Exploring Alternatives To Etsy: Expand Your Online Business | BRANABEE

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Exploring Alternatives To Etsy: Expand Your Online Business

Are you a creative soul or a small business owner looking to take your products to the next level? If you’ve been relying solely on Etsy to sell your goods, maybe it’s time to broaden your horizons and discover new opportunities in alternative online marketplaces. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some fantastic alternatives to Etsy, including our very own to help you grow your business and boost your sales.



Why Explore Alternatives to Etsy?

Before we dive in to the list of alternatives, let’s take a moment to understand why you should consider expanding beyond Etsy:

  1. Diverse Audiences: Different platforms attract different audiences. Exploring alternative marketplaces means tapping into new customer bases and increasing your reach.
  2. Reduced Competition: By spreading your presence across various platforms, you can reduce the intensity of competition with other sellers offering similar products.
  3. Improved Brand Visibility: Being present on multiple platforms helps increase your brand’s visibility and recognition.
  4. Lowering Fees: Certain marketplaces looking to compete will offer better seller’s fees.
  5. Etsy Strike: Recently there have been reports from sellers claiming that Etsy has been withholding funds after sales are made in the UK. There has been a lot of backlash, even a few Facebook groups have been created from this, such as Etsy Reserve Strike.
  6. Outsourced Goods: Users on Etsy have claimed that Etsy isn’t just a place you can get handmade items from the sellers themselves, but also a place flooded with outsourced items, meaning you can find a plethora of goods from businesses in countries with mass manufacturing capabilities.

Let’s dive in on the pros and some of the cons of each below:

1. Amazon Handmade – A Marketplace Giant

Amazon Handmade is Amazon’s answer to Etsy, exclusively for handcrafted products. With its massive customer base and extensive reach, it’s a platform worth considering.

Pros:

  • Huge Customer Base: Amazon Handmade gives you access to millions of potential customers around the world.
  • Prime Shipping: Take advantage of Amazon’s reliable shipping and fulfillment services to enhance your customers’ shopping experience.
  • Customer Trust: Amazon’s reputation for quality and customer satisfaction can benefit your brand’s credibility.
  • Fulfillment Options: You can choose to fulfill orders yourself or take advantage of Amazon’s fulfillment services. Amazon FBA can streamline shipping and handling for your products. Your products could also become prime eligible.
  • Customer Reviews: Positive reviews on Amazon can significantly impact your product’s visibility and sales. High-quality products and excellent customer service can lead to favorable reviews.
  • Sales Analytics: Get detailed sales data and analytics to help you make informed decisions to optimize your business.
  • Customer Service Support: Amazon offers customer support to both buyers and sellers, which can help resolve issues and improve the shopping experience.
  • Advertising Opportunities: You can create and run advertising campaigns to boost your product’s visibility within the Amazon ecosystem.
  • Prime Day and Seasonal Promotions: Amazon Handmade sellers can participate in events like Prime Day and other seasonal promotions, potentially leading to increased sales during peak shopping periods.

Cons

  • Fees and Commissions: Amazon Handmade charges various fees, referral fees, subscription fees, and additional fees for fulfillment, customization, and optional services. These can impact your profitability.
  • Competitive Environment: There’s a lot of sellers on Amazon Handmade and it can become difficult to stand out in the sea of competition.
  • Limited Brand Control: Amazon places strict guidelines on how products should be presented and labeled, limiting your ability to build a unique brand identity.
  • Review System: Amazon uses a customer review system that can heavily influence your sales. Negative and even unwarranted reviews can end up impacting your sales and reputation significantly.
  • Strict Seller Policies: Amazon enforces strict seller policies and performance metrics. Failing to meet these standards can result in account suspension or closure, potentially harming your business.
  • Customer Data Access: Amazon may restrict your access to customer data, making it challenging to build your own customer database and establish direct relationships with buyers.
  • High Return Rates: Amazon’s customer-centric policies may lead to higher return rates, which can affect your revenue and create additional administrative work.
  • Limited Control Over Fulfillment: If you opt for Amazon’s fulfillment services, you may have limited control over the packaging and shipping process, which can affect the presentation and branding of your products.
  • Dependence on Amazon: Selling exclusively on Amazon Handmade means you rely heavily on the platform. If there are changes to policies, fees, or algorithms, it can impact your business significantly.
  • Global Competition: If you think about other countries manufacturing processes and variations in price, you can imagine what competing with similar products at much lower prices will do to your business.
  • Loss of Customer Ownership: Since Amazon controls the customer experience on its platform, you have little control over the post-purchase experience. Building your customer base can be challenging.

