Wednesday, January 7, 2009
An honest review: Selling Venues
There are some great new venues for selling hand-crafted goods online. Some are established and many more of the websites are still in the Beta phase of their design, so they are offering free sign-up, free listings, etc. It's a great opportunity to open up shops all over and get more exposure. Here's the run-down of the different selling venues I have come across, and their pros and cons (in my opinion):
1. www.ETSY.com - est. 2005, for selling handmade, vintage, and supplies
--Free to open a shop, $.20 per listing, 3.5% commission per transaction, uses Paypal (who also charges a commission)
--Pros: well established website, large customer base, very friendly and helpful forums (unlike any I have ever seen)
--Cons: very competitive - over 308,000 sellers, check-out is confusing - results in non-paying buyers
--My Etsy URL's:
2. www.ARTFIRE.com - est. 2008, in Beta, for selling handmade, vintage, and supplies
--Free to open a shop, free to list, no commission (during Beta phase), optional $7/month for life account with added benefits, uses Paypal
--Pros: no risk because it's free, set up similar to Etsy (use your same shop graphics, etc.), provide shop stats through Google Analytics with verified account
--Cons: still very rough and doesn't "look" as nice as Etsy, many hiccups in site programming, for example: tagging, search engine, and shipping profiles do not work properly, many features say "coming soon", forums are pretty confusing to use
--My Artfire URL:
3. www.1000Markets.com - est. 2008, in Beta, for selling hand-crafted goods
--Free to open a shop, free to list, 5.5% commission per transaction, uses Amazon payments (fee included in the 1000Markets commission)
--Pros: Juried site - only top-notch sellers allowed, beautiful platform - very streamlined site with virtually no hiccups (that I have found), more artistic and less "crafty", contains juried Markets that contain similar merchants - higher chance of being seen, shop stats provided for free
--Cons: very new site - small customer base, only uses Amazon payments which isn't as common as Paypal, and thus can't support international sellers or customers
--My 1000Markets URL:
4. www.ShopHandmade.com - est. 2008, in Beta
--Free to open a shop, free to list, no commissions (paid by sponsors during Beta phase)
--Pros: no risk because it's free, and supposedly, they save 25 sq. ft. of endangered rain forest for every item sold, other than that, I haven't found many pros on this site
--Cons: shops are awkward, strangely organized, distracting and slow java scripts, many hiccups in programming, no forums or community support, little activity on the site
--My ShopHandmade URL:
There are other sites as well. I had a shop at Mintd (based in Australia) for a short time, but it was even more awkward and badly designed than ShopHandmade. After reading a couple of the forums there, and noticing that many threads had posts that were two months old, I discovered that the site is basically stagnant (not well-maintained or promoted), so I closed up shop.
And of course, there's eBay, but I feel that it is not the best site to respectfully sell fine art. I think e-Bay looks and feels like a flea market. So, I choose not to sell there. Although, I'll gladly buy supplies there.
I've heard of Trunkt.com, which is a juried site which is very reputable. But, they deal mainly with connecting artisans with wholesale buyers. That doesn't work too well with small time producers like me.
So, that about sums up my list of selling venues! After reviewing all of these sites, I can clearly see that besides my personal website, it would be best to promote my Etsy and 1000Markets shops. Etsy has already proven itself to me, since I have had over 100 sales in the last year. And 1000Markets has the most potential for future success as I see it. I hope this has helped any of you that are considering opening up more stores! It has certainly helped me to sort this all out in one post.