Etsy, the digital marketplace that specializes in handmade and vintage goods, has been the home for many makers looking to sell their products online. In April 2022, Etsy announced it would be raising its transaction fees by 30%, meaning the company will take a larger chunk of money away from small businesses selling on its platform.
Makers who are used to using Etsy as their primary platform to sell handmade and homemade crafts online were understandably upset with this news and went on strike shortly after the fee increase was announced. Approximately 5,000 sellers went on strike, and supporters discontinued their spending on the platform during this time period. Many impacted by this fee increase haven’t gotten a satisfactory response from Etsy, and they feel that the website no longer supports crafters and small business owners in the ways that it used to.
Why Makers are Choosing Etsy Alternatives
While some makers are shutting the doors on their Etsy shops for good, others do not want to abandon the platform completely. As such, small business owners are looking for alternative and additional ways to make money selling their goods online. Sure, there are numerous options these days for earning a supplemental income through the gig economy, but for passionate artists and entrepreneurs, making a living through their handmade products is important.
Other online marketplaces like eBay and Poshmark exist, but those platforms don’t quite serve the maker community or its audience in the same way. Sites like Amazon are best for mass-produced products, not one-of-a-kind pieces of art, jewelry, clothing, or housewares. Makers are actively wondering where to sell handmade items online—without incurring more fees or time-consuming setup processes they can’t afford at their level of business.
Finding New Platforms Built for Makers
Fortunately, sites like Big Cartel and Society6 have become popular for creatives deciding where to sell crafts online because they come with built-in audiences and niche consumers seeking out unique, well-designed items. But for small businesses that are really trying to take their products and brand to the next level, now is a great time to start thinking of adopting a multichannel approach to selling.
There is a 30% increase in the lifetime value of customers who shop across multiple channels, and 73% of consumers already visit stores in multiple ways when shopping.
Makers and retailers who manufacture their own products and are looking for Etsy alternatives should consider incorporating social media, a webstore, a shoppable mobile app, and an inventory management system into their selling strategies. This may sound like a lot, but top e-commerce platforms are built for crafty small businesses to handle all of these marketing and sales channels from a centralized dashboard.
Deciding Where to Sell Handmade Items Online
If you’re weighing your options for Etsy alternatives and definitely want to continue having a strong online presence, there are a few factors to determine where to sell handmade items most effectively. First, do you want to continue selling on Etsy but are looking for supplemental ways to make money selling your goods?
If so, you can begin selling your products on social media—for free—as soon as today. You can use the same photos you’ve been uploading to your Etsy listings and size them depending on specific social media requirements. Selling on social media is now easier and more effective for brands than in the past, with new shoppable features and seamless checkout options for your followers.
A reported 59% of social buyers say that they are more likely to buy from a small business when shopping through social media versus traditional online channels. Additionally, 44% are more likely to buy a brand that they have not previously encountered.
Social media is just one avenue for getting new eyes on your products and selling them online. Makers can tap into additional marketplaces, but having a home on the web that’s entirely dedicated to your business, vision, and products—like a webstore—can also establish brand recognition, customer loyalty, and provide new streams of revenue. There are many options to consider when choosing where to host and sell your products. Below are five additional options for makers and small businesses to consider.
5 Additional Revenue Streams for Small Businesses
Etsy is one platform for selling your handmade or secondhand goods, and you can certainly keep your listings open if abandoning that stream of revenue isn’t in your best interest. But there are additional channels from which you can earn money doing what you love and selling to an audience that is interested in what you have to offer.
Considering that 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with a brand, regardless of the channel, choosing online platforms that allow you to interact with customers, visually communicate your brand, and offer a similar, streamlined shopping experience is vital. Below are a few additional revenue streams that small business owners should consider.
- Interactive Webstore
Designing your own fully customized e-commerce store helps to anchor your brand and gives you more freedom to list as many of your products as you’d like—without paying extra fees. Anyone can create a simple website for their brand, but utilizing an e-commerce platform that offers built-in payment gateways, carts, automated inventory updates, and other features you’ll need to complete transactions online is recommended.
Bonus: CommentSold allows sellers to customize their online stores and include product videos that show how items are used, how they fit on a real person, or what they look like in motion to shoppers. Sellers can also host a live video sale right on their website home page. Adding interactive elements helps small business owners set their brands apart while delivering an engaging, entertaining experience for online shoppers.