While Amazon Handmade has it’s advantages, it’s important to weigh these pros against the platforms cons to determine if it aligns with your business goals and product offerings. Additionally, maintaining high-quality products and exceptional customer service is crucial to success on Amazon Handmade, as it can lead to positive reviews and repeat business.

2. eBay – An established Alternative

eBay is one of the oldest and most established online marketplaces. While it’s known for auctions, it also hosts a thriving marketplace for traditional sales. Here’s why eBay might be a good choice.

Pros:

  • Global Reach: eBay operates in multiple countries, allowing you to sell you products internationally.
  • Varied Selling Formats: You can choose between auction-style listings or fixes-price listings, giving you the flexibility in how you sell.
  • Seller Protection: eBay offers seller protection policies to safeguard your transactions.
  • Ease of Use: eBay provides user-friendly listing tools and templates, making it relatively straightforward for sellers to create product listings, manage inventory and process orders.
  • Cross-Promotion: eBay may promote your listings alongside related products, increasing your chances of cross-selling and upselling.
  • Integration with PayPal and Managed Payments: eBay provides secure payment processing options, including integration with PayPal and its managed payments platform.

Cons:

  • High Fees: eBay charges various fees, including listing fees, final value fees, and additional fees for optional listing upgrades. These can significantly impact your profits.
  • Fee Structure Complexity: eBay’s fee structure can be complex and may carry based on the listing format, category, and other factors. Sellers need to carefully calculate fees to ensure they’re making a profit.
  • Competitive Environment: Much like Amazon, eBay is a highly competitive marketplace with millions of sellers offering a wide range of products. Standing out among all of this competition can prove very difficult, especially in popular product categories.
  • Feedback System: While eBay’s feedback system can help build trust, it can also be a double-edged sword. Negative feedback from buyers, even if unjustified, can harm your reputation and affect future sales.
  • Policy Changes: eBay frequently updates its policies and rules. Sellers need to stay informed and adapt to these changes, which can be time consuming.
  • Payment Processing: eBay has introduced managed payment, which means sellers may face delays in receiving funds as eBay handles payment processing. This can affect your cash flow.
  • Returns and Refunds: eBay prioritizes buyer satisfaction, which can lead to a higher rate of returns and refunds for sellers. Handling returns and refunds can be time-consuming and may result in financial losses.
  • Communication Challenges: Communication with buyers can sometimes be challenging, leading to misunderstandings or disputes. Handling customer inquiries and issues can be time-sensitive.
  • Seller Limits: New eBay sellers often face limits on the number of listings they can crate, which can hinder scalability.
  • Shipping Costs: eBay buyers often expect competitive or even free shipping, which can eat into your profit margins, especially for larger or heavier items.
  • Listing Restrictions: Some items are restricted or prohibited from being sold on eBay. Sellers must navigate these restrictions, and accidental violations can result in penalties.
  • Seller Fees on Shipping Costs: eBay charges final value fees not only on the item’s sale price, but also on the shipping cost, which can increase your fees substantially.
  • Seller Performance Metrics: eBay enforces strict seller performance metrics. Falling below the required standards can lead to limitation on your account or even suspension.
  • Dependency On eBay: When you sell exclusively on eBay, you’re heavily dependent on the platform. Any changes in eBay’s policies or algorithms can have a significant impact on your business.
  • Limited Customer Data Access: eBay controls customer data, limiting your ability to build a direct customer database for marketing purposes.
  • Counterfeit and Inauthentic Items: eBay has faced challenges in preventing counterfeit and inauthentic items from being sold on the platform. This can harm both buyers and legitimate sellers.

