April 30, 2018

Where to Sell Handmade Online (Besides Etsy)

If you sell handmade, you’re likely aware of Etsy. But a lot of people are wondering where they can sell their handmade items online, aside from Etsy. Perhaps because Etsy changed their algorithm so traffic and sales aren’t what they used to be or maybe they feel their category is too saturated. Whatever the reason, this article shares several suggestions for additional ways to sell handmade online.

 

If you’re interested in selling handmade locally, check out:

 

If you’re interested in what to sell online, check out:

 

And if you’re interested in how to sell online legally, check out:

 

If you’re currently selling on Etsy and are considering leaving out of frustration, keep in mind that Etsy is the top ranked site out of almost every website listed on this page.

 

Currently it’s in the top 100 websites in the US (that’s out of ALL websites, not just online marketplaces) and top 200 globally. Websites such as Artfire, Zibbet and Folksy don’t even come close to the top 100, 200 or even 1000.

 

This article shares ideas to diversify your online sales but I would encourage you not to abandon Etsy out of spite or frustration; weigh your options first and make a decision based on what’s best for your business.

 

Etsy makes changes based on their business and what’s going to create a better shopping experience and encourage more sales.

 

So when Etsy changes their algorithm and it results in fewer sales for you, you have every right to feel annoyed, but get over it quickly and head back to the drawing board to figure out how you can get your listings back into searches.

 

You may need to work on your:

 

 

But if sales are consistently rolling in through your Etsy shop and you’re simply looking for additional platforms to sell your handmade products or want to try something different, check out the options below.

 

If you're looking for an alternative to Etsy, this article lists 30 places for crafters and craft businesses to sell their handmade items online. You can choose some to use in addition to Etsy or to replace your Etsy shop. 

 

BUILD A WEBSITE

Do you need your own website to sell handmade? No; especially not in the beginning. But should you have a website if you’re serious about building a successful business? In my opinion, yes.

 

As a consumer, I can only gather so much information from a business’ Etsy shop and if I’m going to become a loyal customer (e.g. purchase regularly, visit their site regularly, take a chance on higher priced goods, etc.), I want to be able to visit a dedicated website to sign up for their newsletter, add to my bookmarks, learn more about the business, etc.

 

Websites have become easier to build, without expensive developers, through tools like:

 

  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • Squarespace

 

 

However, it takes months, sometimes even years, to begin seeing decent organic traffic, so it’s a good idea to get your website up and running sooner than later; even if you don’t plan to drive traffic to it yet.

 

What’s organic traffic?

 

It’s website traffic that comes from visitors who discover your website when searching phrases on search engines like Google, as opposed to traffic that visits your website by clicking on your paid ad or social media post.

 

It still requires work to gain organic traffic because you must write blog articles, create listings and have a site that’s attractive to Google in many different ways (e.g. loads quickly, is linked to from other sites, etc.). However, an SEO friendly blog post or product listing is posted to your site once and can continue to attract more and more traffic over time. Unlike traffic from a platform like Facebook or a paid ad, you must continue to post or pay to see traffic to your site.

 

You’re also able to build your brand and collect newsletter subscribers through your website, which is harder to do on Etsy.

 

So my suggestion is to get a website up as soon as you’re comfortable doing so. You don’t have to worry about a flock of traffic coming in and having too many orders to handle as soon as you hit publish. You can perfect it over the first several weeks, while it’s live, without anyone (besides Google) actually seeing it. You may see the odd visit here and there but not much until you start sharing links back to your website and Google starts showing it in top search results (typically one month plus, unless you launch with a perfect SEO friendly website).

 

 

MARKETPLACE & WEBSITE MIX

If you’re not quite ready to build a website of your own but want to be a bit more independent and have more control than you are/do with Etsy, these are a couple good options:

 

  • IndieMade – made for artists but has less of a community than an online marketplace like Etsy has.
  • Storenvy – this one is both a website and an online marketplace in one. It allows you to create your own website but also shows your listings in Storenvy’s marketplace.

 

 

 

ONLINE MARKETPLACES

I DO NOT recommend joining as many online marketplaces as you can and listing your products.

 

It can raise your expenses each month, complicate stock management and make it difficult to keep up with business tasks. You can no longer create a few listings and expect an online marketplace to bring you sales.

 

You gotta work for those sales!

 

The ins and outs of a marketplace must be mastered to be a top seller on any platform, which takes time and effort. Knowing how to create a listing, how often to post, which tags to use, which types of listings garner more attention and traffic, etc. requires a learning curve for each platform.

