If you're looking for places to sell your handmade crafts and products online, you NEED to read this post because it's going to save you SO much time from making the wrong choice and get you selling on the best platform right now, so that you're set up for long term success and lots of sales.
Mei here. I help makers, artists and designers make a consistent income selling their handmade products online.
We're just going to jump right into it. I'm going to order these from worst to best.
So we're going to start with the worst, eBay!
I have heard of a few people who used to or currently sell their handmade products or artwork on eBay. The thing is, eBay is not going to be the place for you to build a shop that's memorable and has a brand.
A brand is the experience you give your customers, like with your website layouts, colors, logo, and product images. A large part of it is the website itself.
EBay is a sterile, cold platform. Your customers aren't going to feel any certain emotion when they're shopping on eBay.
A good website that you can fully customize with your brand will make your customers feel something. It's just like they're walking into a brick and mortar store.
Imagine a shop that's taken the time to decorate, find furniture and display pieces that are interesting and unique and colorful. Maybe they've even put on some soft music in the background and some incense. The person working in the store says hi to you really nicely.
That whole entire thing is the experience.
Compare that with walking into a Walmart. You're not exactly going to feel warm and fuzzy inside.
The same goes for eBay.
eBay is Best For…
I think eBay is great for selling if you make a commodity product. That means it is a product that's not very unique and no one really cares if you made it or if someone else made it.
Examples of this include Apple iPhones, Nike sneakers, books, vintage fabric or knitting supplies.
EBay is powered by a search engine. It's a marketplace. Which means it comes with its own built-in audience of customers.
Their Cut of Your Profit
I know that sounds nice, but keep in mind that eBay takes quite a big cut of your sales; around 10%. That's not counting credit card processing fees or listing fees or any special addons you've bought to make your listing stand out more.
I sell on eBay, but the stuff I sell on there are all my used electronics. Anytime I buy a new gadget like a camera, laptop, or phone, I always sell my old one on eBay.
I'm not selling my brand of jewelry Tiny Hands on there because I know people shopping on eBay are not going to value my jewelry.
If you're going to sell your handmade products on there, just be prepared for some really crazy extreme pricing competition.
Overall, not a great place to sell your products, but it has its own place and purpose depending on what you're selling.
There are several ways to sell on Facebook.
The Facebook Marketplace
There's Facebook Marketplace which is kind of like eBay or Craigslist. A lot of people are selling used stuff on there and it's just not a great place to set up a branded experience shop that's going to be a long term thing for you.
Then there are Facebook Groups. I've heard some very creative shop owners who start their own Facebook groups.
It works for them because they have a very unique business model where they sell one of a kind products with limited quantities. Then they launch their product collections in batches. They release a collection once every few weeks, so their products aren't available for sale all the time.
I think this works especially well if you sell something that people like to buy multiples of. In other words, they like to collect. Jewelry is a good example.
I don't think this would work as well for you if you sold something that the customer only needed one of, such as engagement rings.
So they build Facebook groups and if you want to see what's for sale when new stuff comes out, you have to join the group.
It's a great way to reach a small group of people who are really ready to buy from you. I know of maybe two or three businesses who rely solely on doing just this and are making close to six-figures, which is great!
It's not a common method for various reasons:
- You can't brand the Facebook group. We've talked a lot about branding today and why that's important.
- You have the added responsibility of keeping your group engaged even when you're not selling anything. If your group isn't engaged, when you have something for sale, no one's going to see your post.
- It's a pretty closed ecosystem. Not everyone has a Facebook account. You're requiring that people have not only have a Facebook account but also join your group in order to buy from you.
That's a lot of steps!
You can't take advantage of those impulse purchases where a total stranger finds your products and buys right off your website. Facebook groups just aren't set up for that.
Or what if someone's looking for a specific gift for a family or friend? They're not going to join a Facebook group and be a part of something like that just to buy a one time gift.
I think a Facebook group are more conducive for people who are buying stuff for themselves, or if they're buying them as gifts, they're thinking about people who share their same tastes.
Finally, there are Facebook pages.
There are a couple ways you can do this. You can sell on your page just like you would on a group, and that's with comment selling.
You can post a picture of the product you have for sale, write a description for it, and say that for anyone who wants to buy it, ask them to comment “Sold” on the post. You'll then have to send them a private message with a Paypal invoice link.
It's a pretty manual process, but there are apps you can use to make that automatic.
If you have a Shopify store, you can also sync your products to your Facebook page so you have a section on your page that shows your Shopify products.
People can buy your stuff directly on Facebook without ever leaving the platform.
I make a small percentage of sales from that, but I wouldn't rely on that completely to make me a full time living.
Etsy is a marketplace site like eBay. It has millions of customers already shopping there with tons of people looking for products like yours.
I think Etsy is a pretty great site to sell on because it's a lot more targeted at handmade products.
I know recently that isn't completely true since Etsy started to allow mass-manufactured products to be sold on there, but the types of products for sale on Etsy are definitely a lot higher quality and more unique than what you'll find on eBay.
Etsy already comes with some great selling tools and if you know how to do search engine optimization on your product listings then you're in a great position to have an Etsy shop that brings you passive sales in income, like me.
I make several sales on Etsy every month without ever having to do any active promotion on there.
