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The Etsy Strike and Why You Should Build Your Own Ecommerce Website

May 20, 2022
"I wonder what would happen if on April 11, so many sellers put their shops on vacation mode that Etsy starts [getting worried]. And then they have no choice but to negotiate with us." — Kristi Cassidy.

That was a call to action that Kristi Cassidy (one of the strike organizers) made on Reddit in late February after Etsy announced that it would increase seller transaction fees from 5% to 6.5%.

Kristi Cassidy’s Reddit post triggered a week-long strike that started on April 11, 2022. Thousands of sellers put their Etsy shops in “vacation mode” to protest the fee hike. Besides that, an online petition outlining their demands had well over 85,000 signatures by May 2022.

Etsy's most recent fee increase was in July 2018, and the new fee structure more than doubled in less than four years. The fee increase also came on the heels of Etsy's phenomenal growth, and the company followed up on its gains by putting more burden on its sellers.

The company benefited greatly during the 2020 pandemic as customers avoided stores and turned to online retailers. As a result, active sellers on Etsy generated $12.2 billion in gross merchandise sales in 2021, up from $5 billion in 2019.

In addition to transaction fees, Etsy sellers have to pay payment processing, listing, and shipping fees. They also have an additional cost between 12% to 15% whenever a customer purchases a product after clicking an ad (Offsite Ads program).

The Offsite Ads program makes Etsy fees unpredictable and can take more than 20% of each transaction. These site ad fees, coupled with the recent transaction fee increase, make it harder for small businesses to make a profit and sustain themselves on Etsy.

The Star Seller Program is another complaint that Etsy sellers have, which puts undue pressure on them, while they frequently complain about having to wait weeks or months for responses to urgent Etsy support tickets.

On top of that, AI-powered bots shut down legit seller accounts at random, while Etsy ignores resellers who undercut authentic makers and violate its policies.

As a result, Etsy sellers demanded:

  • Cancelation of the fee increase.
  • End of the Star Seller Program.
  • Allow all sellers to opt out of offsite ads.
  • Crackdown on resellers with a transparent, comprehensive plan, so sellers can hold Etsy accountable.
  • Give “Golden” support tickets to sellers affected by extreme AI actions such as account termination and 45/90 day holds.

How Did the Etsy Strike End?

Etsy said that less than 1% of sellers went into "vacation mode." And that the week-long sellers' strike to protest a 30% increase in transaction fees had no material impact on its sales. It also said that churn had remained at normal levels in the first quarter of 2022.

While Etsy claims there was no impact at the macro level, some sellers echoed a widespread sentiment to Reuters, telling them they'd look for alternatives to create their own website.

For example, Allyson Reed, who sells animal bones-based artwork in Indianapolis, left Etsy to build her own website saying, "The fee increase just didn't make sense to me. It was a kick in the pants to the little guy."

Why You Should Have Your Own Ecommerce Website

Ecommerce store by StoreBuilder.

If you want to have more control over how you run your store and receive payments, it makes sense to have your own ecommerce website.

By running your own store, you can:

  • Minimize the cost per sale since reaching consumers directly through your website will help you save on third-party seller fees.
  • Market through social media and search engines since your website will appear on the top search results. You can also build trust and confidence with your audience through ratings and reviews.
  • Get unique opportunities to drive brand loyalty and increase repeat sales. You'll have the freedom to sign up new shoppers, encourage them to visit your social media pages, and offer them value through content and other helpful resources to increase engagement and brand recognition.
  • Venture into cross-promotional marketing that'll help you earn more revenue. You can't do this kind of marketing on platforms like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay because of their rules and policies.
  • Have several marketing opportunities that third-party marketplaces or sellers don't provide. For example, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) can help ensure you drive traffic and customers to your ecommerce website.

Why StoreBuilder Is the Best Alternative to Etsy

StoreBuilder lets you launch an ecommerce store and start your online business faster than any other solution on the market.

StoreBuilder is built around sellers’ success and addresses the pain points of Etsy sellers. With StoreBuilder, you won’t have to worry about:

  • Increased Fees — Etsy increased its seller fees by 30%, more than doubling in less than four years. StoreBuilder doesn’t have transaction fees or costly add-ons — your website, data, and profits belong to you.
  • Star Seller Program — Etsy passively tries to influence seller behavior on the platform, which results in a bad customer experience. With StoreBuilder, you own your online store and what you put into it. You'll have total freedom and flexibility.
  • Offsite Ads Program — Etsy sellers aren't in control of how much they spend on ads, which listings to advertise, and whether or not to advertise. Besides that, Etsy usually forces its sellers to foot its advertising costs. But StoreBuilder harnesses the power of the best ecommerce solutions on the market to help you grow your brand effortlessly.
  • Poor Support — Etsy sellers have to wait for months to appeal to AI-made decisions that prevent them from accessing their earnings or running their businesses entirely. In contrast, StoreBuilder offers you fast, friendly support when you need it. You can speak to our ecommerce experts by phone, email, or chat 24/7/365.

Final Thoughts: The Etsy Strike and Why You Need Your Own Ecommerce Store

After the Etsy seller strike, most ecommerce business owners are looking for Etsy alternatives. You might have sold your crafts and creative items on Etsy for years, but the platform might no longer be viable.

StoreBuilder comes with everything you need to sell your products online, add items to carts, and seamlessly checkout with shipping costs and tax calculations.

If you’re ready to build your first ecommerce store, get started with Nexcess StoreBuilder and sell your products online worry-free.

Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman

Maddy Osman is a WordPress expert and WordCamp US speaker. She is a WordCamp Denver organizer and also operates The Blogsmith, an SEO content agency for B2B tech companies that works with clients like HubSpot, Automattic, and Sprout Social. Learn more about The Blogsmith's process and get in touch to talk content strategy: www.TheBlogsmith.com