Monday, May 30, 2016

An Update on Etsy

I opened my Etsy shop on May 6 and closed my Bonanza booth on May 7.  Here's what I have noticed.

Etsy has internal site traffic.  It doesn't have the amount that eBay does, but it's an improvement over Bonanza.

Etsy lets all sellers see their traffic stats and lets them add categories to their shop without forcing them to pay a membership fee like Bonanza or a store fee like eBay.  

Etsy allows sellers to print shipping labels on its site at no extra charge just like eBay does.  Bonanza makes sellers pay extra to print shipping labels on its site, which is why I always went directly to PayPal to print my Bonanza labels.

Etsy does not send the buyer the shipment notice until the day the seller indicates that the item will ship.  If I print a label Saturday evening and set the label date as shipping on Monday, then Etsy does not send the email to the buyer until Monday.  This is an improvement over both eBay and Bonanza and is how it should be. 

The downside to Etsy is that I do have to pay $0.20 to list each item, although the listing does last for four months.  With the two items I have sold, I have about broken even on fees and revenue.  If I can sell a reasonable number of items in the next four months, then it should be worthwhile.

The upside to Etsy charging to list each item is that it keeps junk off the site.  Sellers are more careful about what is listed since all items incur a fee, so the site has good items showing up in the search results.

My two sales on Etsy are no more than I would have had on Bonanza, since I was still getting one to two Bonanza sales per month.  I do have slightly more traffic on Etsy than on Bonanza, and at least the traffic is not to completed listings.

That's the little secret that many people don't know about Bonanza.  Most traffic is to completed listings rather than to current listings.  The completed listings from 2009 to around 2013 get great Google exposure and more views than the items that are currently for sale on Bonanza.  It makes no sense, but it has been that way for several years, probably since 2013.

One week ago, I took a screen cap of my Bonanza traffic.  In the following image, I had my cursor placed on May 7, which is the day I closed the booth.  Notice that I still had traffic after May 7, all of it to the completed listings.

Also one week ago, I took a screen cap of my items that had the most recent views. 

Only three of the items shown were still for sale on the weekend I closed the booth.  Those are the items I highlighted.  The rest had been sold between three and seven years ago and should not have been my most popular items this month.

As I stated previously, this type of traffic pattern has been the case on Bonanza for several years.  Sold items have been much more popular than items currently for sale.  This data reveals that Bonanza has no site traffic and that any traffic comes out of Google search.  Unfortunately, most of the traffic coming from Google search is to the completed listings, which does no good.

That's why I wanted a fresh start on Etsy.  While I don't have higher sales, at least not yet, I do have slightly better traffic.  Of that traffic, I can tell that some of it is internal site traffic, which is something Bonanza lost by 2010.  I figure I'm at least slightly better off.  Also, I can tell that Etsy gets good placement in Google's shopping results, and one of my two sales has come from that.

I have two reasons for wanting to keep a store open on a site other than eBay.  First, I can accommodate the buyers who wish to pay by money order.  Second, I can list certain books that I refuse to list on eBay, such as early Nancy Drew books with internals and dust jackets.  I will never again list those books on eBay, because if I do, one certain seller will find a way to circumvent a buyer block and will be the one to purchase the books.  I have that person blocked because I feel it is too risky to allow him ever to purchase from me again.  So books he would want cannot go on eBay since he doesn't let anything stop him.  I will even sell those kinds of books at a loss before I ever list them on eBay again. 

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay


Daniel said...

Thanks for the update! I have been considering following your lead and moving over to Etsy from Bonanza as well. Not sure yet what I will do, but it is interesting how some things sell better for you on one site than another.

Jennifer White said...

I just remembered a piece of information I was going to include in the post but forgot. I have been keeping track of how many of my former Bonanza items have sold on eBay since I moved them to eBay on May 6 and May 7. 14 of them have sold. I think I moved around 60 items, so around 25% of them have sold, and these are items that had been stagnant on Bonanza for a minimum of two months and for a maximum of one to two years. eBay is the winner in sales, no question.

I do have my sold items visible on Etsy. You'll see the link at the top of my shop next to my location. It's just going to depend upon how many items sell as to whether I continue there. The Rick Brant Ruby Ray sold rather fast and through Google shopping. I have added some hard to find books on purpose, and I'm interested to see whether they sell and how quickly.

Paula said...

I have noticed that Etsy listings always seem to show up better in Google search than Bonanza items. I think Etsy makes it easier for sellers by getting the right keywords out there in the searchable data. I spent a lot of time a few years ago trying to get Bonanza to send meaningful data to Google search for my items. I was partially successful, but could see Etsy items were showing up much more frequently and higher in the search results, for listings that were from various Etsy sellers. So I think Etsy has a better Google feed than Bonanza. I was hoping Bonanza would improve theirs, but they seem to put it on the seller to figure out and you almost have to be a programmer to figure out what is sent and how to tune it.

Jennifer White said...

Yeah, that's what is frustrating about Bonanza. They come up with lots of bright ideas and smash them into action as fast as they can. After that, they don't care any longer and move on to the next great idea. If something doesn't quite go right with a previous great idea, they don't seem interested in making it work right since they are on the next great idea. That's the best way I can explain it simply.

I believe that the site is fantastically profitable for the owners due to the embedded Amazon links. Since they are making an excellent income, it's not necessary for them to fix the glitches or the Google search placement. They also get a lot of money from people who buy the memberships.

Since I knew the owners had no reason to fix anything wrong with the site, I became uninterested in continuing on Bonanza.

eBay is not what it was in late 2008 when I decided to go to Bonanza. Most of what was wrong with eBay has now been fixed. The only problem is the fees, but the traffic is great, making the fees worth it.

Don't let any of that change your path. If the Bonanza site still works for you, keep your listings there. Bonanza is 100% free, and you can't lose with free. I, however, have grown jaded due to the lack of sales and wish to try something different. I don't know if it will work, but I will have eBay regardless.