Thursday, January 22, 2009

I had questions about Artfire and how it compaired to Etsy... SO....

Art Fire vs. Etsy


I had a lot of questions then when I started listing all my questions I realized I was asking quite a bit… I got several members who responded.

Some thoughts from a couple of my Military Brats of Etsy….

Please be sure to check out the shops of these intelligent and thoughtful Crafters~Artist.



First the response from Shinyadornments….

Hi everyone,
I've not posted to the group in FOREVER, but I still read all the posts every day. :-) I saw Terry Ann's post and thought I'd add my 2 cents based on my ArtFire experience so far.

1. How are sales? As in for 100 items listed how many sell each week? How long till your first sale?

Sales are dismal so far...just 1, and I think I got it within the first 3 weeks. But so are my etsy sales, so that isn't really a worry for me. Most of the items in my shop provide enough of a margin for me to not have tons of sales, so I am OK with that.

2. What about traffic and views, are they consistent do you have access to that info?

Traffic and views are better on some items and worse on others compared to etsy. I do get MUCH better google search traffic results on Artfire, and my items from Artfire tend to rank higher in the google search results. No idea why. We have two sets of stats from ArtFire...one is Google Analytics, just like etsy, but with far less random search terms, and one is ArtFire's internal stats, which work really well. ArtFire doesn't seem to have the GA bugs that etsy does. The one piece Artfire doesn't report out on is internal site wide stats soon so we can tell how folks are finding out items from within the site...for instance category searches or text word searches, etc within ArtFire. External traffic to our shops is what is currently tracked by both Etsy and Artfire. Artfire has promised internal search stats soon. Etsy doesn't do that yet...and haven't said they will anytime soon.

3. When you make a sale, is there an integrated pay system or do you have to send a paypal invoice requesting money? Do you have to sign up for other services like Google checkout or RME in order to get paid?

They have an integrated system with Paypal. My one sale went pretty smoothly, so I can't complain. ArtFire also gives the option to utilize RME, Googlecheckout and some others, all at once if you want, so your buyer has lots of payment options. But I don't use them so can't give a valid perspective on how they work. One big plus for me so far with Artfire is that I can pay my shop bill via auto billing from paypal. I just set it up when I opened my shop, and they automatically debit my paypal account monthly. Easy peasy.

4. Do they hold payment themselves and pay monthly?

No. You are paid by your customers in real time, just like etsy.

5. How do you communicate with customers, is there a built in message system or do they go thru your regular email to ask a question?

There is an internal system as well as a contact the seller that sends you an email. The email/contact the seller system leaves a lot to be desired so far, but the Admin has promised a site wide email revamp is in the works.

6-Do they allow for combined shipping when a customer orders more than one item from you?

Yes, they have a very simple to use shipping profile functionality that you can set up anyway you like. Its super easy to use.

7-Do they allow mature items and do they "feature" these type of items?

I think so... but honestly, I haven't seen any on the site yet.

8-Can you get your items submitted to Google Base?

Yes, it is automatic. The shop owners don't have to do anything to set it up.

9-Have you purchased an item from Artfire and what was your experience being a customer?

Not yet, but I have several things 'pending' in my cart. LOL

10-That's about it...! I have been selling online for about 5 years now
and between Ebay and Etsy there is a world of differences. I have seen several venues fail for lack of traffic.... I am seriously looking for more venues to expand my business.

My advice? If you will be frustrated by the site being in beta...don't join now. Or, join at the free level to check it out. You can list 10 items for free. One word of caution: free shops have a bit less functionality than the paying ones (only 4 pictures per listing, other shop's listings show up as ads within you shop, etc). If you like the fact that you may be in on the ground floor to help build a new venue, this might be for you. So, in ranking etsy vs. artfire (and I have shops on both and intend on keeping them both)...

Traffic: Etsy wins hands down
Buyer pool: Etsy wins hands down
Ease of listing: Artfire wins
Site Search: It is a tie so far
Site bugs: Etsy wins
Admin responsiveness: Artfire wins
Communication from the site staff: Artfire wins
Reporting: Artfire wins
Impartiality of site admin: So far, Artfire wins
Site layout: Etsy wins for clean look/feel

I'm not saying this is the right venue for everyone...it is most certainly not. But, so far, I like the vibe, I like that my suggestions are listened to and implemented and I like that for such a new site it is actually growing at a decent clip. There are literally DOZENS of other venues for handmade right now, most opening to lots of fanfare, only to never see increases. I also like the fact that so far, ArtFire has been pretty methodical in its approach. It isn't implementing “whoop to do" tools like Shop by Color and Pounce, but is instead focusing on the core functionality of search and seller functionality instead. A business plan seems to be in place. Wow. ;-)


Now for what withourhands/sockmonkeygreetings said….
Here are my answers.

