Etsy Pattern is a new service recently released (04/05/2016) which allows you to create your own website using your current Etsy store as the backend. You’re able to choose a Pattern theme along with a color scheme and the site is populated with your products. Inventory and descriptions are synced directly from your main Etsy shop and the payment processing is the same fee. Use your own domain name, plenty of analytics and it is mobile ready. All this for the low, low price of $15 extra a month. Sounds great right?
Let me first start by saying that I ❤ Etsy. Pattern will be great for those that are not at all technical and don’t count on their Etsy store to make a living. This might be a nice option for a more professional look to an Etsy store. The sample sites look pretty, I will give them that.
Now, if this isn’t you. Save your pennies and go for something that benefits you more. Some of the reasons you should go elsewhere include:
Reason 1: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
What Etsy doesn’t understand is that for most sellers having a stand alone website isn’t for the custom domain or the pretty design, it’s because you can’t count on anything. Etsy has a history of shutting down stores sometimes for no reason at all. If your Etsy shop is closed, so will your Pattern store. Don’t give Etsy all the power. At least if you have your own website separate from Etsy, there will be something to fall back on. A place that you can send customers to, has a backup of all your photos and descriptions, and of course is a secondary location for sales.
Reason 2: Etsy’s listing rules.
Let me tell you a little story. When I started my main store years ago, I purchased some very basic clear phone cases for supplies. I sell supplies a lot of people use to make custom phone cases with. My listing was immediately shut down as the blank cellphone case was not considered a supply because buyers could use it without alterations – even though they don’t. Who wants just a clear basic cellphone case? This goes for things like blank headbands and basic glasses you could add decorations too. Of course, a lot of people still sell these things but eventually everyone gets their hand slapped by the powers that be.
I had already had plans in the works to open my own website, but this just sent it into overdrive. Using the Pattern website offer, you are still bound by Etsy’s rules.
Say you sell beautiful handmade pieces of jewelry and you’re out shopping and see perfect matching scarves that would accent your jewelry piece perfectly. You can already see the listing photos in your head but these would not be Etsy legal – but you could list them on your own website – one that is ruled by you!
Reason 3: Fees, Fees, and More Fees
You are already paying 20 cents a listing plus 3.5% transaction fee plus Direct Checkout fees which I am okay with because they have done the work of bringing in the customers to the website. Even if I never lifted a finger, there would still be customers looking in my store. But they want us to pay $15 for the site and still charge us the fees when we have to do the marketing to get sales. The 3.5% doesn’t sound like much but on a $100 sale, you’re giving away $3.50. It adds up quickly. This doesn’t even count the 20 cent listing fee. Sell a couple hundred dollars a month and it adds up to the extra cost of a stand alone eCommerce website plus you get all the benefits this entails. I would rather spend a bit more on my own store with no listing fees and no end of sale fees. If you sell more than a few hundred dollars – you will actually be saving money. If you’re looking for some great alternatives to Pattern, I will mention some below.
Reason 4: Google SEO Duplicate Content Issue using Etsy Pattern
I don’t think it has been long enough to know how this issue will impact Pattern users but I have a concern regarding duplicate content and getting penalized by Google because of it. Your exact same content will be located in both shops and there have been some questions raised about this issue. Etsy has said in the forums that this is a 1:1 mirror as far as the items go. If it’s in your Etsy main store, it will be mirrored in your Pattern store.
I certainly would not want to be penalized for duplicate content. It is hard enough to get to the first page of Google – going backwards after you’ve been at the top of search would be devastating to a business. An Etsy Education Specialist, Emily, made this comment regarding the duplicate content issue in the forums:
Many sellers have referenced a penalty Google started enforcing in 2011, designed to target sites that only contained duplicate content or were deemed very low quality. We worked closely with our internal SEO team to minimize this risk.
Search ranking off of Etsy is impacted by a lot of factors – including how long your site has been online and the quality of your website. You can customize, launch and direct traffic back to your Pattern site to continue to improve your brand’s search ranking. You can revise how your shop name appears on Pattern, edit your shop headline and customize your About section to tell your story outside of Etsy.
