Etsy has been helpful to sellers trying to get their products into the hands of retailers and boutiques, but on Wednesday, the company announced it's shutting down Etsy Wholesale.
"Unfortunately, running a separate marketplace built around the needs of wholesale sellers requires a big investment of resources," it wrote. "So we've made the tough decision to close the Etsy Wholesale platform."
Etsy had acquired Trunkt in 2012 and launched its wholesale initiative
later that year, allowing wholesale buyers to connect with vetted Etsy sellers. Etsy Wholesale officially launched in 2014.
However, in Etsy's eyes, there isn't enough business generated through the platform. "Of our nearly 2 million sellers, only 5,000 of them are actively selling on Etsy Wholesale, and only a small fraction of those sellers sell more than $10,000 a year through the wholesale platform," it revealed.
Etsy sellers can transact wholesale orders on its main marketplace platform but without the tools and marketing offered on Etsy Wholesale.
The company offered some suggestions, including sending existing Etsy Wholesale buyers a coupon code that contains a minimum order value; creating private listings when approached by a buyer that includes bulk-order pricing; and adding a "Wholesale" or "Bulk order" tag on listings where those options are offered.
Etsy said beginning on June 28, 2018, buyers will no longer be able to place new purchase orders on Etsy Wholesale.
On July 31, 2018, Etsy Wholesale will close, and buyers and sellers will no longer be able to access Etsy.com/Wholesale. Etsy will send sellers a data file with their wholesale purchase order history.
One seller called the news disheartening in a post on the Etsy boards
. Another seller questioned what resources Etsy was talking about when it said the wholesale marketplace required a big investment on its part - "Etsy laid off everyone who worked on Etsy Wholesale and haven't updated the site since."
"Etsy Wholesale has been such an important part of growing my business and I'm really going to miss it!" wrote another. Many discussed whether Indigo Fair was a viable alternative.
Out of many responses, one seller wondered if Etsy focusing on the core site would be better for the vast majority of sellers.
Etsy CEO Josh Silverman is making the company mean and lean and makes data-driven decision. But could there be intangible benefits to Etsy Wholesale that are difficult to quantify?
Let us know what you think, and what message is Etsy sending by closing down the platform.