- Your Own Retail Mobile App
Some small businesses may be wary of getting their own mobile apps because of assumed costs or time to develop the shopping app. The reality is that by 2023, mobile apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue, and e-commerce solutions that support small businesses are making them more accessible. CommentSold found that 66.5% of revenue from a seller with their own mobile app is generated through their app alone!
Like a website, a mobile app allows you to own your brand and audience in a way that selling through an online marketplace simply cannot. Plus, your business will live on shoppers’ home screens so you’re always a tap away. Enabling push notifications will alert your fans about upcoming sales, new products, and other announcements, encouraging them to shop with you and stay up-to-date with your business.
Bonus: Learn how to successfully launch your retail mobile app to drive downloads!
- Facebook Page
Social media should be part of your business’s marketing strategy, but it can also be used as a way to directly sell to your shoppers. Creating a Facebook Page for your business helps people stay in the loop about your new products or upcoming pop-up events or sales. Plus, you can use photo and video to offer a behind-the-scenes look at how you make your products, which can drive engagement and interest in your brand.
Your Facebook posts can become shoppable by integrating with an e-commerce software that can send automated invoices to your Facebook fans through Messenger when they comment on a product they want to buy. This way, you can fuse your sales and marketing strategies together on one of the most popular online channels.
- Facebook Group
Your Facebook Group is where you can offer exclusive content and discounts to your most loyal customers. It’s also where you can post discussion topics to learn about your shoppers’ preferences and create personal connections that ultimately drive repeat purchases. Like your Facebook Page, you can also post shoppable content in your Facebook Group using a “set it and forget it” system where shoppers can comment on your posts and buy your products right from your Group.
Since Instagram is a highly visual platform, it reigns supreme as one of the top destinations for shoppers to discover new brands and products. No matter the size of your business, you can utilize hashtags and selling tools to expand your audience on the popular social media app. Using Stories, Reels, and image posts or video, you can hook users in to your brand and products and either send them to your online store through links or enable them to buy right from their feeds. Either way, Instagram is a smart way for makers to reach their shoppers and sell to them online.
Curate Your Audience and Online Presence
In lieu of the recent backlash facing Etsy, it has become clearer for small businesses and makers that carefully crafting their own brand presence online is more important than ever. Relying on Etsy’s built-in audience is certainly helpful for getting exposure on your products and launching your business, but recent events have proven that sellers can and should have more freedom and control over their online sales.
Utilizing an e-commerce platform that allows you to create and customize your own online store, mobile app, and social media presence can help take your business to the next level. Having more autonomy and power over your brand online—without surprise fees or price hikes from third-party sites—is important to many artists, makers, curators, and sellers. Consider the above Etsy alternatives, or work toward incorporating multiple selling channels into your business strategy to gain additional revenue streams and new customers.
Create Engaging Shopping Experiences with Live Video
No matter where you choose to sell online, smaller retailers have found tremendous success over the last few years utilizing live video selling to reach their customers virtually. Live selling allows business owners to show off their products through streaming video in real time. Viewers can buy the products they see during the stream, taking the personal touch of the in-store experience to their mobile devices or desktops.
Small businesses in particular are thriving in the live selling space because it offers them an avenue to engage with their followers face-to-face (albeit through a screen), and they can let their authentic personalities shine through. Shoppers love it because they can really see how a product works, and since the video is live, they know they’re getting a genuine look at what’s for sale.
CommentSold allows small businesses and makers to live sell across multiple platforms—like their webstore, mobile app, and social media—simultaneously. CommentSold live sales have been seen to generate as much as $300 per minute, and in six months, CommentSold saw a 270% increase in the number of its retailers selling via live stream, as well as a 50% increase in spend per viewer.
You don’t have to rely on one marketplace as a way to sell handmade and homemade crafts online. Innovative tools are available specifically for small businesses to sell online without spending a lot of money or putting forth a ton of time and effort. Consider adopting a multichannel approach to selling your goods online to reach more shoppers anytime, anywhere.
CommentSold is an e-commerce platform that allows small businesses to manage all operations—including inventory, orders, and selling platforms—from a single dashboard. Expand your reach with additional selling channels and increase your revenue with a platform made for makers like you. Our fees have never changed, which is why more than 7,000 sellers trust and use our platform for live selling and managing their entire businesses online.