Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Dec 8 2013 19:45:45

Sellers Call on Etsy to Promote Vintage Side of Marketplace

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers say Etsy's holiday marketing campaign ignores the vintage side of the marketplace. The new campaign features videos of sellers of handmade goods but includes no mention of vintage items available for sale on the marketplace.

That's just the latest example of how Etsy puts all of its marketing efforts into handmade goods, sellers say, which hurts their sales and potential for growth.

Etsy acknowledged they have heard from sellers that sales of vintage goods were down, but a spokesperson told EcommerceBytes nothing in its data suggests that the category overall is trending differently from the rest of the marketplace. She said, "We encourage vintage sellers to follow the same tips we give every seller: take great pictures, use relevant tags and titles, and take advantage of holidays, seasonal changes, cultural events, and lifestyle trends in your own marketing."

Sellers say they understand they must promote themselves, but they also had suggestions on how Etsy could support their efforts.

All of the sellers we spoke to said Etsy should include vintage in email and blog activity. Michele, who sells vintage jewelry on Etsy, said, "I'm not just a vintage seller, I'm also a customer, and frankly, I don't bother much with the blog because it doesn't speak to me as a customer or a seller."

Andrea, who sells vintage decor, jewelry and watches on Etsy and on her own website, said Etsy should also include vintage more on Etsy Treasuries and on Pinterest. "Use more vintage-related meta tags and key words on their website source code," and, "show how handmade, modern and vintage can work together to encourage cross pollination."

Some sellers were dismayed that vintage was not included in the holiday marketing campaign. Andrea suggested Etsy "spend some money advertising their vintage shops and over 4 million items."

Margie, who sells vintage as well as some handmade jewelry on Etsy, and also sells books on Amazon and Alibris and the occasional item on eBay, said "Etsy needs to include us in Emails, include us in all promotions, and promote Christmas sales. In general, Etsy needs to include the vintage sellers in everything they do. We may not be as large a group as the handmade, but we are not so small as to be missed in their bottom line if we weren't there."

Look for additional coverage of this issue in tomorrow's Newsflash newsletter, and let us know what Etsy could do to better promote vintage items.




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Perminate Link for Sellers Call on Etsy to Promote Vintage Side of Marketplace   Sellers Call on Etsy to Promote Vintage Side of Marketplace

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 20:20:24 2013

IF ETSY wants to get serious about vintage, they need to include a convenient way to make / accept offers, include calculated shipping, and expand categories. There is a HUGE market for vintage, especially NOW since eBay has taken the Dollar store/ Shopping mall route.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 21:53:56 2013

Mr. Me is exactly right. Ebay is literally driving business away, Etsy could and should take advantage of this.

Perminate Link for Sellers Call on Etsy to Promote Vintage Side of Marketplace   Sellers Call on Etsy to Promote Vintage Side of Marketplace

by: OldCrabapple This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 8 21:58:30 2013

I sell vintage jewelry on Etsy, with mixed results. I'm terribly disadvantaged because I do not partake in social media. I'm an old goat and have no interest in tweeting, blogging, and facebook. And that really is the only way to drive traffic to your shop.

My sales have to rely upon their search engine, which is woefully inadequate. And the result is the random quirk of a sale, or an occasional small flurry of sales, followed by long dry periods with no sales at all. There doesn't seem to be any consistency.

I wish they had the vision and the foresight to make ready for those of us yearning to be free of Ebay. While at Ebay things change on an hourly basis, nothing much ever changes at Etsy, for good or naught.
Etsy, please do something about that primitive search engine of yours!

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by: BlackRain4 This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Dec 8 23:59:59 2013

I have an eclectic mix of vintage at BlackRain4's Vintage & Antique Shop. I am involved with a few great etsy teams who promote my shop in their treasuries. I also advertise on facebook, twitter, and Pinterest. I have my own fb vintage sellers' group, where many sellers from etsy, ebay, rubylane, tias, websites, etc. post listings of vintage and antique items. Etsy sends me advertising email all the time for handmade items and supplies. What about the vintage sellers? We are not promoted by Etsy...we have to promote ourselves!  :O(

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by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 00:20:57 2013

Vintage sellers are the red headed stepchildren of Etsy.  

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by: sundance This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 01:38:42 2013

I have two problems with Etsy & vintage. #1. Their search engine mixes too many NON-vintage items with REAL vintage!

#2.  They do not, IMHO, advertise vintage aggressively enough.  I finally pulled my vintage jewelry & linens off Etsy about 2 years ago when I realized that it put ALL advertising promotion on the seller (fb, pin, blog, teams, treasuries, etc., etc.). I spent 2 days literally  searching the net to see if my decision to take my vintage off Etsy was reasonable.  I wasn't finding many Etsy paid ads around the net for vintage. Several for handmade and a couple of mentions of supplies. Which is good for me since I sell both those. :)  

I was able to sell almost all my vintage on 2 other sites in less than a month.  Over 80 items.  I doubt if I will consider putting any vintage back onto Etsy any time soon.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
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Mon Dec 9 01:46:01 2013

In some ways, such as direct customer contact, direct payments and shipping, Etsy is a lovely place at which to sell.  In other ways, such as the lack of advertising support, it is the pits.

