Email This Post Email This Post

Sellers Choice 2019 Marketplace Ratings: Etsy

Etsy

Etsy came in 1st place in the 2019 EcommerceBytes Sellers Choice Awards. The marketplace for handmade and vintage goods and supplies has placed in the top three for the past 8 years This year’s win comes despite a fee increase in 2018.

In January 2019, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 13,000 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 11 online marketplaces included in the survey.

Etsy - EcommerceBytes 2018 Sellers Choice for Best Ease of Use

Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Sponsored Link

Etsy
Year Established: 2005
Description: Fixed price; handmade, vintage, and crafting supplies
More Info

Summary:

Etsy came in 1st place in the 2019 EcommerceBytes Sellers Choice Awards, the eighth consecutive year it placed in one of the top three spots. Sellers like Etsy for its good traffic and support for sellers.

Etsy raised fees in 2018 – listing fees did not change, but transaction fees (commissions) rose from 3.5% to 5%. What was more controversial was its change to the fee structure: Etsy began charging commission fees on shipping in addition to the selling price.

Etsy gained positive feedback about the marketing it does in magazines and on TV. And some sellers felt buyers on Etsy were better quality than on some other marketplaces. There were some references to Etsy being like the eBay of “the good old days.”

Some said they wished they could list more on Etsy but are restricted by its requirement that items be either handmade or vintage (or supplies).

One seller called Etsy’s attempt at “stores,” called Pattern, “the most overlooked aspect of Etsy.” “It is like the little known gem,” the seller wrote. “Personally, I get more traffic, views, and sales on my Etsy Pattern site than I do my Etsy marketplace shop.” But another seller said they didn’t like having to pay an additional monthly fee for a Pattern website.

One seller who started selling on Etsy in 2009 noted that over the years, it’s become more competitive, causing a decline in sales, but called that trend inevitable. Some sellers don’t like Etsy’s takeover of the payment process, called Direct Checkout.

There’s some concern that Etsy is becoming too much like eBay with a focus on fast and free shipping, which can be a hardship for makers of fragile goods or sellers of heavy vintage items. “Etsy started the old eBay trick of lowering your items in searches if you do not use free shipping,” wrote one seller.

Some sellers said Etsy doesn’t enforce its policies equally across the board. There was also some concern from sellers who felt Etsy allowed low-cost imports, which “makes the site seem cheaper,” lowers the price point, and makes it harder to find the quality goods, one seller said.

Another said, “Too many sellers selling as a hobby and not asking for much profit makes it difficult to compete with as a business owner.”

“The site is constantly improving and I have a good number of sales and traffic through Etsy, they are very keen to involve sellers in upcoming projects and events and I really like that, you receive a lot of really useful information for sellers and articles and tips, they always respond to your questions and queries, the fees are relatively low in comparison with other sites and the site itself is very user friendly.”

Etsy revamped the forums in January. Some didn’t like the look of the new forums (“sterile,” one seller called it), and some were disappointed Etsy removed the “Chit Chat” and “Promotions” sections from the forums.

Some sellers said Etsy’s customer service was lacking, and said they had to rely on the forums to get answers from other sellers, making Etsy’s forum changes more than just a change to the community feel.

One seller summed up some of the complaints with the following comment: “Site changes that don’t benefit long time sellers. Rate hikes that make small sellers lose money. Accounting system too complicated and thousands and thousands of ready made import items block small sellers from being seen. Forums changed for the worse, no customer service ever available.”

Another seller said Etsy didn’t do enough to promote vintage goods, and another said the categories for antiques & collectibles were not well thought out.

Etsy received a 6.57 in Profitability; a 6.44 in Customer Service; a 6.47 in Communication; and a 6.88 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.29 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

Super easy, user friendly, intuitive, affordable and much more profitable than eBay and Amazon.

Incredibly, I sold 90% of $100 plus items that were listed on Etsy. It is a wonder and I hope to keep adding inventory including cheaper items.

