|Wed Sept 18 2013 08:28:58|
Will Etsy Partnerships with Brands Help Sellers?
By: Ina Steiner
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.