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Shopify Targets Etsy Sellers: We Have Your Back

Shopify Targets Etsy Sellers: We Have Your Back

Ecommerce platform Shopify sent an email to Etsy sellers telling them, “we have your back,” an apparent reference to Etsy’s decision to force advertising fees on many sellers.

Etsy made the good-news/bad-news announcement on Wednesday, telling sellers they were unbundling the Etsy Ads program (the “good” news) but would force sellers making over $10,000 in sales/year into the new Offsite Ads program (the “bad” news for some).

Many sellers were upset to learn they could not opt out of the program and would be forced to pay a 12% advertising fee on any sales resulting from Offsite Ads (sellers below the $10K threshold pay 15% but can opt out) – see this AuctionBytes Blog post for seller reaction.

Shopify’s email came 2 days after sellers received the news from Etsy about the mandatory ad fees, and the letter did not appear to be a coincidence.

Shopify sent the following email to Etsy sellers on February 28th:

Etsy sellers, we have your back
Take ownership of your brand, your customers, and your profit by moving your business from Etsy to Shopify.

With Shopify, you can sell your crafts, handmade goods, and digital products online, in store, on social media, in-person, and everywhere in between. Your Shopify store is your own. It lives on your domain, reflects the individuality of your brand, and gives you full control over your marketing with all the tools to grow your way.

Many Shopify merchants got their start on Etsy, but how do you know when you’re ready to make the move?

You can read Old World Kitchen’s story to learn about their decision to grow their brand beyond Etsy on Shopify.

“A lot of crafters have this idea that you have to be the poor struggling artist, like there’s something wrong with figuring out how to make your business profitable.”
—Loran Polder, Old World Kitchen

Migrating from Etsy to Shopify is easy, too. In just 3 steps, you can migrate your products, customers, and order data from Etsy to Shopify.

Read our Etsy migration guide and learn how to export your shop data from Etsy and import your store data into Shopify.

Shopify also posted an announcement on Friday on its forums, “How to migrate from Etsy to Shopify” containing more information.

Etsy sellers are discussing the Shopify email on this thread of the Etsy discussion boards. Some sellers advised colleagues that Shopify was not a marketplace with built-in traffic. One wrote, “Everyone realizes this is NOT A VENUE, right? It’s a host site to build your own website. NO built-in traffic like Etsy. You can’t go to Shopify and shop for earrings. Not that I’m knocking it – I have a website thru Shopify, but it gets very little traffic.” Sellers also discussed Shopify alternatives.

Many sellers who choose to set up their stores with an ecommerce platform continue to use marketplaces like Etsy to generate traffic.

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). 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/.

10 thoughts on “Shopify Targets Etsy Sellers: We Have Your Back”

  1. To expect instant traffic from your own website is unrealistic. It takes time to build traffic, so nobody is saying to jump ship and rely solely on your own website from day one. You have to make that transition over time.

    Start your own website, get all of its marketing material together, and start sending that out with every order you ship. Attach all of your existing social media accounts to your own site. Spend your advertising dollars and marketing efforts ONLY on your own site.

    With a Shopify shop, you can also add third-party products via their free affiliate tools that you can make a commission from. Doing so is one way to help build traffic while also giving customers more options that don’t necessarily compete with your own.

    The possibilities are endless and you would be in complete control, but it does take time to build that traffic as well as maintain it. So, there’s no better time to get started than now, right? How much worse is it going to get on Etsy? If you’re struggling or seeing any negative impact on your business now, then the sooner you get started, the better.

