With all the upheaval over at Etsy, I thought I would throw my two cents in to the ring and talk about managing multiple stores, marketing, inventory, shipping, etc.
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This is a sponsored post paid for by Veeqo
Why I Wrote This Post
And while NO site is perfect, I have been hearing a bunch of rumblings from people whose opinion I really respect that some of the things that Etsy is doing now are not great (I have been focusing on my blogs and Shopify rather than Etsy for a minute so I rely on my besty who is the trenches to let me know what is going on!)
So for all my Etsy peeps, I wanted to give a full overview of what could be involved in moving off the Etsy platform to a standalone store like Shopify.
Glossary of Terms
Before we get started I want to break down all the pieces of an ecommerce puzzle so that we all know that we are talking about the same things!
Etsy – A sales and marketing platform that started out as a handmade goods marketplace and seems to be moving back in that direction.
Ebay – A super old sales platform where sellers can sell anything from used goods to handmade to new things.
Shopify – Shopify is a really cool “shop building” platform that lets you make a store super easily with very little technical knowledge.
Veeqo – An ecommerce shipping and inventory software that can help integrate different kinds
of stores like Ebay, Etsy, Shopify. It’s also owned by and Amazon so integrates seamlessly with
Amazon’s Buy Shipping , providing you with A to Z protections when you purchase your labels
Disclosure: I have sold on Etsy, Ebay, Shopify, used Printify for Print On Demand and generally am really familiar with all the ups and downs of each kind of sales platform. While Veeqo reach out to me and compensate me to write this post, they did not give me any input into it and all thoughts and opinions are my own based on my experience as a seller. Oh and Veeqo is FREE!
Etsy Pros and Cons
Oh Etsy… how I love and hate her! I have had Etsy stores off and on since 2014-ish (my first one was selling necklaces, I have sold vintage on Etsy, POD and even have a printables store that sold over $30K of worksheets, forms and planners.)
For beginning ecommerce sellers Etsy is a great place to get started. They have built in traffic and a robust shopping cart system.
The cost is minimal as a startup, $.20 per listing (and for every sale of that item), no marketing fees to start unless you pay for promotions and you can have multiple stores for no additional fees.
Since this is a post about Etsy AND Shopify let's dish about the cons! And there are many!
My marketing besty is in the throws of Black Friday and the selling season and I have heard an earful about Etsy. Almost every week there is a new catastrophe that Etsy has brought on her store that is making it hard to focus on her actual work.
Whether it is forcing her to pay for offsite ads or changing acceptable keywords on a whim, Etsy is definitely the boss of you and you are just renting space on their platform.
It is hard to categorize your listings since you can only have 20 sections and items can't be in multiple sections (which makes marketing harder).
They have been on a spree of shutting down stores and since your store is tied to your IP address, if they shut down one store you are banned outright from all of Etsy and could lose your whole income in one fell swoop.
Shopify Pros and Cons
I quite like Shopify so take my enthusiastic confirmations with a grain of salt!
First off, I feel Shopify has many of the modern features of regular shopping carts like multiple categories and collections, a blog option, drag and drop design and more!
It integrates with almost everything including email providers, shipping systems, accounting and analytics.
And it is yours! While there are terms of service that can be enforced and you have to honor copyright, you are not under the thumb of a corporation that can change the rules at the drop of a hat.
This one is just a wee bit petty, but I hate the fact that new themes are so darn expensive. I am used to paying for themes, but the Shopify ones feel like hostage taker prices!
It is definitely more challenging technically than Etsy is. You will have to do research to find out what apps and addons you will need to make it work the way you want to.
It is also more expensive as a startup, coming in at $39-ish dollars a month for the most basic store.
If I had to pick one thing that I feel like Etsy does that you will miss greatly it is marketing!
They send out daily emails highlighting the products that you have seen or favorited and driving traffic back to your listings. If you got to Shopify you will have to get an email provider (I recommend Convertkit) and also an app in Shopify to make it work.
They also pay for regular ads on Google as well as giving you access to offsite ads at a price that most small business owners cannot afford or manage at a super small scale.
What About Having Both Etsy and Shopify?
Okay, now that we have discussed the pros and cons, I have a great suggestion for you! What about if it isn't either or, but both!
I think it is a great idea to have Etsy as a starter store and then move to Shopify as you grow your inventory and email list so you can market to potential and past customers!
That said, having multiple stores and multiple platforms can be a NIGHTMARE!
Having been a OOAK (one of a kind) Etsy vintage seller, there wasn't a fall back product to ship if someone bought it on both platforms. A gal did this one time thinking she could buy one candlestick on Etsy and one on Ebay and get a set… they were the same candlestick and I wound up have to refund both… ack!
One reason Veeqo caught my eye is that you hook them up and they can manage your inventory across all the stores mechanically!
As a small biz seller I did NOT want to have be stressed out all the time that I would miss a sale and taking it off the other sites. This software seems to be able to handle all that for you for free!
Etsy is definitely being a pill about shipping right now and with shipping costs the way they are having integrated shipping across all your stores (or even just Etsy or just Printify) is an amazing idea!
I love that Veeqo figures out what shipping company is best for your order and makes the appropriate label.
For example, I sold some SUPER HEAVY metal items and sometimes they would fit into the Priority one price box and sometimes they wouldn't and I had to figure out if Fedex or UPS would have a better price.
This service would have made a huge difference in the time it took to ship my orders each morning!
Etsy Versus Shopify Wrapup
Okay, here is my final take on the question… should you leave Etsy for Shopify?
If you are techy and like to make things on the internet work… YES! Move on over.
If you are a marketing whiz with a huge (or even medium) mailing list… YES! Move on over.
If you don't have all that in place right now, I would totally recommend going multichannel with different stores and using a service like Veeqo to manage all the pieces together!
If you are just getting into the online game you might not understand how amazing the times we are living in. In 1999 the web development company I worked at was charging $20K to make a shopping cart that didn't have half the functionality that Shopify has for $40 bucks a month now.
And while it may be intimidating to think that there is a service that can consolidate and oversee a huge ecommerce empire for you (or a mini empire like mine) I definitely think it is worth taking the time to find out, especially for free!