If you're an Etsy shop owner you've probably heard about the recent changes Etsy announced to it's seller fee structure. If not, I've linked to the article here.
In a nutshell, Etsy is increasing their 3.5% transaction fee to 5% and also applying that to the cost of shipping. Etsy is definitely being greedy when it comes to taking a cut of our shipping fees. Right now you as a shop owner pay for the exact cost of postage that is mandated by the USPS, with these new changes Etsy will now take a cut of the shipping fees for acting as the middle-man.
Etsy is also transitioning to monthly subscription-based services called "Plus" and "Premium", which will give you access to additional shop features for an extra monthly cost. Subscription-based models as a whole seek to take advantage of the end user because they generate more revenue than one-time fees. Models like this are going to make it even harder for small shops to stand out on the platform because shop exposure and customization options will favor those who pay for premium features.
While I find the word "exposure" to be dirty, there is something to be said for the amount of traffic my shop will generate through a site like Etsy vs. trying to sell products via my own website. There is an advantage to having your products on sites like Etsy, Amazon, Redbubble, Society6, etc.
You will, as a small shop, arguably gain more sales through an avenue like Etsy vs. your own online store initially. Now that doesn't mean that in the future you couldn't transition your shop completely to your own website, but you will still be paying credit card, processing, and other fees if you go that avenue.
My best advice for shop owners at the moment is thus:
1. Unfortunately I would recommend raising your Etsy prices to accommodate for the increase in fees. I foresee a large amount of shops taking this route.
2. Seek out other selling avenues and devote more time to finding wholesale accounts and selling in-person via art & craft fairs. Make sure you keep your social channels, website, and email marketing list up-to-date on where they can find you and buy your products.
I don't ever want my business to make me feel like I'm at the mercy of a large corporation or that my hard work contributes to making an already affluent board of directors even richer, after all didn't we start our small businesses in the first place to avoid these types of situations? Food for thought.