EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 399 - February 12, 2017 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 0

Sellers Choice 2017 Marketplace Ratings: Etsy

By Ina & David Steiner

Email This Story to a Friend

In January 2017, 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.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

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

Summary:
Etsy came in second place in the 2017 Sellers Choice awards, its second consecutive year earning number-two spot. In fact, for the past 5 years, Etsy has placed either first place (twice) or second place (three times).

This year, Etsy also came in first for Ease of Use - and it also ranked in the top spot for being a selling venue respondents would recommend to friends and colleagues.

Many sellers cited the volume of sales as Etsy's greatest advantage. "Love Etsy, definitely where I'm getting the most sales and traffic for my handmade business," wrote one seller.

Another positive mentioned: the ability to get higher prices than on other venues, with high praise for the quality of Etsy shoppers. However, one respondent noted, "Nice venue for crafters, however, there are many crafters who sell their crafts for next to nothing and that's hard to compete with when I need profits to live on."

As far as critiques, some sellers said the listing form was difficult and that 5 photos aren't enough, and there were a number of complaints about difficulty in getting customer support.

"It's severely lacking in tools for sellers," said one respondent. "For example, being able to have different shipping weights for different sized variations of a product."

Although among Etsy's fan base are sellers of vintage items, it continues to present challenges in that category. "Listing categories, especially for antiques and collectibles, are not logical," said one respondent. But another wrote, "Great place if selling vintage or antique items especially if you have worked to restore or repurpose them. Communication between buyer and seller is super.

Some sellers also complained about mass-produced goods being listed as handmade, such as a seller who said, "Etsy has allowed their venue to be saturated with items that are not handmade and it has ruined the profitability for those of us who work hard to sell unique one of a kind items at a price that covers the time and cost to make such items."

"Etsy is great for those who make stuff, but it's turning into something less boutique and unfairly allowing sellers to just sell things made in factories instead of by hand or created by shop owners," said another.

"Ah, Etsy. Definitely my favorite venue and the one I'm putting the vast majority of my efforts into. It's disturbing that they don't have telephone support for sellers, or at least I haven't been able to find it. And they definitely made a huge misstep with their "manufactured" goods decision, to the detriment of both sellers and buyers. Still, their fees are reasonable, the site is fairly easy to use, the customers are mostly wonderful, profits can be high, and sales are brisk. I've recommended the site to others who have unique niche products."

Etsy received a 6.06 in Profitability; a 6.01 in Customer Service; a 5.89 in Communication; and a 6.32 in Ease of Use (top spot). It received a 6.27 - (also top spot) - 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

Etsy is a very professionally run site, and I've been very pleased since they added a shipping calculator. Traffic and sales have been increasing.

Easy to use. Not a lot of meddling. Good interface with my customers.

Etsy really works for my interests and also with my day job. The fees are half of what eBay charges but I can charge more because it's Etsy with a seriously awesome customer base that values handmade. My two small complaints are I wish I could have the option to add more than five photos and I would also love to be able to block bothersome customers (2). Very minor, really. Etsy makes up for it by offering me seller education tips and the general ease of use.

Etsy is my go to place for selling craft supplies and for selling some collectibles. Listing new items on their site is very easy. I especially like how easy it is to manage your products and renew your listings.

Once if figured out the complicated SEO - thank to the other helpful Sellers - I've double my sales over any year selling the same items on eBay.

Best site for vintage, handmade and supplies. I do well here, easy to list and offers me everything I need.

I do a surprising amount of business on Etsy selling vintage books, comics and magazines. Sales still not high enough to allow me to concentrate my business on the site, but I am hopeful for continued growth in 2017. Etsy is the best placed site to step in take over the vintage unique item sales that eBay has abandoned.

Most of our custom orders come through Etsy. Very happy with all aspects of the site.

I really like this site. It has improved so much in all areas. My business has seen a marked increase on this site.

My personal favorite - I prefer this site over the others. The user-friendly interface helps make it my favorite! I also prefer this one because I can attach images to messages (and they stay full size). Bonanza doesn't offer that.

I sell unique art items on Etsy without any hassle from Etsy.

