So you want to leave Etsy
By Simone Walsh from Handmade Jewellery by Simone Walsh
Recently a few issues have left some sellers unhappy with Etsy as a venue. In comments about such situations I often see sellers saying they want to move away from Etsy, but aren’t sure how or whether they’ll survive without the traffic that Etsy brings to their shop.
Well I can tell you from my own experience that you can do this successfully with some planning, work and patience!
Also you’ll most likely discover that it’s your own efforts that have brought the bulk of the traffic to your current shop. With a change in your marketing you can eventually drive a lot of that traffic elsewhere.
Back in September 2007 after some time of selling successfully through Etsy, a number of incidents caused me to feel disillusioned and not wanting the risk of an external business playing such a critical role in my business. I decided to set up an independent shop immediately in order to protect and grow my business.
I’m pleased to say that I’ve never looked back! My handmade jewellery shop is now my primary source of income, with my Etsy shop (which is still open) getting very few sales, especially compared to back when I made the switch.
A selling venue like Etsy is a great place to start and test the waters for your handmade business. However, you must be aware that any venue has the right to shut down your shop at any time for any reason – or no reason at all. Or that a venue you’ve invested a lot of time in could simply close or change direction. (SHOP SUSPENSION STORY)
Even if you are happy with Etsy or another venue-type site, it’s vital to protect your business from the outset rather than rely on having it so closely partnered with another business which you have no control over.
Getting your own domain name
I strongly suggest you register your own domain name as early as possible. Initially you can point the domain or a page on it to your Etsy or other venue shop. When you promote your shop you should always use this web address rather than your direct venue address.
That way if anything changes later, then all the work you’ve done to promote the URL won’t be lost and you can simply point it to another shop. If I had my time over, this is definitely what I would do!
Deciding where to set up your new shop
Before going to a lot of effort to set up somewhere new, do plenty of research and planning. There are lots of options out there to consider.
What are your needs? What fee structure will suit your business now and in future? Do you have the skills to create your own HTML templates? Can you pay someone to do this? Does the solution you’re looking at have templates available? Are there positive reviews by real people for this solution?
I don’t recommend installing shopping cart software which you host yourself. This can be a lot of work to modify, maintain and keep secure. I prefer to pay a monthly fee for a web-based cart which is constantly being maintained and improved by the people running and hosting it for you.
I suggest looking into Shopify, Big Cartel and Indiemade as web-based shopping cart solutions. As with a venue shop, you should use your own domain name with a web-based cart – something that is much easier to do than with a venue shop.
Alternatively you may choose to simply switch your focus to a different venue (such as Dawanda, Made It, Folsky, etc.).
Should you close your original shop?
If you’ve decided to move away from Etsy or another venue as your primary shop, then I recommend you don’t close that shop – especially if you’ve worked hard to build up your business there.
You may feel disillusioned with the venue for whatever reason, but consider whether harming your business in the way you react to such feelings is worth it.
Also remember that every customer in your original shop gives you an opportunity to promote your new shop so they will hopefully buy from you there next time.
Making the switch
Get your new primary shop fully set up and tested before you start marketing it – with a marketing plan ready to go too, of course! Pick a date for your launch and from that date forward never promote your old shop anywhere if you can help it.
If you’ve previously pointed a domain name at your old shop, then this is the day to switch it to your new shop. If not and you’ve got links around the web to your original shop, then change them to your new one.
Also update stationery with the new address, blog about it, add it to your email signature, set up a Facebook business page, tweet about it, encourage bloggers to link to your new shop if showcasing your work, etc. etc..
And do see every customer from another venue as an opportunity to spread the word. Include information about your new shop with their order to encourage them to visit your new shop next time and to pass on the address to their friends.
When you’ll see results
Based on my experience, getting customers to make the switch and driving online traffic to your new shop takes time, especially if your old shop was already successful.
My advice is to be very patient and keep up with consistent marketing – always using the address for your new primary shop.
Provided you have good products that people want and you market them well, then you should see more and more sales comes through your new shop over time, until eventually you’ll barely need to think about the old one anymore!
… In the interim
If you’ve kept your old shop open and still rely on sales from there, then keep the shop up to date, send orders promptly and stick to the rules!
For instance, on Etsy you cannot list your new shop address, nor can you encourage customers who have contacted you by convo to shop with you elsewhere (you might think your convos are private, but that isn’t necessarily the case).
Timothy here -
I have been selling on Etsy since 2007. (my shop!) The day I started my shop I had my own domain (my site)but never sold items on it. It is mainly just a gallery to show off my work then point people to my Etsy shop. I have been on the search for the perfect platform to start selling my metal work on my own domain, but I have never found the right platform with the right mix of options to supplement my Etsy shop. About a month ago I received an email from the founders of Indiemade.com letting me know about their site and what they had to offer. I checked out all the options, features ,and pricing, and to my surprise they offered everything I had been looking for.
Here are just a few features that really stood out to me. Things I have been looking for!
- Founders that came from a handmade / design background (understands the handmade community)
- Extremely affordable pricing (1/5 of my Etsy monthly bill)
- Very good clean design (multiple designs and design flexibility)
- Awesome SEO ( Article )
- Easy Checkout system with no login required
- Etsy product import (huge time saver)
- Integrated blog
- Social media connections and promoting
- Reports ( sales, coupons, products, customer)