Etsy has long been the sales platform of choice for independent artisans and craftspeople. Its size and marketplace visibility make it a viable alternative to platforms like Amazon and eBay, which are increasingly dominated by corporate sellers and historically have been regarded as far less seller-friendly than Etsy.
However, while selling on Etsy remains lucrative for many of its roughly 2 million merchants, the platform certainly has its drawbacks. For example, in 2019, The Verge reported on a controversial policy change that made shipping charges more visible in Etsy product listings, pressuring sellers to offer free shipping. Veteran sellers also panned another recent change that made it more difficult for buyers to find other items from the same seller. And to some extent, Etsy is a victim of its own success. With millions of merchants competing for a finite number of buyers, it can be difficult for new sellers to break into the market.
The good news is Etsy is not the only game in town. Independent artisans and craftspeople have dozens of alternative e-commerce platforms to choose from, all with distinct upsides and downsides. Even if you’re more or less satisfied with your Etsy experience so far, it never hurts to list your products elsewhere.
The top alternatives to Etsy aren’t all carbon copies of North America’s best-known marketplace for handmade items. Some, such as Aftcra and IndieMade, cater to even narrower niches. Others, like Big Cartel, attempt to replicate Etsy’s model. And a few, like Shopify and WooCommerce, don’t really care what their merchants sell as long as it’s legal.
Best Etsy Alternatives to Sell Your Goods Online
Zibbet is a multichannel solution that helps you manage listings and sales on up to four distinct marketplaces:
- The Zibbet Marketplace, which is Zibbet’s flagship sales channel and resembles Etsy in key ways
- The A.C. Moore Marketplace, a separate marketplace for handmade crafts backed by one of the biggest names in the arts-and-crafts business
- Stitch, an artisanal e-commerce solution that helps independent sellers create customized digital storefronts
After a 14-day free trial, Zibbet provides a centralized location to build and update all your Zibbet-linked sales channels for $5 per month per platform (minimum two platforms). Changes sync automatically across all channels, saving time and eliminating redundancy.
You don’t pay sales or listing fees for items listed on the Zibbet Marketplace, the A.C. Moore Marketplace, or your Stitch website. You do pay standard listing and sales fees on your Zibbet-linked Etsy shop. If you already have an Etsy shop, you can link it to your Zibbet account with a few clicks — no need to create a new shop.
Storenvy surfaces what it calls “the world’s most awesome indie brands.” In other words, it’s much more than a tight-knit community of independent craftspeople. Offbeat textiles, jewelry, and home goods are heavily represented here, but Storenvy also has a lively trade in beauty products, recorded music, books, and tech accessories (like smartphone cases).
Storenvy offers two distinct ways to sell: a free online store hosted on Storenvy and a commission-based online marketplace that sorts your wares by product category and charges no fees other than a 15% commission on each completed sale. If you’re willing to pay for it, your online store gets a customized domain name — that is, “yourstore.com” rather than “yourstore.Storenvy.com.” You can create your website with no coding required or completely customize the appearance and user experience using Storenvy’s HTML/CSS tools.
Storenvy has one free plan and two paid plans:
- Hobbyist. This free plan includes access to the Storenvy marketplace and basic online store, up to 1,000 unique products, and a cart-abandonment feature that reminds buyers that they’ve left items in their cart, which can help increase conversions even when buyers don’t make purchases right away.
- Plus. For $14.99 per month, this plan includes everything that comes with Hobbyist, plus custom social media blasts, a discounting feature that can help drive sales, and a custom domain for online stores.
- Pro. For $29.99 per month, this plan includes everything that comes with the second-tier plan plus an automated discount feature that lets sellers send bulk discount offers to shoppers watching specific items.
ArtFire is a smaller marketplace by and for independent artisans. Although browsing customers see dozens of different categories and subcategories, every good listed here must fall into one of three broad domains: handmade goods, vintage goods (20 years and older), and craft supplies. If your business sells mass-produced products that don’t fit ArtFire’s definition of “vintage” or “craft supplies,” ArtFire isn’t for you.
If your wares do meet ArtFire’s standards, you can choose the plan that best suits your sales volumes and marketing budget from three options. All omit ads from shop and listing pages, making for a less commercial shopping experience.
- Standard Shop. For $4.95 per month, get up to 250 listings that remain active for two months and enjoy standard visibility (no special promotion) within the ArtFire marketplace. ArtFire takes a 12.75% cut of each sale, and there’s a $0.23-per-listing fee.
