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handbagIt’s the classic challenge for young start-up design or crafts businesses: you have a great new product – but how do you sell it?

Whether it’s shoulder bags made from old rubber dinghies, jewelry from recycled materials, or organic cotton T-shirts: there is no shortage of new product ideas – nor is there a lack of potential customers. But how can the would-be buyer find your brilliant new product?

The key is to strengthen your brand and increase your chances of being found by maximizing your presence offline as well as online. That’s where a seller account with Etsy or Ebay can be very useful.

Here are some of the pros and cons of these two main platforms:

Ebay Etsy
+ widely known
+ high number of visitors
+ trusted platform
 your product might get lost in the mass of offers
 high transaction fees
+ ideal platform for handmade and unique products
+ moderate fees
+ community

 

What other platforms are there for selling products?

In addition to the two main players there are a number of smaller platforms using a similar business model to Etsy. Depending on where your main customer base is, you could take a look at the following sites:

Cargoh and Icraft in Canada, Uncommongoods.com in the US, DaWanda (UK, Germany and France) or Folksy in the UK.

online shopAlthough not quite as big as Etsy, these platforms nevertheless offer some advantages for specific regional target groups.

Not really an alternative to these larger community platforms, but rather an essential necessity is your own online shop. Especially with a view to building your brand, nothing really compares to having your own site where you can present yourself with your own individual image. Not to mention the fact that this allows you to sell your goods without the platform provider taking a cut of your profits.

Another advantage is that you can integrate your own blog with your website. This raises your profile further and enables you to be more customer-facing and authentic. If you’re a prolific blogger you also get the extra bonus of bumping up your search engine ranking.

In this article we explain how to create a simple online shop yourself.

What are the advantages of having your own online shop vs. relying on Etsy alone?

A clear advantage of large platforms such as Etsy or Ebay is, of course, their enormous and instantaneous reach. In the long run, however, it is advisable to build your brand by having your own bespoke website.

Think about it: a new customer who finds your product on Etsy is likely to be looking on Etsy again the next time round. So, every time you are competing with all the other sellers in your product category. Wouldn’t it be much better if your buyer went straight to your own online shop the next time they are looking for a similar product?

Choose your Etsy seller name and logo to make it easy for your customers to find your shop on Google the next time. And, of course, you can also use the shipment of your product itself to advertise your own online shop, by clearly branding the packaging and including a flyer with your website address.

How do you sell your products? Can you recommend other seller platforms or communities?

Image credit: Flickr / polkadotcreations Fotolia / Sunroots

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