There are now quite a number of options to consider when you start thinking about trying to sell your handmade products on the internet - for first time sellers it is often very difficult to know where to start, so we have compiled this handy guide to the most popular options.
Choosing the right place to start selling your handmade items can be quite overwhelming - there are many different pricing models to factor in to establish how much each option will ultimately cost you. There is no best option for selling online, as it depends hugely on what you sell, how much you sell it for and the volume that you sell your products at. No matter what option you do end up choosing, it is important to keep a close eye on how much each transaction is costing you as you should factor this into your selling price in order to keep your profit margins viable. Craftybase is an awesome inventory app for handmade products which can make tracking your sales and expenses a breeze.
Etsy is an online marketplace that specialises in selling handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies. You can signup for a “seller account” which costs nothing, but you will have to provide a credit card or payment method before you start to list your products.
There is a flat fee of $0.20 per item that you list on the site, and on top of that you pay 3.5% of the sale price as a commission to Etsy whenever your items are sold.
Etsy is a great option for new craft sellers starting out as there is no major upfront costs involved - you can list a couple of things and see how they go. As the site itself is quite popular and appears in search engines you have a great chance of having people discover you without you needing to do a lot of expensive marketing.
Being a member of Etsy, you have an existing community of sellers that you can ask for business advice if you need it.
Etsy accepts PayPal as its major payment provider, so remember to factor in your PayPal fees as a cost on top of your listing and transaction fees.
eBay is one of the oldest and largest online marketplaces on the internet. It is however not dedicated exclusively to handmade goods so it can be difficult to get your products noticed on this site.
Creating an eBay account is free, and you pay per item you list and sell. Insertion fees are paid whenever you list a new product on the site, and these fees vary by the selling price of the item, the selling method (see below) and which country you are based in.
As eBay is also an auction site, you can choose to sell via an auction method (e.g. highest bidder for your item gets to buy it) or list with a fixed cost - either method attracts a “final value” fee when you sell a product. For both methods, if you don’t sell the item you don’t pay the “final value” fee.
Selling ‘Auction Style’ on eBay
If you list as an auction, you will need to pay 9.0% of the item’s total price (up to a maximum charge of $100.00) when it sells. Insertion costs between $0.10 and $2.00 per item, however your first 50 listings per month are free.
Selling ‘Fixed Cost Style’ on eBay
Selling fixed cost makes the insertion fee straightforward - it is a flat fee of $0.50 per item. It does however complicate the “final value” fee: this is now based on the category you list your item under and the total price you sell the product for. It ranges between 7% and 11% depending on the bracket your item falls under.
Artfire is a similar site to Etsy, it is slightly smaller in reach (but growing) and has a different pricing model. There are no listing fees or commissions to be paid, but instead there is a monthly ongoing membership fee of $11.95. There is a 30 day free trial, so as long as you cancel within the 30 days you can try this out for free with no costs.
Artfire has more payment provider options, so you can use ProPay, PayPal or Amazon Payments (each have their own additional fees and charges that you will need to factor in on top of the membership).
Zibbet is another online marketplace dedicated to handmade. Zibbet currently two different levels of membership: Free (no listing fees but are limited to 50 items); Premium ($9.95 monthly, or $69 yearly)
As with Etsy, Zibbet supports PayPal as the primary payment option, so you’ll need to factor in fees and charges from PayPal on top of the membership fee.
You can also configure your own domain name to point to your Zibbet store.
Bigcartel is a site that provides hosted customisable shopfronts for small business.
This means that you will be able to create your own site and configure the colours and images so it appears to be completely your own site, but there isn’t a central place that potential customers can find your products - you’ll have to do all marketing yourself. Bigcartel offers a range of different monthly fees, depending on how many products you wish to sell.
There is a free account available you can use to list up to 5 products, and their most expensive plan ($29.99 monthly) lets you list up to 300 products.
One advantage of this option is that you don’t pay listing or transaction fees, the only fees to factor in besides the monthly membership is the normal PayPal fees.
Build your own shop
Essentially this involves employing a web developer to build a custom website for you. Depending on your requirements, this can be quite expensive and cost anywhere from $500 - $10,000 or more. You’ll also need to purchase a domain name, which can cost anywhere between $20 - $200 depending on the type of domain name you would like and if it is available to purchase.
In addition to this, you will need to pay regular hosting costs, which will be determined by the amount of traffic you drive to your site. Depending on your shopping cart choice, you will also need to pay transaction costs on your sales and payment gateway fees to your bank.
Once you have your site up-and-running, you will then need to market the site so that people can find you - which can be time consuming and costly.
This option is only really worth considering if you are likely to sell a good quantity of items.