From a cup to creativity, everything is sold online today; but did you know, just like what you are selling, even where you are selling matters? Surprised?
Let us explain to you whether you should set up your own selling platform for print and personalized products or choose a marketplace like Etsy to determine which one is good, why, and, when?
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The Rising Craze for Online Sales
Due to the evolving eCommerce trends, online shopping, and selling is multi-folding, The massive boom in digitalization and the scary side-effects of the pandemic – Covid-19 have skyrocketed online sales, with people shopping more online than ever before.
Today we have over 2.14 billion online shoppers in the world, which means 27% of the global population is shopping online.
The number and value of online sales are on an upward trajectory, which indicates that by 2024 global e-commerce sales are predicted to exceed $7 trillion.
To meet such rising online demands, and with e-commerce stores being cheaper and easier to maintain than traditional brick-and-mortar stores, there are currently between 12 and 24 million online retailers in the world. Some are popping up every day, while some are closing down, but the growth is pretty steady.
So, after reading all these facts, you might be thinking even more about whether to go online or not.
Definitely, you should, but don’t worry; we will explain how and where.
Before comparing which is better, whether to open your own online store or opt for Etsy to sell your printed and personalized products, let’s understand what Etsy is first.
What is Etsy Print-On-Demand?
Etsy is an American third-party e-commerce platform made to help small and independent crafters, artists, and collectors to expand their reach and sell vintage, handmade, or custom-made jewelry, clothing, bags, home décor, art, toys, craft supplies, and more to a wide audience that may not have ever found them otherwise. It allows small creators to turn their talent into a lucrative business, a sell on a trusted site that customers are willing to purchase from.
Unlike Amazon and Walmart, everything that is sold on Etsy is made, collected, and curated, by its sellers. In addition to producing their goods, these business owners also manage their orders and inventory.
In short, Etsy acts as the middle-man, giving smaller, independent creators a platform to find and attract customers.
As a global retailer, Etsy offers a wide variety of shipping options and accepts various payment methods, including credit and debit cards, Etsy gift cards, Apple or Google Pay, bank transfer services, and PayPal. Depending on the country, it also allows buyers to even pay in installments.
The real catch about Etsy is that around 80% of its sellers are women, which has only increased the love for Etsy among people so much that it has generated $2.32 billion in revenue in 2021, which means a 34% year-on-year increase.
According to official Q4 and full-year 2021 reports, 96 million people are active buyers on Etsy, with 7.5 million sellers.
Among all the interesting things that sell on Etsy, there is a section for prints that offers a wide range of print products such as Digital Prints, Wood & Linocut Prints, Lithographs, Music & Movie Posters, Screenprints, Giclée, Monotypes, Etchings & Engravings.
There, under digital prints, several print-on-demand (POD) options are available in which you too can join the bandwagon and put up your print and personalized products for sale.
How Does Etsy Work?
The Etsy platform is intuitive and straightforward for both buyers and sellers. All it requires is an account created by you. You can directly start selling thereafter by opening your shop.
Simply plan your product, start small for easier marketing and organization, create your Etsy account and set up your profile, read all the terms of service and policies, open your Etsy shop by selecting your language, country, currency, and shop name, make it more professional by uploading your user photo or logo, as well as a shop banner, and use SEO best practices and appropriate keywords to show up in search results.
Once you are all set up, create searchable listings with enticing descriptions and high-quality photos, set prices to cover the cost of supplies, as well as your time and your listing and shipping fees, monitor your account traffic, revise keywords, listings, content, and photo if there is no increase in sales, provide professional customer service for best ratings and reviews ad you are done.
Top Print-On-Demand Products on Etsy and How to Sell Them?
There is an endless collection of products that are sold on Etsy among which, print-on-demand products that are also in high demand are – home decor, clothes (t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, etc.), digital art, stationery, cards, photo album, list goes on.
A downloadable digital file containing a bundle of mock-ups of various products such as mugs, t-shirts, jackets, etc., is available on Etsy which is easy to use and print-ready. You simply have to make the payment, download them, and get those designs printed on your desired products.
After opening your Etsy shop, you have to either partner with a POD fulfillment company to customize white-label products like t-shirts, mugs, or tumblers and sell them under your brand name on the Etsy marketplace or you can have in-house printing facilities to produce these products.
