Finding the Best Online Marketplace for Your Crafts: Amazon, Etsy or Ebay?

Finding the Best Online Marketplace for Your Crafts: Amazon, Etsy or Ebay?

When you sell crafts online, choosing the right platform is paramount. There are plenty of different options available to handmade business owners. Three of the most popular are Etsy, Amazon and eBay. But each one offers different options and benefits for handmade shop owners. Here are some comparisons and basic information that can help you make the best decision when it comes to choosing Handmade at Amazon, Etsy or eBay.

The Importance of Choosing the Best Online Marketplace for Your Crafts

Choosing the right marketplace site when selling crafts online is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Target Audience Reach: Different platforms attract different types of customers. Selecting a marketplace that aligns with your target audience can significantly increase your sales.
  2. Platform Fees and Policies: Each site has its own fee structure and policies. Understanding these can help in maximizing profits and avoiding unexpected costs or policy conflicts.
  3. Brand Alignment: The marketplace should reflect the values and aesthetics of your brand. A mismatch can dilute your brand identity and confuse potential customers.
  4. Features and Support: Some sites offer better support, tools, and features than others, which can aid in marketing, sales tracking, and customer service.
  5. Community and Networking: Certain platforms have a strong community of sellers, which can be beneficial for networking, advice, and support.

Overall, the right marketplace can make a significant difference in how effectively you can sell your crafts, reach your audience, and manage your online business.

best online marketplace for your crafts

Evaluating the Best Online Marketplace for Your Crafts: Our Thought Process

Selecting the right online marketplace for selling crafts is crucial for small business owners and craft entrepreneurs. It involves balancing a range of factors to find a platform that aligns with their products, target audience, and business goals. We rated each option using an objective scale; the importance of each factor is included below, with ten being the most important and one being the least. Here’s how we evaluate online marketplaces for crafts:

  1. Audience Reach and Demographics (Scale: 10/10)
    • Size and nature of the customer base using the platform.
    • Alignment with the target demographic for your crafts.
  2. Fees and Pricing Structure (Scale: 9/10)
    • Understanding the costs associated with listing and selling items.
    • Comparison of subscription fees, transaction fees, and other charges.
  3. Ease of Use and Seller Support (Scale: 8/10)
    • User-friendliness of the platform for listing and managing products.
    • Availability of seller support services and resources.
  4. Customization and Branding Opportunities (Scale: 7/10)
    • Ability to customize your store and showcase your brand identity.
    • Options for personalized branding, store layouts, and marketing tools.
  5. Payment and Security Features (Scale: 9/10)
    • Secure and reliable payment processing options.
    • Protection against fraud and support in resolving disputes.
  6. Marketplace Reputation and Credibility (Scale: 8/10)
    • The reputation of the marketplace among customers and sellers.
    • Trustworthiness and credibility in the market.
  7. Integration with Other Tools and Platforms (Scale: 6/10)
    • Ability to integrate with social media, websites, and other marketing tools.
    • Compatibility with third-party tools for inventory management, analytics, etc.
  8. Community and Networking Opportunities (Scale: 5/10)
    • Access to a community of fellow crafters and sellers for networking and collaboration.
    • Opportunities for learning and growth through community interaction.
  9. Marketing and Exposure (Scale: 7/10)
    • The platform’s ability to market your products and increase visibility.
    • Features like promoted listings, SEO tools, and access to larger audiences.
  10. Feedback and Review System (Scale: 7/10)
    • Availability and effectiveness of customer review systems.
    • How the platform handles feedback and its impact on seller reputation.

By carefully considering these criteria, craft business owners can choose an online marketplace that not only enhances their sales potential but also aligns with their business ethos and customer base.


Small Business Deals


best online marketplace for your crafts

Which is the Best Online Marketplace for Your Crafts?

Amazon

Handmade at Amazon is a relatively new offering from the ecommerce giant. It allows artisans and handmade business owners to set up their own shops on the popular platform.

Audience

Amazon has over 250 million customers worldwide. So there’s definitely access to a wide array of potential customers. However, not everyone who visits Amazon is specifically looking for handmade goods, so it’s not exactly a targeted group of customers.

Listing Fees

Amazon doesn’t charge listing fees, but instead takes a percentage of each transaction.

Image Options (free, charged and limitations)

Amazon lets you add one main image for each product and then up to eight alternate images for each listing, free of charge. Amazon also specifies that main photos should depict only the product for sale, not drawings or renderings, and no props that don’t come with the product.

Final Sale Fees

Currently, Amazon takes 12 percent of each sales, with the sale price calculated to include shipping. Starting August 1, 2016, that rate goes up to 15 percent.

Video options (available or not)

Sellers don’t have the ability to add video to listings. However, Amazon itself can add videos for certain vendors, but only those who are part of invitation-only vendor programs.

Payment options

Amazon accepts a variety of different payments, including credit or debit cards, checking accounts, Amazon gift cards, Amazon Points and even cash on delivery in some instances.

Inventory Management features (can you easily export items to and from your site to these sites?)

You can add your products through Amazon after you apply and get accepted. But you have to add the information for each listing. There’s not a simple import feature for you to add products from another site.

Rules and Regulations

To sell on Handmade at Amazon, you need to apply and get accepted. You also need to sell only items that are handmade by you or a member of your team, if your team is under 20 people. You can also set your own production time and even offer custom products. But Amazon only lets you set production time for 30 days out.

Store Availability (Is a store available versus just individual listings?)

