New Etsy CEO Says Search, Resellers and Seller Happiness on His Agenda
By Ina Steiner
Etsy's new CEO Chad Dickerson communicated with members in a blog post on Monday where he outlined his priorities for the coming months. Etsy's Board of Directors promoted Dickerson from his previous role as Chief Technology Officer, replacing founder Rob Kalin as CEO.
Dickerson wrote that he understood every seller wants to sell, and said Etsy's job was to prepare for the influx of buyers during the holiday season, improve search, and deal with issues like resellers. "There are only four months until peak shopping season and we're focusing on the holidays earlier than we ever have before," he said.
He spent a good portion of his blog post talking about search, saying he understood that it was critical the company improve the search experience on Etsy and do so "well in advance of the holiday season" to give sellers plenty of time to prepare.
The company recently announced it would make relevancy the new sort order in search results, though it did not specify exactly when it would do so, and Dickerson said that since adding "sort by relevancy" as a search option, the marketplace has seen an overall increase in listing views from search.
Dickerson said he was also working to better understand the reseller problem. Etsy's policy prohibits resellers (you must make what you sell in the handmade section, and vintage items are required to be vintage, and not factory made). Many sellers complain that foreign manufacturers are listing factory-made goods, a violation of Etsy's policy and one that makes it more difficult for artisans and crafters to get their items seen in search results.
The popular and irreverent blog "Regretsy" posted an open letter to Dickerson after he was named CEO in mid-July - link to blog post. In it the blogger suggested that Etsy faced a dilemma since it made money from all the items that resellers sold.
Dickerson said Etsy was addressing the problem of resellers by hiring knowledgeable staff and building better tools, and said the company has made some progress. "We've reviewed and taken action on more than six times the number of accounts as we did one year ago." He also said Etsy would definitely continue to step up enforcement, but said it would also be doing more work to address the root causes of the problem.
Finally, the new CEO talked about keeping sellers happy, revealing the company had formed a new "Seller Happiness Team" internally. "This new team will include people from all over the company with a focus on making running your shops on Etsy both delightful and rewarding. We'll be engaging with the seller community more publicly and more deeply with a unified cross-disciplinary effort from teams across the entire company."
The Seller Happiness Team first task is to determine how Etsy will measure happiness in the seller community so it can set a baseline for how it are doing, and then improve upon it.
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 email@example.com.
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