Believe it or not, selling on Etsy isn't just for artisans and craftspeople. This high-traffic online platform can also be a powerful tool for businesses that want to expand their channels of distribution.

The company's growth has led to a variety of benefits for its online sellers, which include corporations, small businesses and individuals. Thanks to 25 million buyers who rely on Etsy for products including craft supplies, vintage home decor items and handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts, $2.39 billion worth of products were sold on Etsy in 2015 alone. To help leverage this site to grow your own business, you should think of it as a platform through which you can enhance your existing marketing program.

Here are five ways you can use Etsy to boost business across all of your sales channels:

1. A Research Tool

Each season, Etsy releases a Seller Handbook that covers everything from shipping tips and tricks to photography best practices. The advice provided in this handbook and the Etsy Newsletter can help you to increase your sales on Etsy and beyond. You can also identify new products to launch and potential price shifts that you should put into place by analyzing the success of other Etsy sellers who are also potential competitors.

2. An Inexpensive Distribution Outlet

Sure, you can build your own corporate website where you sell your products and services, but that can be a costly endeavor. Using Etsy, you can feature items for 20 cents per item. You will also pay a 3.5% transaction fee when something sells. For many small businesses, this is a much more financially feasible option than developing a separate website. Even if you have an existing website, you can take advantage of Etsy as a way to introduce your goods to a new market.

3. A Way to Build Your Own Online Storefront

If you want to go a step farther than a typical Etsy shop, you can also build your own branded website using the company's Pattern platform. Once live, you can transfer all your Etsy listings easily into your new store. The cost is currently $15/month to run your website, plus Etsy fees.

4. A Built-in Community

One of Etsy's best resources is its teams, which are groups of Etsy sellers with common interests or goals. To join a team, you must go through an application process and agree to promote other members. Some teams require a fee, as well. If you choose to sign up, you can use this group as an inside sales team that is working on your behalf to market your goods.

5. A Marketing Tool

Etsy has become one of the go-to places for magazine editors, interior designers and gallery owners to discover new products to feature. By being active and visible on Etsy, you significantly increase your odds of catching the eye of an important industry influencer.

By selling on Etsy or other similar online marketplaces, you can help boost your sales and increase your exposure. Of course, as with any online seller or website, make sure to review and comply with any applicable online terms.

Tags: Marketing Campaigns Business Strategy Website