Interested in selling crafts from home? This is a beginner’s guide to how to start selling crafts online.
The pandemic has forever changed commerce even if you are just a small shop getting started. Almost all shops are now expected to have an online presence. For a good part of 2020, in-person selling, stores, and craft fairs were all closed.
Whether you are transitioning from commerce to e-commerce or starting out fresh online, it can be overwhelming the number of choices you have when it comes to setting up shop.
There are 3 main types of places to sell your handmade goods online:
- Online marketplace
- Standalone webshop
- Online auctions and on demand personalized marketplaces
The online marketplace -best place to sell crafts online
The first and most recommended group of places to sell online is the online marketplace.
The reasons for selling with online marketplaces is simple. Most online marketplaces have established traffic. What that means is if you are just getting started, there’s little need for you as the store owner to drive awareness and traffic to your site.
These online marketplaces and especially the top ones also have great Brand awareness. People already associate handmade with these retail platforms. These are known and established online retailers for handmade goods.
Online marketplaces also have great Administrative tools for selling. Things like a full array of payment options like credit cards, paypal and debit cards, so customers can use all forms of payment to make purchases.
Out of all of the online marketplaces, my top recommendation is Etsy.
I recommend Etsy because it had the most traffic and brand awareness for handmade goods.
While people love to complain about Etsy, it is still the top shopping destination for artisanal goods and supplies online. They are dedicated to serving the handmade community.
With Etsy, you have the most flexibility to showcase your brand while still benefiting from the selling services offered with a platform.
Handmade at Amazon is another one to consider. Amazon is a huge online retailer which means they are great at things like back end logistics
Having Amazon fulfill your goods can be a great convenience if that’s a service you want to use on their platform. However, Amazon Handmade has only been around for a few years. It doesn’t have great brand awareness for handmade goods and the program is also very selective to get into.
One last platform that I want to mention mostly out of completeness is Facebook. Facebook has both a marketplace and buy/sell groups. They are sort of like a Craigslist attached to a social network.Both of these have great variations across regions in terms of performance. They also differ regionally in terms of fraudulent activity and popularity.
Some people find success on Facebook by using it to drive traffic and awareness but I find very few to have actual success with Facebook Marketplace and buy/sell groups so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re just getting started.
Building your own webshop to sell crafts
The second way to sell online is by building your own standalone online store. This is different from the online marketplace because you have your own dedicated domain. Your webshop is your own, your storefront completely, and you have full flexibility in what you sell and how you sell it.
There are many options to choose from to build your own site without having to code. My top recommendation out of all the different platforms you can use to build your own online store is Shopify.
Shopify is the easiest platform to use, it has the most flexible plans. It is the industry standard as far as building eCommerce shops.
Squarespace is also another option. Squarespace is associated with their very popular point of sale solution, Square. You’ve probably seen that dongle hanging off of iPhone and other mobile devices being used as a way to take credit card payments.
If you are going to have both an in person shopping presence and an online option, I would consider Squarespace as the platform to build your online store because they have great integrations with a physical point of sale solution.
One last option is WordPress’s eCommerce platform WooCommerce. They are heavily integrated with WordPress which is best known for blogging. If you plan on doing a lot of content marketing for your store, as in starting a blog, WordPress Woocommerce might be an option to consider.
Other options for selling crafts online
The last group where you can sell online is online auctions and on-demand personalized marketplaces. I would recommend staying away from online auctions.
Ebay is the most well known one, most people have heard of them.
In the past decade, they have seen decreased traffic and increased fraudulent activity. People no longer trust the buying experience from the platform.
It is also not great for establishing good brand awareness.
One last category worth mentioning is on-demand personalized marketplaces. These are platforms that will make the product for you. So if you are more digital goods oriented and want to sell a T-shirt or throw pillow with your design, and have someone else make it, these platforms are for you. The most popular on-demand marketplaces are Zazzle, CafePress, and Redbubble.
Interested in some free templates and printables to get your creative juices going on what to make and sell?