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Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Shows Sellers New Search

Etsy CEO Josh SIlverman
Etsy CEO Josh SIlverman

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman took to YouTube to update sellers on some of the changes he was making after taking over from Chad Dickerson in the surprise company shakeup in May. One of the biggest changes a marketplace can make is to its search engine, and Silverman said changes he’s made are working.

“In September, we introduced a major improvement called Context Specific Ranking, or CSR. Through CSR, we’re personalizing the search experience by using information about the shopper, time of day, and other context-specific factors to rank results in real time.

“To give you an example, here are some before and after images to illustrate how this technology can deliver a better search experience for our buyers. This example shows a search for “laundry basket,” and the image on the right shows more relevant results delivered by our CSR improvements. The more personalized approach means that you’ll no longer see the same results every time you type in a search term.

“And the good news is that we’re already seeing CSR drive more sales.”

At around minute 2:45 in the video you can see a side by side comparison of search engine results for the “laundry basket” search he referenced.

Silverman also said Etsy was working on enabling sellers to include all of the relevant data about their products as they list them, which would reduce the need to continuously refine SEO terms. He said this would enable Etsy to gain a better understanding of the item with less focus on titles.

Silverman expects those changes launched since his arrival will add nearly $100 million in incremental annualized sales, “further evidence that improving search on Etsy can move the needle in a meaningful way.”

Also, look for new tools next year – Silverman said Etsy was considering requests made by sellers during the last Forums Q&A as they plan for 2018.

He will participate in another Q&A session on the Etsy boards on December 13th. You can post your question on the thread and vote for ones you think he should answer.

You can read the edited transcript of Josh Silverman’s YouTube video published today on the Etsy Seller Handbook.

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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/.