People have been making money on eBay for years (and others have made their own fortunes selling get-rich programs on making money on eBay), yet many work-at-home sellers are looking for an alternative. EBay listing costs have gone up, and although the site generates a lot of traffic and potential buyers, some sellers feel they are spending too much on the simple costs of operating an eBay store.
One of the most popular alternatives is a site called Etsy, which is a specialty sales platform specializing in either vintage or handmade goods. While the traffic to Etsy isn’t quite as high as eBay, this site is gaining in popularity, which means sellers are making more and more money as the site grows. If you have a nose for finding great vintage finds or a knack for creating handcrafted goods, this might be a great way to earn some extra money working at home or even earn a full-time income.
It’s as Easy as 1-2-3
One of the great things about Etsy is it’s very simple to set up and get started with your own shop. Registration can be done through your Facebook, or manually enter your information in to a short form to get started.
Once you’ve registered, setting up shop is pretty simple, and you’ll start by choosing a shop name. Choose wisely, but if you do feel you need to change it down the road, you’ll be able to, depending on name availability. Creating your first listing won’t require any knowledge of coding, and the listing forms are pretty intuitive.
You can add variations to your products in a variety of categories such as size, color etc., and once you add your variations, then you can set individual prices for each variation if necessary. For example, if you’re listing fine art photographs and you want to offer different sizes, you can do that in one listing. You simply enter the sizes you want to offer, and once that’s done, you can click on pricing to set the individual prices. This is a great alternative to making three separate listings and paying three separate listing fees.
Speaking of listing fees, obviously that’s a big comparison point for anyone thinking about opening an Etsy shop. Your basic listing fees are $.20 each for a four month listing. Compare that to $.20 base rate for a 30 day listing on eBay. Like eBay, Etsy does charge a percentage of any sales made, but their rate is 3.5%, as opposed to eBay, which charges anywhere from 8% to 15%, depending on what category you are selling in. So obviously Etsy is a money saver, although many eBay sellers claim that the huge amount of viewers that come to the eBay website makes up for the difference.
That might be the case, but sometimes the number of viewers coming to your site is not the only important factor, but how well those viewers are targeted to what you are offering. Etsy has set up a niche in selling vintage and handmade items, so people who come to the site are looking for unique crafted items and second hand finds. Another place where Etsy really excels in sales is in wholesale and supplies to make your own crafts. While eBay may offer similar categories, crafters and DIYers pretty much know that Etsy is the place to be for handmade goods and supplies to make those goods. The bottom line is you may not get quite as much traffic with Etsy, but you may get better traffic depending on the kind of products you’re selling.
So while you may need to do a little more marketing to draw traffic to your Etsy store, you may find you draw a more targeted audience and you won’t have to pay as much money up front to get your store launched. This allows you to start small and grow your business as sales start to accumulate.
Let Etsy Take Care of It
Like eBay, Etsy has a built in shopping cart system and payment gateway, so you won’t need to buy expensive e-commerce software or pay to have it installed. You won’t have to set up a merchant account for processing credit cards, either. You can also preset your shipping rates and give buyers discounts automatically for buying multiple items, so the shipping calculations are automated. Can it get any simpler?
And let’s talk about support. Ebay has great resources and tools, but Etsy has support groups, forums, and educational videos on marketing and wholesaling. They also offer online and in-person workshops to help make you a better seller and a better business owner. Because remember, starting up an Etsy store of handmade goods may be based on something you love to do, but if you want to make it a profitable business, you’ll need to understand that aspect of it as well.
Check back for more Etsy tutorials and tips on becoming a successful seller.