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Sellers Choice 2018 Marketplace Ratings: Etsy


3rd Place Finisher - EcommerceBytes 2018 Sellers ChoiceEtsy took 3rd place in the 2018 EcommerceBytes Sellers Choice Awards, and it collected an award for Ease of Use again this year. Some sellers gave it kudos for introducing features like Guest Checkout last year.

In January 2018, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 10,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.

Etsy - EcommerceBytes 2018 Sellers Choice for Best Ease of Use



Customer Service:


Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Year Established: 2005
Description: Fixed price; handmade, vintage, and crafting supplies
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Etsy finished 3rd overall in the 2018 EcommerceBytes Sellers Choice ratings and received a higher average score this year than it did last year, though it had placed 2nd in 2017. Etsy collected the award for marketplace with the best “Ease of Use,” a title they have held since 2014.

Established in 2005, Etsy has built a solid alternative for artisans and merchants to sell their handicrafts, arts and crafts supplies, as well as antiques and collectibles. Etsy’s success as a marketplace means more shoppers, but it also means increased competition for exposure in search. “I find Etsy seems to be flooded with shops, it was a lot smaller when I first signed up,” wrote one seller. “I’ve heard from people that it’s hard to find what they want due to the enormous amount of listings.”

Others also complained about search, such as one seller who wrote, “If I find something I may want to buy later, I try to bookmark or favorite it, because I might not be able to find it again the next time I search.”

That leads some sellers down the advertising path in an effort to get greater exposure. Some sellers like it, others don’t. “Only issue I have is they really want the seller to advertise with Promoted Listings or Google Ads. Adds up very quickly,” wrote one seller.

Numerous sellers said success on Etsy took work. “Etsy is not a place to plop your merch and wait for it to sell.” One respondent commented, “You have to constantly monitor changes announced or not in search algorithms.”

“You have to constantly be on top of SEO and shop promotion,” wrote another.

Some sellers continue to complain about Etsy broadening the definition of handmade, a concern ever since the changes it made in 2013. “Its loose definition of handmade, along with its lax policing of resellers and its promotion of trendy, cheap items, makes it difficult for truly handmade, quality items to sell,” said one commenter.

“There are way too many resellers which continues to cause problems,” wrote another. “Handmade items are harder to find due to the garbage items being promoted as handmade from China and other Asian countries. Many MANY items for sale on eBay in the jewelry and supplies categories are on Etsy under the label as handmade.”

In May, Etsy made Direct Checkout (now called Etsy Payments) mandatory, meaning buyers pay Etsy instead of the seller (some sellers were grandfathered in to also being able to offer their own standalone PayPal account). One seller suggested, “If they are going to insist on getting their cut by being the buyers payment system, then it would be nice if they accommodated WHERE sellers want their money deposited. I would prefer mine in PayPal account, but they require you to come up with a bank account for them to deposit it in.”

Some respondents feel Etsy needs to work on its category structure. “Etsy’s categories are hideous; they make no sense, making it more time-consuming to list (due to selecting a category),” wrote one seller. “Good traffic but categories for what I sell are simple and pathetically poor. Site has done little to address this. Very poor site to browse in,” wrote another.

A common complaint was that Etsy is “always testing” (which Etsy calls “experiments.”) Wrote one seller, “What I don’t like is that they continually use sellers’ listings to experiment,… If Etsy programmers would read the forums, they would find plenty of things that need fixing; rather than “make-work” experiments to look busy.”

A seller reacted to a change Etsy rolled out last year: “Etsy has now placed a sellers reviews in place of an item’s description! Really Etsy, reviews are more important then an item’s traits??? ”

But one commenter mentioned what they considered positive changes to the site last year: “One good thing that Etsy implemented in 2017 was guest checkout. This was a positive move for sales, in my opinion. I am very pleased with the implementation of guest checkout. I also am glad that Etsy added calculated shipping a while back, and I have not had any major problems with this. I have read threads in the forums, though, where Etsy was fiddling with shipping, and it was causing selling costs to be too low for some packages, or being set at the wrong shipping rate. Additional positive changes that Etsy implemented in 2017 was the addition of more shop categories, and the ability to add 10 pictures to a listing, instead of the previous 5 pictures. Etsy gets two thumbs up for these improvements.”