Etsy has improved greatly in sales and exposure for an independent artist. Steady sales are now possible mostly because Etsy promotes things that sell so sales tend to snowball. Curiously, after reaching a certain income, sales drop to nothing, so I suspect they rotate their search results like everyone else. It took Etsy forever to come up with a shipping calculator but now it is available and works very well. Third party bulk editing tools are minimal, and Etsy’s version of bulk editing is not very efficient. Improvement greatly needed in that area. With all that, Etsy remains my number one choice for fine art.

Sales are quite strong and costs reasonable. Prefer a “buy it now” platform to an auction. There are buyers from the UK as well as abroad.

Etsy. Is still #1 in my book as far as the sales go, ease of use, graphics are great for a seller and buyer.

Etsy is a wonderful to sell your items. A classy format.

I only started listing on Etsy last year (2018) and despite being told that it takes a while to get established on the site, I was very pleased with the number of sales I had.

The best site for hand crafted items and reasonable fees make Etsy my most profitable venue. But still, no direct contact with customer service. All email which takes time.

Wonderful site, easy to list or relist, very efficient checkout, lack of customer service is the low point of Etsy, had a wonderful FORUM where the sellers helped each other, the forum is currently undergoing revisions.

Etsy is a very good selling site. We can get actual shipping costs out of the customer and they are not as picky as Amazon customers. We rarely have returns and we rarely have complaints from our Etsy customers.

Very good webpage with a lot of customers. Very good algorithm that allows people to find my products.

I do well as a seller because I sell supplies. Competition is fierce.

Good traffic, attracts high end buyers

As of now, Etsy is my strongest selling site.

Low fees, decent traffic, limited to only vintage or handmade so I cannot list my new items there.

Only been selling for a short time on ETSY, but Love it as a seller and buyer. Literally Nothing bad to say. Love it. Will be spending much more time selling on there this year compared to other sites. Reminds me of before eBay went downhill.

Etsy has cultured, civilized buyers and looks out for its sellers as well. All-in-all much-better than eBay. Their only (major) fault is Sellers are prohibited from leaving feedback of any kind. Perplexing!

Great site with lots of free services to make selling easier. Very profitable for me.

Fairly happy with Etsy as a seller of vintage/antique jewelry. Some of the categories do not really fit but understand that they also mostly cater to handmade items of quality.

Low fees. Wonderful communication for buyers or potential buyers. Encourages sellers to sell, whether on or off site. I have no problems with shipping through Etsy, or their payment system. The only thing I wish they would add is auctions.

I think the most overlooked aspect of Etsy is the use of their Etsy Pattern sites. It always amazes me how sellers are willing to put out money for seller services in the marketplace (such as Promoted Listings), but put their noses up when you mention the Etsy Pattern sites. It is like the little known gem. Personally, I get more traffic, views, and sales on my Etsy Pattern site than I do my Etsy marketplace shop. My plans for this year is to increase my listings in my Pattern site, while reducing the number in the marketplace. Honestly, the $15 a month is far less than what I pay to Etsy in the marketplace.

Our primary selling venue. Finally matching our eBay sales and far outpaces eBay with payment options available which makes a big difference. The site offers PayPal but as one of many options through managed payments which is an excellent program that effectively protects sellers from any arbitrary risk management baloney or unnecessary friction that PayPal creates non stop with eBay accounts. Etsy is seller focused and offers immediate assistance to sellers in the very few scam situations that we have experienced on the site over the years. The downside of Etsy is very strict listing guidelines that unfortunately force quite a bit of merchandise over to eBay, which to that site’s credit is more sensible with what listings are allowed. Overall Etsy is our favorite site and has a superior and exceptionally feedback system that allows a seller to explain in detail in a public forum any poor review received. The new payments program is our only real issue with Etsy.

Major magazines and publications have references to Etsy all the time, and they even had a TV show. I think they try very hard to keep things fresh and in view.

I like Etsy, seems like eBay was in the good old days. They offer a nice storefront, good customer service. But vintage items moved too slowly for me and they do not have a good listing software or portal to work with. If they would ever work with InkFrog I’d go back in a heartbeat! Too much work to maintain separately.

