I'm new at selling vintage so what platform is best? Ebay or Etsy

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Chatter - Anything and everything' started by Emma Boo, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Emma Boo

    Emma Boo Registered Guest

    Hi Everybody, I dont know if i have the right area of the forum for my query but he goes :)

    I'm somebody who collects vintage as a hobby and found its taking over my house and I want to sell some of it.

    What would be the best platform me to sell the items? My items aren’t couture or huge designer labels, just bits and bobs I’ve found over the years.

    I could make a website but I don’t really want to start selling as a business either.
    I already have an ebay business and really don’t want to mix my personal sales with my business sales, same goes for my ecommerce website (as I’m new at selling vintage, I know I will be making mistakes and don’t want my day job to suffer).

    I have tried selling on a stall at the weekends in my local area and it went quite well but I also have a bricks and mortar shop too and time issues caused problems.

    I have noticed a lot of sellers here use Etsy and I’m wondering is it just for businesses and is it better than Ebay?

    With Ebay I will have to set up a new account so I’m worried if that will have a bad effect on potential sales of having no feedback, would this also be an issue with Etsy?

    The other thing I’ve noticed is that Etsy seem to sell in dollars does that mean the customers are mainly from the US? Do a lot of UK sellers use this site and is shipping costs an issue?

    Sorry for the gazillion questions and thank you :)
  2. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

    it is purely a matter of personal opinion, and i will say that i love Etsy, and i really don't care for Ebay, although i know there are alot of people who still sell (successfully) there.

    the main thing is that for someone just starting out, Etsy is very easy to use, and very inexpensive, and therefore a good way to get one's feet wet.

    We've been on Ruby Lane for nearly 10 years now, and are extremely happy there, especially for our clothing, accessories and homewares: however, we use Etsy for our "younger" vintage from the 80s, mostly, with a few early 90s items, there, too, that we would not consider having in our RL shop.

    shipping costs are shipping costs are shipping costs, no matter where you sell, that cost factor will be the same. International buyers understand (for the most part) that if they are buying from far away, the shipping expenses are simply part of the cost of buying an item.

    i wish you the best of luck in your new venture!!
  3. EndlessAlley

    EndlessAlley Trade Member

    I sell most of my items on Etsy, but do occasionally sell on eBay. To sell on Etsy your items need to be at least 20 years old. Occasionally I have good pieces that do not meet the 20 year requirement and I look to eBay to sell those items. Also I find that some items will sell for a higher price on one eBay than Etsy. I have better luck with selling St. John on eBay than Etsy. I usually do a search on both sites to determine which site to list on. Another consideration is if I'm looking for a quick sale, I'll turn to eBay Auction. All in all despite some advantages, I limit my listings on eBay simply because the fees are so much higher.

    Regarding some of your other questions. Approximately 20 of my Etsy business is international, so I don't think the dollar question is a problem. I think other countries can look at an item in their own currency. I had no problems with starting to sell on eBay without feedback. But their push for a very generous return policy could be something to consider.

    One final thought, the more items you have for sale the larger the draw to your shop will be on Etsy - I'm working up to offering 100 plus listings. On eBay I can list only a few items in auction and I feel I still am getting a drawing to those items.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    I sell on ebay, I don't yet sell on etsy, but I'm planning to. I am in the UK so I thought I'd add my input, and I have spoken to other UK sellers who have etsy shops. I think each site has its plusses and minuses.

    Although there are UK sellers and buyers on Etsy, Etsy is not as well known here as it is the USA and Australia, so your buyers are more likely to be international ones there. Buyers can view listings in their own currency (everything has strange converted prices like £27.41). You will have to list in $.

    Whichever site you are using, shipping internationally does have its issues - are you familiar with this from your other business? There's the choice of tracked (International Signed For, or Airsure) or untracked mail (regular Airmail). You do have to pass the cost on to your buyer which may put them off if you use one of the tracked services, or use untracked Airmail which is cheap but more worrying! This rather depends on the price of your item. If you are selling something for £100, adding £20 for shipping isn't much of a problem, but if you're selling for £25, then it is, especially if the buyer can find something similar in their own country - and there's a lot more vintage available in the US. Then there are customs issues for outside the European Union. That said, I've done loads of international shipping, mostly untracked regular Airmail, and never had a major problem (I've had things take a long time to arrive, and had to deal with concerned buyers over that, but they got there eventually).

    If you use ebay, I think your buyers are more likely to be in the UK, which does makes things easier. Also as said above, if you want to move things quickly, ebay auction is good - it's one of the reasons I sell on ebay, I need to clear stuff out! But the fees are horrible, considerably higher, and that's why I plan to open on Etsy this year.
  5. Emma Boo

    Emma Boo Registered Guest

    Ive been doing shipping aboard for some years now and the type of new clothing I normally sell requires using international signed for, I even use 1st class signed for in the UK.
    We have had some bad experience in the past and thankfully our Ebay customers seem to love it and leave positive feedback on the speed of delivery.
    It might be worth me weighing the items (like I do with my new stock) to give a more accurate shipping cost and include it in the listing.
    We do a returns policy on my shop as we do have the new stock to swap with but it never occurred to me that Ebay would want one on Used/Vintage goods, thank you for pointing that out, I will have to look in to that a bit more.

