Monday, January 4, 2010

Etsy Alternative #12 - ShopHandmade

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 - ShopHandmade.

Tagline: Rewarding creativity

Company information: Big on environmentalism, the site was started as an off-shoot of a large craft retailer (though they don’t specify who). Founded by Dave Kovanen, a character a lot like a red-headed fellow we all know. See their own description.

Storefront: Not very customizable, mostly ads to other sites crowding out the items and store description, no policy pages (all information is squished on the sidebar between the items and the ads)

Cost: Free but with company sponsorship on your listing pages (you choose which company), no monthly fee or commission (unless you choose to pay a commission)

Features: Galleries (like Etsy showcases) and “Top-up listings” can be purchased, donate to rainforest protection when an item sells (optional), remove company sponsorship of listings by paying to list, edit directly from the listing page, relevance-based search similar to Google, News/blog (hasn’t been updated in a year)

Payment: Paypal integrated for purchases from shops (any promotion-based charges can be paid by Paypal)

Community: None other than seller feedback system and “high-fives” (short product reviews), no feedback left about buyers

Customer service: email, snail mail address, limited hours phone line

Items that can be sold: Handmade only, but you can destash used but still usable supplies in “re-supplies”, services specific to the crafting process

General impressions: Somewhat difficult to navigate tabs depending on the browser used, and the choose a commission aspect is a bit passive-aggressive. The buying options are a bit confusing for new buyers also.

In addition, the seller panel to view currently listed items is buggy and not easy to use, and the listing process is not any better than Etsy (actually, it’s worse). Overall, the site doesn’t come across as very professional, though they touted increased traffic (in 2008!) and have stuck to their mission since their inception (environment = good, handmade = good, listing fees = optional).

Not a good review, I know, but it’s a free alternative to mind games.


foxaz said...

I have a shop on shop handmade. I find the listing process much easier than Etsy, since you can start with photos, if you want to- and I like starting with the photos. i have had a sale or two, but one was a NPB, so in that respect, it's Etsy-ish.
I also like the magnifier on products. That's cool.

I'm confused... said...

The WHOIS information lists "Rubber Stamp Management, Incorporated" as the registrant.

Seller said...

I found it was like flying blind as there is no interaction with staff there. No forums, no news announcements. The mouse hover aspect of navigation is annoying at best. It takes several tries to list an item each time. You cannot delete an item. The site is buggy ALL the time. It knows when you are viewing and puts your own items on the front page. If you log out and browse anonymously, your items will not be front page. It's misleading, cumbersome and awkward. I wouldn't recommend it at all.

The Funny One said...

Agree with Sellersaid. I had a customer who actually stole and item when she reneged on her cc pmt after getting her item. Because it was a particularly vindictive buyer, I asked the site to intervene to stop the harassing emails which arrived by the dozen daily.

In the end, I removed all items and emailed in a request to delete my store about 6 months ago when this event occured. The store remains open with no items listed.

Not worth the effort until they get their act together.

I bet there's going to be some fallout in 2010 and fewer sites will remain. It is still important to find the site that works for you, get off Etsy and take your customers with you.

While I had 2 holiday sales on Etsy, I had steady weekly sales on all my other sites which continue post-holiday. My former Etsy customers prefer shopping anywhere but Etsy.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

ShopHandmade sucks!

I chose them as my 1st move off-etsy when they opened their doors. I thought the name, the craft corporation tie-in and environmental commitment all spelled best chance of success. I was wrong.

There is no traffic. They don't show up in searches. I agree the hover navigation is annoying. I also saw items showing on page 1 when I was signed in, then NOT when I signed out (deceptive!).

Then after deleting my items I had a long email exchange with customer service not understanding what I meant by closing my account. "The shop is empty. I'ts closed," they said. "No, it's still there. Can you please delete it?" I asked. "No."

As the OP points out, the News/Blog hasn't been updated in ages. It's a dead dog.

The Righteous One said...

It really is a shame that so many choices are falling by the wayside. That's why I went ahead and did this review I was sitting on, to at least let others know what not to waste their time on or to point out particular niches that might work (maybe someone had better luck with their destash)

Crocheted Little Things said...

definitely NOT an alternative. I asked to close my account to no available, made a sale in 1 year.
And I agree the shady front page appearance are scary and unprofessional. I thought they were onto a good thing, but they let it go too quickly.

Anonymous said...

There are some scandalously juicy discussions of this company on ravelry and craftster.

Make sure you read the email they accidentally sent to mike75 in that craftster thread.

antimonkeybutt said...

not that it counts for much but... never heard of them.
my thought is, if i've never heard of them after spending a few years on one of the more invisible selling sites online, they've gotta suck.

speaking of invisible sites that need to advertise somewhere other than bust and readymade.. when is the rob interview?

Crocheted Little Things said...

OMG that email is hilarious!

Old Hippie Bitch said...

They're still calling themselves "the fastest growing handmade craft store on the internet."

I can't imagine what that's based on, since I just looked into my category and it's got a helluva lot fewer items than a year ago.

geelizzie said...

The only good thing about shophandmade is that it is free to list. And that's all. I have an empty shop there that I guess will be there for all eternity, I think I sold maybe 8 things there in as many months, not worth my time at all.
Etsy has it's problems but at least there are buyers. I don't think any other site will ever come close to Etsy, it's kind of like Ebay in that people looking to shop will go there first.

Smoke coming out of my ears said...

I know it's not the spot for this but I just really have to vent.

The etsy gift guides are supposed to be slowing down and disappearing, yet admin still manages to squeeze in one more item for one favorite shop. All I know is that it better be good and as promised in the new year, cause I sure wasted my time learning that etsy is not an artist community at all but a hotbed of corporate political bullshit.

And what's with Admins having shops and introducing themselves as designers on blogs with a whole bunch of dreamy stars in their eyes? Is that their day job and the etsy job is the hobby?

Okay I'm done and am going to and am going to read the post about ShopHandmade now.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to sign up just for free listing, Artfire now offering unlimited free listing to all accounts. As a basic account, you don't get as many perks but you still get auto upload to google and rapid cart.
Maybe that is one site that needs a second look. It has changed quite a bit since the review from last year.