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Marketplace Focus: Beyond eBay, Part 2

eBay alternatives for artisans and social sellers.

In Beyond eBay, Part 1, we discussed four eBay-alternative sites for auction sellers looking for greener pastures. Those included auction marketplaces and a couple of emerging sites for real-time auctions.

Now we’ll take a look at a couple of marketplaces that cater to artisans and vintage sellers, as well as social marketplace Yardsellr, in case you want to see what lies beyond eBay.

Marketplaces for crafters

Millions of people sell homemade items, and Etsy and ArtFire have become popular marketplaces among sellers who want to offer this type of goods.

Etsy

Etsy has been around since 2005 and gets more than 39 million unique visitors every month. It had more than $525 million in sales in 2011, according to its press page. The site has become so popular that people in 150 countries use Etsy to buy and sell online.

But Etsy’s rapid growth has come with its share of growing pains. The marketplace recently came under fire for allowing mass-produced goods to be sold on the site, in violation of its rule that items offered must be handmade or vintage. In response, Etsy has reportedly increased its efforts to weed out rule breakers.

Fees on Etsy include a 20-cent listing fee. As of May 21, if the listing offers multiple quantities of an item, you’ll pay an additional 20 cents per item, charged only when it sells. Etsy also charges a 3.5-percent transaction fee.

Chrissy Luschas, a part-time seller who lists etched eggs on the site, says one of the big draws for her were Etsy’s fees. They were low and allowed her to test out the site without a big investment in 2010, when she started her store,
artbythedozen. The traffic and sales helped her stay, she continues.

“I sold my entire shop of 20-some items the first week,” Luschas notes. “I went insane with excitement when I saw my shop empty! I knew as a result that I would not leave Etsy for a long, long time.”

TopTenReviews gave Etsy the honor of being the top site for homemade items. ArtFire followed close behind at No. 2

The simplicity of the listing process was what drew Bob Cadloff, owner of bomobob. He says the process “couldn’t have been simpler.”

The customizable store header and simple design made the marketplace stand out for TopTenReviews, which gave it the honor of being the top site for homemade items. ArtFire followed close behind at No. 2.

ArtFire

This marketplace was founded in 2008, and its employees have a “passion for homemade, art and indie business,” the site notes. On its Facebook page, the venue says it’s the “premier online marketplace for handmade products.”

ArtFire offers a 14-day free trial. Sellers pay $12.95 a month after that. ArtFire also gives merchants access to customizable storefronts—known as studios in the ArtFire world—plus up to 99 store categories, unlimited listings, a tool to import listings from Etsy and a coupon code manager, among other features.

John Jacobs, a former eBay seller, started ArtFire. The site launched in November of 2008 in beta, and has since grown 2,600 percent. ArtFire describes itself as “an e-commerce solution that connects buyers and sellers of handmade and vintage goods as well as digital arts and craft supplies.”

Nadin Sandler, a jewelry designer, has sold her charms, beads, clasp, other jewelry supplies, plus homemade jewelry on ArtFire since the beginning of the year. She says the site is ideal for jewelry makers and provides an “easy and convenient place” to sell. Sandler initially sold her items on her own site, Homemade Jewelry Finds, but she got several comments from other jewelry makers encouraging her to check out the jewelry they had made with her jewelry supplies on ArtFire.

After looking around, she decided to expand her business to the site. She says the best thing about selling on ArtFire is being able to place lots of products without additional fees. However, she wishes customer could save their carts for more than a week, adding that this would encourage shoppers to buy more.

Sandler notes that as a new seller, her profits on ArtFire aren’t as high as she would like, but she thinks they’ll grow with time. She also says the monthly fee is fair.

She adds that people are drawn to the site “because they can find a great variety of unique handmade products. The site works quickly; it’s convenient to purchase products there.”

Yardsellr: for the social butterfly

For the social seller looking for an eBay alternative, Yardsellr is worth checking out. With this venue, you log in with your Facebook credentials “because Facebook is a quick and easy way to get your items seen by your friends and other Yardsellr users,” the site notes.
“As a seller, you set your price and there is no uncertainty of waiting for an auction to end”

Some call the site “the eBay of Facebook,” and that may be an accurate description. The site was founded by three eBay executives, according to news reports. Yardsellr’s CEO, Daniel Leffel, was a former manager at eBay.

When a seller posts something on Yardsellr, the site announces it to “millions of Yardsellr fans on Facebook,” the site states. There are no listing fees with this marketplace. Sellers, however, do have the option to pay a fee to boost their listing’s exposure.

Vicki, the owner of Sophia Grace’s Closet has been selling on Yardsellr for about two months, after the site she previously used to swap her children’s gently used clothing, ThredUp, became a consignment store.

She says Yardsellr is “the new eBay, and in many ways it is so much better. As a seller, you set your price and there is no uncertainty of waiting for an auction to end, only to virtually give your items away, given all the latest fees.”