    I know what you mean about high fee's on ebay, has given me nightmares in the past and thats what makes Etsy so appealing to me plus the amount of vintage listings.

    I think im going to open accounts on both and i suppose it does make better sense to aim for both audiences.

    Thank you so much for your replies, this forum is a treasure :)
  6. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    You don't need offer returns for auction items. You definitely have to offer returns on Buy It Nows if you are a business seller, but I think not if you are a private seller. This is all to do with the UK distance selling regulations, which I imagine you are familiar with. Same applies to Etsy, but I don't think Etsy enforce your compliance with the Distance selling regulations the way eBay do.
  7. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Trade Member

    I have used Ebay in the past just to clear out and found several points worth noting:
    • You can sell (virtually) anything there, even if you don't know what it is - somebody may pick up on it and pay more.
    • In the run up to Christmas and other big events, people tend to bid and pay more.
    • It is increasingly difficult to simply list - there are more and more things required and I find it takes a lot of time to list on Ebay.
    • It is expensive - you can virtually knock 10% off your final price in ebay fees, plus now they force paypal on you they will also take a cut including postal costs.
    • Their offer days are good, when you can list an auction starting at any price for free this can be a way to hit a new audience without so much risk.

      Etsy is completely different, I haven't been on there long at all but sold my first item overnight. It's simple and easy to list, you know the costs of your listing upfront. It's very international, 85% of my sales are abroad so far. Sales are sporadic depending on when you list (keep in mind time zones) as newest appear at the top of the site by default until you search and Etsy changes it to most relevant. But then I've been putting things up for sale with no advertising or links at all as I'm not a business (yet!) Lots of people have facebook pages, blogs, websites all going back to their Etsy page for sales. This creates more 'traffic' through your store. I think people who go to Etsy know what they want and are prepared to pay a set amount for it depending on the condition etc.

      Ruth why do you say you have to list in $? I list on Etsy in £GBP and when international users view them it just converts to their currency.
  8. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    Oh okay, I must be mistaken. I haven't sold yet on etsy, but when I looked into it I thought you had to list in $ and then Etsy converted it to local currencies - it may have changed it was ages ago I was investigating. That's good then - I was thinking I'd need to keep an eye on exchange rates!
  9. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    that's also very interesting, PinkCoke, that 85% of your sales have been outside UK - I've been wondering what kind of proportion it would be when I set up.
  10. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Trade Member

    Yes they did introduce the ability to list in your own currency not too long ago. I think the international interest is because there aren't the flood of vintage websites abroad like there is in the UK so they see it as a source. Also, some just don't make good clothing/shoes for sale in their own country. I think it's much harder for UK buyers to find Etsy listings unless you've helped it with some other media or avenue.
  11. Vmode

    Vmode Registered Guest

    I find Etsy a much much nicer selling platform, and it's more relaxed for the buyer, not being bombarded with a gazillion sponsored ad banners flashing around the place! eBay is typically a place for bargainhunting, and some items I wouldn't want to risk selling for lower than their worth, and in that respect I prefer Etsy.. although it goes the other way too! When 2+ bidders fancy your item who knows where they'll stop..!

    The layout of Etsy shops are cleaner and easier to navigate in my opinion and, as everyone's mentioned, the fees are mini in comparison. The trick is to update regularly with listing new items, or relisting older ones, to appear higher in the search results within Etsy and also on Google. I like the use of treasury features as promotion, whenever I've been on the front page with an item it stirs up a lot of traffic. Ooh also, their Shop Stats page provides a really helpful insight into where your customers/browsers are being directed from and what they're searching for to find you!

    I probably have about the same international buyers as Pink, but the UK is slowly getting in on the action..

    I LOOOOOOVE ETSSYYYYY :cheer: There I said it.
  12. Emma Boo

    Emma Boo Registered Guest

    Thank you so much for all your advice and experiances, im in the middle of setting up account on both selling platforms and hopefully things will go well, thank you once again :)
  13. VickiV

    VickiV Registered Guest

    Hi Emma Boo,
    I just came upon this post as I am in the process of making the same decision. I work full time and am just looking for a way to make a little extra money on the side without a terrible amount of hassle, selling some cute vintage items I've accumulated. Did you end up trying both ebay and etsy, and if so, what was your experience? Thanks for any advice!
  14. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

    VickiV ~ if you want to try to contact Emma directly? if you click on her avatar it will bring up her profile page. then, just click on "start a conversation", and if she has entered her email info, she will get a message directly from you.

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