Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 18 2013 08:28:58

Will Etsy Partnerships with Brands Help Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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My nieces and nephews wield keyboards and smartphones when preparing for their weddings (next one is coming up in March), and Etsy is one of the sites they visit when shopping for things they need.

That's because Etsy and its sellers have done a good job of appealing to editors of magazines and television talk shows who show how handmade and vintage items sold on Etsy can be featured in weddings (and in home decor and fashion).

Now Etsy has partnered with a few of these "tastemakers" (brands and publishers) to let them create Etsy Pages where they feature items they like - in other words, curated collections - right on Etsy itself.



Curation has become the answer for shoppers who get lost in the overwhelming number of search results of sites like Google and comparison shopping engines. And anyone can become a "tastemaker" on Pinterest and curate their own collections and follow others whose style they enjoy.

For Etsy, it's a marketing "no-brainer" to provide visitors to its site with Pinterest-style pages that well known brands have selected and feature under their name. For example, Martha Stewart Weddings has an Etsy Page featuring items for sale by Etsy sellers grouped into themes - Nautical Weddings; Bridal Party Gifts; Rustic Weddings; and more.

In return, the brands are introduced to new readers by having a more active presence on Etsy and gain a following, according to Heather Burkman, an Etsy Product Marketing Manager. She told me Etsy encourages the brands to link to editorial content on their pages - "that's another point of entry for our members to go explore these partners."

Sellers who have read about the new Etsy Pages feature liked its marketing potential but did have some concerns. One is that the same group of sellers that get featured by Etsy already would be the ones featured in collections on Etsy Pages. There's been a feeling of the "haves" and "have nots" on Etsy for a long time, and sellers are still smarting from a host of changes the site recently introduced, including unpopular changes to feedback.

One seller was concerned that some publications would feature her items but then show their readers how to make the items cheaper themselves.

A few expressed concern that rather than drawing visitors to Etsy, it might pull Etsy visitors away to the brands' own websites. Wrote one Etsy seller, "Actually I found a few who link to their eshops in the website links at the top of their curated Pages. Doesn't lead to a Pinterest page. It leads to shopping carts to sell their non-Etsy products."

Overall, sellers seemed cautiously optimistic about Etsy Pages, and many hoped their items would be featured.

But sellers who wondered if they could open Etsy Pages themselves had their hopes dashed. In answer to a question posed on a discussion thread, "How big a brand do you have to get on Pages, and what if you are an Etsy based brand?" Burkman replied:

"Good question! The brands and bloggers who are joining Etsy via Pages had no other way to engage with our community. Since they're not selling, the strongest way for them to interact with our members is through curation.

"Our sellers already have a strong brand presence on Etsy, which is their shop. Ultimately we want this to be the primary destination for sellers (rather than a Page), because that brings the shopper even deeper into your brand (only your items are in your shop, etc). We're thinking of more ways for shop activity to be highlighted in the Activity Feed as well.

"That being said, individual members have been curating through Favorite Lists for a long time, and they make up the majority of our tastemakers that members follow. Member curation is a big part of the activity feed, and we want this to continue! You don't have to be a brand to have strong taste. Pages is really a way for brands to have a presence on Etsy, where there wasn't a formal way to do this in the past."


Should Etsy let everyone create Etsy Pages - and not just sellers, but buyers as well? It certainly works for Pinterest. Buyers might spend more time on the site as they peruse items to add to their collections. Etsy could still put tastemakers' pages front and center.

Let us know what you think of Etsy Pages and if it will spur sales, and share your thoughts about curation in general.




Comments (41) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
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Wed Sep 18 09:43:09 2013

At this point the pages leave me cold. Most of them seem to have the same look of beige on white, probably some current fashion, but quickly boring.

Considering the amount of bold colors to be found on Etsy and the vintage sellers, especially vintage jewelry, I found the pages not to be very representative and I fear that potential customers will see them and think that the site has nothing for them.

