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Hi! I’m Lucy.
Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
I’m going to come straight out of the gate here with this. For your business to thrive, you must have a way to sell online. I will also bet that choosing an ecommerce platform for your business may be a paralyzing decision.
Many of us makers relied on in-person events such as fairs and markets to sell our work. But the past couple of years were the not-so-gentle push that we all needed to start selling online.
There are so many ecommerce platforms to choose from. When you are trying to decide where to sell online, there are some questions to ask.
Take a look at the list below, and start the process of choosing an ecommerce platform that will help you sell more of your creations!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Unless you are a “tech person”, having a site that is user-friendly is a non-negotiable. Many of the ecommerce platforms used by handmade sellers are template-based. This means that you can choose from a selection of pre-designed templates (free or paid. You can customize the templates for your brand’s needs.
Being able to work in your shop from a mobile device is a HUGE advantage.
I personally use and teach Shopify. One of the nicest features is that they have a very user-friendly mobile app for sellers. The app allows you to access and edit your shop’s listings on the go.
This feature is particularly useful if you are someone who sells both online and at markets. You can quickly remove items from inventory through the app when they sell at your market.
You need to be able to have your website integrate with apps such as Facebook and Instagram as well as services like your email service provider and shipping service.
This means that you want to be able to connect your website directly with these apps/services without having to do any special coding or add in any special third party connection apps. When you are reviewing your platform options, check to make sure that their integrations include all of the apps and services that you’d like to use.
It’s important to be able to get tech support for your site when you are stuck or need help. Make sure that the online selling platform you choose has chat or phone support available at your subscription level, because paid support can quickly get expensive and usually has a long wait time.
One of the main differences between a standalone ecommerce platform (like Shopify or Wix) and a marketplace (like Etsy or Amazon) is the fees.
For an ecommerce platform, you will pay a flat monthly or annual fee for the site, regardless of how much you sell.
For a marketplace, you are generally charged a percentage of each sale.
Every online selling platform has credit card processing and transaction fees, and those fees are fairly consistent across sites.
When choosing between whether or not you want to sell on a marketplace like Etsy or on your own website, you would take into consideration the fees that are associated with your sales.
If the final value fee of your Etsy sales would be lower than the flat monthly fee of an ecommerce site, then Etsy may be a good choice for you. If the final value fees on Etsy climb up over the amount of the flat monthly fee on your own website, it’s time to start to really think about moving over to a standalone ecommerce platform.
As you review the various choices for setting up your own website, have these questions in front of you, and answer each one for every option. You can compare and contrast the answers, eliminating the choices that don’t satisfy your requirements.
Eventually you’ll end up choosing an ecommerce platform that is the best for your business.
For more about selling online, check out How to (Finally) Start Selling Your Crafts Online.
If you are struggling to get the “business” part of your handmade business set up, the Bloom Craft Business Kickstarter is for you! Click below to check it out ↓↓↓
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!