The Best Place to Sell Handmade Products Online
There are so many platforms to sell handmade products online. But which is the best place? Just like anything in life, the answer is subjective. It depends on where you live, what types of products you sell, your skill level online, and several other factors.
Where is the best place to sell handmade products online?
The best place for most people to sell handmade products online is Etsy. Its brand is global, and it’s well-known as a marketplace for handmade. Their fees are relatively low, and aside from Amazon, no other marketplace even comes close to having as much traffic. Folksy has a decent amount of traffic (nowhere close to Etsy’s), but it’s only for sellers who live in the UK.
Best place to sell handmade online: Price
Etsy is the cheapest platform for selling handmade online when comparing the four options below.
I’m sure many platforms have lower fees or are free. However, it’s important to compare apples to apples. A cheaper marketplace that targets the same market (handmade buyers) is unlikely to have as much traffic as Etsy.
Whether you launch a website on your own or sign up for an online marketplace, you will have monthly fees.
The list below compares the fees for a few of the most popular places for selling handmade products online.
Fees can vary depending on your location, the functionality you require, the types of transactions you make, etc.
But the examples below will give you a general idea of the pricing differences. They use US fees and US dollars (aside from Folksy).
To list and sell one $50 item on Etsy: approximately $5.20
*Updated to reflect Etsy’s transaction fee increase from 5% to 6.5% as of April 2022
- $0.20 listing fee
- 6.5% transaction fee
- 3% + $0.25 payment fee
$0.20 (listing fee) + $3.25 (transaction fee) + $1.75 (payment fee) = $5.20
To list and sell one $50 item on Amazon Handmade: approximately $7.50 (after the first month)
- $0 listing fee
- 15% Referral Fee
- $39.99 / month membership fee (waived after the first month if you’re approved to sell in the Handmade section of their site).
First month: $7.50 (15% referral fee) + $39.99 (membership fee) = $47.49
If a $50 item sold the following month after being approved, the fee would be $7.50
Folksy (UK residents only)
To list and sell one £50 item on Folksy: £5.50
- First 3 listings are free (£0.15 + VAT listing fee after 3 listings)
- 6% + VAT Commission fee
- 3.4% + 20p (PayPal fees)
£3.60 (commission fee) + £1.90 (PayPal fees) = £5.50 (for the first 3 listings)
There are different plans to choose from with Shopify and different rates based on what type of payment gateway you use. I’m showing an example with the Basic Shopify plan and using PayPal.
Create a Shopify store and list and sell one $50 item: approximately $34.68
- 2% transaction fee (if using external payment gateways like PayPal)
- 2.9% + $0.30 credit card rates
- 2.89% + $0.49 PayPal fees
$29.99 (monthly fee) + $1 (transaction fee) + $1.75 (credit card rates) + $1.94 (PayPal fees) = $34.68
There are a few basic fees when you start a website. They vary greatly based on the company you use, the plans you purchase, and several other factors. So the numbers below are a rough guideline.
Monthly cost to run a website for a month and sell one $50 item: approximately $23.34
- Domain name – this is the URL you choose for your website (e.g. www.yourwebsitename.com). Cost varies depending on the name, type of domain (e.g. .com, .ca, .org. etc.), registar (e.g. GoDaddy, HostGator), etc.
- Hosting – think of this as renting space online for your website, just as you would rent a physical space for a brick and mortar store. You pay a monthly fee for hosting, and again, this fee varies depending on several factors.
- Website builder – using a website builder (such as Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc.) is the easiest option if you aren’t tech-savvy. Using a website builder requires you to pay a monthly fee to basically rent the design elements. Alternatively, you can hire a developer build a site for you. It’s much more expensive, but it’s a one-time fee as long as you don’t need them to make updates each month.
- $5/year domain name registration (approximately)
- $5.99/month hosting (GoDaddy)
- $14.99/month e-commerce website builder (GoDaddy)
- 2.89% + $0.49 PayPal fees per transaction
$0.42 (domain name cost per month) + $5.99 (hosting) + $14.99 (website builder) + $1.94 (PayPal fees) = $23.34
Best place to sell handmade online: Time Investment
Etsy and Amazon are relatively similar, but in my opinion, it’s quicker and easier to set up a shop on Etsy and add listings.
Keep in mind, search engine optimization (SEO) is another time variable. It will require a significant amount of time to learn, master, and implement; this is true no matter which platform you use.
It takes time to learn how to use all of Etsy’s features and master Etsy SEO. However, their platform is user-friendly, and they have many help articles.
Amazon’s platform is user-friendly; however, it’s pretty robust. For some, it may require more time to learn than Etsy.
Since I don’t live in the UK, I have never set up a shop on Folksy. But from the tutorials I’ve watched and from what I’ve gathered clicking around the site, it seems user-friendly and similar to Etsy.
Setting up an e-commerce store on Shopify’s platform requires more technical expertise. For most people, Shopify will require more time to learn than Etsy or Amazon.
Building a website will require the most amount of time. Website builders make it easy to drag and drop functionality and design elements into your site. However, there will be a learning curve with any builder.
