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Etsy Addresses Complaints over Similar Items Feature

Late last week, Etsy sellers protested how the marketplace displayed competitive listings inside their own listings on the Etsy mobile app. A “Similar items on Etsy” feature was launched last year, but a seller started a thread when she noticed it appeared more prominently.

Sellers expressed concern that the new placement would draw shoppers away from their listings, as we reported on Friday. And we followed up with a blog post on Saturday when sellers posted in other threads that buyers were getting confused about which shops they were actually purchasing from when using the mobile app.

Etsy responded to the initial thread, explaining that it had launched the feature last year.

But this week, it posted a response that explained why there was a seeming disconnect between what sellers were seeing and Etsy’s initial response.

It turns out that Etsy had had to place the Similar Items feature higher on the page on iOS devices when it launched the feature last year. The company explained:

“The reason we placed similar items above the shop section in iOS was strictly due to design limitations. Moving similar items below would have required an extensive redesign of the listing page. While not an ideal solution, fully redesigning listing page was, in this instance, not the right choice for our buyers and sellers.

“I can understand why that is frustrating for many. Honestly, it was frustrating for us, too. In the end, we opted to launch similar items despite the design limitation because of how much they benefit the entire marketplace, giving buyers an important path forward at the end of the listing page.”

You can read the entire response here on the initial thread on the Etsy discussion boards (posted at 11:03 am on May 3, 2016).

Some of the responses were scathing – “OMG. IT WAS TOO HARD??” one seller wrote.

Another thanked the Etsy employee for responding to the thread and wrote, “I have a convo from just today that I would be happy to forward to you privately so that you can see that customers get totally confused about whose shop they are in with the “similar items” where they are placed. It should at least be titled “items from other shops” or something like that.”

And one seller responded to what had been a major complaint about the feature: the fact that some sellers pay Etsy extra for exposure, only to have other non-paying products featured in their listings. “I have no comment other than I wish you (Etsy) would consider exempting Paid Ad listings from the Similar Items “feature”. It is grossly unfair to have some sellers reaping the benefits of another seller’s financial expenditure.”

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.