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 – WiNKELF.
Tagline: Handmade by Thems-Elves.
Company information: Created by a former Ebay “boutique designer.”
“WinkElf is a community of boutique buyers and sellers with a love for all things handmade. Public forums and private groups are available for members to meet, greet and play”
Cost: 2.5% sales commission, not other fees for Basic Shops. Upgrade to front page exposure for “less than a quarter.” All-inclusive featured boutiques are $5 a month.
Features: The shop and go widget: fully functional shopping cart and listing showcase that can be placed on any website you have access to. Search includes by seller or item number options. Integrated social bookmarks, get your own winkelf.com email address, add your own SEO meta-tags if you like, digital listing downloads, and RSVP system for custom requests. For a longer and more detailed list, you can visit their Squidoo lens or FAQ. The forums mention Google Analytics, but there’s no mention of it via the site information or tutorials.
Payment: Integrated with Paypal, but allows sellers to accept different payment types through “direct payment” option. No information on how the bill to the site is paid by sellers.
Customer service: Mailing address, phone, and email contact form all available at one page.
Items that can be sold: They focus on handmade, but also allow supplies and some exceptions to the rule, which have to be listed in a custom store category and not in a site-wide category. No mature items are allowed.
“Everyone is welcome, there are no waiting lists or membership committees to apply to. Registration is free and does not require a credit card. To ensure the safety of our neighborhoods, every member is periodically email and/or telephone verified at no cost to our members.”
General impressions: The sidebars and main page are a little overwhelming. Being used to Etsy may make it easier, but new buyers in general may have sensory overload and not know where to go. The situation with buyers wandering off from the shop when they enter through the shop URL is present with this site as well, in store navigation is not clear.
The listings look like Ebay listings, which may be disconcerting for artists. The idea of the shops being “boutiques” is a bit of a stretch. It is a cheap alternative to ebay stores though with less organization.
Overall, it’s not the easiest site to navigate nor is it the most efficient site design aesthetically. It also, according to Alexa page rankings, has very little traffic (not even in the top 100,000 sites), which hasn’t changed over the course of the past several months to year. It also has only a 1/10 Google ranking. Compare that to Etsy: Alexa 708 and rising, Google 7/10; Artfire: Alexa 36,991 and rising, Google 4/10; Ebay: Alexa 20 and decreasing, Google 8/10.
However, if you have your own domain, their shop and go widget may be the solution to installing a shopping cart and trying to setup listings on your own!
Can anyone share experiences as buyers and/or sellers?