I get emails almost daily, with many varied topics but they all relate to hand made and crafts.  I read the blog posts and advice sent to increase my business - more hand made.  On line advertising - yup, more hand made.It would be interesting to see a percentage of the advertising focus on vintage equal to the percentage of income vintage bring into the site.  Talk about the impossible dream .....

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by: truehandmade This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 06:44:51 2013

Vintage sellers have a valid complaint but it is the same complaint that ''non-fave'' sellers have had on Etsy for years.  Etsy promotes, for free, a tiny number of sellers that it personally picks for constant free mktg and ignores all other sellers vintage and handmade.  This mini-exclusive boutique approach has been so successful for Etsy (and means less work for their employees) that Etsy changed the rules for sellers who, after being promoted by Etsy for free for years, have to hire employees and commercial producers to make their ''handmade'' products by the ton.  Etsy benefits and favors only a small number of sellers it likes.  Vintage isn't on their map, but 99.99999% of all sellers on Etsy aren't on their map either, never have been, never will.

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by: ShadeDog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 07:17:57 2013

We have been fairly successful as vintage sellers on Etsy, but it has not been with much of Etsy's help. It would be nice if we vintage sellers accounted for say 20% of the fees Etsy generated, that Etsy used 20% of their marketing allotment to build their vintage segment. There is much to like about Etsy. But there is much that could improve. The search engine does not work as they say it should. I think that if I read ''our data shows everything is great'' one more time from them I will retch. It is a standard canned response you get with any problem you bring to their attention. We have been selling for over just over 2 years and read the monthly news letters and marketing tips. I don't recall even one being aimed at their vintage marketplace. Bottom line is for me is that Etsy needs to devote some resources to the unique spot that vintage holds for them before some other entrepreneur comes along and builds a better mousetrap.  

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by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 09:20:00 2013

I have had absolutely no sales this holiday season in my vintage shop.  Etsy has treated vintage as if it doesn't exist.  We offer unique gifts, not like some of their so called "handmade" resold items.  But that is something Etsy will never admit.

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by: Cranky Lady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 11:07:04 2013

Many of the points I wanted to make have already been made above.  I want to note that a lady named Danielle used to handle the email program directed to sellers.  She seemed very even and provided information useful to vintage sellers as well as handicrafters.  Since she no longer handles the emails, there has been a 180 degree turn in favor of handicrafters to the loss of the vintage sellers.  I began listing on Etsy in 2011, and have never cleared over $1,000. in any year.  I began this to supplement my social sec income, but so far there has been no viable benefit.  I am careful on pricing too.  I do lots of time consuming work researching each item I list and price somewhere at 50 to 60% of the value I find.  Therefore, it is very disappointing to see Etsy focus on handicrafts and almost totally ignore vintage sellers.  I am exploring other venues and have begun using a few, but I must say, Etsy has a superb setup for listing and managing items for sale.  As one poster above said, Etsy should spent the same percentage of promotion on vintage as the vintage sellers or their volume represent on the web site.  It is really disappointing to see all the high sales numbers for the beginning of the holiday season while knowing you have only had one sale in November and that was family!  Thanks for your ear.  

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by: traceyg This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 11:28:20 2013

There is no real good place to sell vintage online anymore. I still do okay on ebay but it would be nice to have a site dedicated to just vintage that is it. Etsy should open another site called Etsy Vintage but I am not sure they have the money and staff to do so.  Someone with a name money and some power should take on the giant right now because it would be the perfect time. I myseld am not waiting around for anyone else to do it but will open my own photo site this winter. I do okay with a catholic site I have had about 15 years I think I will do okay with the photo site. What used to make ebay good was the bidding wars but they are few and far away now that enticement is pretty much gone. . I don't even shop ebay anymore can't find anything but chinese junk . .  

Perminate Link for Sellers Call on Etsy to Promote Vintage Side of Marketplace   Sellers Call on Etsy to Promote Vintage Side of Marketplace

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 11:41:15 2013

Etsy is all talk and no walk when it comes to vintage. They are slowly moving towards dumping their U.S. crafters in favor of those who import factory handmade (LOL)items from exploited workers in Asia and India and take credit for the designs. Do I blame Etsy? No. The buyers are there for those products and Etsy is there to make money. American sellers are slowly being squeezed out by both Etsy and Ebay. Bottom line, don't quit your day job.  

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by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 11:46:49 2013

Last year thanks to eBay blackballing me (12th year veteran seller on eBay), I fled to Etsy and ArtFire.  Sales of my vintage items for November were sparse, but I was pleased with December results.  

Due to free listings from eBay I also listed with them and December was good there as well.  Never as good as I want, but I will take what the market gives me.

During this year, ArtFire all but disappeared on me.  No sales from August through mid-November.  No sales so far in December.

