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Etsy Creates Seller Advisory Board to Provide Input

Etsy has created a Seller Advisory Board comprised of 15 sellers to provide it with input about challenges they face and to play a key role in shaping the way future decisions are made. The company put out a call for applications in October, and on Tuesday, it announced the 15 sellers who comprise the board. Over 200 sellers will also participate as sub-committee members – those members were not announced on Tuesday.

Etsy has 1.5 million active sellers (and 22.6 million active buyers). Over 600 sellers who submitted applications, and Etsy said it selected the board members “based on their commitment to the Etsy community as a whole and the valuable perspectives they provide as small business owners.”

Etsy had instituted Community Councils in the past similar to the Seller Advisory Board, but Robert Brunson, Community Outreach Program Manager, told EcommerceBytes that the 2016 Seller Advisory Board is unique in a few key ways: The Community Councils did not include subcommittees, nor did they meet in person.

“We believe both these facets will help the 2016 Seller Advisory Board achieve maximum impact by ensuring the broad collection of feedback, and by providing a face-to-face venue to share that feedback with Etsy,” Brunson said.

The list of the 15 members and links to their shops are available on the Etsy Seller Handbook.

Brunson explained that Seller Advisory Board members will attend two in-person board meetings with senior Etsy Admin in the company’s Brooklyn office in 2016.

Prior to these in-person meetings, Seller Advisory Board members will host video meetups with their appointed subcommittees. “During these video meetups, Seller Advisory Board members will lead a discussion with their subcommittee on topics that will be reviewed later at the in-person Seller Advisory Board meetings.”

In addition to these meetings, Etsy said it would also work with Seller Advisory Board members to collect and share feedback on an ongoing basis, via questionnaires and surveys throughout the year.

Brunson said Etsy would consider soliciting input from the advisory board in cases where it was planning a major site change. Board members might be invited to participate in user testing or to review prototypes when they are visiting Etsy in person. It’s difficult to say since Etsy doesn’t have an exact roadmap of what changes may be made to the site, but it’s definitely a possibility, he said.

In terms of subcommittees, Etsy will make an effort to limit each of the 15 subcommittees to approximately 15 members (the same size as the Seller Advisory Board itself). Each subcommittee will be headed up by a Seller Advisory Board member. For example, the vintage subcommittee will consist of approximately 15 vintage sellers from around the world, and will be led by a vintage seller on the Seller Advisory Board.

Brunson said Etsy was excited about the cross section of sellers represented on the Seller Advisory Board, which includes sellers selling vintage and handmade items, as well as supplies. “We’re pleased to have both newer and long-time sellers represented, alongside sellers active in the Forums, sellers using manufacturing, as well as those selling wholesale. The board also includes sellers from Australia, Germany, Canada, France, the UK, as well as from the United States.”

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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.