It’s important for sellers to carefully weigh these cons against the potential benefits of selling on eBay and to develop strategies to mitigate the challenges they may encounter. Being informed about eBay’s policies and continuously improving your customer service and listing practices can help navigate these drawback successfully.

3. Shopify – Create Your Own Store

If you want more control over your online presence, consider setting up your own online store using a platform such as Shopify.

Pros:

  • Customization: Build a fully customized online store that reflects your brand’s personality.
  • Marketing Tools: Shopify offers a range of marketing tools and integrations to help you promote your products.
  • Ownership of Customer Data: You own and control your customer data on Shopify. This means you can build your customer database and create targeted marketing campaigns to engage with you audience directly.
  • Multichannel Selling: Shopify allows you to sell across multiple channels, including social media, third-party marketplaces, and in-person through point-of-sale (POS) systems.
  • Custom Domain Name: Shopify enables you to use a custom domain name (e.g., www.yourstore.com) to establish a professional online presence.
  • Lower Transaction Fees: Etsy charges transaction fees on each sale, whereas Shopify’s fees are typically lower, especially if you use Shopify Payments. This can lead higher profitability.
  • No Listing Fees: Unlike Etsy, Shopify does not charge listing fees so you can add and manage virtually unlimited products without incurring additional costs.
  • Wide Range of Apps and Integrations: Shopify offers a vast app store with a wide variety of apps and integrations to enhance your store’s functionality, from marketing and SEO tools to inventory management and analytics.
  • Built-in Blogging: You can easily integrate a blog into your Shopify store to provide valuable content, boost SEO, and engage with your audience.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: Shopify offers round-the-clock customer support via email, chat, and phone, ensuring you have assistance when you need it.

Cons:

  • Generating Traffic: This is likely the biggest drawback in the beginning. You can benefit from using a marketplace’s existing customer base and organic traffic. With Shopify, you are responsible for driving your own traffic and implementing marketing strategies, which costs you time and can be increasingly challenging.
  • Costs Can Add Up: While Shopify’s pricing is competitive, costs can increase as your business grows. Shopify’s pricing includes subscription fees that may be higher for businesses with lower sales volumes. Depending on your sales, one model may be more cost-effective than the other.
  • Learning Curve: For beginners, Shopify may have a steeper learning curve, especially if you are not familiar with website building or e-commerce platforms. Wile it offers user-friendly tools, setting up and customizing your store may take some time and effort.
  • Limited Free Themes: While Shopify offers several free themes, many premium themes come with an additional cost. If you’re looking for a highly customized and unique design, you may need to invest in a premium theme or hire a designer.
  • Dependency on Shopify: While their app store is extensive and provides valuable functionalities, relying heavily on apps can increase your monthly expenses and complexity.
  • Limitations on Design: While Shopify’s themes are customizable, some design limitations may frustrate advanced users looking for more control over the appearance and layout of their store.
  • SEO Challenges: while Shopify offers SEO tools, some advanced SEO features may require additional apps or customization. SEO optimization can be competitive, so investing in SEO is crucial.
  • Migration Difficulties: If you ever decide to move your store away from Shopify, migrating your data and design to another platform can be complex and time-consuming, sometimes infeasible.
  • Transaction Limitations: Shopify has certain restrictions on the types of products you can sell. For example, some products, such as digital downloads and services, may require additional apps or customization.
  • Inventory limitations: Shopify’s inventory management features may not be as robust as some other specialized inventory management software, which can be a limitation for businesses with complex inventory needs.
  • Customer Data Access: Earlier we listed this as a con on another platform, and here we’ll show you why its not always a great thing to have. As someone using Shopify, you’ll have access to your own customer’s data. This means you are responsible and sometimes liable to protect customer information and stay in compliance with data privacy regulations.

Its important to take some time to review what’s best for your situation. We could write an entire article on this alone, however there’s a ton of info already out there on this: If you are looking to build your own shop and you have some technical experience, or are willing to take the time to learn, check out WordPress.org and WooCommerce. It’s open-source and gives you the most customization and flexibility while giving you your own domain name. Managing updates is typically and it’s time consumption is usually it’s main drawback.