- Popular Shop. For $20 per month, get up to 1,000 active listings with no time limit and standard visibility. ArtFire takes a 4.5% cut of each sale and does not charge listing fees.
- Featured Shop. For $40 per month, get up to 2,500 active listings with enhanced visibility (placement near the top of product category pages). ArtFire takes a 4.5% cut of each sale and does not charge listing fees.
Regardless of their plan, all ArtFire merchants can take full advantage of the site’s listing optimization tools and mobile-friendly shop layout.
Aftcra is another smaller-scale platform that focuses on handmade-in-the-USA crafts, with notable exceptions for upcycled or repurposed vintage products and screen or digital prints that can’t be entirely made by hand. Popular product categories include kids clothing and accessories, wedding crafts and paper, jewelry, home goods, and personal accessories (like wallets and phone cases).
One of Aftcra’s prominent selling points is its simple, reasonable fee structure. There’s no listing fee, even for relistings (all listings expire after six months), and the sales commission is 7% on all items (not including PayPal fees, which can vary). There’s no confusing multitiered pricing structure.
The biggest drawback is payment inflexibility. PayPal is the only payment option for Aftcra merchants, and though that’s probably fine for most, it’s not ideal for those who prefer to accept payment by other means.
Other perks include a unique URL extension (such as aftcra.com/myuniquestore), optional Google Analytics integration, and the ability to import multiple product listings from Etsy simultaneously.
IndieMade is a bespoke website builder for artisans and upcyclers. Use it to construct a self-contained online store (with or without a custom domain) with customized templates, an integrated shopping cart and PayPal-powered checkout features, photo galleries, and value-added features like a blog and events calendar.
Because it’s a website builder and hosting service rather than a full-service e-commerce platform, IndieMade doesn’t charge listing fees or commissions. Instead, it offers four monthly hosting plans, all of which come with a 30-day free trial. At all price points, websites are SEO-friendly, integrate with Google Analytics and major social media outlets, and include contact forms that obscure the owner’s real email address:
- Basic. For $4.95 per month, get 10 products with two images each, two extra website pages not devoted to products, and up to three additional image galleries.
- Standard. For $12.95 per month, get 100 products with four images each, 10 extra website pages, 10 additional image galleries, and the ability to sell up to 100 electronic files (such as downloadable patterns or e-books).
- Pro. For $14.95 per month, get 200 products with 10 images each, 12 extra website pages, 12 additional image galleries, and the ability to sell up to 200 electronic files.
- Plus. For $19.95 per month, get 300 products with 10 images each, 15 extra website pages, unlimited additional image galleries, and the ability to sell up to 300 electronic files.
IndieMade’s relatively low product limits, especially at the lower rungs of the pricing ladder, make it unsuitable for high-volume, low-margin retailers. It’s a better fit for higher-dollar, higher-margin sellers — those selling prints or handbags for hundreds of dollars each, not phone cases for $5 apiece.
Bonanza is a user-friendly “web store” builder that, for buyers, resembles a collection of independent boutiques under the same roof. The theme here is expansive but distinctly offbeat — think adult coloring books and irreverent handmade crafts, though the inventory of tasteful clothing and home goods is broad enough.
Bonanza works hard to stand out from bigger e-commerce platforms like Shopify, not least by delivering real value for merchants. There are no transaction fees (other than standard payment processing fees that Bonanza can’t control), multiple payment methods (including Amazon Pay), automatic placement on Google Shopping. It also offers seamless integration with Etsy and eBay and a $100 Google Ads credit.
Bonanza’s pricing is easy to understand. You pay $25 per month or $255 per year (paid upfront) to host and build your store. That’s it other than payment processing fees — no commissions, listing fees, or fees for added bells and whistles.
7. Big Cartel
Big Cartel blends the user-friendly features of Bonanza with the artistic bias of IndieMade. With an endlessly customizable set of free themes and a sophisticated sales tax tool that takes the guesswork out of calculating sales tax on online purchases, Big Cartel is ideal for ambitious merchants who’d prefer to focus on creative pursuits than shop management. Big Cartel also makes a big deal out of its privacy-minded data-sharing practices — something “corporate” e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Amazon don’t even pretend to pay lip service to.
Big Cartel has four plans, including a basic free version with a custom domain and sales tax collection:
- Gold (Free). Big Cartel’s free version allows up to five products with one image each, includes a custom domain, offers customizable discounts and promotions, and features a shipment tracking tool.
