There’s some major hub-bub in the handmade world – Etsy just launched a sort of “stand alone website” option for sellers to have a more personalized experience for buyers. You can take a peek at the customization options & offered features here.
I’ve been on Storenvy for six years, but the idea of a stand alone website option from them piqued my curiosity so I looked into it – I figured hey, more options for selling online without losing my branding, can’t hurt to take a look. A little research and I immediately knew Etsy Pattern was not a good option for me. Not because it’s a bad option, not at all, I think this is a super awesome option for Etsy sellers to allow them more room for growth! But…
Why pay for something when I can get better customization options & better features for free with Storenvy?
Here is a comparison of Pattern vs Storenvy Custom Store Builder features that helped me decide to just stick with Storenvy rather than try out this new venue:
- Cost: Storenvy Custom Store Builder is FREE (to use, to list, to sell). Etsy Pattern is $15 a month plus listing fees, plus relisting fees, plus transaction fees when you make a sale.
- Customization: Storenvy Custom Store Builder allows 100% customization from logo to background, font and color customization to complete HTML alteration including embedding your blog & photo galleries. Etsy Pattern offers themes, but unfortunately from what I’ve read, none of the themes are highly customizable – you are limited to your shop name and icon with preset colors and fonts.
- Email Capture: Storenvy Custom Store Builder allows you to embed HTML to capture emails for your mailing list. Etsy Pattern does not allow you to capture emails for your mailing list. Not being able to capture emails is a huge drawback for me, as email marketing is where more than 70% of my new clients come from!
So while I think Etsy Pattern is a great option for Etsy sellers wanting to expand a little and build their branding into their business, it would almost be like backtracking for me to consider utilizing this new selling platform because I’d actually be paying more for less features than I get on Storenvy, for free, in addition to free listings in the Storenvy marketplace. No matter what website you compare it to, price (free, plus up to 500 free listings and no selling fees) and customization options (unlimited), Storenvy will always come out on top.
If you are curious about Storenvy, I wrote a little more about it & why it appeals to me over the Etsy Pattern options below, along with some examples of customized store fronts to give you an idea of the expansive customization options, and how to use it in conjunction with your Etsy marketplace shop instead of Etsy Pattern for better results & less cost.
Storenvy has been around for years, and offers sellers a FREE Custom Store Builder in addition to their super hip marketplace. The Custom Store Builder allows you the ability to completely alter the look of your store by giving you free range to edit your CSS and HTML. You can embed your current blog, photo galleries, videos, a custom about page, product sizing charts, and more for FREE, plus there are never any listing fees, you get up to 500 listings for free, and there is no selling fees when you sell through your custom store. It allows for true individuality, branding and a custom shopping experience for FREE. I’ve written a post previously about how you don’t have to choose between Storenvy and Etsy, that you can read here if you want to consider listing on both platforms, and I also cover how you can use Storenvy Custom Store Builder & Etsy marketplace together as an alternative to Etsy Pattern with better customization options, while also having inventory management & synced listings, below, in addition to some images of custom Storenvy shops.
Etsy Pattern directly imports your listings to the template you have chosen, making setting up listing there super easy. If you are concerned about transferring your items from Etsy to Storenvy, don’t be, it’s also easy peasy. There’s an Etsy to Storenvy importer you can use to easily transfer products from Etsy to Storenvy!
Now, I’m going to go off topic for one moment here but it’s super important you know this. One thing you can’t expect is to use Storenvy’s Custom Store Builder & start generating sales with no effort. It is just like having a stand alone website – it is up to YOU to drive traffic to your custom store! You have to build your audience up, and use a killer marketing campaign to drive people to your custom store. The best ways to do this is to have business cards printed with your Storenvy Custom Store URL on them (or your custom domain, if you have purchased one and directed it to your Custom Store), and even if you ship out orders from Etsy offer a coupon code for them to purchase through your website. This will begin to funnel Etsy’s organic search engine traffic to your website, making Etsy a powerful marketing tool that benefits you, rather than you being a megaphone for a for-profit business model that takes away from your hard work making connections & driving them to your Etsy store, where they get a cut from your hard work marketing & driving sales. Make sure you update your Facebook, Instagram & Twitter URLs to direct to your custom website, and when clients ask where to find you, drive them ONLY to your custom website. If you drive people to Etsy and not your custom website you created with the Storenvy Custom Store Builder, then you are missing the opportunity to generate sales there & drive brand recognition. Use Etsy as a form of organic new traffic, and your custom website you create with the Storenvy Custom Store Builder as your central hub that you push all of your traffic and marketing efforts towards. THAT is how you generate sales on a custom website. Not by sending people to Etsy – by sending them to your custom website & making that your center of sales.Failing to do so is why so many makers who try to stand alone from Etsy seem to fail – they are continue to drive sales for another platform, not their own website, making it difficult for them to build a name for themselves. And Etsy is aware of this and with Etsy Pattern, has built the perfect model to keep sellers from being able to grow beyond their platform. Selling through the Storenvy Custom Store Builder, people will say “I bought it from luanded.com!” not “I found it on Etsy!” and that is what you should be striving for with a stand alone website builder.
Example of Storenvy Customization, Bubble Gum Emporium
Back on topic! Storenvy offers paid extras that are totally optional – you can domain host on Storenvy (like luanded.com vs luanded.storenvy.com) like you can on Etsy Pattern, and you can pay for a special discount bundle to offer your clients awesome deals, like Free Shipping, percent off, dollar amount off a purchase, or BOGO. Even if you pay for both of these extras, it’s just $14 a month – a dollar less than Etsy Pattern, with so much more customization options plus domain hosting and killer ways to offer your buyers discounts. Bonus, you can turn off Super Discounts when not in use, and just activate them for the month that you will be running promotions, so you don’t have to pay the special discount bundle price monthly!
Storenvy is best known for it’s awesome, trendy marketplace that you can list in as well with a minimal 10% fee ONLY when you sell (come on, a FREE custom store builder with unlimited customization options and streamlined checkout? It’s essentially a free stand alone website with no hosting headaches!) and never any listing fees, relisting fees, etc. Just pay a tiny 10% fee when you sell (ONLY through the marketplace, never through your custom store), and that’s it. It’s totally worth it and a great way to reach a new audience with minimal effort on your part. I realize Storenvy isn’t 100% handmade (neither is Etsy, but that’s neither here nor there), but they have a killer handmade marketplace extension of their regular shopping experience that has brought me many sales. They also frequently host Marketplace Sales Events that give sellers a huge boost in exposure with minimal effort on their part.
So, that’s my highlight reel of why I love Storenvy’s Custom Store Builder and think it makes a solid alternative to Etsy Pattern for makers looking to expand to a stand alone storefront option while keeping their Etsy marketplace shop open. What are your thoughts?