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Mon Aug 6 2018 23:18:54

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy CEO Josh Silverman is trying out some moves that will be familiar to eBay sellers. That can be viewed as a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. The company published its second-quarter 2018 financial results on Monday, and on a conference call with Wall Street analysts, the CEO shared additional information of interest to sellers.

Silverman and his Chief Financial Officer Rachel Glaser discussed Etsy's plans for marketing in the second half of the year (including TV commercials, retargeting, Instagram, and Facebook); changes to search; upcoming seller promotions; and information about a brand new offering called Targeted Offers. 

The chief executives led off with the news that Etsy saw 20.4% in GMS growth for the quarter (the value of items sold on its marketplace), and Etsy's revenue grew 30.2% to $132.4 million - good for sellers, even better for shareholders. 

A spokesperson pointed out it was the fourth consecutive quarter of growth acceleration and said Etsy grew to 2 million active sellers and 35.8 million active buyers around the world.

Note that the fee increase for sellers went into effect *after* the end of the second quarter (Etsy increased commission fees from 3.5% to 5%, inclusive of the cost of shipping, as of July 16). Silverman said, "We believe that by increasing the transaction fee to 5%, we are better positioned to bring more buyers to Etsy, generating more sales, and growing the pie for everyone."

Areas where Etsy sounded like it was borrowing ideas from eBay:

- Displaying estimated delivery dates; and issuing alerts to sellers whose shipping price appear to be above average. (Both are still being tested.)

- Testing a set of promotions designed to influence seller behavior in key areas - including shipping price. Glaser said shipping prices are higher than people are accustomed to on other sites, up to what she would call egregious, she said. And she said if you're buying clothing on another site, you know you can return it often times for free, and Etsy is looking to remove some of the friction for buyers in those two areas.

- Working to personalize the search experience. "We believe there's a great opportunity to do better here," Silverman said. "We are just beginning."

- Manipulating the search algorithm to display listings from sellers who are local to shoppers doing the searching. "For the first time, we began to incorporate a buyer's location as one of the attributes in the machine-learning algorithm used to categorize and rank search results," Silverman said.

- Testing ways for buyers to create user profiles to build an identity.

Among sellers' top concerns is always the issue of what marketplaces are doing to bring buyers to the site. On Monday's call, Glaser revealed that the majority of marketing spend in Q2 was related to paid marketing, primarily Google Product Listing Ads and SEM (search engine marketing). Etsy will expand to additional marketing channels in the second half of the year (TV advertising, retargeting, Instagram, and Facebook).

Etsy also ran some experiments in the second quarter to display user-generated curated collections to shoppers. And Silverman said there was opportunity to increase the average order volume through better cross-sell and upsell. 

Etsy will also make strategic investments in seller shipping promotions.

Silverman explained Targeted Offers - "the idea is, how do we take someone who has already interacted with a seller's shop, and let that seller reach out to them with a promotion or offer to get them to come back and engage more." 

He said Targeted Offers is a brand new product and it's still "early days" - it's great for buyers, and a way for sellers to take their destiny into their own hands.

The Etsy executives addressed the sales tax issue in the wake of the Supreme Court recently overruling its prior Quill decision. One analyst seemed to suggest Etsy should exploit the challenge sellers faced by monetizing a solution (Etsy has shown how profitable seller services can be). Silverman quashed the idea and said Etsy was working with state and federal legislators, saying better laws were needed.

Silverman told analysts that company morale was high, attrition in the quarter was low, "and the team has a bounce in our step."



Comments (24) | Permalink

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Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Aug 7 07:26:05 2018

As I read through this, each point listed seem to be why sellers are leaving eBay in droves.

What I can clearly see is that Etsy will be looking out for Etsy and Etsy's shareholders and the Etsy C-Suite.

"Personalizing" search, implementing manipulative algorithms, constant testing, displaying unrealistic delivery estimates, injecting themselves into sellers' shipping prices............classic eBay.

Proceed gingerly Etsy. Your customers (your sellers) are watching. They have options.  

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 08:33:45 2018

@Rexford

I agree, etsy needs to carefully think about the consequences of what they do, we are down to one store, after closing 2 in protest of their etsy payments, it won't take much for us to close up shop completely, we can easily divert sales away from etsy, forever,

I would suggest etsy use their profit to invest into other ventures to bring in more money, instead of squeezing every last cent from their sellers and their site.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 7 10:47:11 2018

Why would any other marketplace want to pattern themselves after eBay? Are the Etsy executives being deceived by eBay's weasel speak?

And this sounds straight out of eBay's playbook:

"We believe that by increasing the transaction fee to 5%, we are better positioned to bring more buyers to Etsy, generating more sales, and growing the pie for everyone."

How delusional does a person have to be to think that raising fees is going to generate more sales? It will just force sellers to raise their prices to cover the fee increase.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Tue Aug 7 11:03:34 2018

Well, as I am slowly building a new store there and so far I'm quite pleased with the prices and options, I just hope if they learn anything from eBay, it's what NOT to do to the sellers and buyers.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: felyne This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 11:38:46 2018

I agree with the comments that Etsy needs to be careful. Nothing gets less and fees will continue to rise to make shareholders happy. Start building your own site and collecting emails from customers. It's a matter of time before they prevent you from seeing them.  

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 11:53:45 2018

Etsy has forgotten that the sellers are also buyers.  Keep following ebay and this site will fail just as ebay.
Of course, if Silverman and others are looking to make millions in the short term and screw the sellers-then they are right on target.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: Henrietta McClellan This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Aug 7 11:54:02 2018

Etsy should not charge a percentage on shipping. definitely NOT FAIR!