Etsy is simple to use, fee are palpable and they communicate well with sellers through notifications etc. Very accepting of the small seller.

Etsy is perfect for quality handcrafted wood products.

IMO the best selling platform out there for handmade items.

I deal in vintage items, and find that they buyers who purchase items from ETSY are the most wonderful and friendly people imaginable. That alone is worth recommending the site, I do wish support from management were better – it’s really lousy, though.

Etsy needs to reinstate phone support for sellers. I love that they don’t force sellers to take returns or pay for return shipping.

Etsy has been a very profitable site to work with, and they provide excellent tools to attract buyers and other sellers. However, communications is not so good, on the rare occasion that I have needed to communicate with them.

I love Etsy and it has been a great supplement to my income. I just wish they would stop making so many useless changes and listen to the sellers more.

Not a fan of having to pay an additional monthly fee in order to make a website money on my seller fees.

In general I still like Etsy best as my selling site. I have been very frustrated with all the tests and glitches, but my sales for 2018 ended up being slightly better than 2017. It’s pretty simple to add items and organize current and expired listings. Although I don’t often use the forums, I really DO NOT LIKE the new forums. It is much more difficult to use and will be a problem if I should need help. Too bad they couldn’t leave well enough alone. But all in all, selling is the most important thing so as long as I sell and the fees don’t become too much to handle I will stay.

Etsy has been a great site for selling and find the only negative is the many changes the site goes through. Otherwise it is an easy site to use and no major problems.

I love Etsy, it used to be better tho before they started to allow all the crap from China which is making the site seem cheaper and it lowers the price point. They may end up like eBay if they don’t limit the junk. People come to Etsy for handmade and Art, so the junk pushes those items back in the search I think.

I really like Etsy as a selling site and it’s done well for me for since 2009. In the beginning I did remarkably well but my sales have been declining steadily due to the competition in my category on the site. In my opinion this is pretty unavoidable with any online venue. I think Etsy is run very well with my only complaint being that it is not easy to contact an Etsy employee to discuss an issue as most things are dealt with on the Forum site . It seem like they don’t really want to talk to anyone or give one on one advice. I think their fees are reasonable and I’m just hopeful they don’t go the way of eBay and Amazon and change the personal feel of the site.

Etsy’s fees did go up this past year which increased my fees by app. 2%. I am paying more so profitability is lower now. Etsy also started the old eBay trick of lowering your items in searches if you do not use free shipping. This caused my profits to decline as well. The buyers on Etsy are generally a friendly sort and there are VERY few attempts at extortion and VERY few that are rude. It is not unusual to chit-chat back and forth during a transaction period and develop a relationship. It is nice to have a selling venue that attracts repeat customers too.

I wasn’t very happy when Etsy changed their payment structure so now fees are taken out right away, but I have learned to live with that. I really hope 2019 is a better year, I did really well until the payment structure changed over, then my sales stopped. I am not sure what happened.

Have sold on Etsy for five years. It’s easy to use and fees are still relatively reasonable. Not a big fan of all the site changes. The change to search did result in a drop in views and sales over the last two years. This seems to have improved recently. Communication was terrible but I think they are trying to improve on this with the Request system. It’s the best venue I’ve used out of the four I have used.

I personally have enjoyed my experience with Etsy. Easy to list and easy to deal with. Why would I not give it a 10 for recommending? Well, I just found a few sellers that have had listings removed because it violates Etsy policy and then you go and search and there are 100’s of the same listing, worded the same exact way. While, I only sell vintage decoration, and the like, I know people who sell other things that can be construed as a “weapon”. If you are going to remove listings, do it across the board, even with your more “active” sellers

Etsy is easy, not a lot of changes. They mostly leave you alone and that’s fine for us. If we were new sellers we might appreciate more hand holding. On the sales side it’s hard to get momentum. We can’t break through to a really profitable level. It’s just OK. We are grateful for the additional sales, just don’t quit your day job.

