Getting to know E-Commerce

Big Cartel or Etsy?

As an artist venturing into the world of e-commerce for the first time, choosing the right online shop can be a challenge. There are many e-commerce sites to choose from which can be a tad overwhelming. Look at the long list of opportunities flooded my head with questions.  Where do I start? How do I know which site is right for me? Are these pricing and fees fair? Will I get the exposure I need?

Out of the many e-commerce opportunities, I chose to research both Etsy and Big Cartel. I had been a frequent browser of Etsy and love the community aspect of their site. Etsy is by far the most popular e-commerce site and has a large and loyal fan base. But was Etsy the right site for PRESS?

I started my research by reading both Etsy and Big Cartels blogs to find out more about their sites and how they presented themselves to the public. Both blogs were informative, entertaining and helped me understand what their site could do for me. Both sites, while competing with each other, also were very supportive of each other and interestingly enough many members have both Etsy and Big Cartel accounts. I really enjoyed that Big Cartel’s Blog frequently talked about all the changes that are made at Big Cartel which informs me that they are always changing to try to meet more needs of their customers.

I recently opened an Etsy site to get familiar with e-commerce and hopefully sell some of my artistic endeavors. The whole process was really exciting and intuitive, which was very helpful to me. I watched as codes and links connected together to make my own little online shop. While Etsy was a great choice for me to experiment with e-commerce with my petite jewelry shop I started to wonder if it was the right choice for PRESS.

While Etsy was an easy site to start up shop and get my product out into the public I felt that my shop was overshadowed by the large amount of other  jewelry products and similar shops that were advertised abundantly. Since decorating your page is limited with Etsy ( Unless you are code and html savvy) the shops seem to all blend together since the format is the same.  I wanted to find a site where my personal shop was more of a focus and where it was easier for me to really customize my page to reflect the artistry seen in my work.

That’s when I stumbled upon Big Cartel, a lesser known but well liked site. One aspect of Big Cartel that I really enjoyed was a feature that allowed you to link your shop directly to media sites like Facebook. I thought this was really nifty application since a majority of people with access to the internet have Facebook accounts and if you’re like me, a considerable amount of my time online is browsing my news feed. This feature gives even more exposure as an emerging shop and interested individuals can purchase items straight from other web-pages not just Big Cartel. Since my online shop is small and most of my products are made to order a lot of my business comes from family and friends, who are in support of my artistic pursuits and this feature would make my work even more accessible to them.

I would recommend playing around with some sites to get a feel for them. Many of these shops like Etsy and Big Cartel have no startup fee. Some sites like Big Cartel and Shopenvy even offer a completely free package aimed for small shops so getting your work out there is even easier and completely affordable. One important thing I learned from researching these sites is that each shop has their own individual story and site that works for them. It is not just the site that will sell your work it is the time and work you put into creating its presence on the web.

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