Opening them to sellers, permitting each seller 16 items like a treasury, would breathe some life into the drab pages.  

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

Wed Sep 18 09:44:09 2013

This isn't good.
No doubt a decision made after too much wine.

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by: kathy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 09:50:32 2013

All I know is the fact that my sales have flat lined on Etsy a few months ago, and still are. It used to be my #2 site in sales.

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by: Zojja This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 10:10:02 2013

Several sellers asked Etsy admin what would happen if these "brands" would post items from resellers and copyright infringers.  In typical Etsy admin response, he said that Etsy won't be moderating these lists and it is up to the seller/buyer to report the item if it is not handmade.  Why are we always supposed to do Etsy's job of reporting resellers?  They have a department that is "supposed" to do this, yet the rampant reseller problem continues to grow.

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by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 10:17:14 2013

Etsy definitely has its own version of ''diamond sellers'' although they're not so obviously tagged or labeled as such.

I have little doubt that this will be yet another mechanism for steering business to those favored sellers.

Thankfully, we don't rely on our Etsy sales to make or break our bottom line since our experience is pretty similar to that previously shared by Kathy.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Sep 18 10:30:39 2013

The more I learn about Etsy the more I just say no to selling there.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Sep 18 10:45:11 2013

An additional thought....wouldn't it be great if just one site that small sellers helped to build from the ground up, that then goes on to experience some success, wouldn't invite corporate entities to the party.

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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 11:28:43 2013

Etsy admin has so screwed up the site that it is now worthless for those of us who helped build it under their mandate of "all things hand made"!  WORTHLESS!

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by: Danielle This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 11:34:08 2013

Etsy is slowly losing its ''Boutique Site'' character. From a one of a kind, handmade and vintage site, into a mere version of ebay.
The latest 'improvement'' of the review/feedback system, an ill fated decision, makes it look more and more like any other site.
All of these so called improvements show a direction that becomes questionable.
Instead on focusing on improving visibility for ALL Etsy sellers and  getting the items promoted in searches, Etsy starts promoting major brands websites. Doesn't this sound completely counterproductive?

Etsy searches are already manipulated to showcase some Sellers in the detriment of others.  That explains why, for similar merchandise, some sellers have thousands of views daily, others a few per week or less. Some have daily sales, others monthly or even less. In my opinion, shared by hundreds of other Etsy sellers,THIS is the issue Etsy should have improved on.
Makes me wonder what next on Etsy?

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 11:50:49 2013


Hey--Wanna buy a vowel???

The "Next Thing"  on Etsy is the re-arranging of the letters to spell "EBAY"

I find Etsy hard to search and with no way to know what sells or for how much to judge what a "good"  price is or not--and I also find it hard to tell if the item is handmade etc--this should all be on ONE PAGE or perhaps with a large symbol to indicate if it is indeed a handcrafter item ---or NOT.  

I don't have a huge problem with somethings not being hand crafted--findings for example--or vintage--but the REST of it--well that WAS the promise and the premise of Etsy now wasn't it???

Why DON'T we have another non-corp site????

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 12:30:01 2013

''The brands and bloggers who are joining Etsy via Pages had no other way to engage with our community.'' What? Martha Stewart Weddings is suffering from a lack of exposure?

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by: Roux Chat This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 12:32:20 2013

Putting a lot more effort into my shops at Zibbet, Goodsmiths, and Storenvy. Etsy no longer serves small handmade artisans and they're pushing vintage out as well. I'm so tired and it's pointless to complain in Etsy forums because you will 1) be muted 2) have an Etsy cupcake tell you Etsy is marvelous (especially love that coming from new shops with no prior Etsy experience) 3) an Etsy admin will come in to thank you for your comments before closing the thread and dumping it into the trash bin.

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

Wed Sep 18 12:41:25 2013

Years ago, while researching online venues, I saw a program featuring meg Whitman who was discussing Ebay.

