In this article we look at the full list of pros & cons of selling on Etsy. Is selling on Etsy still worth it in 2022? Check out our extensive list of advantages and disadvantages you have as an Etsy seller, before making sure Etsy is the right platform for you. Learn from the stats and from our years-long experience as Etsy sellers.
What is Etsy and how can I start selling on this market?
Etsy is an online marketplace for independent sellers all over the world. At the beginning, Etsy used to be focused on vintage & handmade items, as well as craft supplies. In recent years, their seller policy has changed a few times, so you can now sell more types of products, including personalized items and print-on-demand goods.
If you’re not sure if your product or service can be sold on Etsy, then consult the Etsy seller policy, so as not to risk having your seller privileges revoked.
Becoming a seller on Etsy takes a few steps. Firstly, you need to sign up as a seller on the platform, then create your Etsy store, work out your billing details, and start listing your products. Of course, a lot more work goes behind a successful Etsy store (product photography, SEO-optimization, social media marketing, etc.).
If you're an absolute beginner on Etsy, make sure to get our FREE step-by-step PDF guide to a successful start on Etsy. A worksheet taking you through all the steps from joining Etsy to listing your first product.
In recent years, Etsy has sustained impressive growth and it has become one of the best known online marketplaces in the US, and not only. But due to its increase in popularity, competition among independent sellers has grown, and the platform’s policies and requirements have changed as well. So let’s look at some of the pros and cons of selling on Etsy in 2022!
Pros & cons of selling on Etsy
|1. Etsy is a large, well-known market place that has a lot of traffic. Your products can get a lot of views & potential sales.||1. You are an independent seller on
Etsy, and the competition is fierce.
Millions of sellers use Etsy as the
main marketplace for their online
|2. If you have no previous experience selling online, Etsy is a great starting
point for your business. Setting up an Etsy store is pretty easy.
|2. Etsy fees are quite high. You pay a $0.20 fee per listing created, 5% of the total payment collected, and a $0.25 fee if the transaction is processed via Etsy’s Direct Checkout.
If you have a wide variety of products, your fees will amount to quite a lot.
Each time one of your items sells, you pay a renewing fee.
|3. People who shop on Etsy are generally aware that they buy from small, independent sellers. They are expecting to get something unique,
with a story. You don’t need to rise up to the huge expectations customers have from a brand, like you would if you created your own website.
|3. If you have your own website, people are way more likely to remember it.
And to become repeat customers.
When people buy something from an Etsy seller, they will generally only remember that they bought it “on Etsy”.
There’s a high chance they won’t pay attention to your store name.
|4. Creating a store on Etsy is a lot easier that designing an online store/website.||4. Etsy can close your shop and revoke your seller privileges at any time. You can lose all your hard work and the rights to sell on Etsy again. This does not happen when you have your own website.|
|5. Etsy is very well positioned on certain market segments. It is the platform people go directly to when they want to buy something vintage,
handmade, personalized, or craft supplies. If your products fall into any
of these categories, they might perform very well on Etsy.
|5. You cannot sell whatever you want on Etsy. The market is limited to only some types of products. And they “may deactivate Your Content or suspend or terminate your account (and any accounts Etsy determines is related to your account)” if you don’t respect the Seller Policy.|
|6. Etsy has a blog and numerous resources to help you create a successful store, and better experiences for your customers. There’s
also a large Etsy community online.
Sellers are willing to help and share some of their best practices or solutions to problems they’ve faced.
|6. The support team at Etsy is hard to get in touch with. They try to direct you to their website (Etsy Help Center) to find the answers to your questions.
Finally, if it doesn’t work, you can
schedule a phone call with someone from support. From our experience, and that of many other sellers we’ve worked with, it’s not the most effective process, nor the quickest.
|7. The platform has a good system that allows you to talk to your customers via message. This way, you can let them know when the items are shipped. You can offer them discounts to become repeat customers, and so on.
Etsy also has a Case System, and they can help you solve disputes and other order issues with your customers, if
|7. Your store’s performance is always affected by feedbacks, sales, and even by your ability to offer free shipping.
These are some of the topics that
are widely discussed by Etsy
They even mention the following in
their Seller Policy: “In the event a shop sees an unusual spike in orders, particularly in a high
demand category, a shop may see an increase or decrease in its search ranking.
Often, if a shop sees an increase in
fulfilled orders and good reviews, this may result in higher visibility and search rank. However, sometimes a
rapid increase in orders can reduce visibility.”
|8. You can sell on Etsy without focusing
extensively on marketing and branding.
Though we still encourage you to use social media to drive traffic to your Etsy store.
This is a great advantage for people who don’t want to invest much time
in building a brand, who aren’t too interested in graphic design, and in a particular aesthetic for their online store.
|8. If you’re looking to build a brand
and create brand awareness, Etsy is not the best way to go.
You can add a logo, a banner, and
invest in some branded packaging, if you’d like to go a step further in this direction. But it would probably be wiser in the long run to also work at designing your own website. At least a presentation one.
|9. Etsy has policies in place to protect sellers and buyers against discrimination, inappropriate language, privacy policies, etc. So you can report buyers or sellers that violate these rules. These values are also appreciated and promoted within the Etsy community.||9. Since your customers buy from your store via Etsy, you can’t really build your personal mailing list, or use their personal information. Having your own website would allow you to collect a lot more information about your customers and website visitors.
By using a pop up form to get their approval, you can create mailing lists, phone number lists, and so on. And use them to create a complete customer experience. This results in repeat buyers, and a lot of brand awareness.
Is selling on Etsy still worth it in 2022?
If you’re just starting out on Etsy, don’t be discouraged. There’s still place for everyone. Even if the competition is fierce, the traffic has also increased on Etsy in recent years.
Etsy has experienced tremendous growth. And this means that more and more potential buyers turn to Etsy to shop online, especially for gifts. Moreover, let’s not forget the shift to online shopping that the pandemic has created worldwide.
New to Etsy? Then, we highly encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter and get our FREE Guide for a Successful Start on Etsy. It takes you step-by-step through the process of opening a successful Etsy store, without making any mistakes, from the start. Also, make sure to check out the other articles on our Etsy business growth blog.
Already a seller on Etsy? Then, here are a few things you can do to up your game:
- Work on a better SEO strategy – competition & keyword research is key
- Upgrade your product photography game (see our tips)
- Use seasonal products to drive up sales (see our article & shopping trends calendar)
- Try multiple backgrounds for your product photos (check out our Top 10)
- Above all, use social media to drive traffic to your Etsy store
Etsy vs. your own website
Etsy is a great marketplace for starting out. But if you’re committed to your online business, invest in creating your own website. It’s the best thing we ever did. Check out our comparison between Etsy and Shopify, in order to better understand the benefits of building your own online store.
And if you have any pros & cons you’d like to add to the list, please share them in the comments section below! We’d love to hear about your selling experiences on Etsy.