AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sat Nov 24 2012 12:55:35

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

By: Julia Wilkinson

Sponsored Link

Etsy wants to know more about its sellers. To paraphrase Sally Field, they really, really want to know them. An Etsy seller reported getting a survey in recent days that asked a myriad of questions about her feelings about selling on the Etsy site, her business practices and structure, and just about everything else under the sun, including her household income, total credit card debt, student loan debt, age and racial identity.

The survey was done in conjunction with "Gfk: Knowledge Networks," and Etsy emphasized the answers would be kept confidential and anonymous: "They cannot be used by Etsy staff in connection with how you run your shop."

The survey took about 20 minutes to complete, and encompassed about 70 screens. Etsy appeared to be trying to get a handle on just who their typical seller was; from how long they spent each week on their business, to what factors they used to price their items. They were also asked about what typical price was for their items, and also how much the approximate costs to make the item would be.

Some questions seemed geared to help the seller figure out how to sell more, in asking what their barriers to growing their business were, and how much advice they received from the Etsy community. The sample responses to barriers to growing their business were: "Not enough customer demand, Not enough cash on hand, Not enough time, Lack of knowledge on how to grow, Not enough marketing support, Not enough profit, and Not enough help."

At the end of the survey, respondents were asked if they'd be willing to work with an outside researcher from Harvard University to explore their business decision-making, and that "this researcher would not have access to your answers to this survey."

If you are an Etsy seller, did you receive the survey? What do you think of these kinds of surveys...are they a good thing; a sign of a site trying to mentor its sellers? Can any question be too personal, and what would that be? Post a comment here!




Comments (13) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 25 23:27:34 2012

I cannot imagine anyone answering that survey that had a lick of sense in their heads.  

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: truehandmade This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 00:10:38 2012

Suspect several of the q's Etsy is asking can be challenged legally - I wouldn't bother to respond.  Etsy wouldn't bother to ask me because I am not one of their favorite sellers and those sellers are the only ones that Etsy spends all its time and marketing efforts on -- including all the free ad space they give this tiny 1% on the site.  Etsy can survey that 1% because that's all they've ever been interested in.  Playing faves is so old and so worn on Etsy I wonder why anyone shops there today!  What a tired and stuck in the mud site it is!

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: joyful17 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 01:28:21 2012

These surveys do absolutely nothing for sellers! I also agree that Etsy plays favourites and gives ALL marketing efforts to top sellers...hard enough to catch a break on that site when there is so much competition ( jewellry designers galore) have been wondering if it is worth a 'try' at ArtFire! Anybody with experience with both sites...can help me decide!

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 01:53:19 2012

I felt that the survey got TOO personal, and I responded with the "prefer not to answer" response for those Q's. It's not like Etys has shown itself to possess any level of true professional standards, or shown themselves capable of consistant levels of quality workmanship.

I did the survey, because hope springs eternal, and one can only hope that one day Etsy will stumble across someone who SEES that the psychological insecurities of staffers needs to end.

@joyful17, the antics on Artfire are even more skeeved than those of Etsy.Try Bonanza or eCRATER.

I have to wonder if THIS survey was some sort of followup to the Wall Street consulting firm one that wound up getting Kalin offed.

It's not like the decision making tier hasn't received feedbacks and suggestions in the past. THEY just opt to blow it off, ... REPEATEDLY.

The cost is reasonable, the buyer demographic is good and site traffic is presentable. Can't say anything else good about the site.

IT IS NOT RUN ON ANY TYPE OF PROFESSIONAL MANNER.

Smoke and mirrors is Etsy's forte. Silencing members who have the audacity to criticise them is their means of control.

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 12:45:01 2012

Etsy needs to play less "nice nice" and concentrate more on getting shops viewed and sellers found.  I still do not understand their search engine....I've tried their various "promotions" and they don't seem to raise traffic all that much.  These are the things Etsy needs to concentrate on....TRAFFIC being the main one and a good search function a close second!  We really don't need the popularity contests.

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: kathy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 16:29:11 2012

Like the Watchings comment, "I did the survey, because hope springs eternal..." The personal q's were primarily at the end of the survey. I also preferred not to answer. I felt it was a waste of 15 minutes of my time.

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 23:34:54 2012

I tried (not very hard!) to sell some things on Etsy back a few years ago.  Maybe I should have kept it up but--

I have a VERY HARD TIME with their search system!  (thank you Patricia for saying the same!) I can never find what I want to look FOR without having to dredge thru a thousand things I don't want.  The listing titles are a MESS--it seems the more creative you are the less likely you are to pay ATTENTION to this and catch the eye of the potential buyer.  

I guess mebbe I am spoiled by the OLD ebay search that actually worked.    Sigh......

I see things all the time in mags etc from Etsy that I might like to buy but--I can't count on finding them!  Not good for business!  

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 27 02:16:48 2012

If you think Etsy sucks (I don't), you're gonna love ArtFire. It sucks worse.

I had an AF shop for 2+ years. I even signed up for their ''pro'' account when they had a $5-ish/month special (this was 2 or 3 years ago now, and during the holiday season). AF admins said that 80% of the sales on their site were from ''pro'' shops. Really?? I didn't sell a damn thing in the 4 months or so that I was a ''pro'' member. In fact, the ONLY things I ever sold in ALL my time on AF were 3 items that I sold to a customer who had seen them on Etsy but who didn't want to register for an Etsy account; so I listed them on AF (where, at the time, shoppers didn't need to have an account) and she bought them.