In terms of cons, I have so many I can't even fit them all into this one post. I've made for you a totally separate post talking about how Etsy is bad for you, but in the sense that it's bad for you only if it's all you focus your time and energy on.
Etsy shouldn't be your main focus. It should be a side dish, not the main course.
If you're curious to know more about why I say that, check out that post here.
Amazon, like eBay and Etsy, is a marketplace site. It's got that built-in audience of customers and it's powered by a search engine.
There are a few ways to sell on Amazon. There's Amazon Handmade, there's standard Amazon and then there's Amazon FBA, which stands for Fulfillment by Amazon.
Amazon Handmade was the most recent initiative. Personally, I prefer to sell on just regular Amazon. I've heard that you get better reach with just regular Amazon than with Amazon Handmade. More reach means more visibility, more customers, more sales.
Fulfillment by Amazon
With Fulfillment by Amazon, FBA, you ship your products to Amazon's warehouse, where they store your products for you. When your product sells, Amazon takes care of packing and shipping that order for you.
So you're just shipping one box with a batch of multiple quantities of that same product to them and they're doing the individual shipping for you.
You ship to Amazon, Amazon ships to your customer.
That's the definition of a fulfillment company.
Of course, there are added fees for that, but in exchange for the extra cost, you get the really cool Prime label on your product listing.
This is yet another way to categorize your products.
People can filter products based on what is a Prime listing, which means it's got much faster shipping, and it's free shipping too. Your products on FBA will appear on that list.
I don't know about you, but I never buy anything that doesn't have a Prime label on it. It is a huge conversion booster.
I have personally seen my FBA products sell much more and I make a lot more sales through FBA than on regular Amazon.
Having said that, just keep in mind that Amazon isn't cheap if you compare it to Etsy, for example.
But also consider that you're reaching a much larger audience on Amazon than on Etsy.
Of course, there are other marketplace disadvantages just like with Etsy and eBay, where you can't control your branding, you have a lot of competition, you don't really own the contact details of your customer, so you can't send them promotional material like emails or coupons.
I really don't believe you should make any of these marketplace sites your focus. Instead just sell on there for the side income and for the sales that you otherwise wouldn't get if you weren't on there.
Think of these marketplace sites as like your sales reps who are doing the work to make you sales. You pay them a higher commission but the work to get that sale is pretty hands-off.
It's all a part of diversifying your income so that your sales aren't coming from just one place.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket, that's really scary and dangerous.
If you know me, you know I always recommend Shopify. I believe Shopify to be the best place to sell your handmade products online because you can control and customize the entire shopping experience you give to your customers.
That means your shop is more memorable.
People will remember your shop, tell their friends about you, and are much more likely to stay loyal to you as a customer. It's a better recipe for long term success.
Shopify comes with a ton of really cool apps you can add on to your store to help you do marketing for you.
For example, I have an app called Klickly, where it promotes my products for me on my behalf. When a sale is made, I pay them a commission that I've set.
The higher you set the commission, the more they promote your products.
I don't pay them anything else besides the commission and the way I look at it, I'm making sales through their app that I otherwise wouldn't have made without them.
That's just one example. There are dozens of apps you can install to make your job of marketing your shop easier, which is the hardest part and the biggest disadvantage to a Shopify store. Because it's not a marketplace platform like Amazon, eBay or Etsy, so you don't have the benefit of customers searching for your product.
You have to bring your own traffic to your Shopify store, which for a lot of people is hard to do. With that being said, I don't think it's that hard if you know what you need to do and I have a ton of videos on my YouTube channel that show you how.
Another disadvantage with a Shopify store that puts people off is the price.
It's not the cheapest, but honestly, you get what you pay for. That cannot be more true in this.
That's the reason I haven't talked about other similar website builders like Wix, SquareSpace, SquareUp, GoDaddy or WordPress, because none of those sites were designed to be a physical product shop the way Shopify was built.
Comparing Shopify to all these alternatives, Shopify has the best speed, security, user shopping flow and user experience, which in turn results in higher conversion rates compared to all those other sites.
Shopify is also the biggest website builder site for selling physical products. That means it's got the biggest community for support if you ever need help, the best technology, and it's always the first to access cool tech and new apps.
For example, Instagram came out with the ability to tag your products in your photos so all people needed to do was tap on your photo and they can go directly to your site to the exact product listing. This stopped people from having to go to your link in bio, landing on your homepage and then figuring out where to find that product that they saw on your feed a month ago.
That feature is only available to Shopify users.
People on Wix or SquareSpace or any of those other sites, as of the date of this posting, don't have access to that yet.
Seriously, if you're going to choose those other sites instead of Shopify because you want to save around $10, think about the long term game here.
You only need to make one extra sale to make it worthwhile and it's definitely worth it to use the best site out there from the get-go.
Shopify is great for beginners but also for stores that are doing millions of dollars a year. You can grow into it.
I recommend you start with Shopify from the very beginning rather than starting with a different site and then moving into Shopify later on when you think you've saved up the money to be on Shopify.
You're going to spend all that money from just moving over to Shopify because that move is going to be painful, time-consuming, and expensive.
Trust me, I've moved my shop from one site to the next at least three times in the last ten years and it's never a fun process.
All right, so there you have it, my break down of the top five best websites to sell your crafts online.