Is an Etsy Pattern shop a good idea for a seller or will giving it a try be a horrible misstep? This is the current issue of Etsy controversy. (There’s always at least one, isn’t there?)
In case you’ve missed the announcements or rants (Count yourself blessed if it’s the second one!), here’s a nutshell: Etsy has debuted what they are calling a standalone website option – that terminology is debatable – which mirrors your Etsy shop and is fed through the same funnel on the transaction & fees side, but keeps your shop free of the distractions of the Etsy search bar, category menu, “You might also like…” lures, and all other means of buyers being easily sidetracked by other sellers’ shops and listings. There is a free 30-day trial and then a fee of $15/month.
I’ve spent a little time chatting about it with my Periscope viewers but thought it would be helpful to write a blog post that could be more slowly digested.
I am considering myself bipartisan when it comes to Pattern. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I do not agree that it’s for no one and is some sort of evil conspiracy. In my observations, most of the vocal naysayers seem to be missing the point that Pattern was not created for those who already have a standalone shop or the desire, margin, and plans to create one. It was designed for those who don’t and may never even get there.
With that in mind, Etsy has pretty much hit its target market. A couple of cases in point:
One seller I know shared that she’s cautiously excited about Pattern because her inventory is “painfully complex” and she thinks it will be worth it to have a separate domain to send buyers to that eliminates having to spend 5+ hours a week reconciling inventory across platforms.
This perspective is shared with permission from a Facebook group I’m part of:
When it comes to managing multiple platforms, a seller with no children or grown children has very different needs and margin than someone with babies or toddlers or multiple children at home. And a seller with a “day job” for whom Etsy is a side business is coming from a different place than someone who solely runs a business from home.
I created this infographic as a very simplified way to evaluate whether or not Pattern might be a good fit for you as an Etsy seller at this point in your life and business. If you decide it could be or are still not sure, read on for what I have observed so far as some of its major pros and cons.
Please note that I am not comparing Pattern to a true standalone shop. Any advantages I point out are in light of using Pattern as opposed to having no other online place to direct buyers outside of your shop on Etsy.
Etsy Pattern Pros
- You can use your own domain name; if you later decide to set up a separate website, you can just transfer the domain and redirect traffic there without having to change links, business cards, etc.
- While the theme options are limited, the end result looks more professional than an Etsy shop
- Hovering over a photo displays the full listing title and price in an attractive format–no truncated titles
- Social media/website links are always in the bottom menu area and are hyperlinked, not relegated only to the About page
- Since all listings are synced from Etsy, there is no extra work to add items to your Pattern shop
- Transactions are added to your orders page on Etsy (tagged as coming from Pattern), so managing inventory, processing orders, and printing shipping labels all integrate seamlessly with your on-Etsy workflow
- Pattern has its own dashboard and stats, so you can see the traffic flow separate from your shop on Etsy
- From the time someone enters your site all the way through checkout, that person sees only your items; there is no potential to click off to another seller’s listing or shop or be otherwise distracted by the options that are present when shopping on Etsy
Etsy Pattern Cons
- Buyers have to have an Etsy account in order to purchase
- Any internal links in your product descriptions will lead the buyer to your shop on Etsy (I consider this to be the biggest roadblock. Internal linking is an important strategy on Etsy, but it translates to a disaster when it comes to Pattern. I really hope Etsy finds a way to make those links redirect to the corresponding listings in a seller’s Pattern shop.)
- None of the themes pulls in your cover image; branding is limited to your shop name and icon
- If you’ve kept your own policies, they are displayed without any paragraph breaks you may have put in when editing them
- Setting up a shop requires that you accept Direct Checkout, so some sellers are eliminated either because they don’t want DC or because they can’t use DC due to where they live
- At this point, credit cards are the only payment options at checkout–there is no button even for integrated PayPal
- Still no ability to add an opt-in to your email list
There have also been concerns expressed about duplicate content and SEO, but that’s something I’ll cover in a separate post. I’ve spent some time digging into that and have a few initial observations to share.
If you have been torn about this new Etsy Pattern option, I hope this post has helped with some clarity. It’s a personal decision that only you can make based on your own life and business. I recommend not jumping in blindly but also not running away without considering it, especially if you have no intention of setting up a true standalone shop outside of Etsy in the near future.