Dec 21, 2023

How to build a marketplace for handmade crafts

Creating an online marketplace for handmade crafts presents a promising business venture. If you are contemplating building such a website, this guide is for you as it delves into the reasons and methods behind establishing a marketplace for handmade crafts.

What is a marketplace for handmade crafts?

Online marketplaces for handmade crafts are platforms where artisans can sell their unique creations directly to customers. These marketplaces provide a wide range of handmade crafts, including jewelry, clothing, home decor, and more. They offer a convenient and accessible way for artisans to showcase and sell their products to a global audience. These platforms often have features that allow customers to communicate directly with the artisans, providing a personalized shopping experience. Additionally, online marketplaces for handmade crafts often have review systems that help build trust and credibility among buyers and sellers.

Why build a website for handmade crafts?

What are the benefits for buyers?

Buyers on a marketplace for handmade crafts benefit from a wide variety of unique and one-of-a-kind products that are not readily available in mainstream stores. They have the opportunity to support independent artisans and small businesses directly, fostering a sense of community and personal connection. Additionally, buyers can often find customized or personalized items that can be tailored to their specific preferences and needs.

What are the benefits for sellers?

Sellers on a marketplace for handmade crafts can reach a larger audience and expand their customer base beyond their local community. They have the opportunity to showcase their creativity and craftsmanship to a global market, increasing their chances of making sales. Additionally, sellers can receive valuable feedback and reviews from customers, helping them improve their products and grow their business.

What are the benefits for the marketplace owner?

The marketplace owner of a platform for handmade crafts benefits from a commission or fee structure, earning a percentage of each sale made on the platform. As the number of sellers and buyers increases, the marketplace owner's revenue potential grows. Additionally, the owner can establish a reputation as a trusted platform for handmade crafts, attracting more sellers and buyers and solidifying their position in the market.

Successful marketplaces for handmade crafts

Here are a few thriving online marketplaces that cater specifically to handmade crafts. Analyzing and benchmarking these platforms can provide valuable insights into the market and assist you in finding your own path within it.

  1. Etsy: Etsy is one of the most popular online marketplaces for handmade crafts. It provides a platform for artisans and crafters to sell their unique handmade products worldwide.

  2. Handmade at Amazon: Handmade at Amazon is a dedicated marketplace for handmade crafts. It offers a wide range of handmade products, including jewelry, home decor, clothing, and more.

  3. ArtFire: ArtFire is an online marketplace that focuses on handmade crafts, art, and vintage items. It allows artisans to sell their handmade products directly to customers.

  4. Zibbet: Zibbet is a marketplace that supports independent artists, crafters, and vintage sellers. It offers a platform for artisans to sell their handmade crafts, art, and other creative products.

  5. Folksy: Folksy is a UK-based online marketplace that specializes in handmade crafts and supplies. It provides a platform for artisans to sell their unique handmade products to a targeted audience.

What features does a platform for handmade crafts need?

The most important functionality of a marketplace for handmade crafts would be the ability to showcase and sell products effectively. This includes features such as:

  1. Product listings: The marketplace should allow sellers to create detailed listings for their handmade crafts, including high-quality images, descriptions, pricing, and other relevant information.

  2. Search and filtering: Users should be able to easily search for specific crafts or browse through different categories. The marketplace should provide advanced filtering options to help users find exactly what they are looking for.

  3. Secure transactions: The platform should have a secure payment system in place to facilitate smooth and safe transactions between buyers and sellers. This may include options for various payment methods and integration with trusted payment gateways.

  4. Seller profiles and reviews: Each seller should have a dedicated profile page where they can showcase their crafts, provide information about their brand, and receive reviews and ratings from previous customers. This helps build trust and credibility among buyers.

  5. Communication and messaging: The marketplace should have a messaging system that allows buyers and sellers to communicate directly, ask questions, negotiate prices, and discuss customizations or special requests.

  6. Shipping and logistics: The platform should provide options for sellers to manage shipping and logistics efficiently. This may include integration with shipping carriers, automated shipping labels, and tracking information for buyers.

  7. Marketing and promotion: The marketplace should offer tools and features to help sellers promote their crafts and reach a wider audience. This may include options for featured listings, social media sharing, and marketing campaigns.

  8. Customer support: A reliable customer support system is crucial for addressing any issues or concerns that buyers or sellers may have. This may include a dedicated support team, FAQs, and a knowledge base.

Overall, the most important functionality of a marketplace for handmade crafts is to provide a user-friendly and secure platform that connects buyers and sellers, facilitates transactions, and promotes the unique and creative products of artisans.

What are the options & costs of building a marketplace for handmade crafts?

Costs of building from scratch

Building a marketplace for handmade crafts from scratch can involve several costs. Firstly, there will be expenses related to website development, including design, front-end and back-end development, and database setup. These costs can vary depending on the complexity and functionality of the marketplace.

Additionally, there will be costs associated with hosting the website and ensuring its security. This may involve purchasing a domain name, acquiring hosting services, and implementing SSL certificates to protect user data.

Furthermore, building a marketplace requires the integration of various features such as user registration, product listings, search functionality, shopping cart, payment gateways, and order management. The development and integration of these features will incur additional costs.

Moreover, marketing and promotion expenses should be considered to attract sellers and buyers to the marketplace. This may involve online advertising, social media campaigns, content creation, and search engine optimization.

Lastly, ongoing maintenance and support costs should be taken into account. This includes bug fixes, updates, server maintenance, and customer support.

Overall, the costs of building a marketplace for handmade crafts from scratch can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on the complexity and scale of the project.

Other options for constructing a marketplace for handmade crafts

Developing an online marketplace for handmade crafts from the ground up is a significant, costly endeavor. However, nowadays, there are numerous alternative methods to construct a marketplace that do not necessitate a substantial budget.

The choice you should make depends on:

  • The features you believe your marketplace requires
  • Your technical abilities (or the skills possessed by your team)
  • Your budget
  • The amount of time available.

The various methods for constructing a marketplace include:

  • Utilizing WordPress and plugins
  • Building on top of open-source software
  • Utilizing a combination of no-code tools
  • Utilizing a dedicated no-code marketplace SaaS tool
  • Developing on top of an API-based marketplace SaaS tool

In addition to considering your constraints in terms of skills and budget, you should also consider the speed of learning. Launching your platform for handmade crafts quickly enables you to rapidly gain insights about your audience. These insights assist you in developing a platform that users prefer over any other existing solution.

Sharetribe's marketplace software is designed with this iterative learning process in mind.

Firstly, we assist you in launching a platform for handmade crafts in just one day without any coding. Use the 14-day free trial of Sharetribe's Build plan to get your marketplace ready fast. After the trial, you can subscribe to either continue building or launch your marketplace and go live.

Once you have launched, you can learn about the additional features and functionality that your platform needs to cater to your audience. You may wish to completely change the design and workflow, integrate multiple third-party services, or create a mobile app. With Sharetribe, you can easily customize all of these changes and much more, either on your own or with the assistance of our Expert partners.

At Sharetribe, we have been constructing marketplaces for over ten years. Our experience and expertise are available to you through our content resources, which you can access and utilize regardless of how you choose to construct your platform.

Best of luck with your website for handmade crafts!

Read more

Start your 14-day free trial

Create a marketplace today!

  • Launch quickly, without coding
  • Extend infinitely
  • Scale to any size
Start free trial

No credit card required