Etsy made a move to show shoppers on small mobile screens other items they might be interested in, but the feature is not going over well with many sellers after they noticed it became more prominent since launching last year.
When it launched last April
, the "Similar Items on Etsy" feature appeared on listings when viewed on the Etsy mobile app - but Etsy displayed it underneath the "Similar Items" section that links to the sellers own items.
But this week, sellers noticed that other sellers' listings were appearing higher in their own listings. After EcommerceBytes published
some sellers' objections in Newsflash on Friday, readers brought our attention to additional threads where sellers pointed to instances where their buyers were actually confused by the feature.
"A gal contacted me on facebook asking how to buy my hermit crab foods. I sent her the link to my storefront. She was having difficulty on a new phone and so I was sending screen shots of how it ought to look. I'm walking her through the sale, and she starts having all sorts of options and drop down menus. Then I realize, she's buying from my competitor! Darn! And I walked her right into their store and helped her checkout!"
In another thread
, a seller explained that in the past week, she had had customers ordering items but contacting her to ask for designs from her competitors, not realizing those designs were from other sellers.
"After doing some digging, I realized it is because when they click on MY PRODUCT listing, at the bottom there are photo's/links to other "similar" designs from another shop on Etsy...but they thought it was me," she wrote. "Both customers were very very annoyed, and felt "betrayed" and "mislead". One order I had to cancel as she was LIVID that I couldn't design someone else's product. The other was quite angry, but decided to stay with the original."
A reader told us the problem with the feature is that they appear right in the middle of a shop, leading the buyer to believe those items are from the same seller. "They have also taken away the shop tag in the listing a buyer would not know that they are not shopping with you when they click."
Etsy says it benefits all sellers to engage mobile shoppers and said, "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."
Etsy is learning some of the same lessons eBay did when making moves designed for the good of the marketplace - buyers are not careful readers (especially on mobile devices), and sellers are territorial about the listing pages for which they have paid.