That’s it; the POD fulfillment service provider will then enable your Etsy store to integrate with their platforms and as soon as someone buys from your Etsy store, that order will be sent to your service provider for printing and fulfillment.
Etsy doesn’t require sellers to have a business license, nor does it charge anyone to open up. However, there is a price to pay for each product listing which costs $0.20 per item and a transaction fee of 5% with each sale.
Also, keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to have your own domain as it will take after the Etsy domain, e.g. etsy.com/shop/pearliecustomgifts.
However, for personalized products, you won’t be able to allow customers to customize products efficiently as Etsy doesn’t provide online design tool to end customers. People who sell customized products on Etsy manage personalisation after order is received which adds lots of work on vendors.
It will be up to them to describe what they want in a product, and you will have to create a print file according to what they describe. This is very time-consuming if you’re able to sell more than 50 orders a day.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this guide How to Start an Online Clothing Store on Amazon with Print-on-Demand.
Pros and Cons of Selling on Etsy
Etsy; is undoubtedly a well-known and loved platform where people flock to buy and sell unique products but as much as the advantages it has, there are also some disadvantages which are listed below:
|Millions of repeat customers||Item category limit|
|Established customer trust||Extremely tough competition|
|Great customer exposure||Lack of store customization|
|Easy-to-use interface||Charges a range of fees|
|Zero set-up costs||Limited brand awareness|
|Great Etsy community||Low brand recall|
|Access to many handy Etsy seller tools||No ownership = more risk|
Bonus: Tips for Starting an Etsy Shop
With millions of sellers and buyers on Etsy, for people to notice you, some extra effort is required which are as follows:
Invest in product photography
Post high-quality original photographs on the product detail page and make them image rich for best results.
Join Etsy’s community
Join Etsy’s community to take advantage of the tips and tricks from experienced sellers.
Use social media channel
Build your social media channels even before launching your listings to create hype and interest in your products and make the most out of them as they have become hugely powerful advertising tools today. Create your business accounts on them and leverage the benefits of analytics tools and monitor your impressions, and clicks.
Use Etsy search
Use Etsy search and optimize your listings, so that your product shows up when people are looking. Include keywords in the product description, as well as different keywords in the product listing to cover your bases.
Keep Etsy’s fees in mind and work on your pricing strategy accordingly.
Research successful Etsy sellers, and learn from them.
Treat your storefront like an actual storefront and work on things to turn your Etsy shop into a viable income. Choose a great profile picture (which can be a custom logo), use consistent branded images, provide great customer service, offer discounts for future purchases, consider custom, branded packaging, and make your business profile strong, welcoming, and approachable.
What About Building Your Own Print Website?
Indeed, Etsy comes with a lot of good things, but, as we mentioned above, the cons are also something you cannot ignore. Each point in it is extremely important for the growth and success of an online store.
Due to very fierce competition, it is highly difficult to create brand awareness and recall among customers, and with Etsy, the chances of both are very low. Moreover, the risk is higher as you won’t own the shop as it’s like running your products in someone’s shop, and the worst part is Etsy may even decide to shut your shop down for any reason.
By building your own print website, every point of concern on Etsy gets eliminated in it. You will be the sole owner of the store; you can customize it as you like, create your own individual identity, and generate impressive brand awareness and brand recall value with efficient marketing and promotion of it.
You will be known by your brand rather than “just an Etsy shop” which is what people will reply to if someone asks them where they bought that particular product.
Moreover, you can endorse your brand by telling your story, and connecting with people via content as you will have ample space for that, unlike on Etsy where there are limitations to even listing your items. Also, the payment processor fee that you will be required to pay will be way less than all the charges you have to pay on Etsy for listing and selling.
The best part is that you can integrate your print shop with a web to print solution and allow your customers to design their products however they want to and you get the print ready file which you can print in-house or send to fulfillment partner.
Moreover, there’s no limit what you can sell on your own store. You can opt to sell commercial prints, photo products, apparel, promotional products and event packaging and labels. Possibilities are endless.
So, having your own print store will cost you a bit, but, it will be worth it in longer run as the store will be entirely yours, and you can live by your rules and policies. Your brand will stand out among the crowd and you will win customers for life.
Give your customers a more personalized experience through an online designer tool integrated with your print store.
