As Etsy went from being an unknown startup platform for the creatively inclined to one of the biggest online marketplaces on the internet, sellers started to think of ways to game the system. While that statement may make it sound ludicrous, this is quite a common practice in most online retail portals including Amazon and eBay.
So, why not on Etsy?
The idea is to create so many listings of your own that no other competitor turns up when a potential buyer searches for something on the store. You just flood the search results with multiple duplicate listings.
One of the easiest ways to do this was to create multiple accounts and stores for selling the same products. It worked like a charm for a while.
The sellers who were in the online ecommerce space for a while were well aware of the tricks that were needed to game the system in this manner. But then Etsy decided to crack down on it.
Duplicate shops were the first ones to be targeted and almost overnight, hundreds of sellers who had identical stores under different names disappeared from the search results creating a cleaner and fairer marketplace.
But there was a lot of confusion about what was allowed and what wasn’t. So Etsy made it a point to reach out to each seller who’s store were targeted or deleted completely and inform them about what was possible and what wasn’t.
One of the most common questions that sellers had was, ‘Can I have more than one Etsy Shop?’
Having a second Etsy Store
Etsy has clearly stated in its duplicate store policy that while it is completely legitimate to have two stores on Etsy, you cannot have stores that look like mirror images of each other. So, if you have three stores all of them selling handmade jewelry, you are violating Etsy’s terms and conditions and have every chance of inviting a penalty.
On the other hand, if you sell vintage china in one store and calligraphy sheets in the other, it makes more sense to sell them in separate stores rather than making it confusing for the customer to dig through a product catalog that contains items as different as chalk and cheese.
However, as tempting as it may seem to start a different store, experts advice to take your time before you jump head over heels into it because maintaining two stores may be more difficult than what you expect.
The challenges of running multiple stores
The most important thing that you need to know is that you will have to spend time, resources and money to prime each of your stores for generating sales. As entrepreneurial as it sounds, running multiple e-commerce stores is not easy even if they are on the same platform.
Many a times, people accidentally spend a lot of time managing one store and the other one suffers due to lack of attention. It is always safer to spend more time optimizing one store and flourish it.
This stands true even if you have multiple products to offer. The key here is the target audience. If all your products have the same customer demographics, then splitting up is not necessary. If anything it will only reduce the exposure that all your products get from the primary store.
Why spend double the efforts trying to grab eyeballs when you already have an established storefront to use?
When to open multiple Etsy shops
The ideal scenario that warrants the use of multiple Etsy stores is if you have completely different products that are intended for different audience demographics. This is a possibility even if you have very similar products but different target audiences. For example, if you sell jewelry in one store and have plans to sell cutlery too, then you have your target audience split up. Go for multiple stores by all means.
We have also seen some sellers with multiple stores selling similar but unique and distinct products. A store that was selling personalized wedding hangers for example also had burlap stockings as an offering and decided to create an off shoot store. Even though there is a similarity, one is a holiday offering while the other is a huge market opportunity in itself.
Tips for managing multiple stores
If despite all the argument, you are all set to juggle multiple stores, then here are a few tips that may come in handy when you set out to manage them.
If you manage the Etsy store on a Laptop or a desktop computer, then use multiple browsers to ensure that you receive the right sales notifications and requests from potential customers for all your stores. If you are on a tablet, this can be excruciatingly difficult.
This challenge extends to other things like listing products or other incorrect activities that can happen accidentally. Etsy does not issue any refunds for charges that may be incurred due to mistakes.
You must declare all your Etsy usernames in your public profile. So, even if you are selling under four different usernames and stores, each one must be mentioned and declared to the public.
You cannot list the same item in different stores. That’s a direct violation of Etsy’s duplicate store policy.
If you violate any of Etsy’s policies under one account name, all your other account names will also be considered in violation of the same.
All arguments aside, there are a lot of sellers who run multiple stores on Etsy with unbelievable ease. It all boils down to how fluent you are with the platform and how well you can automate your store management. With some practice, you too can run multiple Etsy stores of your own.