The (anti) Procrastination Diaries

Finding the ways to fill the time

Etsy Alternative: Zibbet

Almost an entire calendar month has passed since I opened a shop on Zibbet.True to its word, Zibbet offers a completely free selling experience, and a reasonable amount of features with it. More than that, the site is trying hard to create a supportive and sympathetic community, readily welcoming refugees from sites with a higher degree of cliqueishness and alienation.

Initially, I found Zibbet’s format hard to warm to. I felt it was calculatedly designed to emulate Etsy, the ultimate competitor in online handmade sales, with a white background and squared thumbnails of recently listed items.

Etsy’s front page

Can you note the similarities?

And here’s Zibbet’s front page

On registering things looked more positive. New members are confronted with the standard tick/cross list of features for the two different accounts, but Zibbet includes some shiny ones for free such as:

  • No 3rd party advertising in your store (though you still get to read some)
  • Stats (basic, but available and apparently improvements are coming)
  • Performance stats and optimisation in Google search
  • Listings in Google product seach and TheFind.com

Reserved for Premium Sellers is rotation on the home page, more sharing options like a Facebook App and inclusion in “Gift Guides”, as well as sale enhancers like Gift Certificates and Coupons.

Premium Zibbet store owner, Sunfire, enjoys the greater degree of customisation, saying, ” I also love that we can change the color scheme to match our business branding. ”

The paid option is popular. 4 to 1 in my questionnaire respondents group happily pay the yearly rate of $79, while SweetSouthernVintage, the lone free user is waiting on the inclusion of ‘guest checkouts’ before committing.

My main focus is free Etsy alternatives so I checked the box and signed in.

To do list for new sellers

Be warned, setting up a Zibbet account properly will not take 5 minutes.

There is a bit a brain exercise involved in considering how to word your shop Policies and deciding exactly how much you will charge in shipping, or whether you want to offer refunds for damaged in transport goods.

How my policies page turned out

Luckily, some hardworking Zibbet blogger has written up How Tos with handy advice and tips on wording (copy/paste).

But still, between looking up whether Japan Post’s Registered Mail offered tracking or not, fighting unsuccessfully with the banner uploader (though everyone else has nice ones ><) and adding tax to my items, I felt a little overwhelmed, bored and with only enough effort to post up two items with their single included photographs.

And then ignore my store for a week.

Hmm, maybe time to get some feedback from the community. I emailed off short questionnaires to sellers, and over the course of the month received five replies. Click the banner and take a closer look at their shops, because, in taking the time to help flesh out this post, they are obviously lovely and helpful people.

Madelynns Closet Boutique Retail and Wholesale!
http://www.zibbet.com/MadelynnsClosetBoutique
Premium seller
Member since: Apr 15th, 2012

Fadoodles
http://www.zibbet.com/Fadoodles/profile
Premium seller
Member since Apr 17th, 2012

Breathofthedragon
http://www.zibbet.com/breathofthedragon
Premium seller
Member: since Nov 17th, 2010

Though I sent off about 20 emails to a variety of sellers of Handmade, Vintage, Supplies etc, both Premium and Free, sales and no sales, members from 2009 onwards, three of the five who replied were sellers as new to Zibbet as I, opening their shops in April 2012.

All respondents were happy with the value and support provided, frequently mentioning the ease of use of the site and the warmth of the community.

” It is a lot cheaper than Etsy or Artfire. You just pay a set amount and you can list as much as you can. With other sites you pay per listing. ” said Madelynn.

Sunfire concurred, “ I was on Etsy for 3 years, had 100 sales, but had to leave because the fees were costing too much, especially since you were encouraged to relist regularly, which was another $0.20 every time. When you are selling things for $5, it doesn’t take long to stop making a profit. ”

Zoe, “I’m not working for Zibbet” :P, gave an enthusiastic endorsement,  “Their support staff is the best I’ve encountered on the web- friendly, extremely helpful & very quick to respond to questions or problems. I never feel like I’m bothering them, unlike on some other sites. I like the site navigation, too. It’s very user-friendly… In interacting with everyone, you really get the sense of the attitude that everyone wants you to succeed. ”

Concerns lay with low sales and traffic. A valid concern as, according to Alexa a statistics summary website, Zibbet has a global ranking of 74, 598 compared to Etsy’s 157, and in the US it’s 20,367 to 54 respectively.

