Etsy and Artfire are not the only two online marketplaces for handmade goods out there. 1000Markets and the newly launched Zibbet also get their fair share of business, but Etsy and Artfire are the leading marketplaces. If you google “handmade” Etsy will come up as the first result, and Artfire the second. Etsy has been around longer and is more widely known, but it isn’t necessarily the best option for selling online.
The Pros and Cons of Etsy:
Having launched back in 2005, Etsy has the benefit of being around longer. They were one of the first marketplaces of their kind at that time, therefore still have a larger customer base. Their daily views are still much higher than Artfire as well.
The downside to being the most viewed site, is that they also have more sellers. For instance if you are selling handmade jewelry on Etsy, your item is competing with more than a million other jewelry items at any given time.
Another benefit is that Etsy gives you the choice to “renew” your items. Meaning if you pay them another $0.20 you can renew an item, bumping it up to the top of searches. But don’t be fooled, in a matter of minutes your item could be bumped back down behind a few hundred other items of the same category.
Which brings us to one of the main cons of selling on Etsy. Fees! Not only do you pay $0.20 to list and/or renew any item, you are also paying Etsy a transaction fee of 3.5% for every item sold. And don’t forget about your paypal fees!
One of the things I liked best about Etsy was the community. Their forums are very active, they post regularly on their blog “The Storque” and also have some added bonuses like a weekly craft night. Both Etsy and Artfire have groups of like-minded individuals called Teams on Etsy and Guilds on Artfire. Whether you sell supplies, crochet hats or fine art, you will find a group perfectly fit for you.
The Pros and Cons of Artfire:
Artfire is behind Etsy by about 3 years and they do lack the visitors that Etsy has. I posted the same item in both my Etsy shop and my Artfire shop and the Etsy views were nearly triple what Artfire was. Just ilke with any other online selling venue, promotion is key!
The main pro to selling on Artfire is the lack of fees. Instead of paying per item and per sale, you pay one monthly fee and nothing else. Right now it is $15 a month for a pro account on Artfire (which has extra features) or you could also sell for free with limited features. If you have a lot of inventory, you will be savings a ton of money on Artfire.
Artfire has loads of special features that Etsy simply does not have. You can create coupons, put your entire shop on sale, and edit your shop as a whole as opposed to each item individually. Again most of these features only come with a pro account.
In my personal opinion, the only big drawback to selling on Artfire would be the lack of views and unique visitors they get on a daily basis. This may be a deal breaker for those that are trying to make a living. You just have to weigh the high-traffic on Etsy with the high amount of products you are competing with.
So Which is Better?
I can’t answer that for you. It really depends on the individual, and it is typical for a seller to have shops on both sites to see which works for them. My Etsy Shop had over 140 sales before I closed up shop, which I achieved in about a year with minimal advertising. The top sellers there have in the high thousands. My Artfire Shop on the other hand is fairly new and I have about 6 sales so far. With both sites, it took me about a month to get my first sale, and the rest were very sporadic.
I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavor!