Etsy store vs eCommerce website: a comprehensive review

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When it comes to selling online, there are a lot of choices to make. Do you want to sell on Etsy, or do you want to create your own eCommerce website? Both platforms have their pros and cons. This article will compare Etsy and eCommerce websites to decide which platform is best for your business.

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When it comes to selling online, there are a lot of choices to make. Do you want to sell on Etsy, or do you want to create your own eCommerce website? Both platforms have their pros and cons. This article will compare Etsy and eCommerce websites to decide which platform is best for your business.

What type of business should consider Etsy or their own eCommerce site?

Selling items online means you are starting an eCommerce business. eCommerce has exploded in popularity in the last few years and is a great way to make money, even if you’re a beginner.

While you can start your own eCommerce website and sell anything you want, Etsy is more geared towards selling handmade or vintage items. Many startups begin as single entrepreneurs selling homemade items and making a business out of them.

This blog article is geared toward anyone considering starting a business selling their handmade or vintage items on Etsy or creating their own eCommerce website.

What is Etsy?

Etsy is a global online marketplace where people can buy and sell handmade or vintage items. It’s an excellent platform for sellers that want to showcase and sell their products to a broad audience. With over 80 million active customers, Etsy is a great option for entrepreneurs with products to market.

Products on Etsy are usually handmade or vintage, which means that they’re not like the products you’d find on traditional online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. This also means that products on Etsy often have a unique selling point, as they’re not mass-produced.

If you’re looking to start selling online and want to reach an audience of buyers looking for unique products, then Etsy is definitely the platform for you. It’s a popular platform for artists, crafters, and small businesses that sell distinctive products.

Etsy charges a listing fee of $0.20 per item and takes a cut of every sale you make. You can read more about Etsy’s fees here.



What does setting up your own eCommerce site entail?

An eCommerce website is a website that sells products online. You can build your own eCommerce website using an eCommerce platform (like Etsy) or hire a developer to create a custom site for you.

When setting up an eCommerce store, there are a few things you will need to take into account. The first is the type of products you will be selling. You will need to determine what products you want to sell, what your inventory will look like, and where you will source your products from. You must also decide on a payment processing solution and a shipping provider.

You’ll also need to find a domain name, design your store's website, add products, purchase business software, set up payment processing, and configure your shipping settings. You will also need to create marketing materials to promote your store and attract customers.

Finally, you must establish policies and procedures for running your store. This includes setting customer service standards, creating return policies, and establishing delivery times.

Considering all these things, you can set up a successful eCommerce store that meets your business's and customers' needs.

So what option should you choose?

How do you know if Etsy is the right choice for you? Could you create a more profitable business by building your website with an eCommerce platform?

Read on if you’re trying to decide if selling your items on Etsy will be better for your business than building your own website. We'll look at the pros and cons of each option so you can make the best decision possible.

The pros and cons of selling on Etsy and creating your own eCommerce website

Here are the pros and cons of each option to help you decide if Etsy or your own eCommerce website is best for your business.

Pros of selling on Etsy

There are some definite upsides to selling on Etsy. Here are a few that stand out.

  • Etsy already has a built-in customer base, so there is less need for marketing and advertising to get your products in front of buyers.
  • Easy to set up and start with low overhead costs; no need to worry about design or coding.
  • The Etsy community is supportive and helpful and can be an excellent resource for finding marketing partnerships and learning more about running an online business.
  • Etsy makes it easy for sellers to create a professional-looking online store with simple, easy-to-use product listing templates.
  • Etsy is a great training ground for new sellers who are just starting and want to learn the ropes before expanding into their own eCommerce website.

Cons of selling on Etsy

Etsy is a great platform to sell your products, but there are also a few downsides.

  • Etsy already has many sellers, making it difficult to stand out from the competition.
  • Etsy charges higher fees than most common payment processors. You'll pay a flat $0.20 per listing, 5% of the total payment collected, and a $0.25 fee if the transaction is processed via Etsy's Direct Checkout.
  • Fees can eat into your profits, Etsy can change the rules at any time, and it can be challenging to stand out from the competition.
  • Etsy has introduced dropshipping to its platform, which has led to concerns that some sellers aren't selling handmade, custom-made, or vintage items (a prerequisite for selling on Etsy).
  • Applying your branding to your Etsy store is challenging, which means customers aren't likely to remember you for long.
  • You don't own the store --- if Etsy decided to close your store for any reason, you would lose it completely.



