Like most people interested in handmade and vintage items, my first introduction to the market as a seller was through Etsy. I set up my shop with high hopes, excitedly sold things, and loved the friendly community that made up the sellers at Etsy. Shortly after I opened shop at Etsy, however, I began to hear the complaints: little help from administrators, high listing fees, and a laundry list of other complaints. As it turns out, there are some very unhappy sellers on Etsy these days. I don’t consider myself among them and I still love my Etsy shop, but on the recommendation of several people in the Etsy forums, I decided to check out a newer crafting site, Artfire, which prides itself on being the answer to many of the problems raised by members on Etsy. If you’re trying to decide which site is better, there’s no clear winner and both have their pros and cons. Here’s the breakdown of Etsy vs. Artfire:
Etsy vs. Artfire: Cost
If the cost of running a shop is your primary concern, then Artfire is almost certainly the clear winner. For seven dollars a month, you get unlimited listings with no fees associated with sales. And for fifteen dollar a month, Artfire will give you some pretty cool extra features as well as unlimited listings. Conversely, Etsy charges .20 cents per listing, and if you relist an item or list more than one of each item, you get charged for this too. Etsy also charges a percentage on sales you make. Unless you have a very small shop with few items and only make a few sales a month, Artfire is more cost efficient.
Etsy vs. Artfire: Web Traffic
Etsy is the better known site and has hundreds of thousands of users, while Artfire is just beginning their client base. So if you’re looking for the site itself to bring in traffic, Etsy’s the winner on this one. Artfire, however, immediately feeds listings to google shopping, which means you are more likely to get search engine hits to your store with Artfire. Etsy has had several problems with google shopping and sellers typically have to wait several months to be syndicated to google.
Etsy vs. Artfire: Appearance
Both sites have a sleek design, though Artfire allows a bit more customization than Etsy. Artfire seems a bit more cumbersome to use, however, and there’s a steeper learning curve for setting up listings. This one’s a toss up.
Etsy vs. Artfire: Search Options
Etsy is a clear loser in all things search-related. Their search function does not allow buyers to progressively filter out more items and instead relies on tags. Artfire has a much more efficient advanced search option. This means that, if someone is looking for your specific item, you’re more likely to be found. However, you’re less likely to get views from someone who started out looking for something else and then stumbled across your item in the process.
Etsy vs. Artfire: Customer Service
Artfire wins by leaps and bounds on this one, and opened partially as an answer to seller complaints on Etsy about nonresponsive customer service. They have an accessible hotline, web chat help, and are extremely seller friendly. Etsy primarily relies on the forums to convey information to its members.
Both sites have their drawbacks and benefits, which is why, for the time being, I’ve chosen to list my items on both.