Pros and Cons of Using Etsy as a Creative

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Photo provided by @K_DougDE

Our topic for today is Etsy. This is a very popular and long standing e-commerce platform that crafters and artisans use to sell their products and services online. They are very popular for customers being able to support small business owners and specifically crafters directly and securely.

We opened our shop on Etsy back during December of 2020 starting with Christmas ornaments and other small seasonal items and merchandise. The set up was very easy and straight to the point which was a good option for us to go with. There were no complicated steps and getting approved was pretty quick and simple. Once our account was online, it was easy to maintain and manage overall. Adding products was clean and user friendly, along with designing the main webpage for the public to purchase from.

What I was really impressed with from Etsy is their constant and consistent marketing for each product on the platform. The traffic alone from Etsy themselves really boosted my exposure for sales monthly along with my own push with our own SEO through our website and social media marketing. There is a loyal community on Etsy in which the public really trusts this platform to purchase from which was a big part in why we decided to sell our items, services, and merchandise through them.

But everything was not all good.

Everything Wasn’t all Good

Okay so the overall experience with using Etsy for us here at DE would be a solid 2.75 out of 5 stars. Everything was not all good and did not all go well with our experience and that’s the main thing I want to highlight in this blog post today. We intend for our posts on reviews for products, services, and destinations to be directly from experience with a firsthand account but this is not in any way, shape, or form intended to discourage anyone from using the Etsy e-commerce platform. We just want to shed light on some problems that came about so those who are using the platform or have intentions to will know about these issues and be able to maneuver around them and have success as an Etsy seller.

The first issue we ran into was a financial one with increasing reoccurring fees from Etsy.

Fee Hassle

The reoccurring and increasing fees from Etsy were something that weren’t noticed until around month 4 of using Etsy back during the beginning quarter of 2021. First fee I noticed was the listing fee. To sell your products through an e-commerce page on Etsy you have to pay a listing fee to list each product on their platform.

So lets say we have our first product to list that we are going to call “product one” for this post. Your sale price that you’re charging the public is $40 USD. In order to list product one, you would be paying a fee of up to $0.40 USD if not more. Okay you’re saying that’s not so bad. Same thing I said until we listed around 10 products. That’s $4.00 USD for 10 products so remember that amount of $0.40 USD.

Next would be the sales fee and tax amount of $1.67 USD per product.
Third fee, yes there is a third fee for this product one. Third fee would be the transaction fee of $2.00 USD.
And fourthly……yes four fees for product one…..would be the shipping transaction fee of $0.20 USD.

Sale PriceListing FeeSales TaxTransaction
Fee TotalProfit
Product One40.00-0.40-1.67-2.00-0.204.2735.73

Product One = $20 USD (sale price)
-listing fee= $0.40 USD
-sales tax + fee= $1.67 USD
-transaction fee= $2.00 USD
-shipping transaction fee = $0.20
Product One Total Profit = $35.73 USD

Okay, on product one the total amount for fees would be $4.27 USD leaving a profit f $35.73 for product one. This does not include shipping and handling fees that would be taken out of that one product depending on the size or the item, art or merchandise (even though a shipping fee transaction has already been charged). For a larger item the shipping could be up to $20 USD per product which could only leave you around less than $10 USD after taxes and fees on the shipping and handling as well. This is a hypothetical example of some of the issues we noticed for us using Etsy when it came to the fees added to use their platform when listing products and making sales.

Since our departure from the popular e-commerce platform, we have since noticed fee costs increase from other crafters. So much so, that an actual Etsy Strike is going on right now concerning this increase. The fees on the platform have become so high that crafters and business owners apart of the platform can not afford to sell through them anymore. Profits have been cut, and prices of shipping and handling have increased so this is something that should be taken into consideration if you’re eyeing Etsy. We are hoping that these fees will change in favor of the business owners apart of the platform in the future.

Communication Hassles

So as a handmade artisan or crafter, when selling online you are going to run into some issues between customers and receiving items especially around the holidays. There were two issues that came about where we needed to make sure items arrived in a timely manner and where systems were not working properly for the app for Etsy. In both occasions, we could not speak with an Etsy representative directly in order to get the issue handled. Now with us here at DE, we rarely have to make or take phone calls. Most if not all communication is done via email for the most part and we haven’t had any type of major incidents as of now that needed to be addressed via phone. But if we were an e-commerce platform, we would provide a direct phone number in the event of an emergency and Etsy did not provide that for us to where it was clear, visible, and we were able to get to it with no issues. Even on the contact page for Etsy, there is a push to use an automated form or email but no number to call. This became a huge hassle for us and took away a lot of time in a search for it.

One Sided Conflict Resolution

This would be our main problem we ran into with Etsy as a whole. When there are major problems that arise, say for chargebacks for example, Etsy performs what we would call “one sided conflict resolutions”. This is where when you have a conflict among two parties and a middleman chooses to only favor one party of that conflict no matter what evidence is shown from the second party involved, or they may not even taken into account the second party at all. Now as we stated before there are conflicts sometimes when it comes to selling online but as an e-commerce platform there should be clear communication on all ends when it comes to a reasonable solution to a problem that has occurred especially being online. Etsy failed to provided fair conflict resolution for us as a whole. Now, I’m not going to go into full detail here on the situation but you can check out my TikTok videos about this, and of course we do not condone bashing customers or clients when things go wrong, but I do give the run down of this issue with Etsy because it is important to note if you’re a business owner using a third party to sell your products or services. Check it out by following our account at www.tiktok.com/@deluxds. There have been a number of issues dealing with Etsy performing one sided conflict resolutions in favor of customers even when they are clearly in the wrong completely against crafters and small business owners on the Etsy platform as of lately and we want to bring attention and awareness to this problem in hopes that Etsy will fix this for business owners who faithfully use their platform.

We did not post this as a way to deter anyone from the Etsy platform, but more so as education on what could go wrong and for you to be aware so you can protect yourself and your brand.

If you’re an Etsy seller and have run into any problems with the platform, comment below. We would love to know how you handled those problems. If you’re a business owner who started off with Etsy and then moved to either another platform or your own platform, feel free to comment below as well.

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