- Platinum. For $9.99 per month, this plan includes all the features and capabilities of the free package. Platinum allows up to 50 products with five images each and boasts Google Analytics integration, inventory tracking tools, and bulk-listing editing capabilities.
- Diamond. For $19.99 per month, this plan includes all the features and capabilities of the second-tier package, plus up to 250 products with five images each.
- Titanium. For $29.99 per month, this plan includes all the features and capabilities of the third-tier package, plus up to 500 products with five images each.
Amazon Handmade is Amazon’s marketplace for handcrafted goods made by independent artisans and small teams. Though heavy on jewelry, clothing, and personal accessories, Amazon Handmade also stocks plenty of pet supplies, stationery, home goods, and beauty products.
One benefit of selling through Amazon Handmade is obvious: the chance to get your wares in front of the tens of millions of shoppers who pass through Amazon’s virtual aisles each month. Even sellers more inclined philosophically and ethically to stick with smaller, independently owned sales platforms could find the exposure irresistible.
Amazon Handmade is reasonably priced too. It’s free to create and maintain a shop, and you never pay a fee to list your items. Amazon takes a 15% commission on each sale.
But Amazon Handmade does have some marked downsides. For starters, it’s owned and operated by Amazon, the corporate online retailer to end all corporate online retailers. And the same forces that have turned some independent sellers against Etsy are at play here as well — namely the expectation, if not outright pressure, to offer free shipping and the erosion of pricing power that accompanies fierce competition among merchants.
Is the promise of exposure and the likelihood of increased sales worth the tradeoffs? That’s for you to decide.
Shopify is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms for independent retailers of all stripes. But describing it as an e-commerce platform sells Shopify short. It’s more accurate to call Shopify a multichannel (or “omnichannel,” in retail industry parlance) solution for merchants seeking a single platform to manage sales in person and through third-party fulfillment operators like Amazon, customized digital storefronts hosted by Shopify, other independent marketplaces (including those in this list), and social media tools like Facebook Marketplace.
Compared with most of the Etsy alternatives listed here, Shopify’s optimization tools are a cut above, and the platform’s flexible interface gives merchants more leeway to experiment with ecommerce content strategies (this blog post from Northcutt describes a few of the most effective) that drive traffic to their listings.
Shopify is not cheap, but you get what you pay for. Each of its three main plans comes with a 90-day free trial:
- Shopify Lite. For sellers with smaller budgets or reservations about signing up for a full Shopify plan, this plan costs $9 per month, allows sales through Facebook Marketplace and unlimited custom websites (created with website builders like Squarespace and WordPress), accepts major credit cards, and has an invoicing feature.
- Basic Shopify. For $29 per month, this plan features an online storefront hosted by Shopify, up to two staff accounts, unlimited products, all eligible sales channels (varies by country), up to four inventory locations, automatic abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, and a discount up to 64% with major private shipping providers. For sellers using Shopify Payments, the in-house payment processing system, online transactions cost 2.9% of the transaction amount plus $0.30. In-person transactions cost 2.7%, and the surcharge for payments routed through other payment processors is 2%.
- Shopify. For $79 per month, this plan features five staff accounts, up to five inventory locations, a discount up to 72% with major private shipping providers, and special United States Postal Service (USPS) pricing. For sellers using Shopify Payments, online transactions cost 2.6% of the transaction amount plus $0.30. In-person transactions cost 2.5%, and the surcharge for payments routed through other payment processors is 1%.
- Advanced Shopify. For $299 per month, this plan features 15 staff accounts, up to eight inventory locations, a discount up to 74% with major private shipping providers, and special USPS pricing. For sellers using Shopify Payments, online transactions cost 2.4% of the transaction amount plus $0.30. In-person transactions cost 2.4%, and the surcharge for payments routed through other payment processors is 0.5%.
Like investors worried about what market volatility means for their retirement portfolios, entrepreneurial artisans understand the importance of diversification. They prefer not to stake an entire business on a single platform that’s vulnerable to disruption or prone to capricious policy changes that favor some sellers over others. They know it’s better for their livelihoods and long-term income potential to keep their eggs in multiple baskets.
They certainly have no shortage of baskets to try. From small, crafty outlets like Aftcra to massive e-commerce gateways like Shopify, alternatives to Etsy abound. If you’re an artisan looking to add more income streams and gain exposure to a broader array of potential buyers, you’re limited only by your willingness to try new platforms.
What’s your preferred alternative to Etsy?