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Selling on Etsy

When you’re just starting on your ecommerce venture—especially if you’ve marked out an ecommerce niche—you might be weighing up the differences between selling on Etsy and selling on your website.

Over the years, Etsy has become the go-to marketplace for people to buy and sell unique products. And with over 80 million active customers, Etsy is certainly a great option for sellers that want to showcase and sell their products.

Etsy is a well-known and loved platform where people flock to find unique products that they’re unlikely to find anywhere else. But what exactly does selling on Etsy involve, and what are the pros and cons?

Pros of Selling on Etsy

  • Etsy already has millions of repeat customers and established customer trust
  • Setting up your store is free and easy with Etsy’s straightforward product listing templates
  • Users have access to many handy Etsy seller tools like sales statistics and social media tools
  • Etsy has fostered its own Etsy community, made up of sellers who often help each other out, and is a great place to find marketing partnerships
  • Etsy’s platform is a great training ground for sellers who are learning the ropes and want to refine their products, processes, and strategies

Cons of Selling on Etsy

  • There are already 4.3 million Etsy sellers, which makes it tough to stand out from your competition.
  • Etsy charges a range of fees that are higher than most common payment processor fees. You’ll pay a flat $0.20 per listing, 5% of the total payment collected, and a $0.25 fee if the transaction is processed via Etsy’s Direct Checkout.
  • Etsy has introduced dropshipping to its platform, which has led to concerns that some sellers aren’t selling handmade, custom-made, or vintage items (a prerequisite for selling on Etsy).
  • Applying your branding to your Etsy store is challenging, which means customers aren’t likely to remember you for long.
  • You don’t own the store. If for any reason, Etsy decided to close your store, you would lose it completely.

How to Advertise Your Etsy Store

As one of the 4.3 million Etsy sellers, you’ll need to advertise your products and store to enhance visibility. Here are a few ways to promote your Etsy site:

  • Use social media: Social media platforms have become hugely powerful advertising tools. Switching to an Instagram business account is free, and you access useful analytics on your reach, impressions, and clicks.
  • Invest in product photography: The better you can showcase your products in beautiful, high-quality photographs, the more attention your store will attract.
  • Use Etsy search: Etsy search helps match buyers with the correct items. The more you optimize your listings, the more people will see your products.

4 Tips For Selling on Etsy

Getting started with Etsy is simple, but here are a few tips to follow to help you make the most of the platform:

  • Join Etsy’s community to take advantage of the tips and tricks from experienced sellers.
  • With Etsy’s fees in mind, think carefully about your pricing strategy before listing products.
  • Research successful Etsy sellers, especially those with a similar product catalog, to identify what they do well and what you can do better.
  • Build your social media channels even before launching your listings to create hype and interest in your products.

Building Your Own Website

Ecommerce platforms make it easier than ever before to build your ecommerce site, but this route also has its pros and cons.

Pros of Selling on Your Own Website

  • When customers buy from sellers directly, customer loyalty and brand recognition increase, plus, your customers won’t refer to Etsy when someone asks them where they bought their product.
  • Your website, your rules. When you build your ecommerce site, you’re in charge of the content, product descriptions, site design, and SEO.
  • Customers are not distracted by similar products or similar sellers when browsing your website. The focus is all on you.
  • Payment processors tend to charge smaller fees than Etsy’s fees on sold items.
  • Direct access to customer information means that you can create targeted marketing campaigns.

Cons of Selling on Your Own Website

  • It’ll take a while to attract customers to your store, and you’ll need to spend a lot of time and resources on marketing campaigns, SEO, advertising, and collecting customer reviews.
  • Customers sometimes aren’t as quick to trust standalone stores as much as they trust generic marketplaces.
  • Like selling on Amazon, Etsy already has a massive international customer base and more immediate product visibility. It has a vast customer base which helps you reach more customers and improves product visibility.
  • You’ll be responsible for everything that goes wrong. When customers have complaints, your site goes down, and products haven’t arrived on time, it’s your job to fix it.

How to Advertise Your Ecommerce Site

Engaging potential customers and turning them into actual customers should be front of mind for any ecommerce site owner. Here are a few ways to advertise your ecommerce site:

  • Have an active social media presence: Think about which platforms your target customer spends the most time on, and start building content around your products and your story.
  • Start PPC ads early: PPC (pay per click) ads appear on Google’s search engine and help drive customers to your site.
  • Make SEO a priority: Multiple SEO tools can help you build an SEO strategy by analyzing your and competitors’ websites and making recommendations for improvement.

4 Tips For Selling on Your Ecommerce Site

Everyone’s business is different. What works for one won’t work for another. However, there are a few common tips that every ecommerce site owner selling their products can learn from:

  • Create an SEO strategy to drive customers to your site and a plan for social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing.
  • Do your research and choose the right ecommerce platform. The choice will be different for everyone, but make sure it can help you start, scale, and manage your online business.
  • Keep your website design and layout simple. Clean and user-friendly sites encourage people to make purchases.
  • Make customer reviews a priority to help build credibility, trust, and brand recognition.

How to Choose Between Selling on Etsy vs Your Own Website

Choosing between Etsy and your site depends on what kind of ecommerce business you’re trying to create.

If you want to create a scalable brand, building your site is the better route. If you’re less concerned about brand building and don’t want to invest time building your website and maintaining it, then Etsy is probably the best avenue.

If you want to test the waters with both, you can sell on Etsy and your website, although sustaining both will require more time and effort. You could also start your venture on Etsy and shift to your website once you’ve acquired a decent customer base.

Why Selling on Your Website is Better than Selling on Etsy

You don’t want customers telling their friends that the amazing new product they’ve bought is from Etsy. Unfortunately, growing a strong brand on Etsy is nearly impossible.

Sure, Etsy has a huge customer base, but it also has a huge competitor base. Selling your products on your website is slower at first, but the potential to grow your brand, build customer loyalty, and have complete control over your business is priceless.

The Decision is Yours

There are many factors to consider when deciding what’s best for your new venture. Whichever route you choose requires hard work to draw in customers and make enough sales to be profitable.

If you decide that building your ecommerce site is right for you, you’ll need to research the best ecommerce platform. And weighing up the pros and cons of each doesn’t need to take hours: our experts have already reviewed over 60 of the best ecommerce platforms to help you decide which is the best fit for your products.

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