EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2872 - August 17, 2012     2 of 4

Etsy Reassures Vintage Sellers after Major Changes to Search

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After EcommerceBytes broke the news that Etsy had begun testing major changes to search and to its home page, the marketplace reassured unhappy sellers on a post in the Etsy forums.

Sellers of vintage items took to the Etsy boards on Thursday to express their dissatisfaction with Etsy's removal of a pulldown menu that allowed shoppers to narrow results to "vintage" items when entering a term in the search box, as well as the removal of the vintage and art categories from the list on the top left of the home page, predicting the changes would lead to lower sales.

Some sellers even feared it was a precursor to Etsy removing the 2.5 million vintage items from the site. Wrote one user, "What is happening to Etsy lately? It alsmost (sic) seems as though they want to sell massproduced trinkety things and not cool unique vintage and handmade things...Boo hiss......"

Frank Harris, Etsy's Product Manager of Search, reassured sellers that it had no plans to remove vintage items from the marketplace. "Etsy's culture is one of innovation," he said. "We're constantly developing, testing, experimenting and launching new ways to connect buyers and sellers in our marketplace. Sometimes small changes to functionality can lead to big improvements in member experience, and that is why we continue to foster a culture that encourages testing and iterating."

Etsy spokesperson Adam Brown told EcommerceBytes that Etsy had rolled out the change to the search experience to 100% of Etsy on July 11, and said the browsing experience is still in the testing phase - "we're gathering data and community feedback."

Harris said in his forum post that Etsy had removed the drop-down on the search bar a month ago, thereby integrating handmade, vintage and supplies items in search results. "Before we launched this change to everyone, we ran it as an experiment for many weeks. We found that visitors searched more, viewed more items and purchased more items from search. Not only was there an overall increase in sales from search, there was specifically an increase in sales of vintage and supplies," he wrote.

He said the current experiment that adds a "Browse" section to the homepage "builds on our learnings from search."

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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