Etsy received a 6.28 in Profitability; a 6.01 in Customer Service; a 6.09 in Communication; and a 6.31 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.32 from sellers when asked, “How likely are you to recommend Etsy as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?”

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I have nothing but good things to say about Etsy. They have kept their format simple but efficient. The customer service is awesome and the representative you speak with seems to genuinely be knowledgeable about the Etsy and how it works. Their fees are reasonable (eBay is greedy and getting greedier). Any issues I have ever had as a seller was taken seriously and a solution has always been found.

Lovely place to sell, very easy to list, fees and payments straight forward, communication is excellent. Highly recommend for the ‘arty’ folk or those selling bespoke items. Number 1 in my book!

I don’t have as many listings on Etsy but my things sell for a higher price and they are easy enough to use. Customers are very good.

Etsy is a nice venue for sellers. The ease of listing is great and they do help bringing customers in but you must also work advertising.

Selling on Etsy is very easy. The cost of selling there is way better than what E-bay has been. I have moved most of my items that I can to Etsy. Hopefully they will be looking out for the seller for a very long time. Very happy with them.

I love Etsy for the most part. The two things I dislike really is the way they add shipping costs on to my monthly bill instead of taking out of my PayPal acct. and the fact that our sales money goes to them first and they distribute it to us. The monthly bill really adds up fast and I hate them putting the shipping label costs on my credit card on a monthly basis. I would rather they take it out of my PayPal account right away. Other than that, it has been very profitable for me. My vintage/antiques have been going over quite well. Sales have really picked up this year over last. They have fallen off some since Christmas, but still there!!! I do think the listing page is cumbersome with having to select age of item, color, what it is made of and all that other info. I put that in the ad itself. If they could streamline it that would really help the listing process. So far I have been happy with the deposits to my account. They have not made any mistakes yet and usually the money is in my account the next or second day after the sale unless it is a Friday of course. I don’t love the way they manage our sales money but I do like the additional payment options for buyers since I don’t have a merchant acct for credit card payments. Overall I think Etsy is my favorite of all the selling venues.

Etsy has fair fees and it’s use it’s easy as well. There’s really no convenient way to communicate with them directly though. I would recommend Etsy, it’s fun.

Etsy has a lot of traffic which allows me to make a little profit. I have no complaints.

I would recommend Etsy because there is a vibrant and very helpful community forums. There is the free Sell On Etsy app where shop updates can be easily shared, and through which payments can be taken. Etsy is still handmades-dedicated, though to the angst of many sellers what handmade means has been expanded. Digital downloads are available and listings can be saved as drafts. Etsy has been around a long time and has extensive traffic, though it is harder than ever to be found among the stiff competition. Listing fee is $0.20 per listing, but this long-standing venue offers the prestige of saying “I sell on Etsy!”

I have been selling on Etsy since 2006 so I have seen many changes there. I have good sales results. I like the promoted ads. Plus I like how easy it is to edit listings, post new ones and review stats. I like the convos. I just wish I could provide a link to my newsletter sign up. I can share it, but customers must copy and paste it into their browsers.

I’ve had a great deal of success of using this site. easy to list, easy to ship and easy to get paid. Customers here are overall easier to work with.

All very professional, every visitor from each country in world – items and text are translated in local language. Sales is guaranteed, even (though) bit more expensive, the sales is going well.

I have been selling for 4 years on Etsy. Growth of customer population has leveled off. Apparently, they don’t promote platform like they used to. Still, it is a good platform for me.

As a longtime seller I have become increasingly frustrated with the changes in the algorithm. Something happened this year and sales were down almost 50%. I am not alone and have seen many long time seller complain of the same issue.

Etsy gets the traffic and sales are good, could always be better but no complaints here. Should have a telephone line for sellers problems. Can only contact by email and answers are canned and not relevant, that is the only frustration I have. Other than that issue, this has been the best site I have ever sold on.

Best part is the traffic, make sure you use all your tags and good keywords. 2017 was a difficult year with many ups and downs and too many changes. No increases in sales from previous years (I was gaining each year). So far my best selling venue.

PLUS SIDE; It’s a pleasure to be able to communicate with customers and people interested in my items. Fees are very reasonable and items are easy to list. NEGATIVE; Not enough categories to list in. Wish the shipping label costs were taken out of my account (like PayPal does it), rather than charged to my credit card. Overall, I’m very satisfied with Etsy.