On Yardsellr, merchants get to keep their profits, she adds. She also likes the clean look of listings, though she admits that there are challenges when selling on Yardsellr.

“Yardsellr doesn’t have the long-standing eBay reputation,” she explains. “Sellers are not rated for quality and timeliness of items shipped. When you buy, there is no way of knowing if you are purchasing from a seller who is honest about the condition of the item you are purchasing.”

She notes that moving items on Yardsellr can also take longer than on eBay. So far, she’s averaging about eight orders a month, which is less than she’d like.

She’s also unsure if it’s worthwhile to pay the extra fee to get better exposure on Yardsellr.

“Yardsellr wants sellers to pay small fees to ‘boost’ listings to generate more traffic,” she adds. “It is rather unclear exactly what benefit is derived from boosting… I have only boosted one item so far, and I felt the amount of additional views on my item wasn’t stellar.”

Still, the site did recently feature two of her items on a daily deal page—unrelated to boosting—and though these items have yet to sell, Vicki thinks the traffic to her site has increased because of the exposure.

Have you used any of these venues, or another eBay alternative we covered in Beyond eBay, Part 1? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments below.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Goldi

    Please do a review of Onlineauction.com. Great place to sell.

    • onlineseller

      I joined OLA in the beginning, was there for the 99 cent “virtual yard sale” but only 3 things sold, and all for 99 cents (a great loss for me!) Has it improved? How many items do you have listed and how many do you sell? Sorry to ask so many questions but eBay is getting to the point that we really need to find a new venue. But one that we would actually sell stuff on , LOL ūüôā Thanks!!!!

  • R G

    ¬†I give it an F-.¬† When I left Ebay the first time I tried it.¬† The owner bought one item.¬† Nothing else sold.¬† It’s been 4-5 years and the memory is bad.

  • I started to use Yardsellr about two months ago. I like the site but it has several major flaws that may make it unusuable for some sellers. The first is that there is no calculated shipping in the auction listings, so as a seller your expected to put in a shipping “quote” however, depending on where your buyer is, shipping costs can be all over the place. Thats too bad for you as whatever you put in as your shipping cost is what you must use when the items sell. The second is they publicly display how much money you have made as a seller….that is a horrible idea…and I wish they would eliminate that. Third, yardsellr basically just uses pictures in their listing section, but the pictures are rather large and it takes a buyer forever to scroll down the page as a thousand pictures are trying to load on your computer at the same time. As a seller I like this site much more then ebay because I can offer my customers better deals as yardseller isnt taking¬†80¬†percent of my profit in fees like ebay does…If they made a few changes this site could really go somehwere. In my opinion the best alternative to Ebay….

  • julie Jones

    very happy with my 2 purchases

  • ct

    I started a store on Ecrater. Only one sale in 2 months. The shipping set up is very strange, but there are no fees for listing or having a store. Only fees are for Google Checkout or Paypal. Visability wise, you need to rely heavily on key words and self promoting.
     I would like to see a review of Ecrater here to see how others feel about that marketplace.

    • Sunflower Acres

      I feel the same about ecrater, however it is free. I get a few sales now and then which I am happy with. I lost a large sale due to no combined shipping but all she had to do was contact me for a quote. She contacted me to tell me she went somewhere else.
      I will keep my 5 ecrater stores just because it does not cost me anything.
      I have had very good luck on yardsellr selling purses and shoes.

  • I love Etsy…I stopped using Ebay years ago…and experimented with other sites that ended up spamming me so badly I had to close up and decided I would try Etsy…I love it…no ads…no spam…no worries…KISS! Keep It Simple Silly!

  • I sell on eBay and my own website FleeceandFabric,com.
    Prestostore holds my domain.
    They charge $29.95 a month. Absolutely no other fees.
    You can list as many items as you want.
    I sell more items there than I do on eBay.
    They give all the free help you need, and they are patient and kind to the beginners and seasoned sellers.
    They also submit all your listings to many search engines every day.
    I never did well on etsy.
    marylikestosew

  • Trollslayer1

    I thought Yardsellr sounded good but then found out it’s only available in the US. That would have been rather useful info to have included since it rules out the rest of the world. Just a thought!

    • Paulanna12

       If you are outside the US and seek another auction site besides eBay, I would highly recommend to take a look at the eBid. They have a very liberal policies with the worldwide sellers in mind.

  • Rudyny

    I use Bonanza, eBay, eBid, eCrater, iOffer, &  Specialist Auctions to sell my items.
    Bonanza, eCrater & iOffer are the easiest way to import my items from eBay.
    eBid imports items from eBay through a CSV file created with Turbo Lister.
    Specialist Auctions will import items from eBay for you.
    I am looking for more, easy ways to import items from eBay or any of the other venues that I use.



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