4. Mercari – the Online Marketplace for Everyone

Mercari is a fast-growing marketplace known for its ease of use and broad audience:

Pros:

  • User-Friendly Interface and mobile app: Mercari’s app makes listing and selling products a breeze, attracting tech-savvy buyers.
  • Diverse Product Categories: You can sell not only handmade items but also a wide range of products, attracting various buyers.
  • Shipping Assistance: Mercari offers shipping labels, simplifying the shipping process.
  • Lower Selling fees than Etsy: Mercari typically charges lower selling fees compared to Etsy, which can result in higher profit margins for sellers (or lower prices for customers).
  • Seller Protection: Mercari offers seller protection policies, including coverage for certain returns and fraudulent transactions, providing sellers with a level of security.
  • Negotiation and Offers: Mercari allows buyers to submit offers on listings, providing sellers with the flexibility to negotiate prices and potentially close deals at favorable terms.
  • Simple Payment Process: Mercari handles payment processing, reducing the complexity of managing payment gateways and transactions compared to Etsy.
  • Active User Base: Mercari has a significant and active user base, providing sellers with the opportunity to connect with a large audience of potential buyers.

Cons:

  • Limited Product Categories: Mercari’s focus is primarily on general consumer goods, which means it may not be suitable for selling specialized items, handmade crafts, or vintage goods, unlike Etsy, which caters to such niches.
  • Smaller Niche Audience: If you have niche or handmade products, you may find it challenging to reach a targeted audience on Mercari, as it’s a more general marketplace as we said previously.
  • Competition: Sellers offering common items drives the prices down, which can affect a seller’s bottom line.
  • Lower Price Ceiling: High-end or luxury items may not fetch premium prices on Mercari compared to specialized platforms or marketplaces with a more affluent customer base.
  • Limited Branding: Mercari’s platform design is relatively uniform, offering less opportunity for sellers to build a unique brand identity compared to a standalone e-commerce platforms like Shopify.
  • Limited Seller Customization: Mercari’s listing templates and customization options are more limited compared to dedicated e-commerce platforms, potentially affecting your ability to showcase your products uniquely.
  • Communication Challenges: Mercari has specific communication guidelines and restrictions, which can make it difficult to engage in extensive conversations with potential buyers, especially if you need to provide detailed information about your products.
  • Limited SEO and Marketing Tools: Unlike platforms with advanced SEO and marketing features, Mercari provides limited tools for optimizing product listings and promoting your items.

5. Poshmark – Marketplace for Fashion

If your business’s focus is on fashion and clothing items, Poshmark is a go-to platform:

Pros:

  • Fashion-Focused Audience: Poshmark’s users are fashion-conscious, making it ideal for clothing and accessory sellers.
  • Social Shopping: It combines e-commerce with a social platform, allowing you to connect with fashion enthusiasts.
  • Shipping Made Simple: Poshmark provides prepaid shipping labels for your convenience.
  • Community Engagement: Poshmark tries to foster a sense of community among buyers and sellers by letting users follow each other, share listings, and participate in virtual “Posh Parties,” thereby facilitating a social shopping experience.
  • Shipping Assistance: Poshmark provides prepaid shipping labels to sellers for standard shipping. This simplifies the shipping process and ensures a consistent experience for buyers.
  • Secure Payment Processing: Poshmark handles payment processing and provides a secure platform for transactions. This reduces the complexity of managing payment gateways compared to Etsy.
  • Negotiation and Offers: Buyers can make offers on listings, allowing for price negotiations. This can help you sell items at a mutually agreeable price.
  • Seller Protection: Poshmark offers seller protection policies, including protection against certain returns and fraudulent transactions, providing sellers with a level of security.
  • Exposure to Fashion Enthusiasts: If your products cater to a fashion-forward audience, Poshmark can connect you with buyers who are specifically looking for clothing and accessories.
  • User Ratings and Reviews: Both buyers and sellers on Poshmark can leave ratings and reviews, helping to build trust and credibility within the community.
  • Promotional Tools: Poshmark offers features like “Closet Clear Out: and price-drop notifications to promote listings and incentivize sales.
  • Easy to Start: If you have fashion items to sell, Poshmark is relatively easy to get started with, especially if you’re already familiar with fashion brands and styles.
  • User-Friendly Mobile App: Poshmark’s mobile app is user-friendly and designed for shopping on smartphones, which is convenient for both sellers and buyers.
  • Global Reach: Poshmark has expanded internationally, expanding your audience.
  • Built-In Messaging: Poshmark has a structured return process that helps manage returns and disputes, reducing the likelihood of complex return scenarios.
  • Fashion-Specific Categories: Poshmark categorizes listings into specific fashion categories, helping buyers find exactly what they’re looking for more easily.