Etsy is a venue that is looked at by a lot of major magazines, the exposure potential there is great. As a seller, there is a lot of competition for customers, so you have to constantly be on top of SEO and shop promotion.

Although Etsy’s lack of a professional customer support service is shameful, the site is generally easy to use, transactions are trouble free and sellers are treated with respect. I love selling on there and have cheerfully moved the majority of my business here.

Etsy is my main selling venue. It is easy to use as both a buyer and seller. Their CS is lacking. It has no phone support and it takes a long time to receive an email from them. The forums are great and there is a friendly, knowledgeable community there. I make 99% of my revenue there.

Etsy is complex because of the tags and algorithms that get your item found. I can go unnoticed for ages and then get hit with a lot of orders and it’s unclear why. The site is beautiful and customers are better behaved than eBay. My reluctance to recommend it is based on the complexity of doing business and the vast population of the same items, moving it towards eBay status.

I really like Etsy. The only drawback is the time it takes to list items due mostly to the tags. It really slows the process down. I sell vintage, so every item has to be researched for the best tags.

Etsy is my most profitable site. Quick and easy to list, easy to check the progress of your listings. I do not like the fact they only send my payment to my personal checking account, and charge me for that inconvenience. It is too hard to keep it separated. I can open a business checking account for the payments to go into, but it would take another 5 days to transfer the payment to my PayPal account. I use my PayPal account as my business account. That could mean it would take up to 10 business days before I can get access to my money.

Etsy does not make it easy to contact them but once you do you can speak with them via phone or email very effectively. Their platform seems very stable and easy to use.

I see Etsy as an arts and crafts venue. I sell items on Etsy I could never sell on eBay as I do, and vise versa. Etsy is like a Lexis store and eBay is a Chevy. Etsy buyers are more into quality and great service and are more willing to pay a premium to get the better quality.

We love that Etsy has increased the amount of photographs to 10, as this really helps us show customers everything they want to see before making a purchase. Some of the newer added extras are helpful such as colour of the item and materials, but some of the categories are a little “deep” such as types of fastening and don’t really seem to add much in terms of search-ability. It would also be helpful to be able to search your shop via SKU as well as item name- especially for stores with a large inventory.

Etsy is my main source of income and they have made some great bulk editing and marketing changes, but they need better guidelines when something is delisted for infringement or when a listing is removed because it supposedly doesn’t meet the criteria. There is no one to call and discuss issues or incorrect listings.

Etsy is fun to sell on and the other sellers are friendly and helpful. The fees are quite reasonable. You have to do a whole lot of sell promoting to get anywhere. Traffic is about half of that on eBay and with the new search rules and Etsy trials it has gotten so much worse. I very much like selling on Etsy but lately it is much harder and the traffic has decreased.

I like the lower FVF but not a fan of the ETSY search results. I use ETSY because of lower FVF and charge on shipping out of FVF but some things just don’t sell on ETSY as well as other sites like eBay, which is a problem because I despise paying eBay FVF, especially since they add the postage cost onto the amount of the sold item.

Etsy is my secondary platform for vintage items. The listing process is cumbersome and I feel traffic is low.

I am doing well on Etsy. But it is a full time job to promote my store on Social Media as well as in Etsy. It is a lot of work. I think the search feature needs work and the fact of the cheap factory made items being brought in from China and elsewhere. Customer service has been okay for me but they do not police the site as they should. There should be a number to call for sellers. I love my little store but you don’t make money just by listing items for sure!

Etsy is easy to use and does not seem to have any hidden “gotchas”. Their help information is well written, but sometimes difficult to find. Would like to be able to talk to a real person. They try to help their sellers improve their stores and make more money. Wish I could see vintage item sold information. I understand why they do not provide that for handmade items, if sellers knew what kind of vintage items sell on Etsy, we would be better able to stock our stores.

I do well selling pre-owned vintage items on Etsy. I could easily triple my selling there if Etsy opened up their main site, or created a sister site, that would allow me to sell a larger variety of items.

I find Etsy seems to be flooded with shops, it was a lot smaller when I first signed up. I’ve heard from people that it’s hard to find what they want due to the enormous amount of listings.