I have been relatively please with Etsy. They respect intellectual property more than any online retail I know. Kudos to Etsy for doing it right and maintaining integrity.

Etsy is a great seller platform with outstanding support from the buyers. It's a very profitable platform because the customer base don't mind paying the asking price for items. Etsy can stand to improve the seller support and communication which is almost nonexistent at this point.

Love Etsy! Super easy to use, needs to offer more pictures, best for vintage items and handmade, not always do I find the correct category, and customers don't hammer you about price. I haven't spoken to customer service in a while and last time I did, the person was a bit snarky. They do send lots of communication which is great but sometimes hard to keep up with and may not pertain to me. I recommend Etsy all the time!

Etsy is probably the most seller friendly site that I sell on. I love their customer service and they communicate frequently with their sellers on changes. The listing process is a little less user friendly than I would like but once I got the hang of it. I also don't like that I have to wait to get my payment. Would rather have it right in PayPal.

I like the low seller fees. But you can only contact Etsy via email. Sometimes it takes up to 48 hours to get a response. Way too slow.

Not enough traffic, but friendly easy to use, and for me a big factor is selling digital downloads there.

Fewer eyes but great place to do business. Lower fees, items only have to be renewed every three months, and nicer customers to deal with overall. Very pleasant and hassle-free.

Etsy has been very fair compared to other sites I've used. I would recommend them and I enjoy selling there.

Etsy is great. The seller protection is very good and we not have problems with buyers, all in peace. The problem is the seller dashboard for edit an item, the options is not good, also do not have print labels option.

It's hard to get started on Etsy but once you build a viewer base it is a good place to sell crafty items.

Etsy is a niche market place. Works great for some of our inventory. Great place, household name. I enjoy shopping there. Unique stuff. As a seller it is very good.

This selling site is awesome. Buyers seem to trust this site, selling is great and easy! Etsy gets your items out there for buyers to see. Their site is perfect for a small online business.

I have nothing but good things to say. They could use more traffic, but they send out advertising emails to people who have had business there. They have a reputation for handmade items.

No experience with customer service. Other sellers are helpful if I have questions. Good traffic, decent sales, not a lot of hoops to jump through. My favorite site presently.

Etsy has had some technical issues as they grow and discourage certain small re-seller products. But the products I have been able to sell have been outstanding. Easy to use and commissions are low. Shipping options are limited but good for me.

I like the layout and ease of use of this site. They have good traffic flow so that makes selling lucrative. I wish they wouldn't do so much testing, it always shows in the sales. There ARE listing fees but they are very reasonable (20 cents for 4 months plus Etsy and checkout payment fees) considering the amount of traffic and sales. Have to keep up with listings to make sure they have relevance and I do wish they would give more than 5 photos for each listing, that's bare minimum. Would be great if they gave at least 8 or 10. And their item categories kinda suck

Favorite selling venue because I make the most sales there, many friendly people both sellers and buyers, very easy to list, would prefer an option to have more than 5 photos per listing and the fees get pricey so have to get consistent orders for it to be worth it. But positive experience selling on Etsy.

Etsy is doing well for us. Their fees are very fair and they seem to really have a commitment towards small sellers. This will be our first full year but last year was very encouraging.

We have been selling on Etsy for 4+ years and had success. If you have a question, it takes a couple of days for a response, which can be frustrating.

I love Etsy for all vintage items. It is easy to use and easy to print a shipping label. The traffic is not as high as eBay but I will still continue to use it for vintage.

I like selling on Etsy and I do get a lot of traffic and sells everyday. Etsy does have a lot of restrictions on what you can sell but that's what keeps them unique. I do like that Etsy is very clear how to get traffic to your shop and it works.

I like Etsy and have been using it more so am still working out my own wrinkles. I have not had to use customer service But a rotate button for photos would be great.

"Etsy is good for handmade items - we sell vintage items. Their customer service is questionable as there is no way to contact them asap if a problem arrives. Only by email contact that sometimes takes a week. They only provide 5 photo listings which at times is a problem. Customer base smaller than eBay but considerable. Do consistent business with Etsy.

