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Helping Sellers in the Offline World Is Part of Etsy’s Vision

Etsy believes it can help give shoppers at street fairs and shows confidence to hand over their credit cards to sellers with the help of the Etsy brand. The company believes that’s good for both itself and its sellers, and it shared some of its strategic thinking with EcommerceBytes after launching its new card reader for sellers.

Etsy had launched its own payment processing service for merchants in early 2012. Direct Checkout is optional, so sellers can continue to accept other payment methods including PayPal, but last week’s launch of the Sell on Etsy card reader provided sellers with another incentive to use it.

“When we decided to move forward with a reader, we knew we didn’t have the expertise or capacity to make them in-house, so we set out to find a partner,” a company spokesperson told EcomerceBytes. “We narrowed it down to two companies and ultimately decided to partner with ROAM, a Boston-headquartered Ingenico company, to make the reader. They also make readers for many other companies.”

The reader is available to all U.S. sellers who accept Direct Checkout. Etsy transaction fees don’t apply for in-person sales because that transaction is not taking place on the Etsy platform.

Was the motivation for offering a card reader to sellers profits? Here’s how Etsy responded to that question:

“The device itself is free to our sellers and we’re not charging any additional transaction fees, so this more of a strategic move that speaks to our long-term goals, rather than a profit-motivated one. By creating branded tools and services (such as the reader) to capture sales from sellers’ existing sales channels and creating opportunities for incremental sales from new multi-channel opportunities (such as Etsy Wholesale), we’re working to grow Etsy for the long term.”

The spokesperson also explained another reason behind the launch of the Sell on Etsy card reader – building trust for with buyers. “Branded tools and services help buyers develop long-term trust with sellers and small merchants.”

Not surprisingly, Etsy factored in mobile in deciding to launch the card reader, which plugs into sellers’ mobile devices and works with the Sell on Etsy mobile app.

“Strategically, we’re also committed to mobile. The world is going mobile, and so are our sellers. With mobile, offline and online experiences can come together, making it a richer shopping experience for buyers and a more integrated business for sellers. The reader is a perfect example of this, as it gives us the opportunity to offer a unique mobile shopping experience that combines offline and online.”

Etsy Director of Payments and Multi-Channel Sales Camilla Velasquez announced the new card reader on the company company blog. She previously worked at American Express for 5 years, and was Director of New Product Development – Global Payment Options before leaving for Etsy in 2011.

You can learn more about the new card reader in Newsflash.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.