UK Marketplace Focus: Folksy
When it comes to selling your products on marketplaces, there are a lot of options to choose from. With the ecommerce industry growing so rapidly, there are many unique marketplaces and therefore it can be tough to know who to work with. The ‘UK Marketplace Focus’ series aims to help you with this by keeping you informed; it provides key insights into various UK marketplaces to those who are unfamiliar. The goal is to give you the knowledge that you need to make decisions about the future of your business.
In this article, our focus will be on Folksy and we will explore some of the key characteristics of this marketplace – including an overview of Folksy and why you may want to sell on the platform. In addition, we will dive into important questions around their top product categories, their main consumer base as well as the crucial basics such as commission fees and other costs, customer service, deliveries and returns.
For starters, Folksy is the largest UK-based marketplace that specialises in handmade goods, comprising a community of artists and makers. Folksy has sometimes been referred to as the British version of Etsy and offers an opportunity for creative individuals to grow their businesses. Since 2008, Folksy have been leading the handmade movement – their goal is to offer artists, designers and makers a platform on which to sell their work. In addition to this, Folksy is intentionally not curated, meaning there are no gatekeepers who decide who or what products are good enough to be listed on the platform. All sellers are welcome, so long as their goods are original or handmade – whether they work in a professional studio or at home.
Now that we understand a bit about what Folksy is, why would you want to sell on this marketplace? First and foremost, the main reason to sell on Folksy is if you are searching for a platform that is similar to Etsy but is based in the UK. Therefore, the first thing to understand is that Folksy is a good choice for artists and makers of handmade, unique products. With that said, here are some of the other benefits of selling on Folksy that will then be expanded upon:
To begin with, the first advantage of selling on Folksy is the convenience, meaning that some of the more difficult aspects of ecommerce are already taken care of. For example, integration with Folksy is very easy to set up – so you do not need any coding knowledge or a website designer. All you need is your shop name and the rest is already taken care of. You also do not need to worry about optimising your online shop to make it mobile or tablet friendly, as that is already arranged too.
However, this does not mean that every seller’s page will be identical. In fact, all of these convenient features will be packaged together into your own unique storefront which you can easily customise. You are able to upload your own banner, choose an avatar, make a shop tagline and fill out your profile so that shoppers can learn more about you and your brand. All of these aspects can be updated as often as you want in order to keep things fresh. Therefore, you can have your unique, online storefront looking how you want it to without the hassle or investment of coding and optimising it yourself.
Finally, another element of convenience that can often be a pain point is payments. With Folksy, you wouldn’t need to worry about invoices, cheques or bank transfers, as payments are automated and secure. Customers have access to easy checkout and secure payments where they can pay directly by card or through PayPal.
Another benefit of working with Folksy is the level of control that you would exercise over your business. Although you are working with a marketplace that can handle many difficult factors as listed above, you are ultimately in control. This is because you list the products that you want to sell, including how many of them you have available. This lets you decide the number of products you are able to offer at various points, as well as choosing the timeframe for delivery and how much you want to charge for postage.
Aside from the other advantages mentioned, working with Folksy will also give your business the opportunity to be featured and promoted. With loyal fans on social media and established mailing lists, there are chances for your products to be featured on their various social media channels. This can help your brand get more of the exposure that it deserves, without huge costs of investment for advertising.
There are several attractive features of working with Folksy, some of which have already been mentioned. But the unique selling point of Folksy that really separates it from other ecommerce platforms is that the products are niche. Most people are used to buying on general, ‘sell-it-all’ marketplaces such as Amazon. However, consumers are increasingly turning to niche products and marketplaces – perhaps because they provide a shopping experience which is closer to that of physical stores, something which has previously been lost due to lockdowns.
Aside from providing this unique experience to customers, the niche aspect of Folksy also provides your business with several advantages over more general marketplaces. Perhaps one of the most important is the increased level of engagement consumers get with your brand. General marketplaces such as Amazon focus more on products rather than sellers, meaning shoppers do not get the full visibility of who you are as a brand. With Folksy, there is an emphasis on a sense of community and you would be able to have more interaction with customers than otherwise.
Another common issue with ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, is that it is very easy for them to use analytics to find the best performing products. They can then create their own cheaper version of this and promote it on their site, undercutting you. When it comes to a niche marketplace such as Folksy, the niche nature of the platform means less overall competition and decreases the likelihood that someone can copy your product, if not removing the risk entirely.
Top product categories
Folksy have several popular categories which you would typically expect to find on a marketplace. As mentioned, the nature of Folksy is that the products are handmade and unique, so as long as this criteria is met you can find a variety of types of goods. Categories include items for the home, weddings, art, jewellery, clothing and accessories. In addition, there is a chart on the website of ‘Folksy’s Best Sellers’, which shows the top sellers over the past week – and this chart is updated nightly.
Who is the consumer base?
When it comes to the consumer base, over a quarter of a million shoppers visit Folksy every month. Currently, Folksy is used by approximately 300,000 shoppers monthly, with this increasing to well over 500,000 in the run-up to Christmas. Furthermore, although Folksy is a UK platform and you must be a UK resident to sell on Folksy, there are customers worldwide. Around 85% of consumers are based in the UK, with 6% in the US, 4% in Europe and 2% in Canada and Australia.
Commission fees and other costs
Folksy charge a 6% + VAT sales commission on the selling price of all items. There is also an additional listing fee which depends on which type of Folksy account you have. For the basic account, you receive your first 3 listings for free and are then charged £0.15 + VAT per item. For example, if you create a listing for a product with an available quantity of 10, you will be charged £0.15×10 + VAT. Alternatively, with the Folksy Plus account you can pay £5 per month for unlimited listings.
Although Folksy do have a support team, contacting them is more of a last resort as buyers are encouraged to contact the seller first. Since customers are buying directly from individual sellers who are usually the designers (or commercial supplies sellers), customers are asked to contact sellers with any questions about items. In addition, as the seller/maker you would be responsible for dealing with customer queries about orders, such as deliveries, wrong or damaged items and orders not arriving.
Delivery and returns
As a seller on Folksy, you would be responsible for specifying shipping times and posting the items. Since Folksy is a marketplace, the sales contract is between you as a seller and the shopper. So although Folksy is acting as a middleman and facilitating the contract, they are not responsible for its fulfillment. As mentioned above, you would also be responsible for dealing with any customer complaints and returned items.
Overall, Folksy is a great niche marketplace that provides a platform for sellers of handmade products to access and engage with a strong base of UK customers. However, as mentioned above, Folksy is just a middleman – you would still be responsible for localised customer service and logistics, including international shipping and returns. For a more comprehensive solution where we handle these aspects for you, why not work with Arcade as your merchant of record? At Arcade, we can:
- Facilitate your brand’s cross-border trade strategy in the UK and beyond
- Leverage our relationship with Folksy to secure you the best commercial terms
- Use our customer service network to respond to queries in the local language and time zone, taking the stress out of translation
- Design appropriate, localised product listings for your business
- Run local marketing campaigns during peak seasons and shopping events throughout the year so that you can be sure your products are reaching customers at the right time
- Handle local fulfilment and local returns of your products, so we can do the majority of the heavy lifting for you in terms of logistics
- Take care of compliance for you, using our existing partnerships and knowledge to ensure that you avoid any unnecessary problems with taxes, tariffs or documentation
Altogether, Arcade can offer your brand unparalleled speed to market, a far smoother transition and more comprehensive support once we help you set everything up. If you’d like to find out more, feel free to get in touch at: https://www.arcade.global/contact-us/