Are you wondering where you should sell your wares? I have sold on all three of these platforms. I started out selling on ETSY in early 2008 and sold there for over three years. My time on ETSY was bittersweet (more on this in a bit!). I sought out a different platform in early Fall of 2011 and found Big Cartel. My time on Big Cartel only lasted a few months. After realizing that Big Cartel just wasn’t working for me I found Storenvy. Read below to see my thoughts on each of the platforms, the pros/cons of each, and why I think Storenvy kicks butt (that is just a personal opinion though)!
First there was ETSY. I’m not going to sit here and pretend ETSY isn’t great – because it is. Trust me – they have come a LONG way since I started my account in 2007. They have a large marketplace of sellers and buyers. Keyword in that sentence is ‘buyers’ – they have them! ETSY shops get a lot of traffic because the site is getting millions of views per month - with the only issue being the competition. Most of the time if you are looking for a specific item or supply the chances are somebody else is selling the same or similar item. Who has the best price? Who is offering the cheapest shipping? Most people will shop around! Yes there are still those shops who are selling one-of-a-kind items and they are kicking some major ETSY selling toosh!
As far as the sellers platform – it is super easy to use! It could not be more self explanatory. There are features such as built-in Google Analytics (which you know I am a huge fan of!) and I love the feedback feature. I often check it if I am buying from somebody for the first time.
Moving on to ETSY as a community – it is thriving! There are tons of people joining teams and participating in their forums. It is a great place to ask questions and get advice.
If it were not for some customer service issues I would probably still be selling on ETSY. My relationship ended with ETSY when I had an issue that was messing up my ability to sell items and nobody would respond to me. There was no number to call – just an email which they didn’t respond to very quickly. For a company making millions of dollars and to which I paid quite a lot of fees to over the years - I was upset to say the least. I’m in the business of customer service and quite frankly their customer service SUCKS! (I hope they have fixed that since then!)
My experience with Big Cartel only lasted a few months. The reason for that is because I was not able to bring enough traffic on my own. Though I might be able to now, I just didn’t know HOW to bring the traffic at the time. I went from selling tons of items on ETSY to zero items on Big Cartel. It was a crush to my ego but at the same time it was a boost to my determination.
The good things about Big Cartel were that you paid one flat fee based on the number of listings you wanted to have. My fees were lower for sure, but like I said I didn’t have any sales to make it worth it. If you find that most of your traffic is being self driven from your blog, facebook, or twitter account – Big Cartel may be the place for you (if you pretend you know nothing about Storenvy!) Another good thing about Big Cartel – you can customize your storefront if you know html and CSS or you hire someone else who knows it!
The negative side of Big Cartel is that there is no feedback feature and there is virtually no marketplace or community to interact with other Big Cartel shops. My advice to you – don’t attempt to sell on Big Cartel unless you are driving most all of your own traffic! I would not suggest starting out on Big Cartel.
Now onto Storenvy. I think Storenvy is the best thing since sliced bread! Why do I think this? Well #1 – It is FREE and who doesn’t like free? Unless you want to use your own domain name or run extra special deals – you don’t pay a thing. #2 – They have some awesome customer service. If I have a question I can shoot them an email or a tweet and they respond in a very timely manner. #3 – They really care about their sellers! They tweet, facebook, and blog about their sellers. I don’t just mean a generic tweet – I mean mentioning you in it and making you feel like a part of something.
The down side to Storenvy is that it is still growing, so even though they do have a marketplace – you may not pull too many sales from it. At least it is there though - and with all of the Storenvy ‘pros’ I think this will change! The other ‘con’ is that there isn’t really a feedback feature in place. Anyone can comment on your page, but if somebody is shopping directly through your shop they won’t see it. Lastly they only allow 55 characters for tagging or describing your item. Maybe I just have a big mouth, but I wish it were more like 75. I always feel like there is one more word I want to put, but I run out of characters in the middle of it.
Hope that helps any of you with questions! I have some more selling tips coming soon!