The arts and crafts retail chain A.C. Moore is launching its own online marketplace for artists and makers. The company made a major investment in Etsy rival Zibbet in November of 2017 and is now working with Zibbet to create the new platform.
The A.C. Moore Marketplace is specifically for handmade goods. “Your items must be handmade, hand-altered, or hand assembled by you as the maker/s running your A.C. Moore Marketplace shop,” the site says. “Mass-produced items or the re-selling of items that may be handmade, but you didn’t design or make yourself, are not allowed. Vintage items and craft supplies are also not eligible to be sold in the A.C. Moore Marketplace.” There’s no indication at this time as to whether sellers will get a discount at the store or other kinds of in-store specials on supplies.
Image from the landing page showing how sellers will be able to customize their shops.
Sellers will be able to customize their shops much like they can on Etsy, adding their own branding, highlighting favorite products, determining the order in which products appear, and creating an About page. Sellers will also be able to issue customizable coupons and put products on sale. The marketplace will support the sale of digital files. Listings can be added manually or imported in bulk from an existing Etsy shop.
The new A.C. Moore Marketplace will not charge listing fees however sellers must sign up for a Zibbet account in order to participate. Zibbet, which is based in Sydney and launched in 2009, works to connect a seller’s sales channels all in one place to make managing inventory and updating listings easier. Zibbet charges sellers $5/month for every connected sales channel (so adding an Etsy shop would be $5/month, and then connecting a Shopify site would be an additional $5/month). It’s not clear if the A.C. Moore Marketplace will count as another connected site, but it seems that it will.
Zibbet claims on its website to already have 50,000 creative entrepreneurs using its services. For a few years sellers seeking an alternative to Etsy sought out Zibbet as a promising option, but many became disenchanted when sales didn’t materialize. Jenni Cheeseman was one of them.
“I’ve tried Zibbet twice over the last few years. Apart from having no sales in the two years I was on there they have mass produced low-quality items on their site,” she says. “Customer service is either rude or non-existent. I wouldn’t go near anything with the Zibbet name attached. They’ve only recently added the upgrade to integrate Etsy and other platforms to your Zibbet store but this was just a blatant attempt to get Etsy sellers to sign up.” According to Cheeseman Zibbet’s marketing efforts were lackluster and buyers coming to the marketplace were few.
It’s possible that by limiting the kind of items on the A.C. Moore Marketplace to handmade and by partnering with a larger retailer this new effort will lead to different results.
Craft store competitors Michaels, JOANN, and Hobby Lobby, have been making strides in ecommerce, but A.C. Moore is the first of its kind to open an online marketplace for makers.