Cons:

  • Limited Product Categories: Poshmark is primarily geared toward fashion and accessories. If you sell items outside of this niche, such as handmade or vintage goods, it may not be the ideal platform for you.
  • Competitive Pricing: Due to its focus on fashion, Poshmark can be highly competitive in terms of pricing. This can lead to lower profit margins, especially if you’re selling items with a lot of similar listings.
  • Limited Branding Opportunities: Poshmark’s platform design is relatively uniform, offering fewer opportunities for sellers to build a unique brand identity compared to standalone e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Etsy.
  • Transaction Fees: Poshmark charges a flat 20% commission fee on sales, which is pretty high in comparison to other marketplaces.
  • Limited Customization: While you can describe your items and set prices, Poshmark offers limited customization options for listing layouts, branding, and store design.
  • Shipping Fees: Poshmark provides prepaid shipping labels for standard shipping, but the cost of shipping is typically borne by the seller. This can eat into your profits if not factored into your pricing strategy.
  • Lower Price Ceiling: High-end or luxury items may no fetch premium prices on Poshmark compared to specialized platforms or luxury marketplaces.
  • Return Policy: Poshmark’s return policy can be more buyer friendly, allowing returns for various reasons.
  • Limited SEO and Marketing Tools: Poshmark provides limited tools for optimizing product listings and promoting your items compared to some other e-commerce platforms.
  • Mobile Friendly: Poshmark’s platform is primarily centered around mobile, which may limit some sellers who prefer desktop-based listing and management options.
  • Restricted Payment Methods: Poshmark primarily uses its in-house payment system, limiting payment options for both buyers and sellers compared to other platforms with greater payment flexibility.
  • Platform Dependency: Sellers are dependent on Poshmark’s platform for visibility and sales. Any changes in Poshmark’s policies or algorithms can impact your business.
  • Listing Duration: Listings on Poshmark have a limited duration (usually 30 days), and relisting can be necessary, which may require additional time and effort.
  • Limited International Shipping: While Poshmark has expanded internationally, shipping to certain countries may be limited, potentially reducing your global reach.

6. Branabee – Buy | Sell | Auction: An All-In-One Marketplace

This website has recently launched to provide its users with a cheaper way to sell their goods with the most customization available. We handle the marketing, the sales tax, and a lot of headache. You get to do what you enjoy.

Pros:

