This blog should actually be titled “Why I am no longer listing my items on Etsy, but some of my downloads will stay there to hopefully direct people here”…but in the interest of brevity here’s why I left Etsy.
I’ve been a craftpreneur since 2017 and Etsy was my first “home”. Etsy offered a free space to call my own and sell my handmade goods. As time went on my skills improved, my customer base grew, and so did my product offerings. I was pretty happy with Etsy – despite the lack of branding and design features. It allowed me to have a spot in the marketplace and features that were easy to use.
In 2019, I realized that Etsy wouldn’t be my “forever home”. For some reason, Etsy started to adopt the mentality that we should function as companies like Amazon do, instead of keeping in mind that its seller base was comprised primarily of individuals making handmade products in their homes.
Forced free shipping.
It was around this time that they started to roll out their *might as well be* mandatory free shipping on orders $35+. Despite lots of pushback from sellers who made their voices heard via the pre-roll out survey, Etsy went ahead with this feature.
It immediately started impacting my profits, but I was a little oblivious to just how much. That’s my own fault, I was just happy to be selling and wasn’t managing my costs with a scrutinizing eye.
My top-seller at that point was personalized glitter-dipped Flair pens. I was selling each pen for $7 each and if I added in shipping to the customer price it would push the price to $11 each. I couldn’t wrap my mind around charging that much so I just ate the cost. Bad idea, but I learned… eventually.
When you join the Etsy marketplace you don’t pay anything. When you list an item you pay $0.20 which is very reasonable. Yet, the fees start rolling in once you sell an item (transaction fee + processing fee), and again once you print a mailing label. Then I started seeing an “Offsite Ad Fee”. I have never bought an ad for my shop, I rely on word of mouth and sharing on social media to drive sales. I’m not opposed to ads, but I just can’t afford them at this point in my business. So why was I being charged an offiste ads fee?
In 2020 Etsy introduced the Offsite Ads feature to draw in new customers. They’d create an ad for you, pay the upfront cost, and then you’d be charged the ad fee if a sale resulted from the ad. Some sellers were automatically opted in due to our previous sales volume. The ad fee is 15% or 12% if you’ve sold over $10, 000 on Etsy. I didn’t opt-in to offsite ads yet, it was still happening on my account. But Lydia, you made a sale you wouldn’t otherwise have made and the sale covered the fee, so what are you complaining about?
I simply don’t think that changes like this should be made without the seller’s consent/opt-in and that there should be an opt-out button. I don’t have one. For some reason, my account is locked into this Offsite Ads feature, even though I never opted in. Some sellers have the option to opt-out, for some reason, I don’t. Also, I have no idea which of my products they’re promoting, where the ad shows ups, or what the ad even says! What if my products are being displayed on a site that I am morally opposed to? I have zero control.
The Star Seller Badge.
I have a big problem with rolling out features that incentivize productivity in the middle of a deadly pandemic. Apparently, Etsy does not. In order to qualify, you must have a 95% or higher score for Message response rater, 5-star ratings, and on-time shipping. In return, you’ll get a Star Seller Badge on your shop, more chances to be featured in Etsy promotions, and an opportunity for more sales.
It’s giving: quotas and taskmaster, and I’m simply not here for it.
So, that’s the super long story of why I’ve chosen to take a step back from Etsy. All of my new creations and the old ones as well will live here, on my own website. This way I can keep prices low for my customers and not feel the pressure to perform or produce. Crafting is a joy, cultivating relationships with my customers is a blessing, but becoming a factory is not my goal.
I truly hope that Etsy will get back to its roots someday. It’s not a terrible platform; I just think they’ve lost their way. It should be about supporting handmade sellers and their customers, not competing with mega-corporations like Amazon. It’s a losing game for everyone.