Thursday, 1 October 2015

Is Storenvy Really Free?

   Last year we made a post about using Storenvy, a selling platform that offered a free storefront to online merchants. At that point the only fees any online merchant would have incurred by using Storenvy were the inevitable Paypal fees at whatever rate Paypal was charging in their country. It was free to have a Storenvy storefront, and free to have your items listed in what they call the "marketplace" - an internal search engine system whereby customers can find your goods from Storenvy's main page by entering keywords.

   Storenvy has since changed its policy to rival eBay and Amazon by charging around 10% of the final sale price for using their marketplace. You're paying 10% to be visible to their search engine, and are also required to sign up to using "Stripe" - something designed to make buying from sellers with multiple Paypal accounts a more "seamless" experience for the buyer.

   If you want automatic exposure for your wares, Storenvy is no longer "free" as it once advertised itself to be. eBay likely still has a bigger audience and potential for exposure for the same fee, although eBay remains notoriously indifferent to the concerns of sellers about its site and policies. Etsy still has a smaller audience than eBay but also smaller fees, but has grown considerably in the last few years and is recognized as a dedicated venue for hand-crafted works, so for OOAK artists like myself hoping to sell their dolls, Etsy might be your best bet at the moment.   

   Thankfully, Storenvy still allow users to operate their own free storefront, provided they remain invisible to the marketplace. You can still direct potential customers to it from your own site, or even a Facebook app, which is handy. So to answer the question "is Storenvy really free?" - yes and no. If you want to do all the leg-work with your own advertising and customer base, then yes it is. If you want to be searchable there and take advantage of the marketplace, get ready for eBay and Amazon-style commission fees. For OOAK artists selling hand made or high-end art, Storenvy's marketplace may not be the best place to find customers and grow a customer base interested in fine art (compared to sites like Etsy, or an actual art gallery).    

   Envydolls has a Storefront on Storenvy, Etsy and eBay - please do check them out! :)