Top Etsy Alternatives for 2020
As Etsy continues to make changes by increasing fees and lowering standards, you might be looking into Etsy alternatives. You’re not alone if you don’t want your handmade goods next to mass-produced products in the marketplace. Luckily, there are alternative sites to Etsy out there—including both ecommerce platforms and other online marketplaces— for entrepreneurs who rely on the Etsy marketplace to sell their handmade goods.
In this guide, we’ll look into how the changing nature of the Etsy platform might be affecting your business’s bottom line, as well as discuss which Etsy alternatives could be best for you if declining quality and increasing fees are pushing you to make a change.
9 Best Etsy Alternatives
To begin, building and hosting your own business website is one way to cut your ties with the Etsy platform. Although it can be time-consuming to self-host your online shop, there are a variety of programs out there to make it easier. With platforms like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix, for example, you can be on your way to Etsy independence fairly quickly.
Although many of these web builders are designed to accommodate beginners, you might still find that you’re not quite ready to go it completely alone with a brand new website from scratch. Therefore, you might consider an Etsy alternative that offers a compromise. Here are a few ecommerce Etsy alternatives that provide the best of both worlds: the freedom of designing unique websites, plus the support of a well-established online marketplace with solid analytics.
For any seller considering a move from Etsy to a self-hosted site, selling on Shopify is the obvious starting point in your research journey. The most widely recognized ecommerce platform around the world, Shopify is accepted as the gold standard for corporate brands and small business owners alike.
With Shopify, you can take advantage of an ecommerce platform that offers a website builder with hundreds of templates, all of which can be customized with your brand’s specific logos, images, videos, and text.
The Pros: With vast customization control and strong analytics, Shopify offers the most powerful ecommerce functionality on our list while also being user-friendly enough for most beginners to manage.
The Cons: Shopify is truly an ecommerce platform—not a selling marketplace. This means that when it comes to attracting buyers for your products, you’re totally on your own.
The Cost: New users can start with Shopify Lite at just $9/month. However, since Shopify Lite does not actually allow you to create your own online store, instead only providing the ability to sell on Facebook or on a website you already own—you’ll likely need to upgrade to the Basic Shopify plan to truly make the most of this as an alternative to Etsy. The Basic Shopify plan starts at $29 per month, plus 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for online payment processing.
Along with the freedom to customize your store, the Shopify platform also provides a comprehensive marketing suite. SEO features like customizable headlines, titles, and meta tags will give your search result ranking the boost it may need to make that jump to the first page of your dream customer’s Google search.
This being said, however, with the total lack of a dedicated buyer’s marketplace, moving from Etsy to Shopify is a big decision that will drastically impact your business model and your marketing plan.
2. Big Cartel
Like Shopify, Big Cartel is first and foremost an ecommerce platform with no Etsy-style marketplace attached. However, whereas Shopify serves a wider audience reach, Big Cartel has tailored its community and resources to crafters, makers, and other sellers of unique or handmade goods.
The Pros: Big Cartel combines user-friendly website building with ecommerce functionality, so you won’t have to navigate setting up a WordPress or similar website. Big Cartel also offers some of the customization, marketing, and other promotional tools that Etsy is lacking.
The Cons: Sellers who already have an informational website may be frustrated by the need to start from scratch on the Big Cartel platform.
The Cost: Plans start at $9.99/month for 25 listings with zero commission on sales. You will, however, have to use Stripe or PayPal to accept online payments, with the associated fees from whichever provider you choose.
Again, making the choice to fully abandon an Etsy-style, ready-to-purchase audience shouldn’t be taken lightly. This being said, if you’ve built a dedicated independent customer base, Big Cartel is among the easiest and most affordable Etsy alternatives if you want to go it alone.
A great middle-ground between Etsy-only selling and a self-hosted site, Zibbet offers sellers of handmade-only products both the flexibility and control of a stand-alone, customizable website and the availability of a ready-to-purchase audience in the Zibbet marketplace.
The Pros: The ability to create and manage both a stand-alone website and an Etsy-style marketplace shop gives you the best of both worlds, and an amazing admin panel lets you control all your inventory from a single portal.
The Cons: Because Zibbet is a newer and growing platform, it has a much smaller total reach than Etsy and is still in the process of improving the buyer experience.
The Cost: New users can start with a free account for up to 10 listings. From there, sellers pay $5 per month per channel for a starter account with basic features and up to 50 listings. Like BigCartel, you’ll need to use Stripe or PayPal to accept online payments and pay the fees from the provider you use.
Sellers on Zibbet benefit from robust tools to assist with packaging, shipping, order management, data tracking and analytics, and even importing information from an existing Etsy website. There are no listing fees and the site does not take a commission, so there’s little to lose in trying out this Etsy alternative. Plus, Zibbet even allows you to sell on Etsy through their platform, so you might choose to utilize both of these sales channels.
4. Handmade at Amazon
As the reigning retail giant that has totally transformed the consumer goods marketplace, Amazon is decidedly the opposite of what most creative entrepreneurs think of when they imagine selling their products and services. After all, most of us associate Amazon with all things fast and cheap.
