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Introduction

As an Etsy seller, your business is a source of income, an outlet for your creativity, and, most importantly, your passion. Value your business on Etsy by owning it and protecting all your hard work and investment.

Know the limitations and barriers that could put your business at risk on Etsy, and do not leave your Etsy shop vulnerable to a third-party platform that does not value it as much as you do. You’ve read the stories and know the reasons. Save yourself from becoming another unfortunate story – make an action plan and take control of your online business today.

Explore beyond Etsy

Where does Etsy end, and where does your business begin?

Making a transition does not mean abandoning Etsy or your loyal customer base. It means expanding what you have created through your hard work and dedication by growing your brand beyond Etsy. Start thinking of your Etsy shop as a selling channel. Plan to make a second selling channel in addition to your Etsy shop. It is a wise business decision that reduces risk when your Etsy shop is your only income stream.

When building your brand, customer base, social media engagement, and email marketing list, drive the traffic you work hard to generate to your website, not Etsy.

Don’t let the cost and fear of technology prevent you from investing in growing your online business. A meaningful investment is vital for your immediate and future success. Investing in a website does not happen overnight. With careful planning, finding the right e-commerce solution that fits your budget and business needs is worth your time.

Benefits of having your website to conduct and grow your business:

  • Build your brand identity and recognition while increasing professionalism and credibility
  • Control and customize your content without fear of violating Etsy terms and conditions
  • Share your personal and business story in depth
  • Showcase your products creatively and integrate stories between your shop and blog seamlessly
  • Flexibility to promote craft shows, wholesale opportunities, and other revenue sources to build your business
  • Protect your brand and products from copycats that undercut your price and quality
  • Manage and have complete control over your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy
  • Control and direct your marketing efforts that are 100% devoted to your products and not be forced into offsite ads
  • Plan for future growth and expansion under your terms
Transition from Etsy to your own e-commerce website by Plan In Action Web Services

How to transition from Etsy to an ecommerce website

  1. Choose a platform: There are many different platforms for creating your website. Some popular options include Big Cartel, Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace. When choosing a platform, it is crucial to consider your needs and budget.
  2. Design your website: Once you have chosen a platform, you can start designing your website. This includes selecting a theme, adding content, and setting up your store. Many resources are available to help you with this process.
  3. Market your website: Once it is up and running, you must start marketing it. This can be done through online and offline channels. Some popular online marketing channels include search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and email marketing. Offline marketing channels include print advertising, direct mail, and public relations.
  4. Provide excellent customer service: One of the best ways to keep customers returning is to provide excellent customer service. This includes responding to customer inquiries promptly, resolving issues quickly, and going the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.

Additional tips for making the transition from Etsy to your website:

  • Don’t abandon your Etsy shop: Even after you have launched your website, you should not abandon your Etsy shop. This is because Etsy still has a large audience of potential customers. You can use your Etsy shop to drive traffic to your website.
  • Promote your website on Etsy: You can promote your website on Etsy by adding a link to it in your shop’s About section and including a link to it in your product listings.
  • Use the same branding on your Etsy shop and your website. This will help customers recognize your brand and remember where they found you.
  • Keep your website up-to-date: This includes adding new products, updating your content, and fixing any errors.

Etsy Alternatives

First and foremost, I believe a self-hosted WordPress website is the best and most affordable long-term option for managing and maintaining an e-commerce business website. However, for a new and up-and-coming e-commerce business, a self-hosted website may not be an immediate solution to creating your website.

The following fully hosted e-commerce solutions are cost-effective and have everything you need to operate an online store: shopping cart and payment processor, web hosting, security, and support.

Big Cartel

I recommend Big Cartel as an alternative to Etsy. At its core, Big Cartel is a fully hosted shopping cart solution. It was made to help artists, makers, and small brands open stores and start making a living doing what they love. While Etsy moves further away from being a community for artists and makers, Big Cartel embraces it. For Etsy sellers looking to take the next step to have their website, Big Cartel would be a natural progression as a low-risk and affordable option.

Big Cartel gets the job done with flexibility and a personalized site. It offers three pricing plans, from free to $19.99/month for up to 500 products. No listing or transaction fees exist—just one flat monthly payment, depending on your chosen plan. Big Cartel features include a custom domain, premade and custom theme templates, apps and integration capability, real-time stats, inventory tracking, and other seller tools to manage your online business.

Unlike Etsy, Big Cartel gives the seller customized templates and a seamless front-end experience right out of the box. You can create pages (about, faqs, contact, etc.) to inform customers about your business and to tell your story. It’s also far less intimidating to learn, and the ease of use compared to the more popular hosted shopping cart options is a plus for artists and makers who want to spend more time creating than building a website.