Premium seller Fadoodles said, ” I have yet to sell anything but … have had over 100 views so far. ” While Free account user, SweetSouthernVintage, said she’d had, “Very few views. ”

Even veteran Zoe admitted, ” I have not been as successful as I’d like. However, that’s really my own fault. I have not put as much energy into getting my product listed. ” She continued, “I know several people who are very successful with Zibbet, and have discussed their methods. (SEO, promoting on Twitter & Facebook, etc) ”

However all sites and all stores have to start somewhere.

Overall, despite my early reservations about Zibbet, the strongly positive responses I received during the questionnaire encouraged me to reassess. It has impressed me with a dynamic vibe, a sense of continual growth and adaptation for the better of both buyers and sellers, generated by hands on, responsive moderators .

Once I did venture into the community forums I found the community as warmly encompassing as promised, welcoming to new users, geting to know each other better through the in-browser chat applet and hosting groups like the WTFS (working together for sales).

A site design overhaul reputedly in the works might see the rough corners further smoothed off, and greater functionality and features to lure shoppers and boost up the statistics.

For me, while some increased involvement with my store may be in order, I am happy with the free version for now, maybe following the example of Sunfire who prudently waited to invest after sales success:

” I started out with a free account in January 2011. By July, I had made enough money in sales to cover a year of Premium, so I took the opportunity. My second shop, however, has always been basic  If that shop has consistent sales and makes enough money, I will probably upgrade it as well.”

Coming soonish, currently being road-tested and members interrogated, is Yokaboo.

Click here to read the full answers from the five Zibbet sellers

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12 comments on “Etsy Alternative: Zibbet

  1. Pingback: Free Etsy Alternatives: Yokaboo « The (anti) Procrastination Diaries

  2. Pingback: Roadtesting Free Etsy Alternatives « The (anti) Procrastination Diaries

  3. Riley Jade
    April 18, 2013

    You may want to check-out Storemate.com and artfire.com as good alternatives.
    If you want something different try out storemate.com, I registered on storemate.com and seen some sharp increase in the traffice directed to my website.
    Unlike easy and artfire they are not restricted to handmade, I get to promote to a bigger audience (all design buffs).
    The best about storemate is, I get to help out my customers in real-time using their ‘Talk-About’ feature. Helping out with questions on custom options, shipping queries etc in realtime.
    I even passed on exclusive discounts to them during these help-out sessions, which turned casual enquiries into quick sales and followers for me.
    I have been Storemate’s “Featured Designer” for 3 weeks, straight! ( My proud moment!) 😀

    • Vividhunter
      April 19, 2013

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll take a look!

  4. vickie
    August 13, 2013

    Thank you, this very helpful in conclusion of my decision. Here’s to it, let’s do it!

  5. Kristin Morrison
    October 19, 2013

    Thousands of sellers have signed up for the site in the last 6 weeks since Etsy announced it allowing outside manufacturing on their site plus drop shipping.Zibbet has made a commitment to the handmade,vintage,fine art and suppliers to remain true to the original handmade message.The Zibbet site has started a campaign to promote handmade you should check out iPledgeHandmade.com and sign the pledge I did.

  6. Rhonda Hood Morrell
    March 23, 2014

    goodness…quite telling that only one out of the 5 premium shops above when I clicked on their banners can now be found as pages on the site

    • Rhonda Hood Morrell
      March 23, 2014

      just checked again… and one on vacay and 2 are now showing?

      • Vividhunter
        March 23, 2014

        Thanks for your comments Rhonda ^^ I haven’t been keeping up to date with Zibbet at all. Do you have a favourite hand-made site?

  7. Felipe Liberman
    September 17, 2014

    I think the best place to sell is Shippi.com You choose your own url and they take care of the shipping so you don’t need to deal with UPS or Greyhound.

  8. denis90
    October 30, 2014

    I tried indigoly.com and it is great. It is special for African handmade products and everything is for free for now. Really great! Got a couple of sales in first ten days as well.

  9. James
    April 15, 2017

    seems there are quite a few marketplaces to sell handmade goods thesedays. ones I’ve recently come across are aha and puerlla. they may have been around for awhile though..

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