With Handmade at Amazon, you get a unique storefront with a custom URL and artist profile. There, you can tell your story and offer ways to connect with customers. And of course, you can showcase all of your products for sale in that storefront, though they’ll also appear alongside other handmade products on Amazon when customers search or browse within a category.

best online marketplace for your crafts

Etsy

Etsy has long been considered the leading handmade marketplace. The site includes handmade crafts for sale, vintage items and even craft supplies.

Audience

According to Statista, Etsy had about 24 million active buyers as of 2015. Unlike eBay and Amazon, those shoppers are primarily interested in handmade items, rather than a variety of other goods.

Listing Fees

Etsy charges 20 cents per listing. And listings are good for four months before they expire. You can pay an additional 20 cents to relist items that have expired or sold.

Image Options (free, charged and limitations)

Etsy lets you upload up to five photos with each listing. There’s no additional charge for adding photos beyond that initial listing fee. Etsy recommends using photos that are a maximum of 800-1000 pixels wide and landscape or square images for the main photos.

Final Sale fees

Etsy charges a 3.5 percent transaction fee on every sale. You can pay those fees, along with the listing fees, once per month.

Video options (available or not)

You can create and upload a shop video to your main shop page. Etsy doesn’t have strict requirements for these, but recommends videos be around two minutes or less, landscape, and a max of 300 MB.

Payment options

Each Etsy seller can specify which payment methods to accept, including PayPal, credit cards, Etsy gift cards and Apple Pay.

Inventory Management features (can you easily export items to and from your site to these sites?)

You can add each listing individually on Etsy. But there’s no automatic upload or transfer feature.

Rules and Regulations

Etsy allows sellers to list items that are made by hand, vintage (must be at least 20 years old or more), or craft supplies. However, the definition of “handmade” has changed in the past few years, to the dismay of some Etsy buyers and sellers. The site is much less strict now and will allow users to sell items that are mass produced in some ways. So an item can feature original artwork but be actually produced on a mass scale.

Store Availability (Is a store available versus just individual listings?)

Each Etsy seller can set up their own individual store with its own header photo, profile and policies. Shoppers can view your products within your store or within Etsy categories or search results.

To learn more about selling on Etsy, read: How to Start an Etsy Shop

best online marketplace for your crafts

eBay

eBay is mostly known for online auctions. But some handmade business owners have found the platform to be helpful in selling crafts.

Audience

eBay’s user base grew to about 162 million active users in Q4 of 2015. However, not all of those users are interested in purchasing handmade crafts. In fact, some active users are primarily interested in selling rather than buying.

Listing Fees

The fees for eBay sellers can vary based on the type of listing, since you can host both auction type sales and fixed-price sales. In general, it’s free to create your first 50 listings per month, and then 30 cents per listing beyond that.

Image Options (free, charged and limitations)

You can add up to 12 images for free with each listing with eBay picture hosting. That also includes zoom and enlarge features so customers can get an up-close view of your products.

Final Sale fees

eBay also charges 10 percent of the total amount of the sale, which includes the item price, shipping and any other costs that you charge to the buyer, aside from sales tax. The maximum fee is $750.

Video options (available or not)

You can add FLASH files for sound or video on each eBay listing. So you can upload a video to a third party service like YouTube, then either link to or embed the video into your listing page.

Payment options

Sellers can select the payment options you want to accept, including PayPal and credit or debit cards. You can also choose to accept payment upon pickup.

Inventory Management features (can you easily export items to and from your site to these sites?)

You can create listings directly on eBay. Or you can upload your inventory data or listing templates through CSV or Excel files.

Rules and Regulations

eBay offers the ability to sell a wide array of items. So you don’t have to worry as much about restrictions on handmade items specifically. However, there are rules about listing items in specific categories. For instance, if you list an item as fine jewelry, it needs to have a fine metal setting or a fine gemstone included. Fashion settings are not permitted without fine gemstones in that category. There are also restricted and prohibited items, such as alcohol or hazardous materials, which generally aren’t allowed on eBay unless they’ve been pre-approved.

Store Availability (Is a store available versus just individual listings?)

You can create a dedicated store if you have an eBay seller account, credit card on file and a verified PayPal account. eBay also offers options for Premium or Anchor Stores as long as you have a high seller performance level.

Feature Amazon Handmade Etsy eBay

Audience Over 250 million customers worldwide, not targeted About 24 million active buyers, primarily interested in handmade items 162 million active users, varied interests

Listing Fees No listing fees, percentage taken per transaction $0.20 per listing, valid for four months Free for first 50 listings/month, then $0.30 each

Image Options One main image, up to eight alternates, no extra charge Up to five photos, no additional charge Up to 12 images free, with zoom and enlarge features

Final Sale Fees 12% (increasing to 15% after August 1, 2016) 3.5% transaction fee 10% of the total sale (max $750)

Video Options No seller-added video, Amazon adds for select vendors Shop videos allowed, recommended <2 minutes, <300 MB FLASH files for sound/video, link/embed from YouTube

Payment Options Variety including credit/debit cards, Amazon gift cards Seller-specified, including PayPal, credit cards PayPal, credit/debit cards, payment upon pickup

Inventory Management Manual addition post-approval, no import feature Manual listing addition, no automatic transfer Direct creation or CSV/Excel file upload

Rules and Regulations Application required, handmade items only, production time limit of 30 days Handmade, vintage, craft supplies; less strict on ‘handmade’ definition Wide array, specific category rules, some restrictions

Store Availability Unique storefront with custom URL and artist profile Individual store with header photo, profile Dedicated store with eBay seller account


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