And yet, in the time since the Handmade at Amazon marketplace first launched, creative entrepreneurs can’t help listing the platform as a genuinely viable Etsy alternative.
The Pros: If we’re honest, we all know that Amazon is the first-stop option for buyers almost everywhere. Therefore, selling on Amazon gets you in front of more potential customers before they settle on a lower-quality option. Plus, selling on Amazon has additional benefits like using Fulfillment by Amazon, utilizing Amazon sponsored ads, and more.
The Cons: Listings through Handmade at Amazon appear along with the full Amazon storefront, not as a stand-alone site—so you’ll face strong competition from cheaply made, mass-produced alternatives. Additionally, on the whole, selling on Amazon requires substantial maintenance and may not be the most straightforward of all of the alternative sites to Etsy.
The Cost: Amazon waives their Professional selling plan monthly fee from Amazon Handmade sellers, as long as they aren’t selling more than 40 products in categories other than Handmade categories. If you are selling more than 40 products in other categories, you’ll be subject to the $39.99 per month membership fee. Regardless of this fee, however, all Amazon Handmade sellers will pay a 15% commission per transaction.
Without a doubt, of all the Etsy alternatives, selling through Handmade at Amazon comes with a significant expense (plus maintenance), making it mostly inaccessible to part-time creative entrepreneurs with a low volume of product sales. This being said, however, if you’re ready to scale your creative business beyond the limitations of Etsy, Handmade at Amazon may be the ideal choice.
Offering similar form and functionality to eBay with a greater focus on unique items, Bonanza is an Etsy alternative that offers both a mass marketplace with wide reach and the opportunity to build a stand-alone online store.
The Pros: Though it comes with a cost, sellers on Bonanza can enjoy exponential reach through automated listings on Google Shopping, eBay, Nextag, and more. Bonanza also includes tools for advertising, marketing, and web analytics.
The Cons: Design tools for customizing your standalone online store are more limited and less user-friendly than either Shopify or Zibbet. Also, depending on your membership and advertising preferences, selling on Bonanza can be pricey.
The Cost: Like Etsy, Bonanza gives you the option to sell on their platform for free, only charging their 3.5% selling and advertising fees after you make a sale. However, you can also opt for a membership plan, which offers greater selling and promotional features. These plans start at $25 per month.
Generally, sellers who move to Bonanza tend to cite exposure as a primary driving factor. You’ll want to keep in mind, though, that you’ll pay for that exposure in fees as well as high market saturation—so it will be important to track your return on this investment.
Like Bonanza and Handmade by Amazon, IndieMade is designed for creative entrepreneurs who want more freedom in how they sell their products. With IndieMade you can create your own website with an integrated shopping cart, as well as add other content like audio, video, a blog, and a calendar. IndieMade also allows you to transfer your products from Etsy, or, with certain subscription plans, connect your site to your Etsy shop directly.
The Pros: With the ability to create and customize your own store, IndieMade provides greater flexibility for online sellers, as well as integrated analytics, reporting, SEO, and promotional tools. Plus, IndieMade includes an online shopping cart, as well as file storage, bandwidth, and an SSL certificate for no additional cost.
The Cons: Despite IndieMade’s focus on handmade products, IndieMade is not a curated marketplace and anyone can sell anything that’s legal using their platform. Along these lines, you’ll also have to actually create an online store to sell using IndieMade.
The Cost: IndieMade charges a monthly subscription fee based on which of their plans you choose. Plans start at $4.95 per month for 10 products. IndieMade does not charge listing or additional seller fees.
Although IndieMade does not offer the benefits of an online marketplace, with their store-building options and ability to connect to your Etsy shop, this platform gives you a great opportunity to control more of your selling process, without charging substantial fees.
If you’re still looking for a small platform that values handmade items, Aftcra is worth exploring. A family-owned-and-operated online marketplace, Aftcra specializes in items handmade in the United States and sold across the globe.
The Pros: Because Aftcra doesn’t allow internationally made or mass-produced goods on their platform, you won’t have to worry about competing with the pricing of cheaply made factory products.
The Cons: With a smaller total number of buyers frequenting the platform from day to day, your success as a seller on Aftcra will depend more heavily on your independent business marketing efforts outside the platform.
The Cost: Aftcra collects no monthly or listing fees, but does charge a 7% commission on each transaction.
As one of the best Etsy alternatives, Aftcra focuses on offering handcrafted items that support both the Made in America and Buy Local movements. Because of this, the marketplace tends to attract buyers with a keen interest in quality, handmade products, making it a great choice for U.S.-based sellers that fit this niche.
Focusing on hand-selected as well as handmade goods, the Storenvy marketplace features small, indie retailers with a focus on high-quality, unique products. Catering specifically to a younger demographic, Storenvy is a great choice for sellers in the jewelry, vintage fashion, or kids’ products niche.
The Pros: The starting price point of most goods on Storenvy tends to be higher than on Etsy, so you’re less likely to face market saturation from cheaply made copycats. Storeenvy also allows you to utilize both your own online store and a social marketplace.