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 12:03:50 2018

Etsy also forgets that they do not OWN any of the products they sell.  It is the SELLERS who take all the risks, do all the work and ultimately pay Josh's 7 figure salary and perks.  
You can only push people so far before they have no choice but to revolt against the tyranny that is being inflicted on them.  Although maybe it's not so easy to develop one's own website or find another platform, many sellers are finding out that they have no other options.  
Both Etsy and Ebay are guilty of the same corporate greed and disrespect for the Sellers.
All I can say is Payback's a b****** when it happens and these guys have a lot coming to them.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 12:07:23 2018

One other thing- Josh talks glowingly about "localization" like it's some kind of perk.  Obviously, he has no idea what he's talking about, nor has he read the thousands of comments from sellers who have lost all their business due to the fact that their items are only being shown locally, i.e. in their own country or state.
Note to Josh- why would anyone pay to be on a platform that advertises itself as having buyers "worldwide" when the truth is that their merchandise is only being shown to a limited number of potential buyers??
We all know that the money is here in the USA and that's where everyone wants to be seen.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: traciking This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 12:17:25 2018

It is depressing because nothing sellers say is going to move Etsy to change its focus.  The only thing that will do that is if they lose money because of it and it looks like that is unlikely to happen.  Look at Ebay it keeps growing no matter what they do to seller or how many of those sellers leave.  So why should Etsy not see that whatever Ebay does it benefits the company?

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 12:41:33 2018

Looks like Etsy is finding yet more ways to corrupt search and steal from sellers! International sellers in particular are already treated as second class citizens by Etsy's three existing scams:-

SCAM #1: localization (showing buyers search results mostly from their own country) has already decimated the businesses of many sellers in countries with smaller populations who have never heard of Etsy

SCAM#2: introducing the ''ships in 1/3 days'' filter where, yet again, buyers are only shown shops in their own country.

SCAM#3: including the cost of shipping in the raised fees. This hits international sellers hardest given the comparatively higher cost of international shipping.

INTERNATIONAL SELLERS PAY THE SAME FEES FOR A S**T SERVICE BUT ARE TREATED LIKE GARBAGE!

Karma will get you and your fat assed cronies in the end Silverman! I am putting my curse on you and yours.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 12:48:09 2018

In this age of corrupt corporate governance where the 1% spend their day inventing new strategies to extract more loot off the broken backs of the 99%, profits and money trump all.
Corporations have no moral compass, hoarding money and enriching themselves is their only concern. Etsy does not care if their policies are fair or if sellers stay or go, there will always be new sellers to take your place. So stop crying, find new alternatives to empower yourself, start planning to get out from under their boot. Etsy is only going to become more unequal and dysfunctional.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 13:45:36 2018

yes, the local search manipulation has killed a lot of sellers, I don't get why it would be in etsy's best interest to do this, it makes no sense,

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 14:51:53 2018

it's a down right sin that etsy became a stinking thief like ebay is , by stealing fees off of shipping charges that sellers have no control over.

it's wonderful that you can work hard in this country and become wealthy. but, when you get wealthy , why sink lower than a snakes belly and steel fees from struggling artists and hard working sellers that made you wealthy in the first place. in my book that's just plain filth.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: Twilight Faerie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 17:01:32 2018

Funny, I as many other artist left eBay in droves to Etsy because we were not happy with the platform. Now Etsy is becoming just like eBay and artist are not happy and are looking for a new platform. Take a clue Etsy, handmade sellers aren’t like regular retailers. We are not one size, one shipping cost fits all. Learn a lesson why we left eBay in the first place, and why so many of us leave Etsy. There are plenty of upstarts that are positioning themselves to welcome disgruntled Etsy sellers. Eventually Etsy will be the same garage sale flea market as eBay and some  upstart with integrity will be the place to sell handmade. History always repeats itself.  

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Aug 7 20:27:24 2018

Here's a move for ya "Josh" > GET OUT ya dope.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Aug 7 20:34:05 2018

"Growing the Pie" is Communist speak for "We're taking more of your hard earned money. We know you already work nights, weekends and holidays with no vacations whatsoever, trying to get ahead, but we don't want you to get ahead. That would give you a shred of dignity and we can't have that ". I'd like to slap the checks off that famish pinhead Silverman.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Aug 7 20:35:07 2018

"Growing the Pie" is Communist speak for "We're taking more of your hard earned money. We know you already work nights, weekends and holidays with no vacations whatsoever, trying to get ahead, but we don't want you to get ahead. That would give you a shred of dignity and we can't have that ". I'd like to slap the cheeks off that famish pinhead Silverman.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

by: Bubbles This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 7 20:36:39 2018

I had a very positive attitude to Etsy as it was refreshing not to be treated like an eBay seller. I hope Etsy think this through otherwise they are heading down the same path as eBay - disaster - and sellers will leave in droves just like they have eBay. One of eBay's major downfalls was messing with search. The Cassini search has been nothing but a fast downward spiral for eBay sellers. Please learn from this Etsy and don't make the same mistakes.

Perminate Link for Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves   Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Tries Some eBay Moves

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Aug 7 21:35:58 2018

Downfall : Ebay and Etsy's downfall was letting Corporate in the door and listing on the stock market.
THAT'S the common thread that results in Failure.
Can't see a thing with these dime store glasses.....

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