EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3078 - June 03, 2013     4 of 4

Vintage Etsy Sellers Out of Luck for Wholesale Orders

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As Etsy develops its new wholesale marketplace, it has decided vintage items don't fit and has postponed including the Vintage category. The Etsy Wholesale marketplace, still in beta testing, is a private marketplace where retailers can purchase unique, hard-to-find products from independent artists and designers at wholesale prices (and presumably in wholesale quantities).

Dev Tandon heads up the wholesale initiative at Etsy after the marketplace acquired his company, Trunkt. Tandon explained that, in the spirit of doing things right, he's decided to postpone including the Vintage category in Etsy Wholesale. "We've been learning quite a bit more about the unique dynamics of selling vintage products at wholesale and we realize we have more to do to make Vintage work well in Etsy Wholesale. We're going to work closely with Etsy vintage sellers who also sell at wholesale and take some time to do it the right way. For now, we're focusing on new, finished goods categories in Etsy Wholesale."

In the meantime, sellers in the vintage category who applied to Etsy Wholesale will be put on a special wait-list and will be considered once the company is ready to test the category.

Sellers who discussed the announcement seemed most concerned about the effect of the wholesale marketplace on pricing on Etsy.com.

One seller said she liked the idea as a source of inventory to resell on Etsy, as long as it didn't impact her retail prices on Etsy. "I would hate to see all my current customers go to this site or page and start buying vintage items wholesale, that would defeat the purpose of me selling my items."

"I don't know about this idea," said another seller. "It is rather hard to get good prices on Etsy as it is. I am skeptical, even though I have several trade buyers as well. They don't buy in enough volume to make the discounts they want really worth it."

In September, Etsy said sellers should expect to sell at 50% off retail prices in the Wholesale marketplace, and pay Etsy fees on top of that.

One seller raised the issue of authenticity: "If I was a big time vintage dealer looking to make a large wholesale purchase of inventory, Etsy would NOT be a site I would trust for authenticity."

Another seller was skeptical that there would be enough demand for wholesale vintage items in the days of the Internet. "It makes sense that Etsy is re-thinking wholesale vintage. Because the concepts mentioned by admin earlier seemed to lack an understanding of what might be out there to buy in quantities."

Etsy is sending somewhat mixed messages to sellers with the launch of the Wholesale marketplace - sellers are not allowed to have help in making the items they sell on Etsy.com, yet in announcing the wholesale initiative last year, the company said "an Etsy Wholesale vendor might need to utilize third-party production of their designs and/or third-party order fulfillment in ways that are not allowed for shops in the general Etsy marketplace."

Tandon told sellers, "Selling vintage items at wholesale is certainly possible and there is a market for it. As you've all described, it has its quirks and unique dynamics. We'll be watching discussions like this and reaching out to vintage sellers who do wholesale as we figure out Vintage on Etsy Wholesale in the future."


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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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