Would you pay $15/month for a store that was limited to exactly what you already had listed on the marketplace on which you sold? That's what Etsy expected its sellers to do last year when it launched Pattern. Today, it expanded the store-hosting service in a big way after a year of only minor improvements.
We noted when it launched in April of last year, "The tradeoff for an easy-to-set-up store on an easy-to-use platform is limited features. It doesn't allow sellers to run ads (like Google AdWords) to generate revenue, nor does it have the capability for sellers to add a blog to their Pattern-hosted store to attract visitors."
Pattern may be finally worth another look - though there are plenty of ecommerce platforms that offer more sophisticated tools and plug-ins, and sellers would do well to shop around for the store platform that best suits their needs.
Etsy explains in today's announcement
that sellers can list items in Pattern websites that are not on Etsy, and they don't have to comply with Etsy's restrictions around handmade / vintage / supplies. If you pay the $15/month for a Pattern shop, you won't pay listing fees for items that only appear on your Pattern websites, and they only expire when they sell (or when you remove them).
One reader told us they were still trying to absorb the news. "It seems to me completely unexpected, given what is currently going on at Etsy. And will take a while to figure all the implications. Just one of the more interesting statements regarding the new website rules: "These Pattern-only listings do not have to meet Etsy's handmade or vintage policies." Hopefully you can start a discussion on this, as it seems on the face of it, that Etsy has a lot more in mind than we thought."
Pattern now lets Etsy scale beyond handmade, vintage, and supplies, and likewise for Etsy sellers. Some of Etsy's challenges:
- It needs to maintain the Etsy brand as a home for vintage and handmade goods.
- Etsy must be able to drive traffic to Pattern shops - for $15/month, sellers need sales.
- It can't allow Pattern to become a distraction to the detriment of the Etsy marketplace.
Enabling sellers to grow and brand themselves while still generating revenue from their sales makes sense - it's something Etsy seems clear about, and something that eBay was always ambivalent about to their detriment.
eBay acquired ProStores rather than building something from scratch, but never fully committed to the idea of off-eBay transactions. Another difference - these days, Etsy has plenty of competition from the likes of BigCommerce and Shopify when it comes to offering store-hosting services.
One seller said it's not an either-or proposition, explaining that they operate several online stores as well as a couple of Etsy shops.
What do you think of Etsy Pattern and what it signifies - an opportunity for growth or a shift away from what Etsy represents?