2013 sales on Etsy declined to 3 to 4 sales a month, but has improved in November.  December has risen a bit but not all that encouraging.  

This Christmas season on eBay, I am pleased with the results, but who knows when one rotten buyer will trigger an eBay termination.  

I run discount promotions on eBay with their easy to use store manager.   ArtFire also has a similar discount tool (not as good as eBay but this geezer can use it).

Etsy has nothing like eBay’s discount tool.  Discussing this with customer service, I was informed of some online appt.  It maybe a few months before this geezer figures how to do this.  

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by: AmericanRose This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 12:30:35 2013

Etsy established its market presence and  overcame obstacles in its early days in part by capitalizing on the deep product knowledge, professional credibility, and thorough honesty of a strong cadre of self-motivated, customer-oriented vintage sellers who worked together with professionalism and collegiality using the promotional team system Etsy mandated. The reward for these dedicated and persistent, high-calibre sellers? Having no presence at all on the current Etsy App, invisibility in an Etsy search morass that gurgles up Chinese bubble necklaces, and zero visibility in internal and external pr. Customer service on Etsy without these dedicated and polished professionals will experience the bathos that is Ebay's.  Let us not even mention the mendacity of the elusive ''Etsy algorithm'' or ''Google Hummingbird interface.'' I will leave this topic to one savvier than I.  

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by: vintagegoodness This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Dec 9 18:20:06 2013

I agree with all the other comments here about Etsy and how it deals with its vintage category. I don't know why it doesn't see the opportunity that it has, and has had for a while, to really ramp up its antiques/collectibles/vintage categories and fill a much needed void, which would benefit both Etsy and its sellers.

I do fairly well on Etsy, but I would love to see more promotion from them, a revamp of the vintage category structure, and the addition of a Best Offer option. (Which, by the way, is so unpopular an idea with the Etsy handmade sellers - and some Etsy vintage sellers as well - that I don't see it ever happening, which I think is a shame.)

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by: Serious Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 22:00:23 2013

To add insult to injury, newly made items are tagged with keywords like ''vintage style'' or ''vintage inspired'' which clogs up search results and confuses buyers.
Etsy respects no group of users (buyer or sellers), just investors.  

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by: LauraTOV This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 22:54:00 2013

I sold on Etsy for two years before leaving a few months ago to sell full time on eBay.  I loved my Etsy store front and my customers but my sales took a nosedive the second year despite my slick photos, Facebook page, blog, pinterest, and twitter.  I think their search engine w/ ''relevancy'' is literally USELESS and had a direct influence on my dwindling sales.  Even with paying for the promoted links on Etsy I did no better with my sales.  I always made more money on eBay with maybe 1/4 as many listings at any given time.  I have been thrilled since closing my Etsy shop and have been able to quit my job to sell full time.  There is money to be made on eBay if you're selling desirable stuff at a competitive price, period.

Another disturbing discovering I made about Etsy recently AND a warning to all you Etsy sellers who see this: I clicked on an active sponsored link for an Etsy listing I found via a Google search.  This was an item CURRENTLY for sale on Etsy.  When I clicked on the link to view the item, the Etsy listing loaded with FOUR SPONSORED links at the top of the page for similar items for sale through other Etsy shops.  This means that in YOUR ACTIVE LISTING Etsy is promoting FOUR OTHER ITEMS from FOUR OTHER SELLERS at the VERY TOP of the page before a buyer even gets to see your item.  This seems to only work through google but either way, what are your chances of selling the item if the buyer has an additional four to choose from before even getting to see your photos and description?  And you paid for that listing.  I know eBay will do sponsored links, but at least their's are small and at the very bottom of the page.  

Very disenchanted with Etsy as a seller and due to their horrible search engine, now as a buyer.

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by: VickiAnnMarie This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Dec 9 23:09:24 2013

Etsy does NOT promote vintage the way they used to...doesn't matter what they try to say about it. There is no balance between promoting the items from the supposed hand-made sellers and the TRUE vintage sellers.  My sales have dropped over 60% from last year. And because of the changes they've made I do even MORE promoting, more tweeting, and more posting anywhere I can. I have not seen any vintage in any of the newsletters that get emailed out, nothing in the ''Etsy Finds''. Check out their main Facebook page..try to find any vintage postings. I myself, wrote to Etsy support and of course I got the same thing that they said in this article...Be sure to check your tags, titles, and pictures...That is getting so old.  Now that Etsy allows mass produced ''hand made'' items vintage has been put on the back burner. Very sad because REAL vintage (not the hand-made re-made look-a-likes) is very popular.

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by: lbs This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 10 15:59:05 2013

I fear this is one of those situations your Mom warned you about....Etsy is going to have to learn their lesson about ''vintage'' the hard way. It won't be long before another large online retailer provides a more appropriate venue for true vintage dealers and there will be a mass exodus of those resellers to the new site. Only then will Etsy realize the value of what they have chosen to date to ignore.

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