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Etsy Launches Revamped Category Structure

After running tests earlier this month, Etsy made permanent changes to its category structure on Tuesday saying it had worked with buyers and sellers for the past year. The new categories can be found on the Etsy website, and it made a full text version available on this page.

Etsy Product Manager Jaime DeLanghe explained that previously, categorization was based on many different concepts, including what an item is, who it is for, and what it is made of. That made it tricky for sellers to pick the right categories for items and for buyers to find them, she said.

The new categories took effect on Tuesday. “We’ve done our best to update your items’ categories based on your current listing information, but we’ll need your help double-checking that they’re in the best spot,” DeLanghe wrote in Etsy’s announcement.

Notably, Vintage and Handmade items can now appear in any category. One seller wrote, “As a vintage seller I am thrilled. I have always said that we should be able to list in any category on Etsy since vintage items include any and every item made worldwide anywhere and everywhere before 20 years ago.”

But other sellers said their items ended up in inappropriate categories. (See more on the EcommerceBytes Blog, linked below.)

Also worth noting, some sub-categories will appear in more than one category. “When you put your Hair Accessories under Bath & Beauty, they’ll also appear under Accessories,” Etsy said. “In research, we found that buyers are likely to look for barrettes, clips, etc. in both Bath & Beauty and Hair Accessories, so we put the category in both places for buyers.”

Etsy had initially announced it was testing category changes in late January, but briefly suspended the test after users discovered an issue with the Women’s Clothing category. It resumed testing on February 3rd.

While Etsy said titles and tags remain the most important factors in determining how sellers’ items appear in search results, it said it planned on using the new categories more as it continues to make improvements to search over the coming year.

Etsy solicited input from sellers and said as the marketplace continues to evolve, its categories would evolve as well. “We’ll be making updates based on your feedback and marketplace trends at regular intervals throughout the year.”

More information is located on this Etsy announcement page

Comment on the EcommerceBytes 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.