August 23, 2017

Which is the Best Online Marketplace: Amazon, Etsy or Ebay?


Which is the Best Online Marketplace for Me: 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.

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.

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.

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.

Knitter Photo via Shutterstock

16 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

16 Reactions

  1. We are currently working on both Amazon and eBay. We are getting great response from eBay store as compare to the Amazon. We have stores in Australia, UK and .com on ebay. Also, using ebay paid campaign to promote the products on the ebay.

  2. Aira Bongco

    If we are going to talk about handmade products, I’d say Etsy. Amazon is best for books. Not really a fan of Ebay.

    • Annie Pilon

      I’m sure it all depends on the type of products and audience – but yes, Etsy certainly offers more of an audience of specific handmade buyers.

  3. Very in-depth research. Each platform has strengths, but find the one that works for you and run with it.

  4. I generated over $100,000 in sales three years in a row on Etsy. If I could do it all over, I would avoid them and also Ebay. Instead, focus on building your own market channel, use Shopify as your platform and also branch out to Amazon (fees aside).

    My issue with Etsy is you’re not building brand value from their channel. I’d say capture the email address of everyone who buys a product from you, and when you need to jump ship, start contacting your old customers telling them about your move.

    Here is what I did and am still generating revenue on my own:
    – open a shopify store
    – Run Facebook / Instagram adds
    – Run Pinterest ads

    • WOW?! how in the world did you do that? ($100,000) and what are you selling? I just closed my etsy shop today because I have 0 revenue for 2017 so far and was hit with a $200.00 fee! (Etsy). It’s ludicrous your just paying for Facebook ads? Those also do next to nothing for me.

    • It really is fantastic that you’ve had so much success with etsy. My main problem with them is that since they ditched the “handmade” ethics standards, pretty much everyone and their second cousins have an etsy shop. It’s really hard to get a following there anymore. I assume you worked very hard at building up your client base, and probably started pretty early in the game (before it became completely oversaturated)… but it’s still quite a accomplishment. I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering why you decided to ditch it if you were making that kind of income. Sounds like you got burned in some way.

      My other question is why you suggest a “shopify” store, specifically. I have a website that I created myself, using a wordpress theme that includes a shopping cart. Though I make occasional sales, I am not very good at driving traffic to it. Is there something intrinsic to Shopify that helps drive traffic? Thanks for sharing your story and advice.

  5. i have been wholesaling my handmade in the good ol USA for over 35 years. i just opened an etsy store in their new wholesale department. i uploaded over 100 items and have had almost no views other than the one store who put in an order for about $400 (not much for wholesale) i’m pretty disappointed with the whole shebang. i emailed twice asking how they were getting ‘people’ to the wholesale end of their site and was told they advertise in a few ‘trade magazines’ but god knows what that means.

    clearly they aren’t getting enough traffic to the site if no one is seeing my work. i’m not sure what the answer is. i’ve looked for other ways of getting my work out there and keep hitting dead end after dead end. i have a rep who works the west coast and they take 18% commission. it seems if i’m going to expand any farther i’d need to do the big Gift Shows on my own. an investment of about $16,000 with air fare, hotel and booth space, shipping of display etc. they charge a massive amount for a 10 X 10 space and then tack on little fee after fee for lighting and paying union guys to bring your pallet from the loading dock to your booth.

    sorry this got so long. this article is WONDERFUL for it’s in-depth (as written above) and am glad there’s a conversation about the whole shebang.

    • Susan,
      I feel your frustration. It’s really difficult to build up a wholesale business without investing a lot of money in trades hows. Have you looked into IndieMe (formerly WholesaleCrafts)? I get all of my wholesale business through that website, and it’s not terribly expensive.

  6. One more thing, if you go the build your own website route, the author has another article worth reading on this website.
    10 Small But Essential Ways to Boost Your Business by Annie Pilon.

  7. I’ve had very good success on Etsy, however my product falls into a niche category, a big advantage. Amazon handmade, not so much, even though their audience is larger. But so are the number of sellers. Far less activity in Amazon and I find it to be very impersonal which is hurtful to deliver good conversation from a customer service standpoint. Also, their fees are ridiculously high in my opinion. Etsy is the place for handmade. The more unique your product, the more success. And btw, I have not spent one cent on advertising and am a social media failure. If you have a great product, can afford to advertise, and are a social media genius, and deliver stellar customer service, you’ll make money…and a good chance of a lot of it.

  8. I like Amazon. Ebay sucks. I hate the stupid EBay. Ebay scans way to much and there products suck. They also have really bad deals. Never use Ebay. Always use Amazon.

  9. Hi all…I’m on Etsy currently and have not sold a thing! However, I’m in Jewelry and that has literally thousands of listings, so competition is pretty tough. But it’s been a few months so I’m hanging in there. Put a few listings on Ebay with little or no interest there. I’m now trying to set up a Handmade on Amazon account and you wouldn’t believe the difficulties I’m having. Their website is horrific…I’ll be in a Sellers area and then click on another link and end up in the Retail area as a customer! I’ve been sent links to Handmade info and when I click on them I get the message FORBIDDEN….??? What the H…. is that all about? It is crazy and I’m about to give up on Amazon totally. The funny thing is….everyone who sees my jewelry…LOVES them. And buys them. So does that mean I need to open a brick and mortar shop so people can actually see and try on my items? It is a mystery to me…..

  10. I would love any suggestions as well. I’ve been on Etsy for 4yrs and have ended up doing my own marketing and advertising, I sold nothing until I did the hard yards. Things were “ok” and was reasonable until the recent changes and mandatory cross over to Etsy Payments system. Now I seem to be paying more hidden fees and having more issues with their current system setup, and no support for sellers if the buyer dos the wrong thing – you now have to give them a full refund regardless if the customer stuffs you around with custom work before you can cancel the order. I’ve had bad experience with ebay and difficulties also in getting anywhere with amazon. Any suggestions? Even a blog platform with online shop? My customers love my products, but they are becoming reluctant to use Etsy with the recent issues. I sell custom fibres and hand spun and hand dyed yarns for reference.

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