They are trying to be like eBay now. Raised fees and now charge the fee to shipping charges. They requested (basically forced) us to add the shipping to cost of item and offer free shipping. Stated free shipping sellers would receive better search results and rank higher in search. Adding all the hikes in fees along with the shipping charge basically priced the items out of market value. We have since lowered our prices back and separated the shipping cost and we are seeing close to double sales now in January compared to the “free shipping” which was offered during “Christmas rush”. They should just let vendors sell as the deem best and not try to bribe sellers into doing the “free shipping” scam.

Etsy was better years ago compared to today. Customer service is horrible. You have to email them and maybe you’ll hear back. Search engine shows new stuff over vintage.

Etsy cares about its sellers, but recent moves are making it more like eBay or Amazon – not good for its original niche as a creative sellers’ marketplace.

I have not been pleased with the sales results from Etsy. I sell vintage and it does not do that well there. I do not think that they enforce the sales policies equally across the board.

I sell more slowly on Etsy but get good returns. Not sure there is customer service for seller on Etsy! Luckily I haven’t needed it.

Fairly easy to list when things aren’t being changed, photos can be a challenge when they change sizes. My photos are showing to the left when on Google. Items are promoted so if you have the right tags/keywords you have a good chance of getting views and sales. Too much interference lately from Admin (ie pushing free shipping…no such thing) and changing too many things that aren’t “broke”.

Etsy is easy to use as a seller. Except I am not happy with some of the sellers Dashboard changes. There is too much clicking now and it’s slower to get where you want to go as far as your own pages.

With three stores selling antique & collectibles on Etsy, I am pleased with sales. The listing form is awkward & the categories for antiques & collectibles are not well thought out.

Customer support is difficult to get. Too many sellers selling as a hobby and not asking for much profit makes it difficult to compete with as a business owner.

They still don’t have phone numbers for reaching customer service.

ETSY was a great site when they started. Since they are on the stock market it’s only about their profit. They push sellers to offer free shipping plus keep the selling price reasonable. When item is sold they receive 5% off the selling price plus add 3% to each shipping label sold through ETSY. Which adds 8% to each item sold. The money in the account is not available to the seller since ETSY takes out every penny owed to them out of the account before the seller will even receive anything. The fees and taxes are so high that at the end of the month the seller will range in the minus. Which means all that work done from the seller is useless. I closed my store after 8 years. It is just not worth it all my time and effort.

Little to no CS. Very little attention to vintage categories. Still worthwhile. My sales tend to be of my higher end items on Etsy.

Etsy used to be amazing. But since they’ve changed CEOs, twice, it’s gone away from the vision the maker had. They just canned teams, making team pages completely unmanageable and over the last 6 years taken away EVERYTHING community based from live chat to circles to treasuries. It’s just a boring place now. The connections sellers had to other sellers and buyers has taken a blow. I do sell well here, but I’m very disappointed. We need to have a strong community, and they’ve taken away our ability to have a voice.

Having direct contact with customer service is hard. They refer you to a question and answer page. Fellow sellers in the forums provide the most help. But it is easy to use the site as a seller and fees are competitive with other sites.

I’ve been on Etsy 12 years. It USED TO BE a great site, and while I still get sales, soooo much of the site has gone downhill. Customer service is nearly non-existent; the forums – where you could get assistance from others sellers – has been totally gutted, and rendered useless. They’ve raised the fees and added fees on shipping, but have not provided any corresponding benefit. There are so many bugs and technical issues, it’s a wonder the site runs at all. And instead of focusing their attention to these bugs, fixing the useless search, and correcting issues that actually affect sales; admin continues to focus on floofy useless visual tweaks, that actually end up making things worse rather than better. I didn’t think I’d ever leave Etsy, but as soon as my Shopify store sales and traffic improves, I’ll be kicking Etsy to the curb!

