Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Nov 26 2014 22:54:43

Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

By: Ina Steiner

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Tristan Handy, Vice President of Marketing for RJMetrics, analyzed data for a blog post to help shoppers navigate Etsy when doing their holiday shopping for handmade goods, and he reviewed the impact of the company's decision to broaden its definition of handmade.

Many sellers will likely applaud his first two tips: Think about what "handmade" means to you, and, shop the small stores.

However, some may take issue with his third tip: If you want to shop the tiny stores, head over to the art and home and garden categories.

The largest sellers tend to sell more craft supplies, jewelry, and vintage products, he said. "Tiny shops (those selling fewer than 20 products) are selling more art and home and garden items."

We asked him if sellers of vintage items and supplies who were 1-person shops might take issue with that recommendation. His tip still stands, he said, but the implications for store size could potentially be less significant for vintage sellers. "We actually didn't look into that, but it is a reasonable hypothesis."

The ideal way to measure the size of an online seller is by gross sales, and obviously that information was unavailable to Handy. But while the number of listings can help estimate the size of sellers of handmade goods (and even that is imperfect), it's not very helpful in estimating the size of sellers of vintage goods.

Marketplaces don't share much data with sellers, so it's great to see some of the numbers Handy published (there's more on that in this Newsflash article). And tipping shoppers to what to watch out for if they're picky about the term "handmade" is helpful.
    
But the focus on handmade demonstrates Etsy's success in carving out a reputation as a marketplace for artisans and crafters, and the difficulty sellers of vintage goods face in being remembered and understood.




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Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

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

Thu Nov 27 00:51:35 2014

Ya, that's a Big Problem. The problem is : the people giving the tips don't sell on the site. They (apparently) haven't looked at the Chain of Categories one must go through to list the item in the correct End category for it to (hopefully) show up a good number of times in the search. And paying to have the product show AND paying commission fees is double dipping.
Pretty soon I'll just go back to mowing lawns a plowing snow.
No Retirement in sight.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

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

Thu Nov 27 01:27:18 2014

Just discovered a HUGE problem :
The categories a seller has to choose from when listing, are IN NO WAY at all identical to the categories a buyer has to choose from when looking for an item.
SYNC 'em UP !
For God's sake ! That's an elementary fundamental primary MUST BE !  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

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

Thu Nov 27 10:48:44 2014

Well Here's a SHOCK:
I just typed in THREE words in the title of my Special Item.
Out of the Five pages that came up,
NONE of them showed my item.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

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

Thu Nov 27 10:54:16 2014

Tried it again. Out of the 60 items that come up NONE of them are mine.
Apparently they want to force me to buy advertizing.
Never had this happen before ever.
My items are being hidden.
Why ?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 27 11:04:31 2014

I'm not so sure that they are misunderstood. I think its more that shoppers like me prefer to visit stores with more than a few listings. My time is important enough not to waste with the so called misunderstood.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

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

Thu Nov 27 19:15:21 2014

I have sold vintage on etsy for a couple of years, and Etsy just doesnt get it, Vintage items dont sell at fixed price (just watch Antiques roadshow, values all given in a range, determined by auction)
Also fixed price shipping doesn't work... antiques may be fragile and bulky, so calculated shipping is a must.
wake up Etsy, $$$ is knocking at your door, dont hide under the bed.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Russ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 27 19:51:37 2014

Most of Etsy's metric are skewed.

The site is littered with Chinese junk made well AFTER 1995...and not junk to make other ''handmade'' items...figurines by American-based ''artists'' choosing to mass produce their pieces of shore and end up on Etsy's secondary sales outlet.

Seems their original draw has tarnished all in the name of the bottom line...Site for Sale?  Pre-IPO numbers grab?

Any ''report this item'' falls on deaf ears by the so-called site integrity team...go figure.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Jerseygal This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 28 11:19:18 2014

I think on some level we are comparing apples and oranges here. Selling vintage almost requires a large shop with a good volume of items.  The customer enters the shop looking for a specific item and leaves with other must haves.  The trick here is to have the variety to capture a sale.   Hence large shop. When I shop for handmade and I recently bought the most incredible leather bag from a leather maker in the UK, it's a smaller shop of course. With less than 50 items, all designed to perfection.  The artisan sales come from multiple sales of the same awesome thing.  Very different from vintage shops where one of a kind truly is the name of the game.  This is why the search issues have such a divided opinion.  As vintage sellers we need relevancy without quotas.  The Artisans indeed do need the quotas to compete with the mass produced being sold as handmade.  Etsy should solve that issue.  The quota system is a problem for the serious vintage dealer because customers can't find what they are looking for and sales are suffering.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 28 13:24:37 2014

Most CEO's don't know their products or company very well and simply depend on what the company's financial book keepers tell them. My guess is that statistically the smaller stores bring in very little of the bottom line so the CEO is pushing buyers to go to the larger stores. Most likely specific key word searches leads buyers to what they want and not much else matters.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 28 16:43:55 2014

I find the SEARCH feature on ETSY almost impossible to use.  I enter in words that SHOULD find me the sort of things I am seeking yet get COMPLETELY different items back.  So of course I am not inclined to SHOP there--or SELL there. I also found that their idea of solving a buyer v seller dispute was to throw the whole thing to the SELLER---which might be fine in some cases but then they (in this case)  allowed the seller to send endless insulting and highly inflamatory emails while refusing to admit that the item she adverted and sent was not in fact what she had listed it as.

