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4 Rules to Follow When Considering a New Venue for your Wares

{image by BlueBerry Ash textiles}

With so many new websites appearing, it is very tempting to open online shop in each and one of them.

More exposure, new customers and better promotions are promised to us. Moreover, a shiny new front, more functions and less fees – it is all oh so inviting!

After I had been invited to sell on 3 new websites that appeared recently, I started wondering… should I spread my efforts on many shops in the hope of more exposure; or should I pick one or two and promote them like crazy?

How many shops is enough and how many is too many? Which one do you promote first? Will your customers get confused when you send them in 6 different places?  So many questions!

I admit, I am writing about this not only because I’ve been asking this question of myself (and of Mr. Plushkin and my family) but because I was caught in this “trap” of too many online shops before…

I found that yes, it is confusing for the customers when there are too many shops available to buy from.

It is better to pick one shop (unless you have your own website) as a main one that will get linked to in your newsletter and your blog.

I am sure that each and every one of the online marketplaces that are available are  great in their own way, but how do I choose just one or two that are right? It feels like I am missing out on something wonderful by eliminating the other shops.

How do you choose an online shop?

I have 4 basic rules that I apply when considering opening a new one:

1. Easy to use with helpful functions. For me, it`s important for the shop to be easy to use! It’s actually vital as, with over 100 items in the shop, when listing an item takes too long, it just won’t work.

If there are too many boxes to tick with messy layout, I give up fairly quickly. Moreover, I am now looking at how many functions website offers.

Is it easy to apply coupons so you can encourage customers to return? Does it give you an opportunity to list different colours/sizes in one listing? Does a new shop offers something to your customers that the current shop doesn’t?

2. Fees. There are websites that charge for listings plus take a fee. Alternatively, there are website that charge only commission on sale.

I have heard an opinion that websites that charge only commission work better as they are more interested in you actually selling your creation. I am not sure myself as the one commission might be higher then listing fee+sale fee combined.

Get you calculator out and write down how much it will cost you to list and sell the best sellers on different websites.

3. Traffic. Do they have a good google rating? How long have they being around? Check out the shops that sell through the website similar items, how many have they sold?

4. Advertising. Have you seen this website contantly advertising in the magazines/websites/blogs that your target market reads?

The rule of finding a perfect shop for what you make is simple – try.

It will cost a bit in time and fees but if you apply those 4 rules, it will eliminate the ones that are not worthy of the time and effort. Do your research and give it a go. But don’t be afraid to close the shop and walk away thinking that it might take of in a month or two, maybe Christmas…..

Test the shop

Try not to promote it yourself via your media at first.

List items actively, make sure your tags and wording is right so you can be easily found in the search, buy some advertisement on the website without introducing your customers to it and see how it performs.

Look at your stats/analytics and see what’s happening with the traffic and where it comes from. It’s obvious if you will start promoting the new shop via media you use, traffic will come – but does the website that you are paying for gives you more exposure and attract new customers?

Besides, every maker needs to remember – you creations are valuable, you need to believe in that.

You worked hard to create your reputation and customer base and you are bringing it all with you when you open a shop on another website. I hear you saying: “Having a shop open that charges only commissions doesn’t really cost me anything” but having a standing still shop doesn’t really make your brand looks great as well as take into account all that time you have to spend taking listings off that were sold on the other website. Close it, I would say!

I would love to know  how many online shops you are running at the moment? Are you happy with the online shops that you currently have? 

Katia Donohoe

Katia Donohoe has written 10 posts in this blog.

Katia Donohoe is designer and maker behind Plushka’s Craft brand. Being of Russian heritage she treasures handmade crafts and love spending time creating things by hand. She cannot live without hand-stitching, hot chocolate and Mr. Plushkin, bright tights and suede shoes. She blogs at Plushka’s Craft where she writes about Plushka’s handmade creations, inspirations as well as her main craft passions – cross-stitch and crochet.


Leoni Nicholson

I agree, too many shops are confusing to both the buyer and seller (me included) It takes too much time to keep so many shops updated. I have not any converted to sales, so I am doing something wrong. I can sell more on Ebay I am ashamed to say. My intention is to re evaluate my shops (five – way too many) I can’t do any of them justice, I fee that now have to decide which ones to keep. that is the hard part…letting go of them.

Katia (Plushka)

Best of luck Leoni with re-evaluating your shops! I’ve been putting it off way too long as it is always tempting to give it another chance but numbers don’t lie.


Great post! There do seem to be many more online selling venues cropping up lately. I guess that’s a good sign that the market for handmade goods is growing!
I currently sell in 3 online shops, one of which is on my own website. I already spend a lot of time keeping those stores fresh and up to date, and as much as part of me likes the idea of potentially widening my market and getting more exposure, I simply cannot afford the time to add more. Even keeping the 3 I have up to date is enough of a struggle! I would prefer to have just a few shops that are well stocked and are selling, than multiple shops with just a few items in each.
It is hard to say no when the invitations come but it’s something I am slowly getting better at.

Katia (Plushka)

Thanks Dyani! Yes, maintaining shops is so time consuming indeed. I once had to change description in all the items and it took ages and ages! I had over 100 listings in one shop:)


Something that I do across a few venues is upload a core product range. So, on Etsy, Madeit and my own site, I make sure to have my entire range available, but on other venues, I just spend the time to upload my core range – that I`m pretty confident won`t change – and use that as a way to showcase my wares in as many places as I can.

It`s a little way of having the best of both worlds – of course, you have to find the time to even upload that smaller range, which can be challenging!

Megan @ Robintail

I have one. I have tried having several but always end up finding myself and budget too stretched. So I’m now focusing all my attention on one space in the hope of creating one really amazing place instead of two or three just okay spaces 🙂 I also regularly do the markets so I have this to consider too 😉


Megan, I think that’s a great strategy – combining one awesome online shop with markets is a good combo!

Julie Miniboux

I run two shops at the moment. One is working great (well, I could sell more obsviously but it’s starting to run kind of by itself) and the other one I am still trying. Not sure i will keep the second one as it doesn’t seem to attract that many people, even if I did share a little bit about it. Not so long ago I had a third shop but I didn’t like how it worked … at all ! I just counted down how many sales I have done so far and the answer came : it wasn’t worth the time and effort to keep the shop fresh and up to date for a website I didn’t even like. I think once I’ll have my own website with my own shop I will just keep the first etsy shop and do my best for these two shops.

Katia (Plushka)

Sounds like a great plan Julie! I came to the conclusion just in the beginning of this year that I would like to have my own website/shop. My statistics told me that almost all my sales came from Facebook anyway so directing people to the website where I pay commission and listing fee is not very “business minded”.

Angie Timm Gordon

GReat ideas!!!! I love Jess’s advice, I may actually have to try that. I’ve been having great sales in my one shop, but I hate to send people there when I could just as easily skip the fees and sell directly. Only problem, I NEED a paper trail or I WILL forget to make their order :/ I often get called creative, but rarely organized….lol!


Angie – I know what you mean! I have a VERY defined and strict system for keeping track of all my orders (I talk about this more in Set Up Shop) and it makes life and business so much less stressful 🙂

Link Hype 6-28-13

[…] We’re big fans of Create & Thrive and this week they shared some wonderful advice for those makers looking at starting a shop in another online site.  Learn the 4 Rules to Follow When Considering a New Venue for Your Wares. […]

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