So you’ve had an Etsy shop for a while and you are ready to scale into your own store it but not sure if you should?
My friend Joe is an expert in eCommerce and has kindly agreed to write a post on whether you should scale your Etsy business and open your own store.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission (at absolutely no extra cost for you) if you purchase through my links. Please check my disclosure for more info.
Should You Scale Your Etsy Business into Your Own Store?
So, your Etsy store is doing very well and you want to scale your business and move out of the Etsy-sphere?
Today we will run through a lot of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding, first of all, if this is viable, and second of all, if this is the right time.
One thing you should be very aware of when contemplating whether you should scale your Etsy into your own store is that your own store will cost you more than Etsy until you are established.
Why would anyone want to move away from Etsy?
Well, the reason most would think about is to lower their selling and listing fees. Sure, they might not be much as a small side hustle, but as you scale they will hit you harder.
There is also a question of professionalism, and although becoming a norm, traditionally sites like Etsy are seen as hobbyist platforms rather than business platforms and this could hinder your brand.
What do Etsy do for me?
This is a big one. A lot of sellers won’t be aware quite how much Etsy work for their commission (check this site if you’re in doubt)
Etsy as a site ranks well on Google, so you will see your products show up quite high when you search for them. This will not happen for a long time when you start your own site. This is where ads come in useful, but obviously, this will cost you money (we’ll go more into ads later).
Etsy also has a big following, and customers come directly to Etsy to find handmade products rather than just searching on Google. Have a look at your stats on Shop Manager and you will be able to see how customers are finding you.
Below is an example from WallpaperMuralcom on Etsy:
You will likely see that Etsy bring most of your customers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed on your own.
Etsy Marketing & SEO
The last item in the first column entitled ‘Etsy Marketing & SEO’ shows you how many visits you have from Google search results and this is a good metric to look at and compare to ‘Etsy search’ and ‘Etsy app’.
If Etsy bring most of your traffic that is not necessarily a problem, since you will probably be keeping your Etsy store open – certainly for a while anyway.
Direct traffic and social media traffic is a good sign as you can easily direct this to your own store instead of your Etsy store.
Etsy are also a trustworthy party, and offer buyer protection which will make people shop with you, since they know that any problems will be dealt with properly. This is much bigger than you may think and we will get onto ways to deal with this later on.
Are you running Etsy Ads?
This is a simple test of whether your business is at the point where you can scale. In short, if you aren’t yet using Etsy Ads then you still have a way to go before you start thinking of moving away from Etsy. If you are running Etsy Ads and your sales have started so stagnate, this is probably the time for you to look at moving away.
Do I have enough business/sales to make this work?
This is a very tough one. There is also not an objective answer to the question – it entirely depends on your business, the value of the products you are selling, and how much sales are repeat business. Let’s talk about those in a bit more detail.
If you haven’t already, you should do some market research. Find out who your competitors are (both small businesses and big players) and think about where you might fit into that.
Do some keyword research to find out the volume of searches for your items – you can do this on Google Keyword Planner (need to sign up for an Ads account, but don’t have to spend anything) or any SEO research site (most offer a few free searches and/or a free trial).
The average value of your products plays a huge role in deciding if your sales are high enough to move away from Etsy.
It may sound obvious, but selling low-value items requires much more sales to make a living than higher value items.
For low-value items, whilst more sales are required, the lower value can be advantageous as customers are more likely to take a risk on an unknown site/brand for this kind of item.
For high-value items, the brand and site need to look completely professional and have some kind of history to ease customers’ minds that you’re not a scam (more on this later).
If you have a lot of repeat business then the likelihood is that you could direct these customers to your own store over time. Repeat customers are definitely a good thing as they already know and trust you as a seller, and your brand.
How do I get customers to trust my website?
Now, this is a difficult question as you have to think like you are a customer. Your site needs to look professional and be user friendly – customers will subconsciously have a higher opinion of your brand if this is the case.
Another thing a customer wants to see is reviews, and there are two ways of doing this.
The easy option is having a link to your Etsy reviews on your site whilst you build up sales on your site.
The less-easy option is to message the customers that left your Etsy reviews asking them to review your site on Trustpilot or Google. If going for this, maybe give them a discount code for your site as a thank-you.
Taking example again from WallpaperMural.com, we can see they have integrated Etsy reviews into the navigation of their site.
What are the costs involved in moving away from Etsy?
First of all, you are going to have costs involved with an eCommerce platform.
Unless you decide to write a completely bespoke, secure website (which will take a very long time, or cost a lot of money), you are going to use an eCommerce platform such as Shopify, WooCommerce, 3dCart, etc.
Each of these will cost a certain amount per month: for example, Shopify costs $29 a month plus the cost of your domain – however you will pay no listing fees and transaction fees are way lower than Etsy.
Some e-commerce platforms include web hosting, but if they don’t you’ll have to purchase it elsewhere as well as buying a domain name for your store and web hosting, so make sure to factor in those costs.
If you’re looking for cheap but trustworthy web hosting, check out Freethought: they offer hosting solutions from £15 / $20 a year, they are carbon neutral and plant trees for every service you purchase!
For cheap domain names, check out Porkbun.
I’ve been with Freethought and Porkbun for a while and I couldn’t be happier with their services.
Second of all, with a new website that doesn’t rank high (yet!), you are going to have to advertise to appear higher in Google results. You will also have to spend time (and possibly money, depending how fast you want to do it) optimising your site for search engines and getting backlinks (links to your site on other sites) from reputable websites.
You’ll need to invest a decent budget in Google Ads (at least £5 a day) to make the most of it. You may want to run social media ads as well depending on the market/product in question.
When should I close my Etsy store?
Do not close your Etsy store as soon as you open your own store!
You will need a reliable income whilst you are improving your own store’s visibility and ranking.
Another reason not to close is marketing – you can put your website link on your Etsy store and customers will find your website this way.
Another trick that people often use (which is particularly useful for repeat customers) is to make the website slightly cheaper to encourage customers to use your site.
Only close your Etsy store if your own site is driving lots more sales, and at this point, Etsy sales will become difficult to keep track of with the volume that is coming through your own store.
I hope that has given some insight into the world of eCommerce from an Etsy shop point of view. If you have decided to go ahead, good luck with your new store!
If you’re not ready to open your own website, but are looking for a new stream of income, why not start selling digital products and printables? Check out this article to learn everything about it!