My single biggest issue with Etsy is their double-standards. They do not consistently enforce their rules and regs. Some sellers get punished or kicked off even for minor violations and others can break every rule on the site with no apparent consequences. Seriously, at some point Etsy should give up the handmade “charade”. Sure, there are handmade products on there. That’s all that we sell on there. But the number of drop-shippers, straight resellers, program sellers and Chinese manufacturers (sure, okay they do have products made by their virtual slave laborers) obviously point out that they are selectively turning a blind eye to many practices that aren’t allowed on their site. Why not just create a category for pre-made items and get over yourselves. You’re really not fooling that many people anymore!!!!

My sales have dropped since they have changed the way they do business with advertising options, but I still get sales.

Fees are increasing. Search results seem skewed, flooded with duplicate listings so my items are lost. Largely fan art/items, but you get in trouble for trademark use if you use the name in the tags; like hashtags, that should not be a trademark violation. How will people ever find your items otherwise?

Etsy needs to refocus its search algorithms to aid sellers in actually selling. Etsy needs to do better advertising. Etsy charges too much for what you get..absolutely zero help from them to get sales. Etsy needs to focus on its sellers and keep Chinese junk off the site.

Was fairly profitable until 2018. Not enough buyer traffic for number of sellers. Etsy bought DaWanda which increased sellers even more. Fees increased + now also charged on shipping. Forums changed for the worst. All the best bits of Etsy taken away (cheap fees, community). Items take too long to sell, but prices often better than eBay when they do. Wouldn’t recommend as ONLY venue. Am starting own website out of necessity. Ex-eBay CEO making same mistakes made on eBay. Fees should be less as traffic a lot less than eBay. Etsy not a household name yet in UK. Need them to spend more on google ads + google shopping. They think OUR customers are their customers, when sellers are their customers. They fix things that aren’t broken and every change has been for the worst. Still prefer them to eBay who attract wrong kind of customers.

The new fee on shipping is offensive – lack of it was one reason I chose to list there. The site changes invariably come during what should be peak sales times for vintage – and they always interfere with sales. The new preferences for cheaper shipping is unfair and poorly thought out – the nagging by the sight to raise prices and lower shipping if you want your listing to even be viewed is suicidal. The new billing system is insulting and unwise. The changes to site are NEVER those sellers ask for: improved search, improved photo editing, improved telephone and online support, improved item specifics. It’s a low-energy site trying to adopt the worst aspects of eBay. Etsy ignores sellers’ recommendations.

Etsy seems determined to kill itself, following much the same path as eBay: pushy sales tactics and horrible search to drive off buyers, refusal to enforce their own Terms of Use with regard to gazillions of resellers passing off factory-made as handmade or vintage – which also drives off the exact kind of buyer we want to attract and retain – plus greatly increased fees, including the insidious percentage on cost of shipping, ridiculously slow and non-transparent about site issues, refusal to listen to what actual sellers and buyers want, and the latest – just muzzled one of the best parts of Etsy, the community self-help, via the new forums train wreck.

Etsy used to be a great place to sell handcrafted items until they allowed mass manufactured items. Now it’s just another place to buy Chinese junk.

Etsy algorithms don’t work….takes too much time to list an item, as a buyer, very hard time to find what you’re looking for. As a seller, very hard time to find your own listings in search. When Etsy first started, it was for handmade items/vintage…and asked sellers to make sure you add time, shipping costs, packaging costs when shipping an item….now they suggest FREE shipping. Chinese/Korean etc. factory manufactured bulk items are now a-okay on Etsy. NO LONGER Handmade and Vintage…sad.

Too many unnecessary changes claimed to be improvements to the site that hurt sellers rather than help them. Their search tool leaves much to be desired despite Etsy claiming to having made improvements. The fact that they earn more from seller services than sales is telling. The overall climate of the site has ventured far from the artistic community it once was to a corporate money-maker. They’ve even just recently ruined their forums to reflect that sad truth. Customer service and forum moderators are a joke. They’d rather blame their customers, treating them badly and even punishing them in the process, than accept responsibility for widely known problems either created and/or worsened by them. I’m currently working to completely remove myself from their site, even switching gears in business so I’m no longer reliant on such marketplaces.

