If you are a crafter or a creative person and planning to sell items online, then you have several options for setting up your online shop. But the two best choices are probably Etsy or WordPress with WooCommerce.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so here’s a quick rundown:
Etsy is an online marketplace where you set up your shop among others
- Easy to set up: Even non-technical people can get the hang of it. You’ll be up and running within an hour.
- Don’t need your own website: your shop is created on the Etsy platform
- Easy to find: when people search the Etsy marketplace they will see any products that match their search. So you’ll show up to people even if they don’t know your shop name
- Style limitations: every Etsy shop looks pretty similar with few customisation options
- Competition: if someone refers their friend to Etsy they might not find your product and might end up buying from someone else instead
- Susceptible to changes: if Etsy decides to change things, then you are stuck with those changes even if they aren’t beneficial to you
- Limited payment options: although it is easy to set up payment options in Etsy you only have a few choices of how to accept payment
- Regular fees: Etsy currently charges you 20cents for each product you load and takes 3.5% of the selling price for each sale. There may also be processing fees.
WooCommerce is a plugin that allows you to add a shop to an existing website
- Very customisable: you can make your shop look how you want using themes
- Choose your own payment gateway: decide what you want to use and then connect it
- Website linking: you can link the shop to your website and benefit from search engine optimisation
- Free: the WooCommerce plugin is free to use. You may be charged fees by whichever payment company you choose.
- The website required: WooCommerce is a plugin so you already need a hosted WordPress site up and running
- Some technical knowledge needed: you will need some knowledge to set up your store
- You will need to work on your SEO: Read about my Basic SEO Services
So which should you choose?
The chances are that you may already have a website or blog set up to promote your crafting business. If you really plan to make money from selling your products having a website to promote yourself is a good idea in the long run. So you could leap straight in with WooCommerce.
But, if you don’t have a website yet; if your website is not with WordPress; or it is but you do not feel you have the technical skills needed then Etsy is a good starting point.
If you are new to the online shopping market I’d recommend Etsy even if you do have an existing website. It can be a good way to test the water. If your Etsy shop is successful then I would consider switching to WooCommerce to give you more control over branding and image. You can manually copy your Etsy products over or use an importer plugin to do it for you. The WooCommerce Etsy Importer by Omniwp is highly recommended for this.
Of course, you could always consider running both stores if you have the time. This would increase your market reach dramatically. You can market your own website and store, but will also show up whenever someone searched Etsy for relevant products.
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I offer WordPress services if you need help with your WordPress site.