You’re starting a business, or maybe you have a brick & mortar, but you’re just now taking things online. You’re wondering to yourself, “Should I create an Etsy store or get my own website??” There are lots of things to consider when choosing the right platform for you and your business and it can oftentimes seem overwhelming. The goal of this post is to simplify and help bring clarity to your process! We’ll look at opening an Etsy shop vs. your own website and which one is right for you!
FIRST, YOU’LL WANT TO CONSIDER:
- What am I selling?
- Do you have an established audience? (instagram followers, email list, pinterest followers, etc.)
- Where do you plan on targeting them? (social media, email marketing etc.)
- Do you have experience with online marketing or the time/patience to research and learn?
- How much time and/or money do you have to put towards your new venture?
If you are completely overwhelmed by the list above and do not have the time to research or means to get help with some of these items, I can probably already tell that you would benefit from starting on Etsy! Although having your own website has its advantages (which we will get to later) getting your own website up and running is going to be much more labor intensive than starting an Etsy shop.
Etsy has traditionally been a platform for shops selling vintage or handmade items only. In the last couple of years, they have also opened up their platform to sellers working with “approved partners”. Basically, you can work with a manufacturer to create your original designs — they don’t have to be produced or even shipped by you. Lots of Print On Demand businesses popped up on the platform after Etsy announced this change.
Etsy is easy to use and has a lot of tools integrated into your shop which makes managing it super simple. Etsy’s ease of use comes with its downfalls though – you are highly limited on what you are allowed to do on the platform and little to no customization.
Etsy is also a great option if you don’t have the time to invest in marketing your own store and don’t have the budget to hire it out. Etsy has loyal users that use its search function within the platform much like someone would use Google. They go to Etsy to search for what they’re looking for determined that they’re going to find it within the platform. This is great news for Etsy sellers in that the platform helps bring traffic to your store and listings as long as you are “speaking the same language” (SEO) as your ideal customers!
However, that same advantage can also be a disadvantage if you are in a category that has a ton of competition within the platform. Especially if you’re bringing your own traffic to the site – shoppers can get distracted by other sellers selling similar or like items and potentially purchase from them instead of you!
If Etsy goes away tomorrow — what would you do? While I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, there are very real changes to its algorithm and platform in general that can have a direct impact on you and your business. Those are things you need to be aware of and take into consideration when deciding on creating an Etsy store or investing in your own website.
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR OWN WEBSITE
I typically always recommend having your own website to all of my clients. While Etsy can offer limitations around customization, functionality and remarketing your customers — Having your own website gives you full control!
You cannot collect the emails of buyers or even browsers on Etsy to remarket your products to. This major lack in marketing is a large enough reason on its own to make you want your own standalone site. There are so many stats around email marketing and its benefits in targeting and retargeting your customers. In terms of marketing efforts, it offers the biggest ROI.
Sites like Shopify make it easier than ever to develop an ecommerce site on your own! If you don’t have the time to learn a new platform and lack in design/UX (User Experience) skills — I absolutely recommend hiring someone to help you with this. Shopify offers a complete app store that offers thousands of integrations to help your store function the way you want it to!
You can integrate a blog to help drive organic traffic and have marketing automations like email sign up forms with email sequences that automatically send based on your customer’s behaviors in your shop. These are all tools that help do the selling for you and create customer loyalty.
A THIRD OPTION
Why not both!? If you only have the bandwidth to focus on one starting out – weigh the pros and cons above to help you decide. But if you are able to build out an Etsy store AND your own website, I recommend doing so! As I mentioned earlier, Etsy shoppers are loyal to the platform and sometimes set their mind on only purchasing on the platform. If you’re not on the platform — you’re missing out on those shoppers!
If you do choose to build out both options for your business – you may be wondering: how do you market both? Won’t your shoppers get confused? When going this route I recommend integrating all of your social media and marketing efforts with your standalone site. Treat Etsy as your cherry-on-the-top revenue stream where you pickup sales from shoppers that are shopping within the platform. Use Etsy’s promoted listings and a solid SEO strategy to help bring traffic to your listings. Other than keeping listings updated & running sales – you can use a set it and forget it approach!
I hope this was helpful in bringing clarity to your decision on where to start! If you still feel like you’re needing more help or want to talk about working with me so that I can take some of these items off of your plate – I’d love to talk to you! Contact me here! >>