Etsy told artisans who sell on its platform: If you don’t have what you need to make something, don’t list it for sale. The warning to Etsy sellers came Friday in a post titled, “Tips to help you combat supply chain issues.”
Etsy used an example of a clothing manufacturer to illustrate its point. If a company can’t get the yarn they need to make their best-selling sweaters, they can’t make their sweaters. “And if that manufacturer can’t make their sweaters, shoppers can’t buy them—they’ll have to go elsewhere to fulfill their sweater-based needs.”
But Etsy pointed to the face mask shortage of 2020 caused by the pandemic as evidence that small sellers could fill in gaps when brick-and-mortar and large retailers had trouble keeping certain items in stock. Etsy sellers may be better positioned than traditional big-box stores, it said. “By the end of 2020, Etsy sellers had collectively sold more than $740 million worth of masks.”
Etsy provided the following tips for sellers to ensure the current supply chain disruption doesn’t leave them in a bind, and perhaps even use it opportunistically:
Market your holiday super power: Remember, in an unpredictable climate, small business owners like you can be positioned to intercept shoppers who can’t find what they want at big box retailers. When marketing your shop, adjust your messaging to reiterate the benefits of shopping small in the midst of supply chain disruption.
Restock your supplies: Build up a collection of things you need to make each item in your shop. That way, you’re ready to handle any sales in the coming weeks. We know that significant upfront costs for some supplies might prevent you from stocking up as much you might like, so do what feels reasonable for you and your business. One extra yard of fabric for making your best-selling pot holders just might save you a whole lot of grief.
Don’t forget about shipping and packing materials: Make a list of what you typically use to pack up an order—think tissue paper, compostable mailers, shipping labels—and replenish those things now. That way, you’re not frantically searching through every drawer looking for that last roll of clear packing tape.
Only list what you have: No matter how much you try to prepare, supply chain issues still might make it hard to come by the materials you need. Simply put: If you don’t have what you need to make something, don’t list it for sale.
While individual sellers may run into problems in getting raw materials and supplies, the warning to Etsy sellers indicates the company is counting on the seller base as a whole to see it through this year’s holiday season challenges as it did during the pandemic.
However, the window for selling to holiday shoppers is shorter for online sellers compared to brick-and-mortar stores. Just today, the USPS warned in a press release, “Send Your Packages Early This Holiday Season: Peak Season Means Extra Mail and Package Volumes.”