Why I chose to Bypass Etsy and Amazon?

Posted by Carmelina Hreinsson on

When I first launched my business, I kept hearing and reading about why selling on Etsy was so imperative for my type of business.  But as I started to do more research and learned more about Etsy, I became more inclined to NOT join the Etsy marketplace.  Based on Consumer Affairs Reviews, Etsy received a 1 ½ overall satisfaction rating (though I must warn you that this company has not yet been accredited).  I will note that most of the complaints seemed to come from buyers.  The first complaint I read about was regarding Etsy not providing buyer protection.  One buyer complained about purchasing an item on Etsy which, when sent, apparently contained a partial order which was also shipped to the wrong address. A claim was filed by the buyer to which Etsy claimed that THEY and the seller were not responsible for items not received by the buyer.  The postal service stated that it was returned to the seller, but the seller claimed to have not received it – bottom line, the buyer was out of money.  WHAT!!!! Personally, as a seller, I would have sent the money back to the buyer even if they were lying because my stance is that customer service is, for the most part, more important than the buy.  I read several instances of these type of issues occurring which, as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t bode well for Etsy.  Another complaint (this time from a seller) was regarding Etsy not being very responsive to one of their requests. The seller talked about closing her shop because she didn’t have time to try to figure out the convoluted inner workings of Etsy’s site/policies for when something goes wrong (as was the case for her).  I found a complaint in another forum titled “Horrible for Sellers” in which she complained that:

1. Etsy does not openly provide a customer service number (which by the way, is one of my pet peeves
2. She submitted a support request online and had to wait 2 days for an email reply to which she finally received a number to call and when she called was asked to enter a call back number to which she was subsequently entered into a queue to wait for someone to call her back
    • Also, what she learned was that the first level of support could ONLY update email addresses -nothing more
3. This user was also locked out of her account due to an old cell number and could not get back into her account and, as a result, was not able to submit a ticket
4. Once this issue was finally resolved, she was able to submit a request but received a reply stating that the issue would be escalated and that she would receive an e-Mail – NOT A CALL – to provide support

    As a result of these complications, this person has decided to close her Etsy shop but in the meantime, has outstanding orders waiting to be shipped.   Another person blasted out a warning stating that he found out that Etsy is entitled to charge whatever they want on all credit cards without consent, which is exactly what happened to him.  Yikes!

    On the positive side, I found a reviewer who stated,

    "Etsy has changed my life for the better. I am now selling on Etsy full time and making more than many of my peers are. It's only a good site for sellers IF you fully read the seller handbook and work hard at running your shop. It isn't a "list and get rich" website - you need to put a lot of work into making your shop appealing for customers. However, Etsy provides buyers that wouldn't otherwise find me on another site or my own."

    Arianna O’dell also does a pretty good job in her article, How to Decide Between Etsy, Amazon, and Shopify for Selling Online of easily comparing Etsy, Amazon and Shopify for selling Online (which I’ve also outlined below).  

    Retail Site

    Pros

    Cons

    Get Started

    Amazon

    • Access to millions of customers
    • Easy to get started
    • Almost no restrictions
    • Listings tend to rise to top on Google searches
    •  Lots of competition
    • Need to work extra hard to stand out
    • Need to buy UPC codes for each item being sold
    • Hefty referral fee for each product sold

     Seller Central

    Etsy – online marketplace

    • Focus on few select categories means users will be interested in your product
    • Suite of market tools
    • Easy to create coupons codes & promotions
    • Can easily download listings in csv file with one click
    • Market has become saturated
    • Abundance of sellers with similar products
    • Though slightly more customizable than Amazon, designs are still limited

    Start selling on Etsy

    Shopify- eCommerce website

    • Can create beautiful websites
    • Has customizable themes
    • Adds credibility to sites
    • Shopify Stores can integrate with other marketplaces
    • Requires more work to get started on Shopify
    • Independence of marketplace may result in less traffic

    Start with 14-day trial before purchasing

     

    As for me, I have decided that for the time being, I will stick with Shopify because I like the luxury of having my own website/store and don’t want the hassle of competing with other brands within one marketplace.  Additionally, with the recent increased fees and the allowance of brick-and-mortar retailers to sell on Etsy, I was very turned off.  That said, this decision requires me to do ALL my own marketing (no easy task) but it is something I am willing to risk.

    Have an opinion? Please feel free to leave comments or send me an email at contact@linas-chicboutique.com.

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