10 Marketplaces to Sell Your Creative Products On

One of the biggest hurdles when selling your own custom designs and crafts online is getting exposure. If you’re a designer or creative entrepreneur, you might have faced this problem. You’ve probably opened up your own storefront, but how do you compete with so many other stores selling the same product but with their own designs.

You see, the problem here is that when people search online, they search for the product, not the designer or the design. So if you’re creating custom designed bracelets, you’re competing with other bracelet e-commerce stores. Tough market.

The solution to this, of course, is discovery. People need to discover your product and share it for others to find it. You can run ads of course but it gets expensive over the long term.

Another way to get your product noticed is via online marketplaces. Here’s a real-world analogy to illustrate how this works. Let’s say you open up a home-made cake store in your city. Your cakes are delicious, but your location is not the greatest. Not much traffic on your road, not many people walking by. You might get the odd curious passerby, or your friends and family, but not too many customers.

That’s what your online store is like now. Whether you’re selling custom designed t-shirts, bracelets, art or whatever else, you’re getting a trickle of customers but not the flood you were hoping for.

Back to the analogy. You know that if people discovered your cakes, they would love it so much that they’d tell everyone and come back to buy more. The problem, again, is discovery. So what do you do? Marketplaces. You open up stalls at the evening market, the weekend fair and the local mall. These places are packed with people and they are there only to buy. Their wallets are full and they’re looking to give you money.

One customer comes along, and then another, and another. Soon there’s a crowd waiting for your cakes and this attracts more people. The best part is, they’ll tell their friends and come back next time for more. They’ll also have your actual store address, so if that’s more convenient, they’ll come there instead. Now you have regular customers.

Online marketplaces work the same way. People go to online marketplaces with the express purpose of buying things. If they discover your store there, they can buy from you and share your products via social media. You already know of Amazon, the marketplace for everything. Unfortunately, the problem remains the same because Amazon is so huge.

The key is to create storefronts on smaller marketplaces that serve your niche. Depending on what you sell you can join some or all of the following marketplaces –

Etsy

Etsy is a very popular marketplace for handmade crafts, goods and designs. You can set up your own storefront on the Etsy platform and sell anything from art to clothing and accessories. Etsy focuses on the designer behind the product, allowing you to tell your story and show your design and manufacturing processes. To increase social sharing and discovery, Etsy has curation tools for shoppers, including a ‘favorite’ button that allows users to favorite your store for updates and to show other users they like your store. It costs $0.20 to list one product for 4 months, but Etsy also takes a 3.5% cut from every sale you make on their platform.

Opensky

Opensky is a marketplace for creative brands that manufacture goods for the home, kitchen, men, women and kids. You can open up a free storefront and take advantage of the free promotional tools to spread word of your products. You storefront also comes with a facebook-like wall allowing you and your followers to post, comment and interact. Shoppers also have feeds so they get continuous updates from the stores they have followed. If you sell your products to users already on the platform, Opensky takes a 20% cut, but if you bring in new users for them, you get to keep the full amount of your sale.

Artfire

The seller tools on artfire are pretty comprehensive. You can build a custom store using their platform and then sell on the marketplace. Artfire also automatically pushes your products on to Google, Bing, Yahoo, The Find and Google Shopping. Further tools like coupon codes and gift certificates allow you to create special sales. There are also comprehensive statistics tools with an integration to Google Analytics. On the other side, shoppers can curate your products and add them to collections which they can share. Artfire charges a flat rate of $12.95/month with no other commissions or fees.

iCraft

This one is a marketplace specifically for hand-made gift items. iCraft reviews every product to make sure it isn’t manufactured or mass-produced. This means, if you’re a designer selling unique, handmade jewelry, clothing, home decor and other types of arts and craft, you’ll get targeted traffic to your iCraft storefront. iCraft also allows you to accept custom orders from customers and to communicate with them directly through in-app mails. You’ll need to pay a $25 registration fee and then get a monthly subscription starting from $5 to open a storefront on iCraft.

Folksy

Folksy is an arts and crafts marketplace for the UK. They allow only handmade gifts and supplies. You can set up your own personalised shop page and start selling your items in minutes. You can also integrate Google Analytics to your store page and view visitor statistics. Folksy has a blog where they regularly highlight designer and products. The basic version is a pay as you go plan – 0.15 pounds per item listed and a 6% cut for every sale. 

Supermarket

Supermarket is a curated marketplace for custom-designed goods. It’s designer focused so you need to set up a profile rather than a storefront. You still list your products and sell them through the platform like a normal storefront, but the focus is on you as a designer. Supermarket takes a commission for every sale but they don’t have a fixed rate. Instead, they allow you to collect the full amount of your sales and bill you at the end of every 30 days.

Bonanza

Bonanza markets themselves as an e-bay alternative. They are a consumer-first marketplace, focusing on helping shoppers discover new and unusual products. You can set up a storefront, or a booth as it’s known on the site, and import your products from Amazon, eBay or a CSV. It’s free to list products and Bonanza charges a cut of around 3% for every sale. The interesting thing about Bonanza is that it has a built-in live chat feature, allowing you to connect with shoppers and talk to them real-time.

DaWanda

This is another marketplace for unique and handmade items. If you’re an artist, designer or craft maker, you can become a seller on DaWanda by opening up a storefront for free. Shoppers can then add your products to their pinboard, a collection which they can share. They can also favorite your shop and get updates from you when you add new products. You can also directly contact shoppers. It’s free to set up a store and list products but DaWanda charges 5% on your sales.

Not On The High Street

This is a UK only curated marketplace for unique products. They have a selective process to ensure that all goods on the site are very creative and original. The site works a little differently from other marketplaces in that they market and sell your products and pay you out later. Because of its exclusivity, there’s a joining fee of 199 pounds, plus a 25% commission on sales.

Storenvy

We mentioned Storenvy in our list of hosted e-commerce platforms because of its robust storefront features. Unlike many of the other marketplaces on here, with Storenvy you can create a custom and full-featured e-commerce store with your own domain. Your products will then become searchable on the marketplace and you’ll get a corresponding market storefront. It’s like having two shops at the same time. On the shopping end, customers can ‘follow’ other users to see what they like and buy, ‘watch’ a store for product updates, ‘envy’ products they like, and ‘collect’ them into curated collections. The best part is, it’s completely free, though you can choose to purchase advanced features for a small monthly fee.

With most of these marketplaces being free, it really doesn’t hurt to open storefronts on them. Having a presence on multiple sites will increase the chances of you being discovered. With product importing tools, it shouldn’t take you very long to get your products on most, if not all, of them.

Have you come across any other marketplaces you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

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