Some Comparisons of Online Sales Venues

Monday, August 11, 2008

In reference to my previous posts about alternates to Etsy, I have started doing some comparison shopping of online venues.

One of the first things I look at when trying to assess an online sales venue is the fee structure. That is a bottom line item for me as I have to calculate how much is going out on each listed item to determine the actual profit margin that a product will yield. Seems like a no-brainer, I know but you would be surprised at what I have found at some venues. Take the following example; Ruby Lane boasts 10 years in operation but at the current fee structure, I definitely raised an eyebrow.

Ruby Lane
(from the site itself, find this info here)

  • Set up fee: $75 (refunded if your shop is not approved)
  • No Comission fee
  • Listing Fee = 30 cents per item
  • Monthly maintenance fee: The first 150 items is 30 cents for each item, and then each item over 150 is 20 cents per item.
  • Minimum charge of 50 items, or $15 per month.Calculated and charged on the 1st of every month
  • Advertising = $20 (monthly for all shops)
For example, after the one-time $75 setup fee has been paid, and the listing fees for stock added, for a shop with up to 50 items, the minimum monthly cost of maintaining a shop on Ruby Lane is $15 for the maintenance fee and $20 for advertising, or $35. (there are incentives for referrals)

So, yeah, that is a LOT of green even for my taste. A little too much. I could never turn a profit based on this fee structure, so my current sales venues, Big Cartel (with my self hosted website) and Etsy are looking pretty fine indeed.

Felt; like something different.
Upon looking at a few newer venues, there was a glint of hope;
Felt is a NZ site, started in 2007 that allows only handmade goods. Their terms of use look very good. I also like their tag line;

The fee structure is simple and looks like the costs will work into my profit margins nicely.
Each listing costs a flat fee of 50 cents, and lasts for one year. The fee is automatically deducted from your account when you submit your listing. When your item sells, the 5% success fee is also deducted automatically from your account. If your item hasn’t sold after a year, the listing will expire and you ‘ll need to renew it.
You can see the deets here;
Another nice way to go is the prepay system; you load your account up (no credit card required? Hope so!) and then when your funds get low your get a notification.

WinkElf also looks promising.

They have a basic fee program or an all inclusive monthly fee program of $5.00. That looks like the best way to go as we all know how quickly fees can add up in a month. The info is all here, though the presentation is a little convoluted. I think it is supposed to be a table but on my screen it doesn't quite look that way so it's a tad confusing.
Basic fee program is as follows:
  • Free Listings
  • Bold Title - $0.05

  • Picture Slideshow - $0.15

  • Category Feature - $0.10

  • Main Page Feature - $0.25
  • 2.5% of Final Selling Price (Minimum Selling Fee - $0.25)
  • Homepage feature listing 25¢(per day?) for up to 30 days
This is a start. I am developing a chart for easier comparison since it's starting to get more complex with each indepth look. This might take a while so you'll have to check back often, or subscribe to my feed.

4 witty words:

berryberr said...

Just stumbled upon your wonderful blog! Will be checking back often from now on!!

jeweledrabbit said...

I just found your blog and I've perused your posts about alternatives to Etsy. I'm going to check out all the venues you listed, because I too am reevaluating the Etsy experience.

alamodestuff said...

Great new places to look into! Thanks for doing the dirty work. I'll have to look at your bigger list...some are new to me.

Pam Hawk said...

I have been faithfully lurking and reading every word via my blog reader.
Thank you for posting all these places. I just found winkelf, and am really intested in their approach.
Hopefully this winter I can branch out to some of the venues on your list and see what works for me and what doesn't. I'll post about them when I do and link back here so my readers can learn more about the whole alt Etsy thing.

Hope you're having a great summer!
-Pam Hawk
Pass It On Plates