1-How are sales? As in for 100 items listed how many sell each week? How long till your first sale?

I currently have over 100 items listed but it's only been 1 1/2 weeks since I listed that many items. No sales but plenty of hits on a few of my items. I don't know if it's the market though because I haven't had much on Etsy either. Sales are very slow in both places. The good thing about Artfire is that it isn't costing me a fortune to have no sales. Whereas Etsy costs me each time I list an item to try and get a sale.

2-What about traffic and views, are they consistent do you have access to that info?

The traffic has been pretty regular. Artfire offers you stats on your traffic number of hits plus a list of your top 50 referring websites. I've been impressed with the number of search results on google that my items show up on.

3-When you make a sale, is there an integrated pay system or do you have to send a paypal invoice requesting money? Do you have to sign up for other services like Google checkout or RME in order to get paid?

You don't have to sign up for any payment service that you don't want to. I accept paypal, checks and money orders. I haven't signed up for Googlecheckout or RME although they are both options. I like that they do give you the options to utilize what you'd like. I have seen some buyers on etsy ask if anyone took RME. So there is a market for it.

4-Do they hold payment themselves and pay monthly?

No, you receive your payment right away from the buyer. Just like Etsy.

5-How do you communicate with customers, is there a built in message system or do they go thru your regular email to ask a question?

There is a built in message system that you can use. There is also email (which I find easier).

6-Do they allow for combined shipping when a customer orders more than one item from you?

Just like Etsy they let you choose to discount combined shipping.

7-Do they allow mature items and do they "feature" these type of items?

I'm not sure. I do remember seeing a discussion on the forums but didn't read it. I haven't seen any mature listings show up on the front page yet.

8-Can you get your items submitted to Google Base?

Yes. I'm not that familiar with Google Base but I do know that my items automatically are showing up on Google search results - both regular searches and shopping results.

9-Have you purchased an item from Artfire and what was your experience being a customer?

I have not purchased anything yet. Unfortunately I haven't been in the market for anything and being unemployed I haven't been able to afford to just purchase anything to test it out. :(

10-That is about it... I have been selling online for about 5 years now and between Ebay and Etsy there is a world of differences. I have seen several venues fail for lack of traffic.... I am seriously looking for more venues to expand my business.

Artfire is working hard on making sure they don't become a fly by night selling venue. They have a thing called "Market Hub" that is found on your listings. It gives your customers the opportunity to view you elsewhere online. It links to your Etsy store, flickr account, facebook, twitter, etc. So they encourage you to keep your Etsy shop open and to run both shops. I joined Artfire back in December but didn't really do anything with it until last week. I've been very impressed with Artfire since joining. I know they are new and they don't have the current traffic that Etsy does but I strongly feel they will start to get that traffic soon. There are a number of sellers on Artfire who are committed to seeing it grow and have spent time promoting their shops and Artfire - myself included. With the advertising that Artfire is doing - I feel I have made the right decision by opening my shop there. Right now, I am putting 99.9% of my time on Artfire and putting Etsy on the back burner. Only because my sales are so low that I really don't want to keep spending money to list without getting something in return. My sales slipped in November and they have stayed down. I have items in my store now but they are items that I already had listed and will let run their course.

Me…..
Thank you so much for your sharing your experiences! That kind of info is just what I was looking for; I am seriously considering adding Artfire to my online stores. I am currently selling more off line than online, right now and if the sales will not increase online even with opening new venues I am not sure I want to budget the time for it. So as you can see I am still on the "fence" about it... Thanks Brats for giving me so much more to think about!

2 comments:

penguinsplunder said...

Great post! I love to hear the comparisons. I'm actually a new Artfire seller and I like it way more than Etsy, aside from the lack of views. But I just see that as I need to do more of my own marketing and not depend on the site to sell my stuff for me. Thanks for sharing!

Robin@creations-anew.com said...

Interesting Information....I've been wondering some of those same things.
Thanks
Robin
CreationsAnew