Benefits of Owning a Web-to-Print Store
The pros of having a standalone website are a lot more than you think. Firstly, it gives prospective buyers an opportunity to quickly and easily learn about you and your exclusive offering, secondly, since customers will be buying from you directly, customer loyalty and brand recognition will increase, plus, your customers won’t refer to Etsy when someone asks them where they bought their product.
Apart from that, building your own print store gives you benefits such as flexible & customized eCommerce tools, great scalability, and no restrictions on products, all of which might cost you a bit, but are definitely worth it in the long run.
Another great perk is that your customers will be focused only on your brand and products, unlike in marketplaces where they can easily get distracted by similar products or similar sellers while browsing.
Also, you will be in charge of everything from the content, product descriptions, site design, and SEO to the rules of it.
By building your own print store, you no more have to put extra effort and budget into managing your multiple stores at the same time because you can easily integrate Etsy with your own website or vice versa, and manage product inventory and orders from multiple sites using one single dashboard.
Last but not the least, since you will have direct access to customer information, you can create targeted and personalized marketing campaigns which will attract more customers and leave a mark of your brand in their minds.
If you think you’re ready to reach new customers online, then sign up and get started. You really have nothing to lose.
Bonus: Tips for Starting a Print Website
Since you have to start from scratch on a website; unlike the marketplaces, here are a few tips for starting your web-to-print store so that your beginning is smooth and successful.
Setting up your own website
Get your website designed and developed in the right hands. Your website is what will attract customers and create the first impression, and hence; it must be built in a simple yet effective manner with all necessary features for your online sales. To achieve so, partner up with the right eCommerce platform that can help you start, scale, and manage your online business.
Have an active social media presence
Even if you are a startup, you must have an active social media presence because it is not just where you will find your customers hanging out but, will also help you promote your business to a wider audience without any cost.
Start PPC ads early
If you want to get noticed and start selling as fast as possible, then start PPC (pay-per-click) ads early to appear on Google’s search engine and help drive customers to your site.
Create an SEO strategy
Make SEO your topmost priority. Optimize your store, make use of multiple SEO tools, and build an SEO strategy by analyzing your and competitors’ websites and making necessary improvements.
Branding and marketing your print business
Social media, email, and content marketing, not only are all three important in the present times for the survival of any online store, but they will also help your web-to-print store reach new audiences, increase revenue, build better relationships with current customers, create brand recognition with potential customers, and make your presence felt in every way possible.
Add online customization to your products
Integrate the best web-to-print software in the market by approaching the experienced web2print solution providers to rise and shine among the competitors and to win customers with minimal investment.
Etsy or Your Website: What to Choose and How?
There is no rule that you must choose this or that for selling online as both Etsy and your web-to-print website make an amazing selling platform for the print business. It depends on various factors like what type of eCommerce business you have and what products you are planning to sell. Whether you want to build a brand or simply want to sell products, etc.
So, the ultimate decision is yours. However, if we consider the pros and cons, and take every minute detail into consideration, then owning an eCommerce print store integrated with Web-to-Print software will prove to be more beneficial for you. Here’s why.
First of all, selling on Etsy will give you recognition as an Etsy shop, while with a web-to-print store of yours, you will be known by your brand name. Secondly, you will have complete control over your business, unlike on Etsy where you just get a space to sell and no power.
Lastly, you get to decide how your store will look like. You can customize it, list products, sell, and earn profits without paying any extra charges like on Etsy. So, it will be all yours – platform, products, design, profits, ownership, everything.
So, if you ask for our verdict then for your print-on-demand business, it is better to have your web2print store designed and developed by the experts and integrate the best web-to-print software from Design’N’Buy – the leading provider of it since 2009, to get amazing results.
Etsy vs Your Own Website: FAQs
Most Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers
Etsy is definitely a great platform for small business owners, independent craftsmen, artists, and collectors who want to sell self-made, vintage, or custom-made jewelry, clothing, home décor, art, toys, and more. But, if your focus is on print-on-demand products, we suggest you get a print store of your own as it will help you establish yourself as a brand in the market.
Although Etsy is free and ready to use, the charges that follow while listing and selling your products will cost you more than building a website.
Etsy is known for its creative side and many POD products are up for sale on Etsy, however, owning a store is always the best option because it will increase your brand recognition and recall value rather than getting lost among other sellers on Etsy.
Yes, you can, but managing both may take extra time, money, and resources of your own. So give it a proper thought before taking any action.
Do you have any more questions? Contact our experts
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