Etsy Redesigns Homepage to Encourage Browsing
By Ina Steiner
In a major change to its homepage, Etsy has replaced a list of categories with new themed "browse" pages designed to better introduce new visitors to the breadth of items that can be found on the site, according to an announcement on Wednesday. Etsy had tested the new homepage design over the summer.
The new browse pages include the following themes: Art, Home & Living, Jewelry, Women, Men, Kids, Weddings, Vintage and Supplies. Shoppers who prefer to browse using categories can now find them in a link under More Ways to Shop, located at the bottom of the left nav bar underneath the fold. Shoppers who click on the Category hyperlink are taken to this page containing categories and subcateories.
Etsy explained, "Each browse page offers an engaging introduction to the theme, with a user-friendly navigation and a visual sampling of the browse page's sections. Shoppers are encouraged to dive deeper, and begin exploring the thousands of items under that particular theme."
Etsy has been testing the new approach since April when it launched the Wedding browse page. While some sellers of wedding-themed items said their sales had dropped as a result of the change, Etsy said that just as many shops were selling wedding items since launch as they were prior to the Weddings change.
Etsy said it designed the new browse pages to be flexible as shoppers' interests change. It also said it would continue to make improvements to Browse, such as adding region-based shipping filters.
In a response to a seller's question, an Etsy administrator further explained its thinking with the new design:
When buyers come to Etsy for the first time, they arrive with their own set of expectations about how online marketplaces are organized. We found that linking to each of our 31 existing categories on the homepage conflicted with those expectations, often confusing and overwhelming new visitors.
To help first-time visitors, we organized browse pages in a way that models what many buyers are accustomed to - grouping items by what they are, who they're for, or what they're used for. For example, someone who often shops for jewelry online, but doesn't know what they're looking for when they arrive at Etsy, may be more likely to look for a crocheted necklace in Jewelry than they are in a technique-based category named Crochet.
It's more important that your item type is represented by a larger shopping theme; is it for the home? Is it an item for women, men or kids? If that's the case, people should be able to navigate to the appropriate section to find your item.
Users are discussing the changes in this Etsy forum thread, which grew to over 160 pages by Thursday morning.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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