Thinking about online marketplaces

I’ve had an online shop at folksy for quite some time and although I’ve sold a few items I just don’t think it’s the right place for me. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to put a shop on my website, I was paying for the site anyway so why not try to sell from it. Which is fine and I have made sales but it doesn’t get the traffic that a marketplace would get.

Obviously etsy is the leader, with thousands of designers / makers/ suppliers and millions of visitors each year. The problem I’ve found with etsy is that as a customer you’re overwhelmed with choices and it’s hard to find what I’m looking for. As a seller I find it intimidating and don’t see how I could get noticed amongst the crowd. Most people don’t realise but I have repetitive strain injuries and can’t stay on the computer for long periods. I’m terrified that I’d have to spend a long time promoting myself on etsy.

dawanda looks quite good and has sites in French and German as well. It doesn’t have a very big following yet so number of visitors is less than 50,000 a month. It’s free to open a shop and then you pay 5% commission on anything sold. It’s the lower number of visitors making me hesitate.

misi is also free to open a shop. Then it’s 20p to list each item and 3% commission on sales. It is another small site and it gives me the impression of being too much like folksy so I’m not really tempted to go on here.

artfire is a site which seems to be growing quite quickly and is second only to etsy. It’s free to set up a shop but you pay for a pro shop which gives your listings a preference. Quite tempted by this but still al little worried about whether or not it’s the right place for me. Is it worth a pro account? will I have to spend oodles of time online?

zibbet looks nice and clean but every time I visit it seems to take an age to load each page. With speed issues like this there’s no way I’ll browse on here and I can’t imagine that anyone else will either. So this is a no-no.

It’s not looking good folks. artfire seems to be the only real alternative to etsy. If you have any other suggestions of places for me to go online and sell then I’d love to hear it. If you have an opinion on where my items would be best placed the I’d love to hear that too.

4 Replies to “Thinking about online marketplaces”

  1. It’s a tricky one. I haven’t set myself up with Folksy yet but wanted to – but had my reservations as to how good it would be but guess I need to try it out before I make any judgements. Promotion is the key – but I can totally understand you not being able , or even wanting to spend hours online doing so. Can’t really be of much help – but let us know what you decide.

  2. I’m sorry that I didn’t respond sooner, you know – work/kids/yadda yadda but, I have been looking around at the various sites, and some just ooze with crafty charm and I can feel that I want to buy something where as others just turn me off.

    I have a friend who sells regularly on Ebay – almost enough to survive financially but her trick is not to pigeon hole herself, she sells refurbished flea-market buys, tarted up accessories, shoes, dolls house paraphernalia etc etc. She says that the USA market is hot on English eccentricity. I have another friend who rents a unit in a converted mill and sells her stuff in the shop/gallery that is attached and she says that the ‘feely-touchy’ of handling and seeing craft in the real is a better seller

    On line is good for looking but not necessarily for buying??


  3. Very astute review of the current marketplace sites and their status, but I think both the uncontrolled growth and complete lack of quality control has actually made most of these sites a lot of effort (for sellers) with little results. Unless the site picks you as a seller to promote, your products can’t be found by the shoppers they attract. The price points are too low, and being only one store on sites with both tens of thousands of items (Artfire) up to 5 million items (Etsy), the heyday of the marketplace sites is over. They have not been positive for the handmade product.
    I suggest you start contacting the new, small, boutique sites that either invite sellers to join, or require you to submit sample jpegs of your products before allowing you to open on the site.
    I do not think that paying upfront fees for any marketplace site is worth the money today. They aren’t worth it, and may not be around much longer. Set up a Google alert for “sites that sell handmade” and you will start getting list of sites that pre-select their sellers.

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