You may wonder why, as fabulous as Etsy is, a shop would want to branch out to their own .com. Well there are several answers.
- Would it surprise you to know, around 9-11% of the sales, at LilacAve go to etsy? Now don't get me wrong. I love Etsy and the service they give me is worthwhile, I could never complain about the exposure and traffic they've helped me get....they are why LilacAve is here! But if I were able to make the same sales through my site, that number would be more like 1-2%. Granted this is ignorant to paypal or Google checkout fees, which are unavoidable. I would like to think if there were less fees that money could be reinvested into more products, more research, better promotions, and marketing better.
- For me, a big reason why I was gung ho, is remember 1000 markets? If not, here is the cliff notes. 1000 Markets was a handmade shopping site, like Etsy, but it was juried. I think it was a Monday they announced they had sold it, and by Friday the site no longer existed, as it was bought by Bonanza, which is not a handmade site. What is to say one day Etsy is not sold to Ebay? What if it changes, and drastically affecting my business? I need to not have all my eggs in one basket. And I don't see Zibbet, Artfire, or any of the zillion others being an advantageous fall back to Etsy.
- Control is another biggie. I know this is true for many of us, starting our own .coms. If you don't know...on Etsy you are limited to 10 categories, and each item can only be in 1 category. So for instance my "Tart of the Month" listing is under 'Special Listings'...I cannot also put it under 'Tarts'. Or recently I was asked if I could set up my shop by scent. Not only would I be limited by the 10 categories...but I could not have a Bath Salt under both Categories, 'Bath Salt' and 'Lavender' for instance. Having your own .com can allow you to do these things. This does not even begin to get into, the control over the look and feel in entirety of your own webpage.
Now here are the things, that I'm thinkin', are why you have the comfort level with Etsy.
- I think you may feel like Etsy will provide you buyer protection. This is actually not true. If you have an issue with a seller, Etsy will not step in. However, if you paid with Paypal...they will! Paypal would also step in if you need protection while buying from a .com and paying with paypal. So no worries there!
- On Etsy you can see the sales number and Feedback. I get this one...I do! I know I do not have a ticker on my site showing my sales. However, some food for thought may be....websites are not cheap. I recently spent $200 to get mine set up the way I wanted, and much more if you consider the time I put into it, and the monthly fee. I wouldn't do this if I wasn't serious about my business. Also websites like Amazon.com, Overstock.com and others don't have sales tickers, yet there is not a physical place to walk into to complain if things go wrong. Small Handmade businesses may not have the mass merchant allure in protection...but I know so many of these sellers, and we are just struggling to get our footing as small businesses. We want to grow, we want to stand on our own 2 feet one day. And of all the ones I know, we care more about great customer service than these big guys do! It's personal pride in our work! Not to mention I know a couple folks that actually sell better on their .com than Etsy, so their Etsy numbers are actually deceiving.
I'm not trying to sway you from buying on Etsy. I love Etsy, I buy on Etsy all the time. All I'm saying is if you've ever bought from a seller or are a fan on their Facebook page...consider checking out their .com next time around. Take the leap!
Here are some sites of people I know are on Etsy, but also have their own .com:
Two Seaside Babes
DB Designs Jewelry