I’ve been selling on Etsy since 2008 with each passing year growing my business. In 2011 it really picked up growing so much I had to start hiring help with each passing year growing even more. In July 2015 sales started dropping and have continuously decreased each year. I don’t think I am the only seller to experience declining sales. Etsy has been awesome in every aspect, but I don’t understand what’s going on with my sales. I have follow all Etsy’s suggestions and work very hard everyday. I know Etsy is growing with more sellers “competition “ everyday but how in the heck does someone go from selling approximately 100,000 a year to approximately 20,000 a year between July 2015 and January 2018? I’ll keep working and trying to get my sales back up after all this is all I’ve been doing since 2008. It’s too hard to just walk away. Am I doing something wrong or IS IT ETSY???

I used to enjoy selling on this site but then I lost my rights to only accept PayPal. I don’t like the idea of Etsy wanting so much of my personal information since identity theft is so easy today.

Etsy took away right for sellers to leave feedback. Also, that they push their own Etsy Payments without regard to those of us who use PayPal as their business account. If they are going to insist on getting their cut by being the buyers payment system, then it would be nice if they accommodated WHERE sellers want their money deposited. I would prefer mine in PayPal account, but they require you to come up with a bank account for them to deposit it in. I also don’t think they monitor their site for non vintage and handmade items anymore. Lots of mass manufactured and not vintage junk on there. If reported, they ignore it.

I ranked Etsy a lot higher last year. Their constant changes to the site are frustrating. They continually seem to focus on nit-picky areas (like what color for fonts) instead of fixing a seriously buggered search. Sales are drastically down and I’ve been feverishly working to move the bulk of my shop to my own Shopify.

We sold our manufactured and branded items only on Etsy and they kicked us off because a competitor kept contacting them saying our goods were from China, which was false. Even with proof and photos of our studios, they were insistent, that the goods were not hand made. Poor knowledge on their part.

The FAQ base is lacking a lot of info. Too many questions left unanswered and offer forums instead. No chat help. You can’t get paid in $US so to buy again in $US one pays exchange rates twice. I like that little is lost if you don’t sell, as there are no up front maintenance fees.

Etsy’s categories are hideous; they make no sense, making it more time-consuming to list (due to selecting a category). I have over 1500 sales there, so trust me – I know! And there IS no customer service. 80% of the time I’ve emailed them, I’ve NEVER gotten any kind of response at all (not even a confirmation of my email). They’ve talked about getting CS phone service, but I’m not aware if that’s been implemented yet or not. The main way for a seller to get customer service is to go to the Etsy forums. That’s about it.

The only site where I have sales from but since 2014 they keep going down and down. Way too much “testing” too much manipulation search it terrible the mandatory use of their payment processor their apparent business design is to make more and more money off it’s sellers and now they are making money off collecting WA state user tax. Yes they charge their fee on the total amount collected including the WA tax. So I as a seller am paying Etsy to sell to WA.

Etsy, like eBay, has changed its spots. Used to be fun, quirky, supportive of its creative users and protective of their needs. Then they threw the doors open to sweat shops and overseas factories under the guise of ‘cooperatives.’ I mostly sold collectibles, but made many friends who said they relied on Etsy as a venue to sell their hand made goods. Even so, I hung on until last June, grasping at the hope management would come to their senses. Didn’t happen and now, thanks to their changes to searches and displays, messing with my item pages and acceptable methods of payment … yes, just like eBay…..my sales pretty much went down the toilet with a loud Whooosh! So it was sigh and goodbye time.

Etsy is another do it yourself selling site with little to no customer service. I do like the venue for collectibles and have 3 accounts that have been very profitable. Like other venues, follow the rules and don’t rock the boat. Boat Rockers find themselves cast out with no life jackets!!! I recommend with the explanation that it is mostly a feel your way through the process with much trial and error. Groups are useless for the most part and hard to wade through typical drama. Enter here at your own risk, you are on your own!!!!

When I started using Etsy I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. But that was just them encouraging new accounts. Even though I continued adding listings regularly my sales began declining till they were down to 0 or 1 a month. Even Dec. Jan. which are always my best months anywhere have been flat. I still list but am letting old listings remain expired. The constant relisting is a nuisance although they will do it automatically if you choose. The constant relist fees run up costs so much you need to make several sales a month to break even.

