Since it was founded 12 years ago, Etsy has grown into the leading marketplace for handmade and vintage items. Thousands of creatives and makers have built businesses on Etsy. But there’s a risk in relying exclusively on Etsy to market and sell products, a risk that’s common to all platforms of its type. You don’t control the platform and you don’t set the rules. Ultimately, all platforms are managed to serve the interests of their owners and the investors, a situation that often creates tensions and conflicts with users of the platform.
This is a problem for eCommerce merchants and publishers alike, who eventually find the constraints of their chosen platform limiting. As Etsy seller Lisa Jacobs found:
“As I started to grow, though, I came up against some limitations. What makes sense for Etsy as a whole (all shops look alike and are run the same) started to irritate me.”
Owning the platform you use to sell gives you control over your eCommerce business. When you control the platform, you decide what your store looks like and how it functions, how products are displayed, the extensions you install, and the promotions you run.
Alternatives to Etsy
The best way to reassert control over your eCommerce store is to choose an eCommerce application hosted on specialist eCommerce hosting. The application provides the eCommerce functionality and the hosting provides the bandwidth and infrastructure. Platforms like Etsy combine both aspects of online retail, but by keeping them separate store owners gain more control and the ability to migrate to a different hosting platform or eCommerce application should the need arise.
It’s best to choose a specialist eCommerce hosting provider to ensure that your store benefits from the optimal hosting environment and superior performance.
Magento is a dedicated eCommerce application capable of supporting everything from small stores to the largest enterprise retailers. Many of the biggest independent eCommerce brands choose Magento because it provides everything they need to build a world-class eCommerce experience. Magento itself includes a comprehensive set of features, and Magento retailers can extend their store with any of thousands of free and premium extensions.
Magento is available in two versions: Magento Community Edition, which is free and full featured, and Magento Enterprise Edition, which is suitable for larger stores and includes additional features and support.
WooCommerce is the leading eCommerce plugin for WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system. WordPress is flexible enough to provide an uncompromised eCommerce experience with WooCommerce, and if you’re already familiar with WordPress, you’ll have no problem getting to grips with WooCommerce. Almost 30% of eCommerce stores run on WooCommerce, and it has a large ecosystem of extensions that add enhanced functionality.
Etsy is a solid platform for new eCommerce retailers, but if you need more control and flexibility than Etsy can provide, Magento and WooCommerce on world-class hosting provide everything you need to build a stunning, mobile-friendly, and flexible online retail store.