The Cons: The demographic of Storenvy buyers has a decidedly young, hip vibe. If your products don’t cater to this demographic, you likely won’t find success on this platform.
The Cost: You can create a free online store with Storenvy and only pay the cost of credit card processing. You can also sell on the marketplace for free—however if you make a sale from the marketplace, Storenvy will charge at a 15% commission. If you choose a paid store plan, on the other hand, pricing starts at $14.99 per month and the same commission policies apply.
As a pretty niche and curated option, Storenvy is one of the best alternatives to Etsy for sellers who cater toward this young, hip demographic. Plus, with the ability to create a free online store and sell on their marketplace, Storenvy gives you a cost-effective way to access to multiple sales channels.
Like Storenvy, ArtFire is a marketplace that caters to a specific demographic, making it a great alternative to Etsy for attracting like-minded buyers without the heavy market saturation. Plus, in addition to serving as a marketplace for local makers and indie businesses, ArtFire also has a substantial community element for business owners to interact and one another support and advice.
The Pros: The audience demographic for ArtFire seems to fit with the initial intention behind Etsy—customers looking for products created by crafters, makers, and artisans. In fact, ArtFire encourages handmade and unique items to be sold on their marketplace, and although they do allow commercial products, they will charge a commission modifier on those items.
The Cons: Like Etsy, ArtFire charges a variety of selling fees and has limited customization and promotional options.
The Cost: To sell on the ArtFire marketplace, you’ll need to pay for a monthly seller plan. These plans start at $4.95 per month for the Standard plan which includes 250 active listings. In addition to your selling plan, however, you’ll also need to pay a listing fee and a final valuation fee. The specific fees will depend on your plan (the higher-level plans have cheaper fees)—with the Standard plan, the listing fee is $0.23 per item and the final valuation fee is 12.75% of the sale.
As a marketplace that’s actually very similar to Etsy, you’ll be finding the right customer base by selling on ArtFire—lessening the possibility that you’ll be outsold by cheaper, commercial goods. You will, however, have to pay substantial selling fees, so you’ll want to determine whether your sales through this marketplace can outweigh the costs.
Should You Consider Etsy Alternatives for Your Creative Business?
For new online businesses, Etsy still offers one of the easiest options for starting an ecommerce site. In fact, the algorithms Etsy uses for steering traffic are actually engineered to drive more traffic to newer listings.
That’s great for new stores, but what about stores that have been in business for a while? Unfortunately, as new listings get added, stalwart stores and items get lost in the multitude of similar listings—even if you’ve been a loyal Etsy seller for years. Therefore, if you opened your Etsy shop a while ago and have started to see a decline or stall in sales, you’re likely concerned about the progression of your business.
This being said, however, although you may feel frustrated with Etsy right now and think you should start seeking Etsy alternatives, there are some benefits to sticking with the platform. Let’s break down some pros and cons to determine whether moving away from Etsy is truly the best choice for your business:
Stick With Etsy If…
- You prefer to have someone else do the web hosting and updating work for you. This also means you’d rather leave the advertising and marketing to someone else, as well.
- You’d rather concentrate on producing high-quality handmade products or sourcing unique vintage products and make them available to as many potential buyers as possible.
- You like the high volume of traffic offered by the Etsy platform.
- You like the idea of being part of an ecommerce community and all the support and networking opportunities that it can offer.
- You’re looking for low individual listing rates with fees that are paid periodically and can be renewed indefinitely.
Explore Alternative Sites to Etsy If…
- You’d prefer to stretch beyond Etsy’s marketing limitations to beef up your SEO strategy and upgrade your product branding in the ecommerce marketplace.
- Your product sales have suffered due to the online market saturation happening on the Etsy platform.
- You’re constantly having to lower your pricing to keep other similar but lower quality vendors from undercutting your sales.
- You’d like to be able to do more product branding than the Etsy platform currently allows.
- Even though Etsy limits the amount of marketing creativity you can use, you’ve noticed your images and product listings showing up on copycat listings.
Does this list have you convinced that expanding your creative business beyond Etsy and onto other online platforms could be the right approach for you? If so, you’ll want to consider which Etsy alternatives will be best for your online business. The good news is that the number of available options for marketing your creative product business online is growing every day—meaning you have a number of Etsy alternatives that are probably worth at least exploring.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for an alternative to Etsy for your creative business, you’ll want to take your time. With all of the options out there, there’s a lot to consider when you factor in features, costs, and the pros and cons of each.
With this in mind, however, your business is unique, so the right decision for you will be as individual as the products you create. Ultimately, if you’re struggling to choose between the different alternative sites to Etsy, you can ask yourself:
- Do I need more control over my website design and marketing abilities?
- Do I feel like I’m getting lost in an ocean of similar products of lesser quality?
- Am I looking for a community?
Or—perhaps you’ll find that something else is contributing to your decision to search for another way to sell online. Whatever the case is, you’ll want to figure out what you’re looking for and experiment with different options to determine what works best for your business. Plus, as we mentioned, you might find that maintaining your Etsy store is still the right way to go on top of utilizing a new solution as well.
- SellerCentral.Amazon.com. “Amazon Handmade: Referral Fees“