What is Etsy?

Mar 28, 2024

This image represents an article about the pros and cons of selling on Etsy.
This image represents an article about the pros and cons of selling on Etsy.

New Etsy Seller Account

If you're a new Etsy seller considering opening an Etsy store to sell craft supplies or any kind of products, you've probably asked yourself the question "what is Etsy?". Personally, I strongly recommend that you fully understand how Etsy works before opening an Etsy shop. Etsy is one of the biggest online marketplace to sell handmade crafts, vintage items, and unique goods online, and in this article, we will delve more in-depth into what is Etsy, along with its pros and cons.

What is Etsy?

In theory Etsy is an e-commerce platform known for handmade crafts, vintage items, and unique goods. Established in 2005, it has grown to become a major online marketplace for artisans, crafters, and vintage collectors. Through Etsy, individuals and small businesses can create their own Etsy shop to sell items like handmade jewelry, clothing, art, home decor, and more.

Sellers on Etsy have access to tools for shop management in their Etsy account, from creating Etsy listings to handling inventory and Etsy payments. Buyers can explore a wide range of unique items, connect with Etsy sellers, and securely make purchases through the platform.

Etsy is popular for its support of independent sellers and its focus on selling handmade and vintage products, fostering a community of creativity and craftsmanship for both sellers and buyers. The platform now also allows the sale of digital products and incorporates features for dropshipping (not for all Etsy stores, for more information, check the Etsy Terms of Service visible on the Etsy homepage).

Now let's see the pros for selling on Etsy.

Pros of Selling on Etsy

  1. Organic Traffic: Etsy brings a lot of organic traffic due to its large audience and search engine optimization capabilities. If your products are well-optimized and in demand, you have a high chance of making sales without extensive marketing efforts, which distinguishes it from other online marketplace like Gumroad.

  2. User-Friendly Platform: Etsy is known for its user-friendly platform and regularly introduces new features. Although deeper analytics would be appreciated, the overall experience is excellent. You can also customize your shop page as you like.

  3. Reliable Etsy Payment System: Etsy provides a reliable payment system, alleviating concerns about missing or delayed payments. In over two years of selling, there have been no issues with receiving payments from my Etsy account.

  4. Low Startup Costs: Starting an Etsy shop is inexpensive, with only listing fees to consider. At $0.20 per product (excluding VAT), launching ten products would cost just $2 (excluding VAT). Please note: Etsy is considering adding inscription fees for each new Etsy shop.

This image represents the pros of selling on Etsy marketplace.

Cons of Selling on Etsy

  1. Email Collection Restrictions: Etsy's terms of service prohibit the collection and use of customer emails for marketing purposes. This limitation hinders sellers' ability to leverage email marketing as a sales tool.

  2. Algorithmic Challenges: Etsy's algorithm can be unpredictable, leading to instances where Etsy shops or listings are mistakenly banned or suspended. This can result in missed sales opportunities and frustration for sellers.

  3. Copycat Sellers: Etsy experiences a significant presence of copycat Etsy sellers, particularly in niches where products are easily replicated. Instances of sellers stealing designs or products from others are common, impacting original creators' sales and reputation.

  4. New Forms of Competition: Etsy's landscape has evolved over the years, introducing new forms of competition such as print-on-demand (POD) products, digital goods, and dropshipping from China. This diversification poses challenges for traditional handmade craft sellers, who now compete with cheaper alternatives and AI-generated digital products.

This image represents the cons of selling on Etsy.


In conclusion, Etsy remains a valuable platform for selling in 2024 due to its large audience. However, I would recommend to Etsy sellers to diversify their sales channels and be mindful of the platform's limitations and evolving competitive landscape, perhaps by exploring options like opening a Shopify store or launching their own online store.

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