I list things for 4 months, don't sell much but some is better than none, is just .20 each item to list and pay for their built-in bank services or PayPal when item sells.

I do sell things on Etsy but have never really had a need to use the customer service. It is easy to use and I like that you do not have to pay a monthly fee. Sales are somewhat slow although I feel in some ways that is due to the fact that I do not do a lot of promotional stuff.

Commissions are reasonable, although the 20 cent list fee for every listing + every item sold if more are available, is difficult to deal with for low priced items. Most of my items are priced under $5 and many of them are under $3... having to pay 20 cents PLUS the commission plus the payment processing fee makes it difficult to have money left over after the cost of materials.

I give Etsy's "ease of use" a 4 as the ridiculously long titles and tags are a HUGE pain. Yes, I realize that I don't have to use the entire title nor am I required to create tags but come on! I also realize that they are live-testing new searches. So this method of creatively manipulating words for the endless titles and tags might soon be a thing of the past. The site would benefit the sellers if it were properly policed. Nothing newer than 20 years old if "vintage" unless it is a supply or hand made. But of course, they lose money if they "police" both in listing fees and final value fees. Not to mention the cost lost in labor. Something positive about Etsy is its community. The Forum posters are quick with an answer to a seller's problems but also quick to "politely" bash in some instances. Overall, the site is friendly and tidy with little meddling from the powers that be.

PROS: 1) Low FVF (seller fees) 2) FedEx shipping has been added 3) Fair sell through rate CONS: 1) Can only upload 5 photos per listing 2) Cannot block disrespectful individuals from communicating 3) Even though FedEx shipping labels have been added as a printing option, Fedex shipping estimates are not available on Etsy shipping calculator 4) TOTAL failure of the recent DC (Direct Checkout) payment crash. Thank goodness I kept my stand alone PayPal account. Appreciate the few improvements implemented this year, look forward to the practical ones yet to come.

Etsy has limited sellers on what they can sell thus diminishing competition so profitability can be high but process is poor.

Etsy doesn't make it easy to contact them directly, but the seller-seller and seller-buyer relationship is more important than the Etsy-seller communication to me.

There are only a few items such as craft and other supplies that do well. Low end/inexpensive handmade items do the best. The buyers do a lot of favoriting,(whatever that means), and very little buying for anything over $30. The suggestions made by staff are not helpful to me. You can accumulate a big cost by promoting your items with very little sales results. I will stay on the site and try to figure it out. How would you ever get to talk to anyone?

I love Etsy but I wouldn't recommend Etsy to anyone because I feel sorry for any new shop there. The older the shop the better. LOTS of competition, unless the seller has something really unique to sell. However, then the problem is getting a unique item found there. How can you search for something you don't know exists?

Pretty much the lowest "take" of any marketplace and it is moderately easy to put up listings (a good listing tool though would be an improvement). That being said, they have what is absolutely the worst seller communications in the trade. The management style is childish or childlike at best and they have always been known to play favorites with a small group of select sellers. We always suspected (but could never prove) that it was sellers that know (or knew) someone that worked at Etsy. They too, like eBay and Amazon, have a penchant for letting Chinese-based companies get away with violations that US sellers are severely punished for.

Customer service is ok by email, I usually get a reply within 24 hours. Communication about last Summer's payment processing fiasco was almost non-existent. They're still having problems with this, but won't admit it. This month is likely to be my BEST MONTH EVER on Etsy ... in 10.5 years! The scary part is wondering what next month will bring; the graph for my February stats is a downhill ski slope thru February, then it's cross-country skiing for 6 or 7 months. I'm HOPING this month's awesome sales will carry thru the rest of this year and coming years!

Etsy is great. I've been with them since 2007. The only complaint I have is when they do upgrades they always mess with our stores and we don't get many buyers for months. Everytime they do an upgrade they make it more difficult for buyers to find us. And just when we begin getting busy, they do another upgrade and we have to begin all over again.

Listing fees for every item prevent me from listing a lot of items. They hold your pay from sales and you have to wait for it to be deposited into your account.

