3/8/16

Choosing a Storefront - Etsy vs Tictail

This is the fifth installment of my Print to Ship Series.  In this section I want to discuss how I chose a storefront to sell my prints.

There are a lot of storefront options, but I want a free or low cost option.  I'm cutting out as many middle men as possible so I have the freedom to sell at a price point that makes me satisfied.

I waffled back and forth between Tictail and Etsy.  You can have both, but I needed to decide which one I was going to direct traffic to as my main site. 

Both are great options.  I finally settled on Tictail for my own work, but I use Etsy for an art reproduction shop I run.  I'll outline why below.



My Tictail Storefront




Tictail

Here is my Tictail site for reference.


Pros:

Fast set up - You can have a shop up in 20 minutes. 

No listing fees -  Unlike Etsy, Tictail has no listing fees.  However, you will have standard fees for Paypal or credit card transactions.  Also, Tictail will take a 10% commission if you they sell one of your products in their marketplace rather than your custom shop.  Your custom shop is the link you post on your website, ect.  It is 100% artist driven. The marketplace is where you show up within Tictail's website.  Most my sales are artist driven, so I'm not sweating the occasional 10% commission for a print where I would not have been found otherwise.

Clean look -  Unlike Etsy, there isn't a bunch of cluttered branding interfering with your own.   Also, the thumbnails are large which really showcases photography well.  There are several layouts to choose from, all of them professional looking.

Add-ons - Tictail has some free apps that integrate with the site including analytics and a newsletter app.


Cons:

No vacation mode - Unlike Etsy, there is no vacation mode.  You can turn your shop off if you go on a trip, but you need to find creative ways to alert your customers what's going on.

Lack of variations - If you want to offer different size prints of the same art piece, you need to make a separate listing for each size.  Tictail allows for variations within listings, but not variation of prices within listings. 

No integrated shipping options - If you sell high volume this can really slow you down.  I have to waffle back and forth between Paypal shipping and my Tictail page to complete an order.  I often feel like I'm forgetting something in the process.

Poor for high volume selling or a shops with 100s of items:  Tictail is harder to organize if you have hundreds of listings.  It also is harder to be found since they don't have the same key-wording options as Etsy.  It's best for small artist driven shops that do not rely on being found by random searches.

Overall:

Overall I think Tictail is very clean and modern looking.  They seem to be a growing company so I'm sure they will be rolling out more features as time goes on. 


New Etsy Shop Look Example
My Etsy Storefront





Etsy 

Here is my Etsy photo site for reference.  And my art reproduction shop.


Pros:

Easy set up - Etsy is a user friendly and secure platform that walks you through every step of the way.

Vacation mode -  If I move, travel, or just need a break, Etsy gives me the option to put my store on vacation mode.  It leaves a message to anyone visiting the storefront and lets them sign up to be notified when the shop is back open.  There is no confusion for the customer as to what is going on.

Integrated shipping -  Etsy has integrated shipping options.  You can choose to set a flat rate shipping price or have Etsy calculate it for you based on the weight and shipping location of each purchased item.  You can also buy your postage directly from Etsy at a discount.  You can print postage, print a packing slip, and email your customer a notification/tracking number/thank you note all within the same page.  It's a super simple workflow that takes the stress out of selling.

Variations - I love being able to offer multiple sizes from a drop down menu within my listings and include variations of price within that.

Listings manager - With Etsy I can change listing information in batches rather than the slow process of one by one.  When I was first starting out, I made a lot of changes to prices and categories and Etsy was easier to switch things up than Tictail was.

Trust -  People feel comfortable buying from a site they are familiar with.  Most everyone I talk to has heard of or bought from Etsy.

Searchability: Depending on what you sell, and how many listing you have, you may find a lot of buyers on Etsy.  My fine art photography rarely got found via Etsy search, but my art print shop gets 99% of it's traffic from Etsy search.  You must be deliberate about key wording on Etsy to be found. 


Cons:

Etsy branding - Etsy shops have obvious Etsy branding and are more cluttered looking.

Fees - There is a .20 listing fee for each product.  This is for a 4 month period and then you have the option to renew the listing for an additional .20 after that.  There is a 3.5% transaction fee for anything sold, and then the standard PayPal or credit card fees on top of that.  You can find the complete fee break down here.  When I try to decide how to price my work I use this Etsy Seller Fee Calculator to make it easy.  If you want to give selling on Etsy a try any seller can offer you 40 free listings to get started.  Here is my 40 free listing link if you'd like.

Past sale listings - This can be a pro or a con.  Starting out, it makes me anxious.  Anyone can see how many sales you've made.  This can build customer confidence once you have some sales stack up, but can also make you feel like a newbie if you only have a few.

Fixed ratio thumbnails -  It's like instagram - you have a fixed ratio thumbnail that makes your images looked cropped unless you do something about it.  I chose to use frame mockups with white space around them to get around this.

Overall:

I encourage people to try out both platforms to find which fits their brand and product the best.  Between my two shops, Etsy clearly worked best for one, and Tictail for the other!  I never would have guessed without trying.


More in this Series:

Part 1: C-Prints and Silver Gelatin Lab Review
Part 2: Press Prints Lab Review
Part 3: Fine Art Prints Lab Review
Part 4: Printer Review - Epson p600 
Part 6: Eco-friendly Packaging and Shipping



4 comments:

  1. Hi, thanks for your review :) love your photographs!
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for the review!
    I noticed that you can actually set different prices per variation on tictail.

    There's also a pro tictail paid option now for 90€ per year which gives better SEO and stuff like that.

    I think Etsy probably still gets more traffic but on tictail you can link to your own domain with the pro plan, so it could be an option to have your main site over there and the other on Etsy even if you'd sell more on Etsy because there you can't have your own domain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info!

      I just hopped over to Tictail and there is not an option to set pricing variations within my listing and I'm not interesting in paying $90 a year. However, I am considering moving back to Tictail because I sell low volume so I don't need the functionality of Etsy and I like the look of Tictail.

      My second Etsy shop (fineearthprints.etsy.com)is high volume and I could never do that on Tictail.

      So two shops, two different needs. I think I found a fit for each site.

      Delete
  3. thank you for taking the time to share this information and the links!!

    ReplyDelete