|Hint Jewelry Etsy Storefront|
One of the best places to sell handmade crafts online is Etsy. In the last five years, Etsy has made many improvements, which has attracted more buyers. Here are some features that keep me selling Hint Jewelry on Etsy:
- A variety of payment options: credit card, PayPal, money order or check
- Domestic and international shipping options using Endicia
- Gift cards
- One listing fee for multiple items
- Improvements between Etsy and ranking on search engines
- Linking with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which offer lots of opportunity for free, grassroots marketing
- Wholesale marketing options
However, there are some drawbacks when you are first opening your handmade shop on Etsy. The marketplace is huge and there isn't any selection process in place that evaluates the quality of a shop and its products. So when your shop is small, and you're just learning how to take pictures, create a collection, and determine your price points it's easy to get discouraged because you may not get a lot of exposure.
Nevertheless, in the beginning if you view your shop on Etsy as a year-long research and development process, then you won't fret about the number of sales and just focus on making business connections, refining your marketing message, and getting feedback on your product.
I think the biggest stumbling block most new Etsy shop owners face is the belief that sales will happen right away, and if they don't, you've somehow failed. Instead think of growing your Etsy shop like planting a fruit tree. Maybe it won't produce fruit the first year, but in that time you will have learned how to care for it better than you knew how to in the beginning.
Here are some other options for selling handmade crafts online. Each have their ups and downs so it's best to network with other shop owners to find out the real scoop.
Your Own Web SiteIt's actually not that difficult to get your own Web site up and running using Wordpress and a free shopping cart plugin like WP ecommerce found at GetShopped.org.
Advantages: You pick your own Web site address. People don't have to become a member to shop on your site, but they may have to use PayPal to process their credit card information. You have more control over the design of your shop. You don't have to pay any sales commission fees.
Disadvantages: You have to pay Web site hosting and domain fees. You need to know the name of your business so that the first domain name you pick isn't something you are going to want to change down the road. You need to be comfortable with computers and software or have access to someone who can help you. You need to have a strong marketing plan to drive search engine traffic to your Web site such as a blog or other media.
Advice: Use another online storefront like Etsy or Artfire for the first year or two while you refine your business. Later when your vision and product are solid and you have a following of customers either local or online, then expand and build your own Web site.
ArtFireArtFire is said to be "seller friendly." Instead of paying a percentage sales fee like you do on Etsy, the seller pays a monthly subscription fee for unlimited items.
Advantages: If you are just starting out and wanting to sell as a hobby, the monthly fee is probably a more economical approach. Also, Artfire allows you to customize the look and feel of your shop by using widgets for videos and live chat. You can add an Artfire shopping cart to your blog or Web site so users don't have to take any more unnecessary steps to make a purchase. They have a helpful community of artisans. Buyers don't have to join to make a purchase.
Disadvantages: Artfire may not get as many visitors per month as larger sites like Etsy.
Other Places to Sell Crafts OnlineCraftly