Sunday, January 18, 2009

Etsy Alternative #7 - iCraft

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 - iCraft.

Tagline: Where creative minds mingle.

Company information: The iCraft site is a division of ArtMyriad Inc. The venue is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Storefront: Creator galleries featuring items, similar listing format as Etsy (in that it’s a listing for sale with description, price, etc.). Items are up until removed. All submitted listings are reviewed for quality and adherence to guidelines.

Cost: $25.00 CAD registration fee to create an exhibit (need credit card on file with them). List up to 5 items for free. Monthly subscription for more than 5 items varies from $5.00 CAD to $35.00 CAD for up to 100 items ($0.50 CAD per item over 100 items, read below for information on interchangeability). No commission on any sales.

Features: Advanced Search! RSS feeds conveniently located on one page, and they feed them to their own twitter. 6 images per listing, unique URL for your shop (http://icraft.ca/yourshopname). Do custom work via the “contact creator” link in your gallery. Items are interchangeable, being on a subscription for up to 15 items means that item 15 can be changed out for a different item at no additional cost, as long as only 15 items are displayed (from how we understand it. Read more on their site.) Referral program for free subscriptions. Email notifications of sales and payment, buyers have to register. List in your own currency (AUD, CAD, USD, GBP, EUR).

Payment: Integrated with Paypal, but it is up to the seller’s discretion, including accepting cheques.

Community: Forums, articles, events calendar…see their community pages here.

Customer service: Twitter responsive, online form for tech support that they try to answer within 2 days and is separate from their other departments (advertising, media, editorial).

Items that can be sold: you must be the creator of the item and no edibles or used items

“original, one-of-a-kind art, craft and fashion pieces from independent talented Creators from around the globe”

General impressions: Sophisticated, clean, streamlined look. However, the Creator exhibits (i.e. shops) have too much announcement space that pushes the items for sale to the bottom of the page, invisible without scrolling in the browser. Also, Google ads appear in the shops, at the bottom, but still distracting. These of course are subjective observations.

The categories seem somewhat limited, though they do adhere to the all handmade idea and this is reflected in the subcategories, which are sortable by price, color, and currency. Nice from a buyer’s perspective.

What have your experiences been with this venue?

10 Comments:

creativesundries said...

Thanks for the thorough, thoughtful review. Based in Canada--might be more int'l-friendly...

foxaz said...

I opened a shop there with 3 items back in May. It was free at that time, and it's still free for me until next month. I'm in the USA and can use USD. The listing system has evolved and is very easy, one page. I went there the other day & listed a few items and had a sale almost immediately. Newly listed items appear on the front page for awhile, depending on how much listing is being done. Views are good. Very comparable to Etsy, maybe better.

You can "update" your items by editing them and they appear at the front of the search. No charges for updating.

I really hadn't spent any time on my shop until this last week. If I have to pay, I may close it, unless sales continue.

Here's my link: http://icraft.ca/foxaz

Brass Monkey Designs said...

When I see these "Etsy Alternative" uptdates, I think of the saying "Rather than curse your darkness, I shall light a candle." Thanks for lighting a candle for us folks in the dark.

geelizzie said...

I absolutely love the icraft site, it's beautiful and easy to use. BUT-I opened a shop last March when they were offering free listings and have only had 8 items sold in 9 months despite listing on a daily basis. An average of one sale a month as opposed to one sale a day on etsy just doesn't do it for me. I decided not to continue listing on icraft for now. Too bad, because the site is one of the best I've seen with no bugs or issues that I've ever come across, they just don't have the customer traffic that I need.

searcher said...

Thank you so much for taking the time & effort to give us this information.
I love you, Biatch!

Sarah said...

Beautiful site! Very user friendly. I love visiting it to check "New Arrivals" section. Buying process is simple and straightforward. Two thumbs up!

Alyssa said...

"You can "update" your items by editing them and they appear at the front of the search. No charges for updating."

oooh not sure how I feel about this. seems that as the number of sellers increases, more will use this strategy to get a boost like those on Etsy use renewing, but with no negative consequences (etsy's .20 fee) this will surely get out of control soon.

Ainse said...

I love the fact that if I update a listing it pulls it not only to the front of the search page, but also up to the front of my shop. With something like 800,000+ jewellery items for sale, I'm not going to spend 20 cents over and over again just to keep my items front and centre. I'll do it for free on iCraft. I also love that if I list something new, it'll stay on the front page for at least 2-5 days, not 2-5 seconds.

iCraft Admin also twitters about newly listed items, which really gives a boost to views. If I list the same item on both Etsy and iCraft, the iCraft listing will have about 10x the views in one day.

the finicky stitcher said...

I also love the look of iCraft and the ease of use.

Just to let people know the rates have also been reduced, you can now list up to 50 items for $5 a month instead of 15. The other choices have been changed as well, I just don't remember the details. That is a great deal!

pillowthrowdecor said...

I've recently opened an account at icraft and love their simple yet comprehensive listing format. Their front page is just awesome as my items actually stay in sight for longer than 10 seconds.

What is especially attractive is the Canadian exposure. Canadians are not as experienced at online shopping as are US buyers and sellers. So a Canadian is more apt to venture into online shopping at a Canadian site than they are an international site. There is resistance because of the exchange rate and the fear of having to pay duty when anything crosses the border. With the Free Trade Agreement it isn't an issue.

What I hear from so many others icraft is where Etsy was a few years ago so I think getting in on the ground level is a very good thing. It may be slower but at least I'm not road-kill every morning. Having a shop on both is a perfect solution for me right now. Its a tough market out there right now and this is the time you ramp up marketing rather than holding back. "In for the dime in for the dollar" they say.

I sure appreciate reading the comments here and a really comprehensive review. Super!!!

Christine
PillowThrowDecor
http://icraft.ca/pillowthrowdecor
PillowThrowDecor@etsy.com