 

The better approach, if you’re going to use more than one online marketplace, is to research the target market each hits and spread your efforts between ones that reach a different customer.

 

For example, Etsy is used worldwide but over 50% of users are in the US.

Amazon Handmade, Artfire and Zibbet also have the majority of their users in the US.

 

So although you may reach a few different customers on Artfire than you would through Etsy, the target market that shops on Artfire is probably aware of Etsy and likely to only shop both platforms when they can’t find what they’re looking for on one.

 

If you’re going to use more than one platform that targets the same audience, my suggestion would be to start with no more than two platforms. Make sure you have time to dedicate to each and can manage stock so you don’t sell one item on two sites.

 

Assess what the ROI is (return on investment) both money wise (e.g. are you selling enough to cover your listing/membership fees each month) and time wise (e.g. are you making enough sales each month to get paid for the hours you put into the platform?)

 

The same idea applies to the online marketplaces below. Don’t sign up for a platform in each country; start with one, try it for a month or two and assess whether it’s worth your time and money.

 

Here’s a list of online marketplaces you can sell your handmade products:

 

 

BASED ON LOCATION

The country listed next to each marketplace is where the majority of their traffic comes from, and in most cases, also where the website is based. Some allow users outside the country to join while others do not.

 

  • Etsy (US)
  • Amazon Handmade (US)
  • Artfire (US)
  • Zibbet (US)
  • iCraftGifts (Canada)
  • Dawanda (Germany)
  • Folksy (UK)
  • Madeit (Australia)
  • Felt (New Zealand)

 

 

 

BASED ON TARGET MARKET

You can also try different online marketplaces based on the type of customer they attract (not just by location).

 

  • Cargoh – is a curated marketplace so the products featured are a little more selective and may attract a different type of shopper who’s looking for higher end products and doesn’t want to search through thousands of jewelry listings to find the right pair of earrings.
  • Bonanza – is sort of a mix of Etsy, Ebay and Amazon so it attracts a customer who’s interested in more than just handmade. They share customer insights, unlike Etsy, so it may be easier for you to build your business through repeat customers.
  • Joyus – if your product is unique, branding is spot on and you’re starting to outgrow Etsy, Joyus could be a fit for you.
  • Uncommon Goods – is not like Etsy where anyone can sign up and start listing handmade goods but rather a site you can submit your products to, they’ll review them and if they’re a fit, they’ll carry them in their online marketplace. They attract a target market looking for really unique and obviously, “uncommon” products.
  • Rebels Market – this is a marketplace to list edgy alternative designs. Think: goth, steampunk, heavy metal, etc. If those are words you’d use to describe your products, consider listing them on this marketplace.

 

 

 

BASED ON CATEGORY

There are also a few options for selling a specific type of product

 

KNITTING/CROCHET

  • Ravelry – if you create knitting or crochet patterns, spin or dye yarn for sale, you can list it on this site

 

ART

These four websites (there are many more for artists but these are my top picks) allow artists and/or photographers to upload their work and sell it as prints or apply it to a variety of products (such as mugs, t-shirts, phone cases, etc.)

  • CafePress
  • Society6
  • Zazzle
  • Redbubble

 

If you’re a graphic designer and are interested in creating custom designs for businesses, check out:

  • 99designs

 

 

SELLNG WHOLESALE ONLINE

Most people think of brick and mortar stores when they think of selling their products wholesale. But there are plenty of online stores that need product to stock their pages with.

 

  • Amazon Business (most categories of products)
  • ArtSetters (most categories of products)
  • Etsy Wholesale (most categories of products)
  • IndieMe (most categories of products)
  • Joor (fashion)
  • LA Fashion (fashion)
  • Le New Black (fashion)
  • Mouth (food)
  • RangeMe (this business works with major retailers so your product must be ready to sell wholesale in large quantities)
  • Wholesale in a box (most categories of products)

 

 

 

Be sure to take your time to research each online sales channel before you dive in. Understand the costs, the platform’s audience, steps to list, etc. so you’re well aware of the money and time investment and are certain you’ll reach the right people to make sales.

 

 

If you’re interested in selling handmade locally, check out:

 

If you’re interested in what to sell online, check out:

 

And if you’re interested in how to sell online legally, check out:

 

 

Have you tried any of the online marketplaces mentioned in this article? Share your opinions of them in the comments!

 





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Comments

1 thought on “Where to Sell Handmade Online (Besides Etsy)”

  1. Erin; Thanks again for some wonderful advice and information. Just yesterday I attended a workshop on setting up a Facebook page You Tube and Etsy was mentioned. There are so many options. Time consuming. Joyce

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