Pairing Big Cartel with an Etsy shop can give a seller an added sense of security, knowing that if their Etsy shop should ever become unavailable, the seller will have an alternative shop already in place. Due to its low-risk start-up cost and ease of use, Big Cartel is also a great training ground for learning how to market and sell from an independent platform.

Big Cartel is not a perfect solution, but it is a viable one that I highly recommend for artists and makers who are ready to expand beyond Etsy and want to learn how to become an independent online store without the benefit of a marketplace. Big Cartel has its terms and conditions, but unlike Etsy, they will not question or challenge your integrity as a maker or threaten to shut down your shop without warning.

Before choosing Big Cartel, here are some disadvantages to consider.

  • Due to limited scalability and integrations, Big Cartel cannot meet your needs if you plan to sell mass quantities. However, suppose you’re an Etsy seller looking to build your brand outside the Etsy marketplace, which does not require many advanced features. In that case, Big Cartel might be just what you need to establish an independent e-commerce website.
  • Unlike Etsy and other e-commerce options, Big Cartel does not have a customer review or rating capability. Customer reviews are essential to start building trust with potential customers. Update: Big Cartel now offers a theme add-on via Powr.io to add customer reviews to your Big Cartel website.
  • Big Cartel does not have a blogging capability. If you want to maintain a complete website with a blog on your domain URL, I recommend setting up your domain URL on WordPress.com (or another blogging platform) with the domain mapping option. That way, you can maintain a website on WordPress.com (e.g., bluebox.com) that you can use to direct customers to your shop website (shop.bluebox.com) or create a subdomain for your blog (blog.bluebox.com) and use the primary domain for the shop (bluebox.com), the choice is yours. Because you will be using two platforms, switching between the two will not be seamless. However, many Etsy sellers maintain a separate blog already, so this limitation may not be a showstopper for some Etsy sellers.

Big Cartel is my preferred hosted e-commerce solution for Etsy sellers to maintain a business website. It’s an easy-to-use platform with good customer support, fast response times, and affordable prices.

Shopify

Shopify is a popular, fully hosted e-commerce platform that offers a wide range of features and benefits for businesses of all sizes. With over 4.4 million online stores globally, it is a one-stop shop for setting up an online store.

It is straightforward to use and has a clean and intuitive interface. Shopify’s core functionality has an app store that store owners can access to obtain free or premium apps to improve functionality and add features to their store. Another benefit is the print-on-demand and dropshipping capabilities.

Here are some of the key benefits of using Shopify:

  • Ease of use: Shopify is a very easy-to-use platform, even for those without technical experience. The user-friendly interface makes adding products, creating discounts, and processing orders simple.
  • Scalability: Shopify is a scalable platform that can grow with your business. As your business grows, you can easily add more products, increase your inventory, and expand into new markets.
  • Security: Shopify is a secure platform that protects your customers’ sensitive data. It uses various security measures, including PCI compliance, SSL certificates, and fraud protection.
  • Marketing tools: Shopify offers a variety of marketing tools to help you promote your business and reach new customers. These tools include email marketing, social media integration, and SEO optimization.
  • Support: Shopify offers 24/7 support to help you with any problems. This support can be accessed through phone, email, or live chat.

Shopify offers a 3-day trial with no credit card. Then, offer $1 for the first month. Shopify has three pricing plans.

  • Basic ($39 month): Everything you need to create your store, ship products, and process payments
  • Shopify ($79 month): Level up your business with professional reporting and more staff accounts
  • Advanced ($299 month): Get the best of Shopify with custom reporting and our lowest transaction fees

Before choosing Shopify, consider some of the disadvantages.

  • Despite having a variety of themes to choose from, only a limited number of free themes are available. Paid themes can cost anywhere from $140 to $350. Shopify themes may be harder to customize, and a developer can only make some changes unless you have coding knowledge. Due to limited design and customizations, Shopify stores tend to look the same.
  • Maintaining a store can become expensive. The base price for a standard plan is $39 monthly with limited free features. However, that price can quickly increase if you want to purchase or subscribe to specific apps to add functionality to your website. If you need to scale your business, the next plan is $79 a month plus monthly subscription fees, which may no longer make Shopify an affordable option for new e-commerce stores.
  • Shopify online stores have SEO built in and features to help you optimize your content. However, Shopify’s most common SEO challenge is implementing canonical URLs, automatic breadcrumb navigation, no custom tag pages, and duplicate content.

Wix

Wix is a cloud-based website builder that gives individuals and small business owners tools to create beautiful, professional-looking websites. It offers a basic light plan, which users can upgrade to improve their website’s functionality.

Wix is known for its beginner-friendly design and simple processes. The intuitive drag-and-drop site editor capability allows customization with ready-made designer templates based on your business need or industry. In addition to creating a beautiful website, Wix allows one year of free domain name registration, web hosting, security (SSL certificate), 24/7 support, and other out-of-the-box features to showcase a professional site.