Even though they have tried to minimize the risk to sellers, I am not sure the risk is worth it. Again, time will tell whether or not this is an issue.
Reason 5: Buyers Need an Etsy Account to Purchase
For some reason, Etsy still has not allowed guest checkouts. Buyers see this beautiful new site but as they checkout, they are brought to an Etsy branded checkout that requires an Etsy account. A lot of people hate the hoops of having to sign up for another account or have an old Etsy account and can’t remember the password. If the former, they may just leave the checkout. If the latter, they have to go through the password recovery process which inevitably will bring them to the main Etsy page with all the shiny and bright distractions of other sellers items. Either way, you might lose the sale. Plus, there are a lot of buyers who have had bad experiences on Etsy and lump all sellers into one basket – the proverbial bad apple spoiled the bunch. If they see that Etsy logo, they might possibly leave.
Reason 6: Etsy Pattern branded checkout
Like I said in reason 5, the checkout process is branded with Etsy’s logo which is clickable and takes you directly to the main Etsy. First, if I am paying for a stand alone website – why would I want my buyers to know how I do business. The whole point of a stand alone site is to look more professional. Knowing that the site is “just Etsy” might bring that down a bit. Just my opinion… I love Etsy but buyers think of it as the handmade eBay. At least if the link is there, it should take you back to the Pattern store – not the main Etsy page. Plus, once buyers get to checkout, I don’t want there to be any distraction on the page allowing them to leave.
Reason 7: Etsy Pattern sites have no search feature.
If you have a small inventory, this isn’t an issue but if you have a larger one – boy, this could get frustrating. I have over 1,500 items in one of my stores and need search. Finding something specific would take forever having to scroll page by page. Etsy allows for only 15 categories with no subcategories. I have over 100 different rhinestones in all different sizes and colors. Not being able to sort or search is difficult.
Reason 8: No Paypal available as a form of payment for Etsy Pattern purchases.
Orders made through Pattern websites have to use Etsy’s Direct Checkout. Paypal still accounts for a large number of transactions on Etsy and of course on other websites. A lot of customers don’t carry around with them their credit card info and so many purchase on the go on mobile devices. Not having Paypal available could lose you a sale.
Reason 9: Etsy Pattern sites lack of customization.
The templates are not customizable so if you like a theme but want to make some changes to things like layout – you can’t. The whole reason to have a stand alone site, among other things, is to be able to control the way it looks and feels. The Etsy support says it is something they are looking into for future updates but do you know how long it took them to add something as simple as just 5 more categories to main Etsy stores – well over 5 years.
I am sure there are other reasons why but off hand these are my first thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re not technical at all and don’t have any idea of where to start or even care to take the time to learn – Etsy Pattern might be a viable choice. No doubt, it is a prettier choice than a main Etsy shop and does limit access to competition.
BUT… If you’re looking to build a business – I implore you to please have a web presence of your own outside of Etsy. Don’t put all your eggs in that single basket. Diversify A LOT.. Why not put your products on Amazon Handmade or Storenvy or Zibbet too and use your own website as a home base location to focus your social media and marketing efforts on. Use places like Etsy and the others as a way to win over customers and then market your website to them.
As promised, if you’re looking for Etsy Pattern alternatives that are stand alone, here are a few…
- Start a Blog with WordPress & Bluehost and use free Woocommerce shopping cart plugin.
- Shopify – Comes with a 14-day free trial.
- 3dcart – Comes with a 15-day free trial.
- Godaddy Online Stores – 1 month free trial.
- Weebly – Free & low priced sites available.
- BigCartel – Free & low priced sites available.
- BigCommerce – Free trial available.
- Volusion – Comes with 14-day free trial.
I hope this helps you make a decision on whether or not to use Etsy Pattern. I would love to hear what your opinion is on Pattern. Let me know below.