Etsy — it’s not your grandma’s craft fair! It’s one of the world’s largest online marketplaces for all things vintage, handmade, and unique. Customers have the opportunity to find one-of-a-kind goods, and sellers have a platform where they can reach the kinds of people in their market.
This Etsy review is for both buyers and sellers. New Etsy shoppers will learn about who sells on Etsy, reviews, security of payments, and more. And if you’re thinking about selling on Etsy, you’ll learn about Etsy’s fees and the pros and cons you should consider before starting an Etsy business.
What you need to know about buying and selling on Etsy in 2023
Is Etsy legit? What shoppers need to know
About Etsy for shoppers
Etsy launched back in 2005, and it’s grown into a global marketplace with over 4.3 million sellers. You can find handmade, one-of-a-kind, vintage, and crafty items from one of Etsy’s massive platform.
The main focus of Etsy is unique and creative goods, and shopping on Etsy is an alternative to buying from big-box stores where everything kind of looks the same.
There’s a lot of high-quality handmade stuff on Etsy, but there are also factory-made goods that keep the unique vibe that Etsy is known for. What’s really neat about shopping on Etsy is that you feel like you’re buying something that no one else will have.
Here are the top categories on Etsy:
- Jewelry and accessories
- Clothing and shoes
- Home and living
- Wedding and party
- Toys and entertainment
- Art and collectibles
- Craft supplies and tools
There are dozens of subcategories within each of those, and you can specify that you want to buy things from local sellers, within price limits, style, occasion, and so on.
Who sells on Etsy?
When you read through Etsy reviews, you see complaints with specific sellers. I’m talking about Etsy reviews on sites like SiteJabber and Trustpilot. The sellers are often small, independent business owners trying to run very legit businesses on Etsy.
Being a small business owner isn’t an excuse for bad service or low-quality products, but I think it’s worth keeping that in mind. These are often real people trying to run a business online while also keeping up with their kids, a day job, families, etc.
Etsy doesn’t screen sellers — you only need to register to start selling — so there are people who are unfortunately running scams.
The best way to avoid scams on Etsy is to read the Etsy reviews on Etsy. These are the reviews buyers leave after they’ve made a purchase.
In the screenshot below, you can see where to find reviews when looking at an item.
You can read through the reviews to see if customers were happy with shipping, if the item they received looked like what they ordered, etc.
Some sellers even upload pictures with their reviews, which legitimizes the reviews. So you can see the products in real life and how buyers are using them.
How do buyers leave reviews on Etsy?
Etsy has a 5-star review system, and they encourage shoppers to rate their transactions and leave a review as soon as they’ve received their goods.
You’ll be asked to choose a star rating that best represents the product and your experience with that specific seller. The more detailed review, the better. You can upload photos, describe the quality, how fast the product got to you, how easy it was to communicate with sellers, and so on.
The 5-star rating is what potential buyers see, but you can also privately rate the seller’s quality, shipping, and customer service. Those ones don’t show up publicly or affect the shop’s overall review score, but they do help sellers create a better experience in the future.
Buyers can only leave reviews within a 100-day review window.
Is Etsy safe and secure for payments?
If you’re asking, “Is Etsy Safe?” then there’s a chance you’re wondering about payment security. That’s a legitimate concern when you enter your online payment information.
Sellers can choose what kinds of payments they accept, including:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Etsy gift cards
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Klarna Financing
Overall, credit cards are considered one of the safest online payment methods because they have built-in encryption and fraud monitoring practices. Credit card companies are also really good at reimbursing disputed charges and siding with the customer.
Even though PayPal directs you off Etsy to process your sale, PayPal is also a very secure option.
To help ensure your safety, Etsy has a page dedicated to safe buying tips, and includes advice like:
- Never give out sensitive information in an email, Etsy message, or over the phone
- Read the Etsy reviews for each seller and their shop’s policies before making a purchase
- Keep your transaction on Etsy so their team can verify or assist with payments
- Regularly check your credit card and bank statements to track your spending and card activity
Etsy also says, “Overall, use your best judgment. If something seems shady or too good to be true, it’s best not to risk it.” That’s true for other online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, and more.
Is it safe to buy jewelry on Etsy?
You can find really beautiful jewelry for sale on Etsy, including diamond engagement rings, gemstone earrings, beaded bracelets, etc. But how do you verify that the jewelry you’re buying is authentic?
The most effective thing is to look at the seller’s profile and read their customer reviews. You’ll want to see how long they’ve been active on the site, ready their policies regarding returns and warranties, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about the product.
The vast majority of jewelry sellers on Etsy are reputable. They’re choosing to sell on Etsy because it gives them a larger platform and reach.
Can you trust Etsy reviews?
The majority of Etsy sellers are trustworthy and are doing the right thing. If you spend your time reading the shop’s profile and looking at reviews, you will likely have a really good experience on the site. It’s also worth the extra time to check the seller’s social media profiles and website if they have them.
Selling on Etsy review — Is Etsy worth it for sellers?
About Etsy for sellers
Because Etsy is known as a marketplace for handmade, unique, and vintage goods, selling on Etsy can be a great option for many different kinds of business owners. Artists, crafters, curators, and creators can list their wares on a platform that’s built for them.
