Thoughts about Etsy (as a seller)
I've had my Etsy store online for a few years now. Etsy being an online marketplace built to house arts, crafts and creations by original content creators, artisans and designers. I've never actively promoted it since the store here at Benkrefta.com lists everything I sell on Etsy and more. Also at a lower price since I do not need to pay Etsy's middle-man fees.
This isn't going to be a huge in-depth article about Etsy as a selling platform with how to guides on how to set up an Etsy store. Instead, just a few current thoughts I have after using it for a few years now.
Why do you have an Etsy shop, if you already have an online store?
Initially I set it up hoping to use it more as a marketing tool. A way to direct people from Etsy's market place to my shop here. As it turned out, people preferred just buying via Etsy. Despite mentioning this website on my Etsy page and profile and despite my products being cheaper here at BenKrefta.com, customers didn't seem to want to venture off-site. They were happy to simply complete their purchase through Etsy. Perhaps the thought of going to the source doesn't cross a potential customers mind? Or customers miss the call to visit my site? Perhaps it feels like too much effort to click an extra few links when the product is already right there in front of them? Perhaps customers value Etsy's buyer guarantee in the case something were to go wrong with an order?
Ultimately it doesn't really matter what platform a buyer purchases from. It's all good so long as the customer is happy with the price they pay and I'm happy with the price I get. It's just a shame I can't get to pass on the saving to customers I'm otherwise paying Etsy to host a product listing, process payments and communicate. I already have these facilities set up here.
In short, I've learned that it never hurts to list your products on as many platforms as possible. It's been a benefit to use Etsy in addition to my own website and generates additional sales I would otherwise not have had.
What's it like to use?
As selling platforms goes, It's not bad. Setting up and editing listings or multiple listings is straight forward. More so than my own site which uses the WordPress eCommerce module 'Woo Commerce'.
Payments reach my bank account within a day or two. Not instantly, which is a shame, but a lot quicker than Amazon.com for example. Amazon insists it holds my money for 3 months in case of needing a reserve to deal with potential returns and refunds.
Layouts are clean and everything works as it should without being overly complicated.
A battle against art thieves
One thing I, along with many marketplace sellers often complain about is the amount of businesses which abuse the platform. The site is set up for individuals and small businesses who produce handmade, niche products. However, there are way too many sellers on the site which will, for example, steal a load of images and content online then reproduce it on t-shirts, posters and apparel. Yes, it's against Etsy's terms of service, but there's so much of it and not always easy for a layman to tell who has the right to reproduce what. It becomes a complicated and time-consuming task to moderate.
On a personal level, I've now seen 4 different sellers who have stolen my artwork and attempted to sell it printed onto products without my permission on Etsy. I don't even regularly search for it, and often just stumble across my stolen art. No doubt there's someone on Etsy right now attempting to profit from my work illegally. I've simply not got around to finding it yet.
I have managed to get my 4 works removed from each of the Etsy seller's listings. However as far as I know the offending sellers have never received any disciplinary action or been banned from the site for breaking the law. They are all are still able to sell other products. One or two of my artworks being taken down from their store doesn't seem to be enough to raise questions about the authenticity of their remaining products. So far as I can see these sellers are still blatantly stealing and profiting from other artist's work. This suggests to me that so long as Etsy is making money they're not going to go to any great lengths to remove seller accounts listing products which obviously infringe upon copyright.
Therefore it seems that the responsibility to educate customers about this situation has fallen upon us artists and original content creators. I went on to mention this on the site in "My Ebay Story".
My Etsy Story
"I graduated with a 1st class BA Degree in Graphic Media in 2008 and have since worked in the art and design industry since. I've written and illustrated several best-selling how-to-draw books, selling close to a million combined copies to date, translated into 4 other languages and sold globally.
The work I sell on my site and Etsy store is original- created by yours truly from the ground up. Typically an image starts out as a sketch, the line-work then refined before adding the colour and tone. I try to bring my love of varying art styles; from manga to tattoo to graffiti art into my work and with the aim to make each piece eye-catching and unique.
On a personal note; The art game can be tough. I often feel frustrated that I (along with other original art creators) am competing in a huge arena of sellers who produce little more than a carbon copy of an existing picture or art thieves who literally steal an image from Google and stick it onto a product to sell. Several times a year I'm having to request that stores online, including a few other Etsy sellers stop stealing and using my art - it's a never ending battle and I'm just one artist of many this is happening to.
Prospective buyers are often none the wiser to this situation. I'd like to see shoppers support artists who have made the effort to bring something original into this world, who aren't looking for shortcuts or to make a sale off of another artist's works. So please read about the individual creators on Etsy- find out who they are and how they create their arts and crafts. Are they genuine? If you were to purchase an item on Etsy, will the profits support an artisan or simply fall into the pocket of an art thief or merchant who may not even have permission to reproduce the work they've made use of?
Thank you :)"