  2. Shopify is absolutely not the same as Etsy. Do not be fooled by Shopify.
    Shopify does NOT care for you nor for your business. They only care for your pockets, for a steady flow of your $$$ into their bank account.
    Etsy on the other hand cares for your business. Etsy cares to bring buyers for you.
    Yes, to bring traffic cost a lot of money. Shopify is not in the business to create traffic FOR YOU.
    Shopify provides you with a place for a stand-alone website. THIS IS ALL shopify does.
    You will have to bring buyers to your shop on shopify. And that is very very costly to do.
    With Etsy all you do is post your handmade products for sale, and invest as much as you can in advertising, as an option. Etsy is the biggest name on the internet, third after Ebay and Amazon.
    So there is no problem with traffic. You only need to think how to direct this traffic to your shop.

    1. @Zigmund Seriously? Boy has Etsy got you snowed!!! Etsy only cares how much money they can get out of you! I’ve been on Etsy 13 years – I drove/drive traffic to my shop. And driving traffic to your own Shopify store is no more e expensive than on Etsy. In fact actually cheaper, you get to decide HOW and where you advertise. There’s NO listing fees, NO transaction fees, and NO forced off site ads, which is only a fancy name for a fee increase btw. I pay a very low monthly fee, and any specialty apps I want to use.
      As for Shopify NOT caring – that’s a load of crap!! Their customer service is Stellar!!! I can chat, email or call them, 24/7! If I email a question, I get a nearly instant replay, relevant to my question, NOT some useless canned response 4 or 5 days later. Stop drinking Etsy’s koolaid Zigmund!

    2. “Etsy on the other hand cares for your business. Etsy cares to bring buyers for you.”

      Just because Shopify provides a totally different service doesn’t mean they don’t care. Of course, having your own website where you are in complete control means that you have to do everything. DUH! Shopify just happens to provide one of the best options out there for the price.

      That includes all sorts of FREE tools to make your shop what you want (ie, coupons, sales, social media marketing, shipping tools, newsletters, blogs, etc.). Of course, they also have the paid marketing options, but, again, you are in complete control of which tools you use, how much you spend and where. You also have multiple payment options.

      Also, it is NOT true that you have to spend gobs of money to bring traffic to your own shop. I gave at least a couple of examples above. I personally wouldn’t spend more than you already do on Etsy. You could even account for the listing fees you spend on each item in that spend.

      You want all the control and options you’ve been crying for? Learn how to build your own site.

  3. @Zigmund: Shopify has never claimed to be the same as Etsy. “Etsy cares for your business”? Not sure about your use of the term “cares”. I think “caring” would involve things like building an effective search, not forcing sellers to buy into ads, and advocating for sellers instead of punishing them for resolved cases and bogus reviews. Having a hosted shop requires effort and self education and for those who are interested in managing their own business and not having to acquiesce to strategies devised to placate shareholders, Shopify or any other hosting platform makes sense. Let’s see how much Etsy continues to “care” when they decide to prohibit sellers from directing traffic from Etsy to their Shopify site.

  4. @Zigmund: Shopify has never claimed to be the same as Etsy. Not sure how you you define “caring” but in my opinion if “caring” was any part of the equation, Etsy would focus on building a real search feature and not force sellers into finders fees for “ads” and punishing sellers for resolved cases and bogus reviews. Any seller interested in running a business independent from endless strategies devised in order to placate shareholders would do well to consider investing the time, capital, effort, and self education required in order to grow a business. Let’s see if the “caring” will include figuring out a way to prevent sellers from directing traffic from their Etsy shops to another platform when sellers decide to take Shopify up on their offer.

  5. Are you kidding me? Etsy does not care about you. Your words about Shopify apply to Etsy as well, “They only care for your pockets, for a steady flow of your $$$ into their bank account.”

    Sellers who have been with Etsy since their inception know this. Etsy started with altruistic motivations but that shipped sailed long ago.

    Yes, Etsy is a venue and Shopify hosts stand-alone sites. If you are 100% dependent on Etsy for your income, eventually you’re going to learn a hard lesson. Maybe you like being coddled and lied to, maybe you like being forced into free shipping, maybe you like being forced into paying a 12% advert fee on sales (applies to a subset of sellers). Maybe you want to feel like someone other than yourself is caring for your business.