Zibbet is nearly as exciting as Artfire. For what that's worth.

Etsy is definitely where it's at for handmade. It's not perfect and they do play favorites. But that's life.

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: Aunt Onery This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 27 03:46:03 2012

I've been with Etsy long enough to watch the cold blooded shift away from the days when we helped advertise it as THE place to find unique handmade items, great vintage and supplies. In other words what most shoppers might regard as cottage industries...smaller retailers, growing indie businesses. It was fun to be part of something known as the antithesis to ''big box mega-glop stores'' and while never a perfect venue, at least for a few years, when we put what we were learning about online selling to use in our individual shops, we got results. We were seen and we watched our sales grow according to how well we managed our businesses.

It's been sickening to watch Etsy make excuses or abrupt rule changes that encourage the increase in huge commercial businesses, many of which are selling outsourced factory made products. Because of cheap labor, we are ultimately squeezed to compete in an unfair market. Etsy pretends to listen to our opinions and complaints, when in reality all they are doing with these surveys or forum topics is ''handling us''. It allows them to say, ''See? We did our surveys, here's a report''. But nothing really changes...the obligatory appearance of listening to the sellers is done.

Any remaining dissenters in the forums are muted, and ongoing problems are swept under the rug. It satisfies the CEO's that all is well, but for many of us, the site that used to be the one where we could make a living is now just another profit over people feeding trough these days for the few at the top of the corporate pyramid. We at the bottom who did well before have to now ''adjust'' to extremely unpredictable sales and a completely different selling atmosphere. It stinks. In my humble opinion.

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: Good Grief This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 27 06:52:41 2012

I would not fill out one of those surveys, why would anyone?  Etsy does not care enough for my time.   It's all smoke and mirrors, cupcakes and kool aid for the kiddies, rah rah rah.

Chads monthly report on sales has to be a made up amount because there is NO Way Etsy could be making that much money when no one can find anything on the site with browse!

I WAS doing quite well before they implemented Browse, now I don't even have any views.  I'm so disgusted with Etsy that I'm going back to (dare I say) EBAY!  All because of Browse, not enough cats for vintage sellers and playing favs with China resellers.  It's just like the old antique shops that have turned into flea market junk stores.

They lost their charm of the small handmade sellers and their montra - Quit your day job crap.

Makes me mad at myself for the time and energy I've put in listing stuff and actually believing in ETSY

All for GREED - Chad!

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Nov 27 11:08:40 2012

Wow. Etsy seems only second to ebay in engendering very strong opinions. I hear a lot of complaints about how Etsy won't do anything to help sellers, yet this survey seems like a place to start. They need to understand their base before they can take action to help them, so I don't really see the problem with this survey.

That said, I haven't seen the survey and haven't spent much effort trying to sell on Etsy. I can say I've had some success selling on Artfire. I get fairly regular sales there, with little effort on my part. It's not huge, but it is growing. They do have an excellent platform with a lot of seller tools and options. I've found it very interesting that most of my sales there are paid via Amazon Payments. I like that much better than Paypal.

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 28 04:31:21 2012

Tula, I have been on Etsy since 2008. I did fill out the survey, personally hoping that it was initiated by a ''particular'' board member.

There have been innumerable displays of Etsy staffers soliceting feedback from their members. They've all been BULL. For awhile there was what was called ''The community council''. This involved discussions of some sort betweenn admin and chosen sellers. NOTHING was accomplished.

The Etsy staff exhibits far too many insecurities to be deemed fit for running a business. They REACT to any form of critisism, usually by muting the dissenter and by labeling US as being vitriolic. The workers have VICTOM MINDSETS.

I also personally feel that they are a bit afraid of some of the board members, and possibly lack either the confidence or intelligence to occasionally tell them NO!

And because the entirety of the paid Etsy staff feel some level of intimidation regarding the real decision makers, they take these perceived attacks out on us.

The staff is just attempting to follow orders.

For anyone who is truly interested in being heard, I would suggest doing some research and writing letters to the BOARD. :) You night want to take into account, ''who has the most money on the table''

I feel this way because, ... both the board, and the sellers are the ones with ''their money'' on the line. I don't know about the board, but I have problems with paying for SLOP WORK.

There was some sort of Wall Street consulting firm report that was prepared, I think during the early part of 2011. That's when kalin was finally completely removed and Chad moved into his slot.

Chad, though has past ties to Caterina Frake from the pre 2008 Yahoo days, so there's no real way of knowing if he's skilled or ''in good'' with a decision maker.

Considering that his position was ''chief technical officer'' prior to CEO, and comparing THAT position to the SLOP WORK shinies rolled out by Etsy, ''I'' have to vote for the ''IN GOOD'', perspective.

Lastly, if any of you DO write the board, try to do so with an open mind. IF YOU had millions of dollars at risk, you would want to see a return on those funds, just like WE want to see a profit for OUR efforts.

:) It's the paid employees, and the mindsets that produce ''them'' as opposed to the entrepreneurial mindset, that is creating ALOT of the ongoing problems.

IF you truly want change, you NEED to be ''talking'' to the REAL decision makers.

Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey   Etsy's Business and Personal Seller Survey

by: jtower This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jan 1 12:36:01 2013

I agree - the site search stinks as they are using an old "out of the box" engine.  If ETSY wanted to provide an accurate, friendly and converting engine that understands what the visitor is typing in the search bar they would be BEST off using a Semantic Site-Search engine/service by Celebros Conversion Technolgies - The leader in Site search, merchandizing and navigation



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.