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Etsy Tests Seller Shop Redesign

What is it that online sellers detest and online marketplaces forge ahead with anyway? Testing and tweaking, of course, and Etsy is no exception. The company announced Monday it is testing various redesigns of sellers’ shops as part of its effort to improve the storefronts. It said it wanted to help sellers make the best impression and bring in more sales.

Etsy compared a seller’s storefront to in-person shopping at a store: “The storefront is where you display your brand and how some shoppers decide if they want to step inside.” Beginning Monday and over the course of the coming months, Etsy will run a series of experiments in which a small percentage of visitors will see different versions of sellers’ shops. Etsy will compare the test results to see what’s working.

It acknowledged that sellers may be worried about the tests and said they should keep in mind the following:

1) Even if your storefront looks different to you, the majority of people viewing your shop will be seeing the original version. For this reason, we don’t recommend making changes to your shop based on the “test” view you may be seeing. And if it appears as if something has been removed, rest assured, it’s still there for most visitors!

2) We’ll be sure to pre-announce any permanent changes and give you plenty of time to get your shop ready for a new look.

3) We hope to share what we’ve learned after we’ve ran and measured the experiments. To see an example of how we’ve shared results from past tests, you can read last year’s announcement about the new listing page design.

4) We want to make sure we treat each experiment the same way so we won’t be able to answer specific questions you may have about the changes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post them in the Forums though. Your feedback helps us understand what’s working and what could be improved.

Sellers already expressed concern about a new design after screenshots were posted online.

One new seller said she was concerned about the prominent placement of seller sales stats (number of reviews, sales and admirers). She wrote, “I saw versions of the new shopfront look, and it has me concerned. The number of sales and the reviews are right at the top of the page. This is a new shop: I’ve had only one sale and one review. Won’t it hurt me and my business if my current small amount of sales is so prevalent in my shop’s look, so much that it’s the first thing that a customer sees? Everyone starts out by having few sales, and everyone eventually has buyers that take a chance on a new shop; but wouldn’t the small amount of sales discourage many buyers?”

Another seller wrote of the new design, “What I loved about Etsy is that I “owned” my shop. I could personalize it somewhat to my taste. I don’t want my shop to look exactly like everyone else, and exactly like ever other sterile looking site on the internet. :0( And as a buyer I love the variations and styles each shop owner has put into their own shops! It makes the buying experience much more interesting!”

An Etsy user posted on Flickr a screenshot of a new design she’d been exposed to that showed a different layout. Another posted a similar screenshot of the new design on her website.

You can read the full announcement on Etsy.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.