There are over 4.3 million sellers on Etsy currently with over 81 million buyers using the platform. In 2020, Etsy saw $1.3 billion in marketplace revenue. That’s a lot of money moving through the platform!
To help you decide if selling on Etsy is worth it for you, read about the best things to sell on Etsy, pros & cons, and how much it costs to sell on Etsy.
Etsy fees and pricing for sellers
The cost of selling on Etsy is mainly based on fees. They take a percentage of every sale you make on the platform, but they also charge listing fees and have different subscription fees.
There are currently two different subscription plans for Etsy sellers:
- Standard: The Standard Plan costs $0/month and you get basic selling tools, like features for purchasing and printing postage, discounted postage rates, sales and coupon creation, and the ability to sell on Etsy app.
- Plus: Etsy Plus costs $10/month and upgrades your features to include a monthly budget of credits and listings for Etsy ads, discounted on a custom web address for your shop, restock requests, advanced shop customizations, and discounts on custom packaging and promotional material.
You can upgrade or downgrade your subscription at any time, and most sellers start with the Standard Plan.
Paying for a subscription will not affect how your listings appear in shopper’s search results.
Like I said, fees are really where you see the cost of selling on Etsy, so let me break those down for you.
Here are the fees for selling on Etsy in 2023:
- $0.20 listing fee: Your listing stays active for four months or until they sell.
- 5% transaction fee: This is a commission that Etsy charges once an item sells.
- 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee: This fee is fairly standard for online credit card processing, and it’s only charged when you sell something.
- 15% offsite ads fee: Etsy may advertise your items across the web, and you only pay this fee when you make a sale from one of those ads. Offsite ads is optional for most sellers, but Etsy may require it if you make a certain amount in sales for a 12-month period.
Depending on how you set up your shop and the types of items you sell, you may also encounter in-person selling fees, currency conversion fees, listing renewal fees, and shipping fees. You can read all of the fine print here if you’re interested in selling on Etsy.
Pros and cons of selling on Etsy
Pros of selling on Etsy
1. It’s extremely easy to set you your Etsy shop
When you compare Etsy to an alternative like selling on Shopify or through your own website, Etsy is much easier. You don’t have to build a website or pay someone to do it for you. There’s also no domain or hosting fees when you sell on Etsy.
There’s still a lot that goes into setting up your Etsy shop because you’ll need:
- Etsy account
- Shop name
- Logo and banner
- Profile information
- Items to sell
- Item descriptions
Etsy’s platform makes it really easy to add and edit listings and update your shop.
Remember, you can start setting up your shop for free under Etsy’s Standard Plan and not pay anything until you’ve listed your first item. Listing fees are $0.20 per item.
2. The internet is FULL of help
There is a wealth of knowledge online about running an Etsy shop. There are definitely courses you can pay for that will teach you specifics, but you can easily find information for free.
Searching things like “tips for selling on Etsy” or “how to sell on Etsy” will produce hundreds of articles and tutorials for successful sellers.
3. You can work at your own pace
One of the reasons that selling on Etsy is a good side hustle is because it’s both flexible and scalable. You can work when you have the time and bandwidth, and when you’re ready to bring your shop to the next level with paid traffic, a social media component, YouTube videos, etc., you can do that when you’re ready.
The flip side of this benefit is that you have to be motivated if you really want to your shop to take off. You’ll have to keep your shop fresh and updated.
4. Etsy is a good testing ground for new business ideas
Before you invest the time and money to build a website, you can try things out on Etsy. You’ll also get to build your brand and learn more about your potential customers before going all in on your own.
Cons of selling on Etsy
1. There’s lots of competition
Etsy has blown up over the past few years, which legitimizes selling on Etsy, making it hard for new store owners to be seen. The market is pretty saturated in some categories too, so you’ll need to work hard to bring traffic to your shop via social media and paid ads if you want to succeed.
2. Threat of copycats
When you start doing something well on Etsy, the unfortunate reality is that someone will inevitably copy your ideas. It’s really easy to see what products are selling well, and someone can use your ideas as more than just inspiration.
One really common complaint in Etsy reviews from sellers is that Etsy does very little in copycat cases. That’s a bummer, but the reality is that it’s extremely difficult to prove that someone has stolen your ideas.
3. Etsy has full control over your store
You’ll hear this complaint whenever you talk about running a business that’s based on a selling platform or social media. Etsy and other platforms give you the space and tools to run your business, but they ultimately have the final say.
4. Hard to build an email list
As an online business owner, your email list is one of your most valuable assets, but it’s really difficult to grow an email list on Etsy. Part of that is because Etsy benefits from keeping your business on their platform.
Etsy doesn’t offer any way to let customers sign up directly in your Etsy shop, but you can market your newsletter in your about section. You can also collect email addresses from sales you’ve made and add them to your list.
Etsy Review 2023 — The final word for buyers and sellers
Whether you are thinking about opening an Etsy shop or making your first Etsy purchase, Etsy is a legitimate and safe place to buy and sell.
Buyers, spend time reading Etsy reviews for each shop owner before you make a purchase — this is the best way to protect your purchases.