Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Etsy Alternative #6 - 1000 Markets

In this continuing series, we bring you a review of alternative selling venues, website hosting services, shopping carts, and basically anything else that you can use to sell your lovely handcrafted goods. Next up, one you've been asking for – 1000 markets!

NOTE: 1000markets is for U.S. sellers only because they only allow Amazon payments. This is not stated explicitly in their sign up and has left many people disappointed and frustrated. If you’re not in the U.S., this venue isn’t for you (sorry).

Tagline: In the forums it says “Powering the New Artisan Economy”

Company information: 1000 markets is a juried U.S.-based marketplace that allows independently owned artisan shops to take up residence in their online mall. It was founded by Matt Trifiro, who sounds a bit like another venue-founder we know. Though, unlike his counterpart, we hear that the staff Matt brought on is responsive and knowledgeable.

Storefront: The venue front page is extremely clean and rotates featured sellers three at a time. The actual storefronts are more organized than Etsy. There are tabs at top for home, products, policies, and the seller’s blog.

Cost: Free to open a shop and list. Commission upon sale is 5.5% + 50 cents.

Features: It’s a juried site, so no resellers or non-artisans allowed, even on the weekends – or unless they have express permission from the site administrators and artists they sell. The look is streamlined and sophisticated. Each shop can designate its own categories with highlighted items on the shop home page. The shopping cart was recently changed to apply fixes to problems that sellers complained about. Those who use the site like the seller interface.

Your portrait, banner, product photos and descriptions must be clean, accurate, and reflect the high quality standards of 1000 Markets.

Payment: They process through Amazon payments, which is U.S. only and somewhat limiting (If this is wrong or there’s a way around it please tell us so the disappointed international artisans can sign up). You get paid right away just like Paypal, but the venue takes its cut immediately, so no monthly bill. There is no Amazon fee beyond the venue’s cut.

Community: They have a community page and forums. The community highlights seller blog posts, recommended blogs, the founder’s blog, and where sellers have recently been featured – magazine, press, and the like. The forums have subtabs to the administrators’ blog that includes information on upcoming features, expected changes, and solutions. The main issue seen in the forums are issues with Amazon. One of the admins is also an Etsy seller who has not been doused in cupcake frosting, which bodes well for them nipping any problems.

Customer service: They are very responsive, present in the forums, on their own blogs, and via three different email accounts. The email addresses are provided on their About page.

Items that can be sold: Handmade via their definition

1000 Markets is a venue for independently-owned artisanal businesses. An artisanal business is defined as a business that makes or intends to make a substantial portion of its income from specialty products created in small quantities, often using traditional, time-consuming, or handcraft techniques. Artisanal products are not mass produced, nor are they mass distributed.

Shop approval is through an application.

General impressions: A lack of marketing may lead to a continued buyer slump, since the site appears to have difficulty attracting viewers, and thus buyers.

It may take away some business from etsy. It's a well curated environment and its not admin driven. the shops display randomly

Their lack of flexibility with payments accepted from buyers limits the customer base for sellers. It also closes the door on international artisans and their customers.

However, it appears to be a viable choice for U.S artisans.


The Funny One said...

You covered the most important points, but lack of marketing has had an impact on views, which are not good. I hope they don't make the same mistake of relying 100% on viral marketing like Etsy does, because most sellers on Etsy never benefit from doing all the work while Etsy relies on its favorite stores to make the most money for them. Most sellers get nothing back on Etsy, despite years of doing all the work.

1000Markets is very responsive and return email questions on the same day. They are willing to make changes that matter to their sellers - and fast. (Unheard of on Etsy.)

2 big problems: They have no inactive listing reserve, so you have to delete a listing to take it out of your shop. And, they list your shop views in a very non-intuitive way, and not next to the product. You have to click on a separate page to look at your views in paragraph form.

I think they have great potential, despite the limited payment option, but they need to get the word out. They also need to actively attract quality sellers - because those sellers will bring their customer base with them.

If more Etsy loyal buyers knew that Etsy provides NO SUPPORT SERVICES for Etsy stores, they would be appalled.

1000Markets would also benefit greatly from working out a marketing deal with Amazon to direct Amazon customers to the site to buy handmade. What a buyer base that would be! (And since Amazon has no handmade section, they would be perfect to market a handmade option for their customers.)

Andy Mathis said...

Hello Bitches.

As I understand it, 1000M is looking for a work around for international buyers to shop on the site.

If that goes well, then eventually they might go international, imo.

What makes 1000M so appealing, is that it's juried, larger photos, clean layout.

Being US only, at this point, doesn't bother me so much, not because I'm US based, but because there are lots of sites out there that are country specific. Limiting sellers to their country. What is the one in Australia, for example, Made it (Something)?

Juried, larger photos, etc. is something that any site can implement to get the same look and feel as 1000M.

It's very user friendly when it comes to listing items- uploading multiple photos at a time, dragging photos and items to rearrange their order, more than 5 photos, etc.

What doesn't work so well yet, from a buyers standpoint, is the lack of a category or product search system. As it is now, buyers have to enter each market and browse shops. You can't search very well, but they do have a search bar at the top.

