Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Choosing an Online Marketplace.

     What is an online marketplace?  A online marketplace is a web store that is hosted through a 3rd party provider such as Etsy, Artfire, Made It Myself, and so on.  These providers offer handcrafters the ability to sell their crafts easily through their store software for a fee and canceling the need to create a web page to sell your handmade goods.  This also applies to selling supplies and vintage items as well.  I have a long personal experience with Etsy, Artfire, and Made It Myself and will be listing their pros and cons as well as links and my personal choice. 

Made It Myself  :

Fees:  Free to list.
Can become featured for additional $.49


Can make items up for negotiation which could lead to more sales.
Makes coupons.
Chat for members to exchange ideas.
Custom work listing ability.

Takes a 3% commission on sold items.
Maximum picture size 800pix
Buyers have to register.
Picture upload max: 4 Images
Takes 7 steps to complete 1 listing.


Fees: Basic account FREE
Pro account just $9.95

Does not take commision
Buyers do not have to register to buy!
Google market hub
Easy publish to facebook and twitter.
Facebook App
Works with google analytics
Easy and quick to list items all fields on one page.

Can add a widget to your web page called rapid cart that will pull items from your store with a buy now option.
Etsy Importer for people who are switching.
Custom coupons
Global Editor (having a sale edit all listed items at once or pick all items in one category to edit, this is awesome saves so much time!)
Guilds where you can connect with fellow artists and earn badges.
Can upload up to 10 pictures
Pic max pixels is 2000
Sales Data Exporter
Complete Shop Customization

Hard to find info on the basic account option
Does not advertise in bridal, home, and housekeeping magazines.
The best features are only available to pro members.


Fees:$.20 per listing. Plus a 3.5% Commision
$7 for Showcase/Featured listing

Easy Click Tags
Facebook App 
Works with google analytics
Advertises in magazines frequently. (good housekeeping, better homes and gardens, brides, ect)
Pay your bill as you go instead of monthly fees.
Can bid on custom work.
Can do coupon codes.
Has small store app you can add to your webpage or blog.

5 Pic limit
Takes 5 steps to list.
Buyers must register to buy.

Fees lets do the math. I have 60 items listed right now ranging from $5-$25 average price $10.

Made It Myself: 60 Items Costs: $0 cash to list and costs  $.03 cents for every $10 item sold.
Is cheapest money wise but lacks features and it takes 15 minutes to list one item. (if you have slower internet it will take you longer)
Artfire: 60 Items Cost nothing for basic account, or $.16 per item for a pro account at $9.95 a month
Etsy: 60 Items Cost: $12 to list at $.20 each  plus another $.03 cents per $10 Item in commission and takes roughly 10 minutes to list with a fast internet connection.

Now you see why Artfire is my personal favorite.
   So there are some of the basic features and I am sure I missed a few but this gives you an idea of what these are like.  There are many other marketplaces available as well but these are the 3 major ones that most people at least in the USA use. 
    Why does it matter if people have to register to buy? You probably noticed that registering to buy is my major con to both Made It Myself and Etsy.  This is because customers loose interest fast and going through a long registration process will cause most to decide what they were going to buy is not worth the time.  It is a basic marketing principal and has been proved time and time again that people are more like to purchase things they can get at the moment.

My favorite market place is Artfire. I was with Etsy for 2 yrs no sales, Made It Myself for a cpl months couldn't take how long it took to list items, and finally Artfire which I have been with for almost a year and have made numerous sales.

I love just about everything on artfire from its amazing customization to the low monthly payments.  If you would like to try a artfire pro account and receive a month free please click here.



Wow Its Been A While......Working from home.

    I am afraid this is a perfect example of what you should not do when doing a blog to aid your business and SEO rankings.  There are many different opportunities to promote your business online but referred search traffic is one of the best.   However it is not always easy to post an article a day, week, or in my case month.
   I love making jewelry and I love jewelry in general, but this does not mean I can easily sit down and pound out a article a day on making or selling it.  I do have plenty of ideas for these posts but time is short most days.  The lack of time is the biggest challenge for people who work at home.  It is far to easy to let your personal life and your business life merge and this is doubly true if you have children.  Most of the time your family, friends, and children do not recognize that your time is valuable.  For example my husband works from home too but he still sees my jewelry activities as less then important.  I can be in the middle of a complex design and he will ask for something and expect me to drop everything to do it.   I think the hardest part is that children and sometimes even your spouse will see your creative endeavors as a hobby.

   So how do you juggle the demands of personal and business life? One way would be to schedule set work hours and during that time period insist that people leave you alone so you can work.  In my case I just kinda fit work in where I can.  This is why my blog is usually the neglected activity, it is hard to write when my son is home since he interrupts every 5 minutes and sees my computer as competition.  In Barbara Brabec books on selling hand made the lack of business time for those who work from home is at the beginning of the first book.  She also includes several strategies for making business time separate from personal time.  I have 3 of her books and highly recommend them for anyone who is selling their own handmade artisan crafts.

Barbara Brabec Books: (I highly recommend these books if your going to sell crafts online or off the information you will get from these is priceless, she includes everything from doing shows and consignment shops to throwing home parties. She also has plenty of information on selling online, business cards, and more. These books are worth the investment)

Homemade Money: Starting Smart
Handmade for Profit!: Hundreds of Secrets to Success in Selling Arts & Crafts
Homemade Money: Bringing in the Bucks: A Business Management and Marketing Bible for Home-Business Owners, Self-Employed Individuals, and Web Entrepreneurs Working from Home Base
The Crafts Business Answer Book: Starting, Managing, and Marketing a Homebased Arts, Crafts, or Design Business
Make It Profitable!: How to Make Your Art, Craft, Design, Writing or Publishing Business More Efficient, More Satisfying, and MORE PROFITABLE