Best place to sell handmade online: Traffic
There isn’t a marketplace out there that will do all the work for you; you have to market your online shop.
Sellers must put the work in to attract a platform’s traffic to their listings/shop, as well as drive new traffic to their listings/shop (e.g. post links on social media).
That said, it is beneficial to use a platform that already has a lot of traffic.
Amazon attracts the most traffic. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Amazon shoppers are typically looking for good prices and fast delivery. So Amazon’s traffic isn’t always the right traffic for handmade sellers.
(2021) Traffic is estimated based on numbers that were gathered from various tools and statistics. The traffic is not broken into seller traffic vs. buyer traffic.
Knowing what the actual traffic is to my websites, and what these tools report my traffic is, I can tell you, their numbers are lower than actual traffic. Good to keep in mind, but the numbers below still show an accurate representation of how each website ranks against the other.
Approximately 400 million visitors per month.
Approximately 2.5 billion visitors per month.
Approximately 250K visitors per month. The majority of that traffic is from the UK, which is important since they only accept UK sellers. But they do get traffic from other countries as well.
Shopify & Website
When you build a Shopify store or website, you’re responsible for producing all traffic. It can take several months, even years, for a new website to gain traction.
The biggest complaint sellers have about Etsy is that traffic can be there one day and gone the next. Or that it’s challenging to get any of Etsy’s traffic to their listings/shop.
When you have a website, you’re not at the mercy of Etsy’s algorithm, but you are at the mercy of Google’s. It can be just as difficult to get a piece of Google’s traffic. And, just like Etsy, Google also makes updates that can impact your traffic.
I do find that Google is a little more transparent with its algorithm updates. You generally know when they’re coming and the purpose of the update. That information can help you get ahead of, or react to an update with effective changes.
I started a brand new website in a fairly competitive niche, in December 2021. I focused on search engine optimization from the start and added a lot of content. It took me about a year to build my organic traffic (i.e. traffic from Google) to 300 visitors per day.
3 – 6 months is the average time it takes for almost every site to start seeing a trickle of traffic (even if the website is in a non-competitive niche and everything is done correctly, SEO-wise).
One can gain traffic to their website sooner with social media. But again, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. are competitive platforms with regular algorithm updates that can throw a wrench in your growth.
Based on price, time investment, and traffic, Etsy gets my vote for being the best place to sell handmade products online.
But please feel free to share your opinion below!
You may also be interested in How To Sell Handmade Products Online
This is great info. However, I will disagree about Etsy fees. I had to set up a spreadsheet in order to deal with all the new fees. I have a tote listed for $49.95 and free shipping. By the time I take out the fees, with an assumption of off-site ads, I’d end up with around $25. It would cost almost $10 to ship. I’ve have this tote for a while so simply want it gone from my inventory. Most of my other items are smaller price-points so adjustments to prices to offset the fees isn’t too bad.
I’m a retired widow and love to sew but simply want to earn a little extra income to support my sewing habit; not get rich. But I do love your articles and appreciate all the time you take to inform us.
Thanks for reading and commenting! As mentioned in the article, there are many variations of fees and pricing structures for each platform. I’m only covering the basic and mandatory fees each seller must pay here.
A detailed breakdown of all the Etsy fees sellers can encounter are covered in this artcle: https://www.madeurban.com/blog/how-much-does-etsy-take-per-sale/
I found this article very informative, as I’ve been trying to decide about the best way to sell my products online. I’ve been working on setting up an Etsy shop, so after reading this have decided that is the way to go for me. I don’t have a lot of extra time because of family life to use more than one venue, so want one that will be the most productive.
I’m so glad it was helpful Lillie! I hope Etsy is successful for you. I agree, it’s best to focus on one platform.
I have been on the fence of setting up an Esty shop since I already have my own website. But this article was most helpful with information. Thank you for doing the comparison and breaking it down for us so that we as handmade artists can made a well informed decision.
Thanks for reading Tracy! Glad it was helpful 🙂
No matter what platform you choose, the best customer is a repeat customer. I think the ability to get people on your email/text list is a very important factor in decision making.
Amazon – forbids direct marketing, even including inserts guiding people to a sign up landing page
Etsy – you can tailor thank you email to customer after purchase and can link out to a sign up landing page.
Shopify/some web builder platforms- you can integrate with platforms like MailerLite to add pop-ups and other links to landing page. Can link out to sign up landing page after purchase in thank you email…and have more flexibility in making sign up easier with widgets embedded in the thank you email.
Great points Chris! I absolutely agree, having a newsletter is key.
What about Etsy shipping fees? Per their website if you charge shipping the transaction fee is 5% on the cost of shipping? (The say this is similar to the 5% transaction fee on the item price?) If you charge shipping do you get hit with 10% (5% transaction and 5% shipping fee)??
You can find a breakdown of all the fees Etsy charges here: https://www.madeurban.com/blog/how-much-does-etsy-take-per-sale/
This article just outlines the basic fees, but Etsy charges 5% of the transaction fee (which includes shipping). So if an item is $50 and you charge $5 for shipping, Etsy charges 5% of $55.
I hope that helps!