I have been a seller on Etsy for almost 10 years, but the site has deteriorated under the control of CEO Josh Silverman. Sellers are no longer respected, but are purely vessels through which to screw more money for the shareholders. Fees have escalated, search has been throttled, resellers and mass manufacturers are now welcomed and the new forums are a complete shambles. I would not recommend anyone to sell on Etsy now, as it is far from the handmade and vintage ideal it started out as. Sellers have been sold down the river.

I had listings on Etsy for more than six months, and I never had even one inquiry let alone a sale. In the beginning, Etsy was for artists, but now the Chinese factories seem to have taken over as well as large companies throughout Eastern Europe. They may be selling handcrafted goods, but they are not individual sellers making them. If you have any experience in making jewelry for example, you can tell just by seeing what they are selling. So unless you are willing to sell your items for next to nothing to keep up with the foreign sellers, an American artist rarely has a chance to be profitable on Etsy.

We have been selling on Etsy for 2-3 years. It is a good venue for lower priced vintage items but not so much for higher value items. The costs of selling on this site have skyrocketed as they increased the commissions from 3.5 to 5% and started to charge commission on shipping. The latter discriminates against countries with high postage costs and this is compounded by Etsy’s assertion that lower postage is now a criterion in their listing order. This is also the case for free shipping, which is obviously easier to do if you live in the US or other country with low rates. They are also harassing dealers who have higher postal rates, presumably comparing them to the low US rate, with constant notices that the shipping costs are too high. It is all exceptionally annoying at best.

Etsy with its most recent AI algorithm changes seems to be phasing out small unique handmade goods and artisan sellers. They are no longer able to compete with shops that have their product manufactured or have a rapid turnover with employees. These small shops are not being seen because new sellers get a boost in search, and the consequences are the ooak handmade goods get pushed back in search after these new shops and the power sellers get top spots in the first 5 pages.

Etsy’s new Shop Manager dashboard is almost impossible to use. I can’t find where to enter the tracking number, I can’t decipher the fees any more, and there are so many sliders it makes my eyes cross. Listing is a chore. I’m about to quit Etsy and I’ve been an Etsy seller since 2005.

The fees are starting to creep up and some of the new policies they have introduced are alarming. They have misinterpreted the EU Vat regulations and are incorrectly charging vat on financial products which are exempt. Also overcharging International sellers due to a “bug” and they don’t seem to be in a hurry to fix it or reimburse.

My sales were up this past year on Etsy, which is good. Sales seem to come in spurts, with questions and sales from buyers happening, and then sales and questions stop for a few days. The inconsistency is confusing; sellers often talk of the “lights on-lights off” for their shops, and this certainly seems to be the case for many. Is this because of something Etsy does, or just normal online sales fluctuations? Even with the inconsistent sales, Etsy is a good place for selling my vintage items at a fixed price.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the Sellers Choice Awards, please feel free to post them below.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

One thought on “Sellers Choice 2019 Marketplace Ratings: Etsy”

  1. One thing that has come about with the new forums not expected.
    I have used what is called a sticky url from GoDaddy on both my shops at Etsy since opening them.
    I did not have pattern shops as this worked fine and redirected traffic to the Etsy shops.
    Basically mainly to make it just easier to remember for a customer.
    With the new setup of the forums now run by an outsourced company these sticky urls are not working properly.
    Have tried to get help on this issue since the 22nd. with no solution.
    Can you please look into this Ina? If in fact I now cannot use the sticky urls and/or if in fact I need to pay for Pattern shops to be able to use a more simple Url?

    http://www.gracefulantiquesvtg.com

    I now get protocol wrong type for socket msg. on error message. Sometimes it does go through and sometimes one has to refresh the page. If this is happening to others that previously used sticky urls that would be a problem it seems to me and traffic to Etsy? Thanks. Sandy

Comments are closed.