Comparing Etsy To Other Online Marketplaces

Have you been comparing Etsy to other online marketplaces to see if it makes sense to start a new Etsy shop?

Aside from opening your own website, several platforms make it simple to sell from the comfort of your home now. Shopify, Etsy and Facebook Marketplace are all popular choices when you want to start your own online business. They all have their own benefits and drawbacks, so how do you choose?

Here's a quick comparison.

Etsy vs. Facebook Marketplace

More than 85% of Facebook users reside outside the U.S. and Canada, so it’s a huge global marketplace that reaches many more users than Etsy. That means more buyers than on Etsy.

Most sellers on Etsy source hand-crafted, vintage, collector's items, and craft supplies. Meanwhile, Facebook Marketplace does not restrict what can be bought and sold – even job offers are allowed. However, these days there are a lot of products for sale on Etsy that scarcely warrant the description ‘’hand-crafted’’.

Facebook Marketplace only provides a place for users to buy and sell and doesn’t handle any payments or shipping. This means there is no guarantee of product quality or non-damage or timely delivery, etc.

Facebook Marketplace concentrates on buyers and sellers in your immediate vicinity – within 40 miles usually, but you can choose up to 100 miles. Their platform warns users not to accept seller offers from a greater distance than 100 miles. Because of the physical closeness, there is no shipping involved. Buyers and sellers usually meet in person. That has to happen in a public space or one should take a friend with.

Another drawback of Facebook Marketplace is unlike Etsy, it doesn’t have a review system so buyers can see who the trustworthy sellers are. At the time of this article, this platform also does not allow the sale of digital products, while Etsy does.

Etsy vs. Shopify

Shopify is an ecommerce platform that allows users to create their own online stores. With Shopify you simply build your very own ecommerce website and upload products. These can be your own products, same as you would sell on Etsy, but also would allow you to sell affiliate products or dropshipping items. 

With Etsy, you don’t have your own website. Your products are listed alongside those of other sellers on the platform. Originally Etsy distinguished itself as a marketplace for handmade, vintage and craft items, but that has now changed. After 2013, sellers became allowed to sell manufactured goods as well as handmade items. 

One of the drawbacks of Etsy is that it is more difficult to create a strong brand image. Your products are listed among other products and can get lost in the crowd unless customers understand that they must enter very specific search terms to find your products. You can’t create a shop with your own branding, but you can have your own logo with your products. 

Conversely, on the Shopify platform, you own the website and can customize every aspect. Unlike Etsy, Shopify does have a monthly fee in addition to paid upgrades for many customization options. Therefore, it is not free to get started or as low cost in the long run, unless you grow a large business. 

All of these online marketplaces are simple to join and it’s easy to start a business on them.

Etsy vs your own website

How does Etsy compare with starting your own website? Wouldn't it be better to own an independent online store and sell your goods in your own personal space? 

Yes, there are definite pros to owning your own ecommerce website. In fact, I always recommend it to business owners. The primary fact to first consider, though, is what stage of business you are in. 

When you are just starting out, using a marketplace platform is a valuable way to find your target audience. You can learn what customers are looking for without running up your expenses.

When you build a website, you either need computer skills or the funds to pay someone to design and build it for you. There will also be domain and hosting fees. 

[Pro Tip: Grab a free website with Groove while they are still offering them. No monthly fees to have my own shop is exactly how I started building my own website while building my brand on Etsy.]

Even more so, you will need a lot time and skill to spend on SEO to get traction on Google. It can take years for a website to appear on the first page of Google.

Getting a good ranking on Google so people can find you is a tricky business and very time-consuming. 

Selling on Multiple Platforms

There is no rule that says you have to stay on just one platform forever. You can even be on multiple platforms at the same time. One trick I use and often recommend to other entrepreneurs is to get started on Etsy immediately, while slowly building your own website on the side. 

That way, as you get repeat customers you can start referring them to your own site. This builds your presence and eventually cuts Etsy fees out of the picture. 

Mom Has The Last Word

Still curious about selling on Etsy? This is just a small piece of the information I have for you. Make sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Selling on Etsy to learn everything about how to get started, scale and succeed as an Etsy seller!

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