If you’re selling on Etsy or considering it, you’ve probably heard of Pattern, Etsy’s website builder. This is not a new feature, it was first released in 2016, so it’s time for a review!
Should you use it?
Is it worth it?
Let’s get into it.
When Etsy announced it, I was pretty excited, because I am the website girl. The branding girl. I love graphic design, web design… That’s my background originally. I was excited about the opportunity of having a professional looking site without the hassle of setting up a website from scratch. It would pull your listings from Etsy and help you set a shop on your own domain with an easy drag and drop builder.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, to be honest, I am not really sold – in fact in a couple of minutes, I am going to advise you NOT to use Pattern (just being honest here).
But first, let’s review the basics:
How much does it cost?
Here’s the breakdown of the costs:
- $15 a month (as of July 2018).
- The listing fees that you pay on Etsy only apply for items that you sell on the Etsy marketplace, so they do not apply to Pattern. You get a free listing on Pattern if that item is sold on the Pattern only. If you sell it on the Etsy marketplace, but also on your Pattern website, then you still pay the $0.2 listing fee from Etsy.
- Same transaction fee you usually have on Etsy (5% of the item price).
- You do have to buy your own domain name, which costs usually $10 – $15 for a full year.
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What does it do?
It takes your Etsy listing (or any new listings you might want to add) and adds them to a custom domain/website (e.g. www.mycuteshop.com) so that people can buy from you there instead of the Etsy marketplace.
It will also let you pick up a theme (design and layout) for your shop and make changes pretty easily. I think there are better options with Shopify or WordPress, but it is easy to make changes to it and it is really, really easy to set up if you already have an Etsy shop.
Why is this remotely interesting?
It is more professional to get your own website and it is a growth strategy that I always end up recommending to Etsy sellers as they grow out and want to expand outside of Etsy. For some people, I would also recommend getting your own website from the start. The fact that Pattern is easy to set up and that you don’t have to understand how WordPress or Shopify work because you already have your Etsy store is really attractive.
There’s also no need for stock management like with Etsy store + WordPress or Shopify website. I know a lot of makers often complain that once they have their own website, they got to watch out because some people will be buying on their Shopify store and then on their Etsy and so they have to make sure that the inventory and the stock is dealt with. You don’t want to be selling something on Etsy that maybe you sold out and because you sold it on Shopify and Pattern simplifies that as well because it really is all under the same Etsy umbrella.
Why I think you should stay away
I believe that when you sign up for Pattern you’re losing what Etsy does best, which is bringing traffic to the platform for you and putting buyers in front of your products, without getting any of the benefits that you would have from a website building platform like Shopify or WordPress.
Let’s get into more details:
- You still have to pay the Etsy fees and on top of that, you have to pay $15 a month. It’s honestly a lot considering how many features they actually give you access to for that amount of money. So yes, you don’t have to pay for hosting, for example, that’s included in your $15 a month, but with WordPress, you can find hosting for as little as $5 a month. With Shopify, it is a bit more expensive, but it is because it comes with a ton of features, flexibility and more support. You can be sure that Shopify or WordPress will grow with your business and that you will always be able to add marketing features and add-ons or plugins as you need them and as your business grows, which you don’t get with Etsy Pattern.
- In terms of the design, you also have much more options available to you with WordPress or Shopify and most themes on those platforms are really easy to modify and to play with. It’s not super easy, like with Etsy Pattern, but there are themes that are great and that can help you get set up really quickly and make changes without knowing a single line of code. I have workshops on how to set up your WordPress or Shopify store that also will guide you through the process.
- Something else that I found a little bit disappointing about Pattern by Etsy was analytics. With Pattern, you get just the same thing as you are getting with your Etsy shop, which is not great to start with. With Shopify or WordPress you can integrate fully with something like Google analytics and really dive deeper into understanding the behavior of your visitor on your shop and change your marketing strategy accordingly. It’s really important if you’re serious about growing this handmade shop. I want you to think long term here and I just don’t think that Pattern will be enough for you to grow as much as you want to.
- Another thing that comes to mind is that I want you to own your business rather than rent it. The concern with Etsy Pattern is what if Etsy decides to close Pattern tomorrow? I know they don’t have any plans to, but a couple of weeks ago they actually decided to close the whole wholesale Etsy feature and we didn’t know about that until they announced it. If you’re going to have your own branded shop on your own domain, and NOT take advantage of the Etsy search results like you do with a regular Etsy shop, then go the REAL independent way and use WordPress or Shopify instead. Don’t put all of your eggs in the same one Etsy basket is my top recommendation here.
Building a platform the way WordPress and Shopify have taken time and a lot of work. That’s why they both do it so well because it’s their CORE purpose and sole focus. That’s not the case with Etsy.
Etsy is good at gathering handmade shop buyers and driving that traffic to the Etsy platform to give you an opportunity to show your products to them if you use the right tags
BUT Etsy is not going to focus on Pattern the way they would need to to take it to the next level and offer as good of a service as WordPress or Shopify do. It’s just not their thing.
So use Etsy for what they’re good at: a marketplace with traffic.
The moment you lose that traffic Etsy doesn’t really give much with Pattern.
Have you used Pattern or are using it? What’re your thoughts on it? Id’ love to know and continue the conversation below.
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