They are working on a category system that hopefully will operate seperately from the markets. So buyers with limited time can search, buy, and get out.

Shiny said...

The Funny One - Actually your first biggest problem is not a problem at all. To make a product inactive, all you need to do is go into "Manage Products" and edit your listing so it is no longer "published" but in "draft" form. Like a blog, it won't show up.

And of course you can't come out of the gate being Etsy (in terms of views and advertising). Heck, Etsy didn't come out of the gate running either, if you remember!

DreamWoven said...

ha! cup cake frosting!!!

the points covered by The Funny One are valid... re: inactive listing reserve... if I am understanding the statement correctly, i have to say that this is incorrect. You can simply take an item out of your collections or put it in draft mode... but better yet, you can start a "Portfolio Collection" and keep it in there, as 'previous work done', or to point customers to so they can see your previous work/custom orders etc. Shop views on a separate page are the beginnings of the Stats... where yes, you will have to go to another page to view all kinds of stats...

Things are still evolving (as they should be with a site this new) and there are a lot of things on the list... but with the responsiveness from the team at 1KM, things are being done and they are being done right the first time!

Thanx for the blog post!

The Righteous One said...

Thanks for stopping by DreamWoven! We always like to see people familiar with Etsy working on alternatives, it means you're familiar with how things work.

In case anyone missed it, she's the Etsy seller I referred to lol

JustAddChristie said...

I am definitely a fan of 1000 Markets as a seller. I do hope they start doing some more marketing because the site has so much potential.

As a buyer, I have to say, I find the search process very cumbersome and discouraging for actually trying to find what I'm looking for. As much as we complain about Etsy's search issues, it is at least very simple to drill down to the exact thing you're looking for (as long as they're tagged correctly by sellers- but that's a whole different issue).

infraredstudio said...

Don't quote me on this... but I think the rational for not advertising 1000 markets yet is they are trying to work out the bugs.

A negative shopping experience, means negative press. I am confident that in a year traffic will increase.
I feel like having a store on 1000 markets makes you look much more professional than selling on etsy. Not to knock other sellers, but their is a difference between professionalism & hobby.

The reality is if you really want to quit your day job, then your work should be strong enough to pass a juried test, and I don't mean a test that is located in Brooklyn.

The Funny One said...

All tips and points well taken and I appreciate more that 1000markets people are avid readers of EB and are obviously taking their own notes on what's so wrong with Etsy.

And, while I do appreciate that it takes time to get a foothold and gain recognition and views - views should have been much higher for the holiday weeks because it's the busiest online shopping period, and they were extremely disappointing.

1000Markets, and other sites that are already up and screening new sellers will make huge inroads with new sellers if they keep Customer Support at the top of their agendas. Etsy is NOT doing that, nor do that have any plans to do so. Sellers are so desperate for a selling platform that meets their needs as sellers, and offers full seller support -that they will be glad to leave Etsy and migrate to sites that offer what they need.

Let's face it, Etsy sellers have had to work double time to figure out their own shortcuts around all the stupid templates and huge security holes on that site, and it takes 3 times the effort to maintain a store there-------because Etsy is not geared to making sellers' lives easier. They lack any seller perspective, and only make "improvements" on the site that make their jobs easier or more convenient. And if Etsy can toss extra work to sellers (that shitty Shopping Cart and hunting down NPB's) they do, and gladly.

Any new site that can keep the sellers at the top of the list when adding features to handmade online selling has my vote, and that includes 1000Markets.

Liv'nGood Jewelry said...

I've made 1000markets my #2 online shop for a lot of the reasons mentioned

but the biggest plus to me is the immediate and personal interaction with the founder, the designer, and the tech guy that I personally have had (and I'm not a huge seller by any stretch of the imagination)

they actually seem to CARE about the site & making sure it works for all the stakeholders (sellers & buyers alike)

As to the traffic issue, while the site is in Beta, they are not doing any marketing of the site. However, from what I read in those forums, that will change in 2009 (January I think) and an ad campaign will launch.

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

I really wish they'd let people use some other kind of payment system besides Amazon's.

I would LOVE to sell there, but I'm Canadian so it's out for me. I love the look and feel of the site -- it's really classy and very, very beautiful. I think it's more attractive than Etsy.

Abizness Digital Images said...

I"m thankful for 1000Markets - the lay-out & design plus tagging are EASY to work with (all on one page). I love being part of other Artisans who were juried in. The fact that it's set up like an on-line Gallery is appealing. I don't mind paying a commission after the sale, before gets kind of pricey. Especially when others are low-balling themselves for sales.

Wow, I feel better already ;)

Over the Top said...

I joined 1KM and have had a handful of sales since April. I don't know how the buyers found me, but since they implemented search categories, I've had sales. Yay!

I like the responsiveness of the staff and the diversity of markets, though some market owners are better at it than others. Getting into individual markets is fun. They need more tags slots, though, as markets often requite their own individual tags.

I think the look is beautiful and I like the blog feature on our own shops, not that I have the time to blog anymore!

Changes come little by little, but they do happen. It's a great idea for Amazon to promote it...I hope that someone *cough* is reading these comments.