Why sell anything?
First off, why sell anything at all?
- An Experiment: In short, I view my selling product (as opposed to a service) as an experiment. I’ve been working in a service driven industry for a long time, providing both photography services and web development. I like the idea of experimenting with selling physical products. I’m not sure where the experiment will take me. Maybe it’ll be hard to justify keeping open, but I hope it provides a bit of a playground for experimenting with both products and software development (as an ecommerce site) in the long-term.
- A Creative Outlet: I love to create things and learn new skills! Since my day job involves sitting at a computer, I specifically like working with my hands away from my computer to create things. I initially got into painting and drawing to design custom fabric for recent sewing projects, but I’ve quickly caught the painting bug and have taken off with it.
- To Sell Photos: Over the years of working as a photographer, several clients have asked if they could purchase photos. And now you can! At this point, my Etsy shop is a bit of painting and a handful of photos. If my photos do well, I’ll expand in that area.
Before getting up and running on Etsy, I thought long and hard about which platform to use. I’ve familiar with the ecommerce industry, and deeply familiar with custom ecommerce development, so while it was tempting to go that route, here’s why I chose Etsy:
- Unproven Brand and Products: My new products are unproven. I’ve never sold online before. I have a measly ~100 instagram followers. While my Facebook page has a few more followers, I have no way to predict how selling physical products will go without much of an established brand. It would be silly to invest thousands of dollars on a custom ecommerce solution, or even a small software as a solution store (e.g. Shopify) without testing my products somewhere first.
- Low Startup and Ongoing Costs: Etsy has very low startup costs at $0.20 per listing for 4 months. Keeping a store open for 4 months with 16 products (that’s my item count now) is going to cost me $3.20, plus the time it’s taken me to create product listings. Of course, I’m not including the fees associated with actually selling items.
- Leverage Etsy Audience: Etsy has a huge audience, and I can hope to leverage the marketing and product discovery within Etsy as part of that ongoing cost. It will obviously take time to build my store up, but Etsy is a great, affordable software as a service to run my experiments on. A really interesting piece of advice I read recently is that Etsy wants your items to sell. They make a good amount of money on each sale, so it’s in Etsy’s best interest to drive the right products to the right customers, so this is something I count on.
Why not Etsy?
- SEO: A white elephant in the room is the SEO of Etsy, or rather, building up decent search engine rankings on Etsy for my own products won’t help me if I eventually move product to my own domain. This domain has a decent local ranking at this point, and putting any custom items on here might have been a good decision, but the advantages of getting products listed and with low maintenance overrode any disadvantages with immediate SEO.
- Fees: After making a couple of Etsy sales, I realize the Etsy fees are high, relative to selling something on your own domain where you may only get charged ~2.5% per credit card transaction. I plan to break down the math later, but the cost of any software as a solution app or custom software would be more expensive than the current Etsy fees. The fees alone are a great reason to move off Etsy if a most cost effective solution can be found in the future.
Thanks for reading! Please support me at my Etsy shop!