Best E-Commerce Platforms to Sell Your X-Carve Projects

Many X-Carve owners purchase their machine seeking to turn their love of woodworking and carving into a part-time or eventually full-time business. There are countless success stories of makers who were able to take what they love and develop a fulfilling and lasting career.

But the first sale is the most difficult one to make.

For many creatives, jumping into the world of e-commerce and online marketplaces can be an intimidating one. There are so many types of e-commerce platforms and individual providers that it can be tough to know which ones best suit your needs.

In this article, we’ll look at three categories of e-commerce sites available for entrepreneurs and a few examples of each.

Marketplace Listing Platforms

Marketplace listing platforms are ideal for makers trying their hand at selling their projects. Marketplaces such as Etsy, Artfire, Amazon Handmade, and others put your products in front of a large audience.

Etsy

Etsy is the near-ubiquitous marketplace for selling homemade goods. Their straightforward, low-cost listing process makes it an ideal place to begin expanding your hobby into a side hustle. However, these low barriers-to-entry means they host many other sellers as well, so you’ll face some tough competition.


Etsy is a great place for makers looking to start selling their projects online.


  • Pricing

    • Listing Fee: $0.20 per item 

    • Transaction Fee: 5% of item price

    • Subscription Fee: (optional) $10/month for ‘Etsy Plus’; the plan waives the listing fee for 15 items ($3 value)

  • Pros

    • Easy, low-cost listing and shop set up

    • Exposure to a huge audience (shoppers spent more than $5 billion on Etsy last year)

    • Built-in analytics tools

    • Great support, handbooks, and step-by-step guides for selling and running your shop

  • Cons

    • Nearly 3 million other sellers on Etsy (that’s a lot of competition!)

    • Large manufacturers sell on Etsy as well, furthering the oversaturation of sellers

    • Doesn’t provide in-depth shop customization


Artfire

There are a number of Etsy-alternative marketplaces out there that provide many of the same features but with a much less saturated market. Artfire is one of those alternatives with a strong focus on its user community. Like its larger competitor, Artfire is a handmade and vintage goods marketplace. Although large brands and manufacturers are allowed to sell on Artfire, there are categories that allow users to filter commercial goods out so they can focus on smaller artisans and makers. However, Artfire requires sellers to purchase a subscription to begin selling their products. 


Artfire is a solid alternative to Etsy, great for new makers looking to begin expanding their side hustle.


  • Pricing

    • Listing Fees: $0.23 per item at the lowest subscription plan

    • Transaction Fees: 12.75% of item value at lowest subscription plan; 4.5% at higher levels

    • Subscription Fees: Plans range from $5-$40 per month

  • Pros

    • Users don’t need an account to make a purchase which leads to higher conversion rates

    • Great support for sellers including marketing and SEO strategies

    • List 250+ items

    • No ads on shop or item pages

  • Cons

    • Subscriptions are required for sellers; entry-level subscription features are rather limited compared to the pricier ones

    • Some users are starting to complain that many of the features are a bit outdated

    • Limited customization

Multichannel Platforms

For makers who already have multiple active sales channels such as Etsy, eBay, or other e-commerce platforms, multichannel platforms integrate those channels into a single easy to manage interface.

Zibbet

Zibbet is the most popular multichannel platform out there. It provides users with the ability to manage their own customizable website or sell directly on their marketplace, integrating storefronts from Etsy, Facebook Shop, Instagram, and more. Through Zibbet, users can publish changes to products, update inventory, and manage orders across all channels. 


Zibbet is a great opportunity to get a feel for managing a stand-alone storefront; especially those with established shops elsewhere.


  • Pricing

    • Listing Fees: none

    • Transaction Fees: none

    • $5 per channel per month

  • Pros

    • Connect to multiple marketplaces

    • Great starting point for managing stand-alone website

    • No listing or transaction fees

  • Cons

    • Zibbet Marketplace has a much smaller audience than Etsy or eBay

    • Pre-set themes limit customization

Stand Alone Online Shops

For makers looking to set out on their own, take a look at e-commerce platforms which allow users to open stand-alone websites.

IndieMade

IndieMade is not a marketplace but instead is a service that allows creatives and entrepreneurs to design and manage a site of their own. Makers will have greater independence and control over their shop while still being able to take advantage of tools specifically made for entrepreneurs seeking to grow their business. However, the number of pages, listed products, and other features are limited by your subscription plan. IndieMade also allows shop owners to connect to their Etsy account.


IndieMade is a great place for sellers seeking more independence than Etsy or other marketplaces provide without leaving those platforms completely.


  • Pricing

    • Listing fee: none

    • Transaction fee: none

    • Subscription fee: $5-$20 per month

  • Pros

    • Improved flexibility for your own store

    • Integrated analytics and reporting tools as well as SEO and marketing capabilities 

    • Connect inventory with Etsy

  • Cons

    • Subscription plans limit features

    • No marketplace means you’ll need to develop marketing strategies of your own

Shopify

From big national brands to independent makers, Shopify is perhaps the most recognized e-commerce platform in the world. The subscription-based hosting service works similar to other services like Squarespace and Wix, allowing users to develop their own websites with a wide variety of customization options.


Shopify provides a great opportunity to create and manage a website shop without the hassle of learning coding and web development.


  • Pricing

    • Listing fees: none

    • Transaction Fees: 0.5% - 2% depending on subscription

    • Subscription Fees: $30-$300 per month

  • Pros

    • In-depth customization

    • Robust inventory management and marketing tools

    • No listing fees

  • Cons

    • No marketplace means you’ll need to develop marketing strategies of your own


Whether you’re just beginning your entrepreneurial journey or looking to expand your side hustle into something full-time, these platforms and others like them can provide a fantastic opportunity to grow your business and achieve your goals.


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