As a creative person, I really want to have success on Etsy, but so far it has eluded me. I'm not sure why. Have never used their customer service. Etsy has good communication with their sellers through email and on the site. I like the look and feel of the site although some areas are harder to navigate and could use improvement. I would recommend selling on Etsy to my artist friends, but not to everyone.

No seller customer service/support. Too many "testing" mode with-out informing the sellers. Flat lines. Direct Checkout, processing orders very slow or customer will get tired of waiting and cancellation of orders. On and On, too many issues.

Etsy has generated sales for me but communication with staff is non-existent as the seller is directed to the "community" for resolution that leads to unresolved selling issues.

I sell vintage and antique and sales were very poor, seems a better marketplace for cottage industries and handmade crafts. Great for wedding incidentals.

If you contact customer service there is the same answer no matter what the problem is, if they answer at all. They should stop all the testing they do on the website because it slows down business and the same with making constant changes which confuse both the seller and buyer and most of the time the changes are not for the better

Etsy has allowed their venue to be saturated with items that are not handmade and it has ruined the profitability for those of us who work hard to sell unique one of a kind items at a price that covers the time and cost to make such items. I've all but given up on selling on this site and really wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it as a selling venue for artists who work hard to make a living and have to worry about items being copied by foreign sellers who undercut the original artist's ability to sell because of their cheap, low-quality imitations that plague the Etsy venue. Etsy seems to care very little about their sellers in this regard and are only concerned about their bottom line.

Allowing Chinese on the site has taken away from the original intent of the site - a place where Americans can sell. Should only allow them on there to sell components and not finished products. Also, Etsy has bad reputation for not interacting with sellers and their problems.

I only use Etsy for custom orders so my sales are minimal there. There is a .20 listing fee per item which is good for 3 months. When expired, the items must be renewed. When items sit for awhile, the fees can really add up. They do offer a minimal sellers fee. One very positive thing they have started is shipping directly via Etsy. They offer a very nice shipping rate discount if you go through their site. this is a HUGE A+. (Note from editor: listing fee is good for 4 months.)

I find searching for items on Etsy to be difficult so I am always surprised when I sell something (I wonder how did the customer find my item?). Browsing through the listings is a waste of time since there is no way to focus on certain characteristics or items. Because of these issues, I never shop there. The manner in which items are displayed needs to be completely changed so that it is more user-friendly. The lower commission fee is nice, however.

They flagged an item that did not qualify as handmade. I have no issue if my interpretation does not match theirs. Fine to kill the item. but instead they banned me forever from selling there and no live conversation to work it out. Emails get the same response. Finally got them to let me BUY as they had banned that too. I don't need them as a marketplace, but would be good for some of my clients, and eBay won't even let me help as only people allowed, they say, are the designer and the manufacturer. No administration help? Illegal they say. How do you grow here, then?

Customer service is very slow to respond, and apparently, phone calls are at their discretion. That's not good customer service at all. They should be readily available during operating hours for a seller to call them. And after you email them, it's a long waiting period for a response. Their listing format is okay, but it is extremely difficult to find out where to enter common things. And there is no easy way to find out the meaning of things that I needed to know as a seller. I don't want to read an entire handbook to find out how to list an item. I do not at all like the "goofy" stuff-bio, picture of yourself, your hobbies, etc. I'm not in kindergarten and I find this ridiculous. There is no understandable explanation about shipping, shipping overseas, nothing at all about postal insurance (I won't pay that for a customer but I do offer free shipping). Apparently, there is no option for insurance to be paid by the customer. The terms they use for shipping is impossible for me to understand-"shipping profile". What the heck does that mean? So, I don 't do that. Only 5 pictures of an item are allowed-that's not enough at all. Ruby Lane allows up to 9-that's super. Most of the listing format is, to me, either obscure, difficult to understand, or non-existent.

Their software is terribly unfriendly to sellers. It has many limitations and is not easy to figure out, even though I am a computer literate individual.

Etsy is NO longer craft oriented, although their regulations state items must be handmade, vintage, etc. They really need to police their sellers, as the body jewelry listed is manufactured in China and Korea, NOT handmade.

Difficult to use this site. NO or little help with Etsy management. For vintage sales, the shipping calculator is a nightmare.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.


You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
All other use is prohibited.