By Shaan Khan
It’s apples & oranges; picture an Etsy store as an apartment you’re renting out in a city with a thriving economy, opposed to a website that’s like your newly built home in a slowly developing town.
- The apartment and surroundings are staples of high-standard living and the potential renter finds this secure & comforting.
- The home and surroundings are symbols of independence & hope—your full creative control can transform your place into something idyllic for the future that will attract buyers.
Etsy has earned its title as the online city of artisans, giving them a smooth & feature-rich platform to sell their products to a consumer base that adores Etsy’s reputation and their rich catalogue of products. Sadly, as with the state of economically-rich cities, they eventually plateau with stagnated innovation. The flock of traders worldwide coming to the cities begin saturating the market and overpricing property—making competition fiercer.
Will this encroaching fear of an Etsy store outweigh the benefits, or will a website be the natural disrupter that can lead Etsy sellers to pivot to the traditional online forms of selling and enter the world of web design?
When you create a home with nothing around, you take the initiative and do it yourself, live off the land and start a business, hire employees with homes built for them to live in—the steps towards inadvertently creating your own city. Similarly with a website, it’s like a blank sheet of sand in a wasteland and how you get creative with the space and communicate it to the outside world will turn it into something.
An Etsy Store is already something, an established place for you to use but with restrictions & parameters. You don’t hold ownership. Everything fed to you is their creation and anything you create within their space is limited.
You might say, ‘well, at least the market is bustling, so more eyes on my product than a new website, right?’. To some degree, you are correct, but with every Etsy seller given limited creativity, it’s hard to tell sellers apart; the same can be said about their products & brands.
With the creativity of a website, you can set yourself apart from all the competition on Etsy combined for the sheer fact your website can look nothing like an Etsy store. If your website gets traction, you’ll reap in praise for all the explicit content such as visual animations and informative web pages unseen on Etsy—gifting your brand a level of quality the rest don’t have.
What other benefits does this website creativity uphold?
Thriving Ecosystem – You have the power to feature a range of products, services and content in one place, unlike Etsy, where a store is limited to products. This will boost your website into more diverse search results and a greater reach to a larger audience. Once on your website, they will be exposed to everything your site offers—gifting your website with a healthy amount of attention pulled from a general audience.
Newfound Marketplace – No rules are stopping you from allowing other traders to use your website to sell or promote products/services/content. Especially if your website garners traction, individuals and companies would want to use your website, allowing you to choose how you will charge them to use your platform—perhaps turning your own website into the next Etsy!
Unlock Marketing Potential – With the ability to embed videos, 360-degree virtual showrooms and a webpage dedicated to blogs, a consumer’s interest and attention span on browsing your website could easily supersede that of an Etsy store. Etsy limits your content and provides many distractions for customers with other stores that exist right next to yours on the same web pages.
The Easy Access of Etsy
While exciting as this all sounds, it takes greater effort to get running, unlike the streamlined process of Etsy, where you fill in relevant details into an online form that automates the set-up of your Etsy store with no coding or visual design on your part.
Screenshot of Etsy’s Store Setup Page
Etsy stores also support you with customer service, delivery options and website maintenance. With your own website, you will have to do this all yourself or hire a team.
So on average, it’s easier and more hassle-free to use Etsy. As the e-commerce website grows in userbase, simultaneously as your Etsy store grows in popularity, then new users are going to be searching for the most established stores. You could be one of them—potentially making it an excellent time to capitalise on Etsy now while it’s still hot.
There is still one vital component to what makes a website better suited for a brand than Etsy that can’t go ignored.
Your Website Represents You
Over time, Etsy will likely evolve, change the layout of its website, the theme and features. If you’re part of the Etsy ecosystem, then your Etsy store will follow suit and you can’t dictate the future of how you want the website to look to represent you or your brand.
Etsy might receive controversial updates or data breaches and you must accept that and so does your customers. It’s the equivalent of being seated on a sinking ship and you can’t do anything to save it.
At least with your own website, you’re in command, and you know yourself and your brand better than anyone and how it will evolve. You might have undergone market research and feel like Etsy are not developing their website accordingly to cultural change, but you feel like you can.
It’s why the biggest brands have their own websites and why brands change their image over time to keep fresh. The skies the limit with a website long term. If you manage your website properly, you will feel the satisfaction of its evolution from being a no-business wasteland to a popping marketplace of a city in the online world.
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