  • List items for free: You can sign up and begin listing your items for free. Branabee keeps a percentage upon sale(s). It’s that simple! No complex pricing structure, no hassle.
  • Lower Fees: Branabee boasts lower fees than most others, at 10%.
  • Ever Expanding Product Categories: At the time of this writing, Branabee has mostly industrial parts and fittings. However, it can handle more product types and seller types.
  • Customizable Storefronts: Personalize your store’s appearance to make it uniquely yours. Showcase your products in the way that best reflects your brand.
  • Inventory Management: Enjoy a robust inventory management system by tracking stock levels, manage product variations, and update listings to ensure a seamless shopping experience.
  • Customized Listings: Create detailed product listings with custom descriptions, images, and pricing, effectively showcasing your products’ unique features and benefits.
  • Direct Customer Relationships: Gain direct access to valuable customer data, including email addresses, enabling you to build strong customer relationships through personalized marketing campaign and communications.
  • Secure Transactions: We prioritize the safety and security of all transactions, giving you peace of mind when doing business on our platform.
  • Marketing Assistance: Benefit from our marketing resources and promotional tools to boost your visibility and drive sales.
  • Data Insights: Access detailed sales analytics and customer insights to make informed decisions about product offerings, marketing strategies, and inventory management.
  • Choose Your Own Rules: customize your policies to create a unique and memorable shopping experience for your customers.
  • Niche Market Opportunities: While Amazon and eBay cater to a vast and diverse customer base, it can become challenging to stand out in a competitive market. You can be a “bigger fish” in a place like Branabee.
  • Methods of Income: On Branabee you can buy, sell, auction, or even rent.
  • Seller Verification: Branabee facilitates greater marketplace trust by verifying sellers. Verified badges enhance credibility and improves transparency.
  • Easy Product Management: Sellers can effortlessly add, edit, and manage their product listings through a user-friendly interface.
  • Control Over Shipping: Manage your shipping settings, including where you ship, the method, and rates to ensure smooth order fulfillment.
  • Coupon creation: You can create and manage coupons and discounts to attract customers and boost sales.
  • Vendor Support: Branabee provides support via live chat, email, or by phone to help sellers navigate the platform effectively and to resolve issues.
  • Scalability: Start small and scale your business at your own pace as the platform can accommodate businesses of varying sizes, from solo entrepreneurs to larger enterprises.
  • Reduced Competition: experience less direct competition compared to crowded marketplaces like Etsy, allowing your to stand out more effectively.
  • USA Only: Branabee and it’s users operate exclusively in the United States of America. The USA holds one of the world’s largest and most affluent consumer markets. With a vast population, high income levels and strong purchasing power, the United States is an attractive market for many businesses. Focusing exclusively on the US allows businesses to capture a substantial customer base without the complexities of international expansion. It also allows businesses to allocate their resources more efficiently by focusing and even tailoring their products and services to the needs of US consumers. This leads to better customer experience and market penetration.
  • More Control: Branabee offers overall more customization and control over your product listings, your store, your SEO, and your brand than other marketplaces. We hope you’ll consider us when making your selection.

Cons:

  • Domain Name: At the time of this writing, Branabee does not offer a way for sellers to have their own domain names (ex: www.yourshop.com).
  • Limited Branding Control: While sellers on Branabee have some control over their store’s branding and appearance, customization options may be limited compared to having a standalone e-commerce website.
  • Platform Changes: While Branabee continues to improve, the platform will undergo updates, changes, and modifications. Sellers will need to adapt to these changes, which can impact their stores functionality
  • Marketing Autonomy: Sellers on the Branabee marketplace may have limited control over the platform’s overall marketing and advertising efforts. Seller’s may rely on Branabee to generate traffic and attract customers. This could be a good or bad thing.
  • Seller Ratings and Reviews: Negative reviews or rating can impact a seller’s reputation and sales on the marketplace. Maintaining positive customer feedback is essential.
  • Marketplace Policies: Sellers must adhere to Branabee’s marketplace policies, which may include restrictions on certain types of products or specific selling practices. Compliance is necessary to avoid account penalties.
  • Limited Payment Gateways: Branabee may offer a selection of payment gateways, limiting seller’s options for receiving payments. Sellers may have to adapt to the platform’s supported payment methods.
  • Support Dependency: Sellers may rely on Branabee’s customer support for assistance with platform-related issues, and response times and quality of support can vary.
  • Limited SEO Control: Sellers may have limited control over SEO optimization compared to managing their own e-commerce websites. SEO performance can impact a seller’s visibility on the platform.

If you’re interested in creating a seller’s account, simply visit this link.

Conclusion

While Etsy has been a fantastic platform for creative entrepreneurs, it’s essential to explore alternatives to expand your online business. Whether you choose Amazon, eBay, Mercari, Poshmark, or Branabee, diversifying your online marketplace presence can help your small business thrive and grow.

Remember, each platform has its unique strengths and features, so take your time to research and find the one that best aligns with your brand and goals. Happy selling!

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented, readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and seek legal counsel when making business decisions or facing legal matters. The inclusion of company names and descriptions in this article does not imply endorsement, affiliation, or specific opinions about the mentioned companies. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the views of any third parties. The author shall not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages arising from the use or reliance on the information provided herein. Readers are advised to use their judgement and discretion when considering any business-related actions or decisions.

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