Etsy is just the same as it has always been, only with less visibility as they have dove into the mass production tide. Once again, they are dinking around with search results, which just means that a steady income from them is impossible to achieve. There is no customer service and it’s incredible to believe, but they just implemented the ability to put your inventory or products ON SALE. They are only 10 years late on that, and people have had to rely on a third party vendor to offer the sale tool. I use them for items that I just let ride like print on demand and patterns. My handmade have all transferred over to Handmade on Amazon or my website.

Where have all the sales gone????? Constant changes, and I mean CONSTANT. Etsy has now placed a sellers reviews in place of an item’s description! Really etsy, reviews are more important then an item’s traits??? Oh, and the forcing of etsy payments is a complete scam. Etsy takes our monies from the few sales we now have on this pathetic site, and holds the funds for sometimes as many as 4 days until said funds arrive in bank account.

No protection for a seller. No customer service. Always testing. Handmade items are not the main stay any longer. Mass produced.

I have had no issues other than some legal issues where other companies didn’t like what I was selling. If that happens, they yank your products off the site.

They closed my store and did not give me the opportunity to file an appeal. When I questioned this, I received a very rude reply. Very unprofessional. I was actually quite shocked.

Selling on Etsy is very profitable as they have very less final sale value fee and listing charges that too for 3 months. But it not good as they can suspend your account anytime without notice even after store is approved.

I’m considered in the top 5% in my selling category of home decor with handmade…however when Etsy changed the definition of handmade to accommodate their own platform …that in itself totally disgusted me with this selling site. I am hoping another handmade site will eventually replace Etsy for me.

Being unable to customize ads in a way that makes them pleasing to visit makes Etsy just a “click and move” selling environment. Not nearly as esthetically pleasing as other venues.

Dealing with the payment processing change and all the other monetizing purely for Etsy’s profit as well as the site’s lack of visibility or customers has left me no alternative than to find somewhere else to invest my time and attention. Like eBay, Etsy has not caught on to the fact that their Sellers also buy. When they drive off one, they lose the other.

Etsy’s search engine algorithms were manipulated to force sellers to their promotional ads to get seen. I was pretty good seller who made close to $35,000.00 during my time there. Ever since they went public they treated the sellers as if they were sweat shop workers. The breaking point for me is when they forced all sellers to use their foreign country payment processor. The fact they filled up the venue with buy/sell junk from China is another deal breaker.

Etsy is archaic. The listings you create can barely have any formatting, so including all the FTC required information makes the listing confusing for buyers. Plus you can’t effectively market your items. I also found buyers to want the handcrafted items but at cheaper than manufactured versions. My business is a serious business that I expect to grow into the tens of millions in sales. Etsy is more appropriate for the hobby handcrafter than it is for someone trying to make a living. The new policies put in place in the last couple of years put the nail in the coffin on Etsy for me.

I have some concerns about the changes and tests that have been done with the search function lately. And if it’s true that they demote listings that use their own policies (instead of the unprofessionally worded cookie cutter policy choices they provide) then I’m NOT happy about that. I can understand demoting sellers with NO policies filled out… but as long as the info is there the listing should be treated the same in search results. I’d be too embarrassed by the childish wording their “templates” use to ever use Etsy’s policies.

Do not explain why things are removed and when you think you fixed the problem they kick you off for life. Very hard to contact them and they do not listen or give second chances. Even when explained that you had figured out the problem and proved it to them.

Phone supports seems to be people that can only answer general questions. Not help with any real issues. At least, that has been my experience.

Etsy is very easy to use and the selling app is amazing. Great for first time sellers which I think is probably 50% of Etsy sellers. Poor communication. Forums are jammed with questions, repeat questions, and to expect your sellers to do your job as an Ecommerce when it comes to sellers concerns, questions, suggestions, whatever is just plain bad business. I won’t leave Etsy because it produces 90% of my sales last year.

Can’t get anyone’s attention when there’s a real problem. We only get canned etsy-speak responses. They constantly run “tests” on stuff that works and don’t fix things that are broke.Their changes don’t come with info on what they are and how to use. When you ask about a “bug” you get responses that are robo-sent and sound like “it’s your fault”. So hard to reach a live person and the reply is just like the robo-sent msg. It’ up to us to figure work-arounds for the “new changes”.

Sellers Choice Awards:
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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.