Wix’s e-commerce platform allows for various business types – physical and digital goods products, dropshipping, print-on-demand, services & membership, and multiple channel sales to sell across social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram).

Wix has four premium plans.

  • Light ($17): Get the basics
  • Core ($29 month): Engage your audience
  • Business ($36 month): Grow your brand
  • Business Elite ($159 month): Scale your business

Before choosing Wix, consider some of the disadvantages.

  • Wix makes it easy to build a website, but once it’s built and goes live, you cannot change your site template later. You are stuck with the design you initially selected. This can become a barrier as your new business takes shape and grows.
  • If you outgrow Wix and decide to move on to a new e-commerce platform, you cannot migrate your website data elsewhere. You must create a new website from scratch, which is time-consuming and requires more financial resources.
  • An older website built with Wix is not fully responsive. With approximately half of the web traffic generated from mobile devices, ensuring your website has a responsive design is critical. Rebuild your current Wix website using the Wix mobile-site-building tool to take advantage of Wix’s mobile-friendly options.

Squarespace

Squarespace is an all-in-one solution for small business owners and solopreneurs looking to create a beautiful website. With over four million subscriptions, it is a hosted business and e-commerce solution that allows users with minimal technical skills to get started online with their website.

Squarespace is known for its beautiful and contemporary templates. With over 100 templates, there are plenty of options to choose from for the business or industry of your choice. A unique feature of Squarespace is having access to all of Unsplash’s library of royalty-free images to add directly to your website. All templates are fully responsive, meaning your site design will automatically adjust to appear correctly on the device you use to view the website. This makes your website more accessible and provides some SEO benefits. Additionally, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) on your Squarespace website will speed up the delivery of the content on your mobile devices by using stripped-down code known as AMP HTML.

In addition, Squarespace is an all-in-one platform that includes built-in analytics. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Squarespace has full blogging capabilities. It also offers a free domain name with the purchase of an annual plan, free WHOIS privacy, SSL certificate, web hosting, 24/7 support via email and live chats, and a host of other out-of-the-box features to manage your e-commerce website.

Squarespace has a 14-day free trial period, and its pricing is based on annual and monthly terms.

  • Personal: $16 month annually or $23 monthly
  • Business: $23 month annually or $33 monthly
  • Basic Commerce: $27 month annually or $36 monthly
  • Advanced Commerce: $49 month annually or $65 monthly

Before choosing Squarespace, consider some of the disadvantages.

  • There is no phone support for immediate support. All support requests are via email or online chat. This can delay troubleshooting easy-to-fix problems with your website.
  • There is a learning curve to get a feel for the interface when editing and adding content. Adding new pages, setting up a new blog, or trying to edit your design templates is a challenge. The process can be time-consuming if you want to add or move elements.
  • Squarespace has improved its SEO capabilities by adding a site/page title and descriptions; however, changing version templates can negatively impact the overall site SEO. Squarespace offers a checklist of best practices when changing templates.

In conclusion, Big Cartel, Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace have pros and cons, but your chosen platform should depend on the type of e-commerce shop or business you plan to open. Cost may be your most significant consideration, but there are other vital components to consider when deciding on a business platform—SEO capability, scalability, mobile-friendliness, site speed, user experience, and software integration.

Transition from Etsy to your own e-commerce website by Plan In Action Web Services

Next Steps

When maintaining an e-commerce website, you won’t have the benefit of having a marketplace on Etsy to rely on, which means you must learn how to drive traffic to your website through creative marketing strategies and social media engagement. Have good intentions when looking for innovative ways to engage and redirect Etsy customers to a new site without spamming them with unsolicited emails.

  • Add a business card or insert it into Etsy packaging to engage interest in your new website.
  • Drive potential customers to your website by offering your entire product line while limiting inventory options on Etsy.
  • Offer discounts, free shipping, and other incentives on your website that potential customers cannot get from your Etsy shop.
  • Direct all links to the website when promoting on social media, YouTube, or other platforms.
  • No matter what you do to drive potential customers to your website, always make shopping on your website a more appealing option than on your Etsy shop.
  • Build an opt-in email list. An email marketing list is one of the oldest and primary tactics for driving traffic to your website and communicating directly with your customers. It has been proven highly effective in today’s e-commerce space.

When starting a new website as an alternative to Etsy, my best advice is to consider a platform where you can comfortably set up your shop in a way that is easy for you to use and for your customers to buy from. A successful website will require working on your product, understanding your customers and how to market to them, and having the right e-commerce platform to facilitate sales. Finally, whatever platform you choose, weigh the advantages vs. disadvantages and seek advice before making a time and financial commitment.

How can Plan in Action Web Services Help?

Send me a message, and we can discuss how I can help you plan a road map to transition your business beyond Etsy to your website.

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