    Serious business owners run their own websites and know how to drive traffic to them. We don’t want to depend on a venue that could go belly-up overnight with no warning. We don’t want to deal with Etsy’s security breaches that have occurred over the years. We don’t want to deal with Etsy screwing up billing and stealing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars from your bank account, then taking DAYS to fix the issue and refund your money.

    We use Etsy to drive traffic to our own sites by maintaining a teeny, tiny shop and letting buyers know there’s more to be found on our websites. We keep a separate bank account with $10 in it so the next time (and there will be a next time) Etsy screws up billing, they can’t take what’s not theirs.

    BTW, it is NOT “very costly” to drive traffic to your own website. It just takes time, patience and the ability to learn how to do it from hundreds of free online sources. Running a business is hard work and expecting someone else to do all the heavy lifting to make it a success is naïve.

  6. To elaborate on my idea about offering affiliate products, have you ever wished you could offer products within your shop that complimented your own? For example, if you make curtains, wouldn’t it be nice to also offer your customers nice curtain rods to go with them — and make a commission if they sell?

    You have to get creative sometimes when it comes to building traffic. The best way is to offer customers more, even when you don’t personally have it in stock. When you’re making a commission from the sale, then why not? You’re basically getting paid to build your own traffic.

  7. Please. All of them bleed you dry. Whatever they can get away with, they will. Higher fee’s, more NEW fee’s, higher FVF’s. So when you get to the point where your % take is less than theirs, then what is that. Then you are working for them, not them working for you. These companies ALL see that there are way too many sellers out there, and there is not enough of the pie to go around. They work the numbers so it is always in their favor. They get you to do the work and they collect the dough. How many man hours do you spend? And how many do they spend on your account? It’s the same as working for somebody. Only difference is they dont have to abide by labor laws.

  8. Being in my mid 60’s and not computer or social media literate I find the idea of going on my own terrifying but not as much as I am just about to my ears in fed up with Etsy’s greed. I do have many of my items on three other venues which in past 18 months has sold a total of 3 items to my 400 on Etsy. The thing is I NEVER paid Etsy for advertising for more than a couple of months every couple years to test the waters and that was the biggest waste of time and money. Etsy’s greed seems to know no bounderies. They have succeed in making me HATE MY BUSINESS. I invested every dime I saved over 40 yrs into my shop. I have quality vintage and was just starting after 8 yrs to see some decent success. But every thing they do in past 4 yrs or so is for the shareholders and the resale crap sites that are not even allowed but they ignore all peer reports ( I have submitted hundreds, all with links to the wholesale pages, the up to 250 pages of same items selling on Etsy as “handmade” etc. I keep all copies, dates, and shops. And to date ZERO shops removed or items removed.) They are just a greedy bunch of worthless Wall Street types. Not one person I don’t think knows shit about vintage or antiques. They do not support the sellers in any capacity and they need a good lawsuit ASAP for violating so many FTC laws from extortion to telling sellers to break federal laws to recoup the extorted ” free shipping” scam. I can honestly say I work 100 times harder in past 3 yrs than ever because I cannot compete with Chinese garbage.
    I hate Etsy with all my heart and soul but I cannot afford to loose 150k at this point in my life and don’t make enough off Etsy anymore to save to hire help. I was scammed by Etsy. No other way to say it.
    Oh and you all are forgetting to mention that it is not just a 12% or 15% fee. This is on top of at least 9% in selling fees, $0.20 per item fee and then now the 5% on top of the already too expensive shipping. Making most of us pay apx 24% or more per sale. Its not just the item someone views from offsite either. Its any item sold to that seller for 30 FULL DAYS. I don’t know any venue that gets 24% I don’t even make 24% profit so now I am paying Etsy for a service I have never needed ( still earned 43k in 2018 on my own) that will do me nothing but bankrupt me.
    Screw Etsy but …

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