Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pros and Cons of Square Market

Ahhhh Square. Every crafter's reasonably-priced credit card processing friend. This lovely company recently started an online marketplace so customers could purchase items from local businesses without leaving home. I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, it turned out to be my least favorite option as a free Etsy alternative. Click on the image above to take a look at my Square shop.

  • Operates under your existing Square account if you have one. When you add an item, it also becomes available in your Square app that you use to process credit cards.
  • New look. My Square shop looks vastly different from my Etsy shop, which I like. I think Square's look is sleek and pretty.
  • Unlimited free listings! Buyers use their credit card to purchase items and Square takes a small percentage of the purchase price. The rest is deposited into the seller's bank account. I love the fact that Square only makes money when its sellers make money.
  • Items are only available to buyers who live in the USA. Others might see this as a "con," but it makes shipping profiles a lot easier to handle. With the skyrocketing price of international shipping and those pesky customs forms, I can't say I miss it here.

  • Difficult to set up. When you first start, your items are "online" but not "for sale." You have to check a box in your shop profile to sell publicly. For the longest time, I tried checking the box, and it would uncheck itself. It finally "stuck" after about 20 minutes.
  • It takes FOREVER for your items to show up in a search on Square's main page. We're talking weeks.
  • Only one photo per item. Come on, Square! ONE photo? REALLY? I feel like I have to link to an entirely different web site with alternate views of my products. Or create one photo that's a montage of many photos. Ain't nobody got time for that.
  • There's a semblance of a "quantity" feature there, but it's so limited I can't use it. The options for availability are "one" or "many." What if I have 10, list my quantity as "many" and someone orders 15?
  • Square has a variation feature (so you can add options for size etc.) but your customers only see it if they're using an iPad. Wait... what?
  • Items and sections are listed alphabetically. I wish it was arranged by date or relevancy. I named my sections "section 1 - rings," "section 2 - necklaces," etc. to get them in the order I wanted. I'm tempted to do the same thing with my items. "Amazing necklace," "beautiful necklace," "cute necklace," "delicate necklace"...
  • Listing items is pretty easy, but it's also sort of easy to skip over the "price" section while you're filling in other things. The default price is $0, and they don't stop you from posting items for free. Every time I put something up, I have to check to make sure I'm not giving things away ;)
  • No shop stats at all. Nothing. I have no idea how many times my shop or items have been viewed. It makes it very difficult to gauge the potential of this site.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pros and Cons of Zibbet

As promised, here are my thoughts on my free Zibbet shop. I decided to start with this one first since it's my favorite of the three free alternatives to Etsy that I've tried. I started listing items in mid-November and now have 42 items up for sale. Click on the image above if you'd like to see my shop.

  • Easy integration of existing Etsy shop. I was able to download a file from Etsy and upload it to Zibbet. Not everything translated exactly correctly, but with a little editing I was able to get most of my items up without completely re-writing everything.
  • Nice community. I've had a few of my items pinned on pinterest by fellow Zibbet sellers. I was also featured in a blog within a day of setting up my Zibbet shop.
  • Shop performance stats. I've been able to check up on my items. When I'm updating and listing items, I get a decent amount of views. The shop stats aren't as detailed and extensive as they are on Etsy, but at least they're there.
  • No fees for selling with a free account, even if something sells. Zibbet makes all their profits from paid, premium accounts.
  • I've heard lots of rumors that Zibbet will be unrolling an update in early 2014. I'm asked at every turn what I think of my experience on Zibbet and how it can be improved. It will be interesting to see how they evolve.

  • Lack of (free) features that Etsy has. You can't list multiple quantities of an item without paying extra.
  • Limit of 50 items unless you pay for a premium account.
  • No item variations. From what I can tell, there's no way to let a buyer select a variation on an item (size, etc.) even if you pay extra.
  • It appears that buyers have to use paypal. There is no "direct checkout" like on Etsy.
  • Almost TOO similar to Etsy. It would have been nice to get a fresh look from this new site, but it just feels like a copycat web site.