"The Beauty of the Venue Setting" according to Meg was "its" RISK FREE, NO COST INVENTORY.

That's all that the sellers represent to the venue, ...

FREE INVENTORY, ...

... Oh, and FREE Marketing, too.

It would be nice to see some of the same types of financial regulations that now apply to credit cards and other financial institutions be applied to selling venues.

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 12:43:57 2013

Zojja wrote: ''Why are we always supposed to do Etsy's job of reporting resellers? They have a department that is ''supposed'' to do this, yet the rampant reseller problem continues to grow.''

EXACTLY!!!!! I've had an Etsy shop for 7 years, but yesterday was the first time I've ever received a warning for something I posted in the forums. That was a VAGUE reference to an obvious reseller which, if Etsy would even have looked at the report I filed on several items from this shop, they should have shut it down without a second thought! Do a search for USB cables on Etsy and look for the bright colored ones; the shop name is Juicies. I provided Etsy with a YouTube video showing the packaging for this product which clearly states ''Made in China.'' Sheesh!  And feel free to report these items yourself. PLEASE!

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by: marcellina This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 12:44:49 2013

It's pretty much impossible to care about this when we're all so steamed over the horrendous feedback situation Etsy has created. Etsy has managed to completely piss off and frustrate my otherwise happy buyers with their convoluted absurd new ''Review'' process. Since this was initiated I've been emailed by every single buyer thanking me for their items and apologizing for not being able to deal with the time consuming, confusing feedback process. This is truly an epic Etsy FAIL. It's at the top of the list with hiding the item's shipping cost from the buyer.

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by: Skip This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 13:22:40 2013

Come On,

Let's face it this is another venue that wants the big boys.

Let's let the big boys make more big bucks. But, push the small guys to the curb.

Who makes the big guys rich but the little guys. Many of these venues are changing. The reason
is, they can make money without investing a cent into inventory.
This is pure profit. Plus, we allow them to tell us what we can and can not sell.

But, wait this is only the beginning.  

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by: tmooreseller This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Sep 18 13:25:04 2013

I did not sign on for this. I expected Etsy to remain a boutique for hand made items and yet it is letting big corporations like Martha Stewart grab all the attention away from small sellers like me. That's it, I am pulling out of Etsy altogether October 1. Who's with me?

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 13:33:03 2013

Sadly....they are become Ebay Lite....since I get enough stress with the master of ALL stress sites, Ebay, why should I stick around for more from a lessor God...Etsy?  I'm winding down my listings there and getting out....

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by: town hall This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 18 14:29:24 2013

Etsy is now THE ''go to'' place for everything Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Hello Kitty, Snoopy and the gang, Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh, Ninja Turtles, Superman, Batman, Harry Potter, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chanel, Versace, New York Mets, Disney, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and a host of other trademarked images as well as J. Crew knock-offs and cheap mass produced bubble necklaces in every color. Just write those names into their search and you'll even see the same pictures over and over (with different sellers). So much plastic junky stuff!

Etsy has become a joke to handmade.  Time to move on.  

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by: aloyisius This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Sep 18 15:06:27 2013

Ina, I usually appreciate your Etsy articles, but,this article is a BIG disappointment. Why don't you write more about all that is SO WRONG at Etsy right now, including about Chad Dickerson and his ''code as craft'' kiddies destroying the livelihoods of those who MADE Etsy, while outright lying to sellers, buyers and even his investors (by scewing the data, telling investors they have contacted and spoken to or emailed sellers, telling the investors and the media only what he WANTS them to believe, it's all smoke and mirros). He says ''Give them the illusion''. Read his blog. Etsy is run like a dictatorship in Orwellian fashion. Also, please write an article on the thousands (Chad will tell you only about 200) of muted and permamuted sellers AND buyers! Etsy sellers, even those who used to swear that Etsy never did anything wrong, are leaving Etsy in droves.  Write about THAT. Etsy sellers and buyers look to you for support, please don't let them down.

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