Wednesday, 17 May 2017

If not Etsy, then what?

Recently there's been an upheaval in the world of online hand-made retailing. Etsy, by far the biggest host for sellers of handmade and vintage goods, is making some big changes. I used to have a shop on Etsy a long time ago (by that I mean 2008-2010) and I'd been planning to re-open it this year. I would have already if other life-related things hadn't gotten in the way. Perhaps that turned out to be a good thing, in the end.

Etsy has a new CEO, and a new business model, it seems. Last time I logged on, I noticed that they've opened a mirror site dedicated solely to craft supplies. I thought this was a great thing at first -- until I realised that most sellers would probably need to list their supplies on both sites in order to keep reaching the same number of buyers as they did before. Does that mean they are paying twice the fees now?

It's the latest change though, that has caused the most upheaval. In a few days' time, all sellers will be forced to offer the full range of payment methods, whereas before they could choose. Most notably they will be forced to offer Etsy Payments (which I believe is similar to Direct Checkout on ebay), or their shop will be suspended. There are some advantages to this, but many disadvantages as well, not the least of which is that Etsy will charge an extra 3-4% in fees. (For more information, the Etsy page explaining the changes is here.) Many sellers are objecting to, not only the extra fees, but they fact that they will have no choice. I know of several smaller sellers who are closing down their shops and looking for alternatives, and I wonder how many others are doing the same.

In preparation for opening up my shop, I did an analysis of the different options; now seems like a very good time to post it. In that analysis, Etsy came out on top (but only marginally), but if that's a less attractive option now, perhaps something else will be preferable? In my next post, I will show the results of my analysis and my thought process behind making the decision for my shop. I'd love to know what other people think of the changes.

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