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Etsy Sellers Say Hands Off Mobile Listings

Last year, Etsy introduced a Similar Items section in the mobile app designed to help shoppers keep browsing the site. The feature appeared at the bottom of a seller’s listings, and included items from other sellers.

This week, Etsy drew sellers’ ire when a seller said Etsy had moved the feature higher up on a seller’s listing page when viewed on mobile devices. A thread started by a seller on Thursday garnered 28 pages of comments by evening, many from sellers concerned that the new placement would draw shoppers away from their listings.

Particularly concerning was the fact that some sellers pay for extra exposure through promoted listing ads, and that other sellers’ items might appear in a listing for which they had paid Etsy extra in order to receive better visibility. One seller unhappy with the change said, “Why should we pay to promote our listings and pay for clicks that can lead shoppers to purchase items that are shown in our listings (and the placement of those other listings in the display makes it appear as if we are selling them)?”

The original poster explained her concerns:

There are millions who shop on their phones, by Etsy’s data, more than half of all purchases are made on phones.

I haven’t tested a single listing that doesn’t have someone else’s work right in the middle of your shop.

1) Go to your phone and choose someone’s shop you know.

2) Click on a listing and open it. Scroll down.

3) You will see a slide show of other seller’s work right in your shop. It’s even before “meet the maker”, so to a customer it can look like your work.

4) If you are paying for promoted listings and marketing to bring your customers to you, other sellers are getting the benefit of your hard work.

It’s one thing to show other listings at the bottom of a shop, but in the middle even before a buyer reads about you?

This is really quite egregious.

Some of you liken Etsy to a mall, but this is like mall owner coming to Macy’s and saying Nordstrom will be selling things in your store now.

Imagine you are a small supply seller and the other listings now in your shop are from mega stores at a way cheaper price. (it’s happening right now.)

Etsy responded to the thread with the following message:

“Similar items on listing pages in the app and on mobile is a shopping feature we launched last April. You can find the Forums Announcement here.

“The way buyers shop on desktop is very different from how they interact with (mobile/ mobile apps). Because mobile shoppers are typically more interested in browsing and exploration, it’s important to give them new ways to discover additional items and keep them engaged. By doing so, we hope to bring more visibility to all Etsy shops.

“Keep in mind that this change means that as a seller, your listings will also appear in more places on Etsy’s mobile app/ mobile. By showing your listings in more places, we hope to introduce more buyers to your shop and products.”

Like other marketplace sellers, Etsy sellers feel that paying insertion fees means the listing page belongs to them and believe marketplaces should be very careful about placing other sellers’ listings on their real estate.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

Update: See Thursday’s Newsflash article for an update.


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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/.