Etsy recently hit sellers with a 30% fee increase on sales, not including the processing fees, listing fees, platform store fee, and marketing fees (opt-in) they charge. They are taking quite a cut from indie sellers!
They do provide a nice service and a built-in community. But indie sellers that have their own social following or email list can do better by moving to their own website.
Moving to your own website may be a hassle, but is probably best for the long-term growth of your business. Right now you are at the mercy of Etsy’s fees and they have almost full control of your customers. Moving to your own domain and building out an email list puts you back in the driver’s seat:
- You can build a direct relationship with your customers
- You can choose a store software like WooCommerce that has a lower fees
- And if you want to use a different store in the future, you can do so without disrupting sales – Users will keep going to the same domain and you can change how it works under the hood.
- You can pick a layout that is more customized to your brand
- You can offer more options like subscriptions, gift cards, custom option ordering, booking consultation sessions, etc
I strongly recommend WooCommerce because it is open source, I work at the company that makes it, and I have lots of experience with it, but even if you move to Squarespace or Shopify with your own domain I’d be happy.
With WooCommerce you’d need to pay for a domain, hosting, and credit card processing fees (2.9% + $0.30 USD per transaction). No sales, listing, or platform fees. WordPress and WooCommerce are free to download and use! There are some paid extensions you can buy to add functionality to your store, but those aren’t necessary to get your store set up and start making sales.
If you want to go with WooCommerce, here is a checklist to get you started:
- Purchase a domain.
- I use hover.com, but feel fee to use whatever registrar you like!
- Purchase WordPress hosting and hook up your domain to it.
- Costs vary here, but I recommend using a managed host like Pressable, WPEngine, or Flywheel. Managed hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, but they take care of software upgrades, handle security, and generally have faster hosting. Budget shared hosting like GoDaddy or Bluehost can be alright, but will be more work for you long-term.
- Install WooCommerce and go through the setup process. WooCommerce Pay is a quick and easy option for a payment processor and is powered by Stripe on the backend.
- Pick a theme.
- Download your products from Etsy and use the built-in Import tool to bring them into WooCommerce.
- Set up your shipping rates.
- Set up your homepage and about/contact page.
- Sign up for a free MailPoet account and start collecting email addresses for your customers. Set up email automations if that is your thing.
- Rumor has it that you can download your customer email addresses with a bit of tech-based elbow grease. Perhaps once you have the email addresses, you can send them a one-time email about moving to your own site with a coupon code if they want to re-order, and an option to sign up for future updates.
If you get stuck and need help, drop me an email. I don’t do freelance work anymore, but I’d be happy to give you guidance. I want more people to own their domains and keep the web independent!