This might seem GREAT to ebay sellers but it doesn't work as well as it might human nature being what it is.  And then  if you need further help you have to APPLY to have ETSY call you! Where the very sweet and native English speaker Yessed me to death.  In the end PP had to solve the problem as I used their debit card.  Oddly one of the things that this seller thought would be the MOST insulting was to accuse ME of being an eBay seller--with NO reason to suspect that at all!

Why can't ANY of these sites just LISTEN to the SELLERS--and the BUYERS--honestly???

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Writings on the Wall This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 30 02:50:44 2014

Etsy's search engine is fundamentally flawed. My suspicions are that they keep trying to patch it up, rather than fix the underlying conditions that defy logic. They have done live testing ("code experiments") ad nauseum. Everything has gotten worse. Perhaps they can't admit that that their patches to search problems aren't working, their experiments have gone awry, and they may not be able to fix the fundamental underlying illogical flaws while the site is live? They have also said that there will be more changes after the holidays. Now that's a bad thought---Can it get worse? Unfortunately, I suppose it can. Etsy will find itself irrelevant, except for cheap reseller junk. Many good sellers will be leaving after the holidays. Besides losing it's honesty, integrity, and transparency, Etsy will lose the "cool" factor. Sad.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Etsy Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 1 00:20:09 2014

I have over 100 items in my vintage store and have had for a long time. If Etsy is making all of its money off of stores with more than 100 items, no wonder it is FAILING.  Search doesn't help me at all in finding what I want or what I have in my own shops. I KNOW that paid ads do not work - WHO SEES THE ADS?!?! NO ONE except other sellers!

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: BanglesandBeads This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Dec 1 00:22:17 2014

Where else can a vintage seller sell? EBay is not the answer. Sales are next to nothing on Ruby Lane the last month. What else is there to try? Anyone have any suggestions YOU have tried that are a good alternative?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Etsy Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 1 00:28:22 2014

Not one to agree with JerseyGal in general, but I will say they have hit the nail on the head about selling vintage on Etsy. Relevancy without quotas!

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Bogart This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 1 02:13:33 2014

Tristan Handy, Vice President of Marketing for RJMetrics did not seem to look at the fact that most of Etsy has little to do with hand-made these days and lots to do with factory made and fraud. Look behind the curtain Tristan.

As for Etsy's success in carving out a reputation as a marketplace for artisans and crafters, well lets just say that ship has sailed long ago. Unless you buy into the bull from its CEO still pretending that etsy is special in some way. Etsy has become another eBay where anything goes.

As for Vintage, we pay the same fee's but are treated like crap. How can we be misunderstood, we are not even an after thought. The only thing they care about is getting our money.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Mon Dec 1 02:15:58 2014

It is difficult to determine the number of sales of actual vintage items on Etsy, because about 20% of the items listed in the vintage top level category aren't vintage.  I am being conservative, that percentage could be higher.  If your shop is considered on trend, you can list what you please in whatever category you please and assign any date to the item you please.  Brand new mass produced, and new artisan handmade, are being listed as vintage.  You can find flash drives dated to the 1950s, iphone cases dated to the 1980s, and digital watches dated to the 1800s. If I didn't sell on Etsy, I be laughing.  Actually I am laughing anyway.  What else can I do?  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Lisa This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Dec 1 02:31:37 2014

but its a 1800s watch made by aliens. get with the program. LOL you are right, what else can you do?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: samiam This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 1 03:17:17 2014

I have more than 100 items in my shop on etsy and I make everything myself. Just me.

And having 100 items doesn't seem like a ''big'' etsy shop to me. Many stores have that many items and are still run by one or two people.

Some of us are making a living at this...lol

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: Biglouis This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 1 07:03:20 2014

I agree with several posters about their remarks regarding Etsy search being badly broken. Vintage sellers rely upon the search mechanism to enable buyers to discover their shops. Many have worked long and hard to follow Etsy advice to make their items appear high in relevant search results.

Now all that has changed and we have been right royally thrown under the bus.

Etsy will not admit it but there is a quota system in operation in the name of ''diversity''. What this means is that if I enter a search string for a specialised item a good number of items on the early pages of returns are completely irrelevant to my query. And many are certainly NOT vintage. Meantime good and relevant items by sellers with a larger stock have been pushed backwards in the search results to make places for the dross which does not answer the buyers needs.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?   Etsy Sellers of Vintage Goods - Misunderstood?

by: rainbowseeker This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 1 08:41:41 2014

I sell vintage on etsy under the name TheCalamityHouse.  I've had good success the past 9 mo selling about 125+ items and averaging about $45 a sale.  I do not understand their search totally either, but I do know you need to do some of your own promotion on social media like FB and Pinterest to satisfy their requirements for being noted in the search.  The search is not completely relying on the tags and title words it seems to me.  Also you have to be realistic with your prices.  So many sellers simply think they have something unique and they don't.  You need to research your items and keep in mind condition and rarity when doing your pricing.  Then the right person has to find your item and wish to spend his or her hard earned money for it.  Today is not an easy market and some things sell faster and better than others.  With luck a vintage seller can figure it out...but it takes work on Etsy.  You have to be willing to put in the time and effort.

If I was to make a request for an improvement on Etsy that would benefit vintage sellers it would be to hurry up and fix the shipping calculator and increase the number of photos to at least 8 or 10 so you can show your items better.  Right now it is hard to show what needs to be shown especially if you have something rare where a condition issue is still not a determent to selling your item, but you need to clearly show the flaw or damage in the description.  Photos are important to good sales too.

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