Here on the blog we have been discussing for a while the changes that Etsy have made since 2015 which have led to a situation where Etsy is no more a venue for handmade products alone.
To paraphrase this for today’s article; in 2015 Chad Dickerson the then CEO made a major change to the terms and conditions of the Etsy site, allowing sellers to grow their staff, manufacture goods with third parties and dropship with outside logistic solutions. The change was aimed at smaller businesses who wished to remain on Etsy and meet the increasing demand for their designs. What happened though was the emergence of commercial product sales on Etsy, as the new clause opened a flood-gate to new sellers.
This has led to a sense of ‘mass-produced’ plaguing the marketplace and a number of Etsy shop owners are starting to search for alternatives that deal in solely handmade ventures.
Are you just joining the conversation about Etsy shop alternatives?
If you are just joining me on this journey of discovery, then you can catch up with previous blog posts here;
Now let’s take a look at Zibbet!
The question of, ‘should I Etsy, or should I not’ is one that is often asked, and I see phases of sellers pondering what else is out there for varying reasons. Today on the podcast I wanted to continue our conversation about alternatives and introduce you to Zibbet.
Zibbet: Why you need to consider this handmade product marketplace
In today’s podcast I’m discussing Zibbet as an alternative, or an addition to an Etsy shop, because I think it has some nice features that will be of interest.
Zibbet was founded in 2009 by Jonathan Peacock and since then has been geared towards serving creative entrepreneurs with a bustling marketplace and the tools they need to run their business effectively across Zibbet’s own network, your own website (using their service ‘Stitch websites’), or your Etsy shop.
The founders of Zibbet will openly tell you that until now they aren’t sure that they have been 100% successful at providing Etsy sellers enough of a reason to make the switch over to Zibbet.
I believe things are changing!
In early 2019 the founders made a big announcement, that would see Zibbet really start to be of interest to the many Etsy shop owners who were struggling to stay in love with selling on Etsy alone, under the dramatic changes of the last 3-4 years.
Zibbet currently works in two ways effectively; firstly it has a website function for those wanting to create their own unique designer website and secondly it is a marketplace, or a sales forum just like Etsy where you can feature your website listings directly onto the Zibbet marketplace.
There are currently almost 59,000 vendors (stats from early February 2019), who each have had to apply for a spot on the network. You can apply here for a 14-day free trial.
Initially that was it… nothing more.
Many would say that was enough, but in recent years it has been ever more important for sellers to be able to manage their inventory as they find new ways to sell their products either online, now via social media, or in-person. Zibbet have recognised this and is making more changes to their platform for this year.
I’ve talked at length here on the blog about the importance of Inventory Management. It is not only your most useful tool when it comes to predicting future sales, even if what you sell is unique every time, but it is also tricky to keep up-to-date and accurate if you sell in a number of different places. The ultimate solution is to use a cloud-based software to track your inventory, but ‘OMG, I just wanna keep making!’ Am I right?!
So, our alternative to this headache is to find a solution that helps us do that quickly and easily.
Zibbet recognise that we are going to need their help, especially when we start to understand the importance that social media will play in selling from 2019 onwards.
“Not satisfied with simply selling leads and traffic, social media platforms are looking to bridge the eCommerce gap by becoming transactional; users will be able to complete purchases without leaving the (social media) platform.
Social buying is already standard in China, where 55% of social app users reported buying goods or services directly on a social app.
Private messaging services, which are exploding in popularity, are also expected to become transactional. WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger are showing engagement numbers running into the billions.”
So, this year Zibbet are launching the ‘Zibbet Platform’.
Let’s break that down into a nice table so you can see exactly what Zibbet is all about;
The new Zibbet ‘Unlimited plan’ promises to be 40% cheaper when it launches later in 2019 and with the new cross-channel features, I really feel that as artists we have more reason now to include Zibbet in our thoughts as we decide the future of selling via Etsy alone, or at all.
You can find out more about the new plan here.
Searching for an alternative to our Etsy shop in the past was simple, pick a platform and get listing. In the last few years that option has been less and less fruitful for us, as the internet has become a much noisier place with phenomenal growth in small business websites. I believe this game changer means that we now need to consider selling our products in multiple ways and through multiple venues, and to do this well we need to consider a multi-channel service that allows us the freedom to do that.
Zibbet is just one of the multi-channel options I have discussed here on the blog, but I believe it is the only option that I have seen really consider social media, which is going to play a much bigger part in our online-retail in the future.
So, I’m hoisting my flag and asking you to take a look.