Pros of creating your own eCommerce website

There are some definite plusses of having your own eCommerce website. Here are a few pros of selling on a website you create.

  • You have more control over the design and content of your website than you do on Etsy. This allows you to create a more professional, branded look that will attract customers.
  • No need to share profits with a third party. More payment options are available to customers, you can offer greater flexibility in terms of product offerings, and it's much easier to build trust with potential customers.
  • When customers buy from a seller directly, they are more likely to return to that seller in the future and recommend them to others. This can result in increased brand recognition and customer loyalty.
  • Selling on Etsy can be distracting because customers are presented with similar products from other sellers. When customers are only looking at your products, they are more likely to buy.
  • Etsy charges transaction fees on items sold, which can be expensive over time. Payment processors often charge lower costs to keep more of your profits.
  • Customer information is directly accessible to sellers when selling on their own website, allowing for targeted marketing campaigns that may increase sales.

Cons of creating your own eCommerce website

There are also some downsides to selling your products and running your business on your own website.

  • A standalone eCommerce website can be expensive and time-consuming to set up and maintain.
  • It's not easy to attract customers to a new store, and competing with well-established marketplaces like Etsy can be challenging.
  • Higher upfront costs, including digital marketing costs requiring marketing software, social media advertising, and more.
  • It can be challenging to design a user-friendly website and require ongoing maintenance and updates.
  • Etsy already has a massive international customer base and more immediate product visibility. It has a vast customer base which helps you reach more customers and improves product visibility.
  • When selling on Etsy, you benefit from their trust and credibility — customers are more likely to buy from an Etsy store they know they can trust than a standalone site which has to earn trust.
  • If something goes wrong (a product doesn't arrive on time, the site crashes, etc.), it's your responsibility to fix it. On Etsy, these issues are typically handled by the marketplace.

How to choose between Etsy and your own eCommerce website

The best way for small business owners to choose between selling on Etsy and starting their own eCommerce store is to consider their goals and objectives.

If they want to build a brand and grow their business, starting their own eCommerce store is the better option. However, if they are less concerned about brand building and would instead focus on selling their products, then Etsy is a good choice.

Additionally, business owners should consider how much time and effort they want to put into selling online.

Selling on Etsy and an eCommerce store requires more time and effort than just using one platform. Ultimately, the best choice between these two options depends on the individual business’s goals and objectives.



If we had to choose...

While selling your products on Etsy is probably the most accessible and straightforward option for small business owners, it is also the most limiting.

One of the significant elements of starting your own business is building your brand up and trying to become a household name for your long-time customers. Once you have a strong base for your brand, it's much more difficult to fail.

With Etsy, you're only as good as the last thing you sold. Millions of stores sell products; some are more than likely to sell what you're selling. Since you are limited in growing your brand, there's a good chance that you might blend into the background of stores that sell similar products.

You will have a massive audience of potential customers on the Etsy website, but you still have to lure them to your store. The most likely way to do that is to drop your prices, which means you're still not going to be making a profit — the same as the beginning of owning your website.

The difference is that with your own website, the chances of exponential growth and massive gains are much more significant.

The more rewarding tactic is to choose the more challenging path of creating an eCommerce website, selling your products, and building a brand.

Wrap up

When deciding whether to set up an Etsy store or an eCommerce website for your business, you must consider your budget, goals, and long-term plans. Both offer excellent options for selling your products, but you will have to be the one to decide what is best for your business.

If you're starting and looking for an easy, low-cost way to start selling online, Etsy could be a good option.

However, suppose you're serious about building a sustainable business that could grow into something more significant in the future. In that case, you'll eventually want your own eCommerce website to have complete control over your brand and start generating your own traffic rather than relying on a third party like Etsy.

Whichever you choose, good luck with your entrepreneurial journey!

Author Bio

Andrew Dunn is a serial business builder with over seven years of experience growing businesses. He is the founder of, providing valuable insights for business owners to leverage technology to 10x their businesses. He is passionate about scaling businesses using SEO, paid media, and remote teams.

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