Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 2 2014 22:02:08

Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy is testing new designs of sellers' shops, and we've been receiving emails from mostly irate sellers about what they're seeing. What seems to upset most sellers is the disappearance of their shop banners.

We wrote about the new testing last week, and noted that Etsy compared a seller's storefront to in-person shopping at a store: "The storefront is where you display your brand and how some shoppers decide if they want to step inside." But sellers say their banners are an important part of their branding.

Not only that, some sellers convey important information in their banners. For instance, one seller wrote on the Etsy boards, "Besides displaying my logo which has been part of my branding for 30 years (way before my Etsy days) my banner also tells people where my product is made, that it is all handmade and that everything in my shop is made of cotton. I want my customers to know this. My shop announcement echoes this information. It is all a very important part of my branding."

Another seller said she was receiving more inquires from shoppers who were unable to see the information she displayed in her banner.

Some sellers do like the design - "I love the new look," wrote one. "I agree, I like it," wrote another.

Another concern some sellers have is the lack of a category list. "To me, my shop looks like a giant Pinterest page and not an online store," wrote a seller on the Etsy boards. "There needs to be either a top bar that we can customize into categories, or a sidebar. The dropdown doesn’t work in my opinion. To see that options you have to click on it- in a world where images are everything, its important to see the category options."

In a letter to the editor on Sunday, an EcommerceBytes reader questioned the test's methodology, saying Etsy was testing too many variables.

Another seller asked EcommerceBytes, "Shops have been transformed into generic white spaces with big photos. Why?"

If you're one of the Etsy users who have been included in the trial, or have seen screenshots of the new design, let us know what you think.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

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

Sun Mar 2 23:57:29 2014

I have the test version on my droid phone, and the ''old'' version on my laptop. I miss the banner, but I'm VERY frustrated about the Sections being ''hidden'' in a dropdown menu.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 00:07:43 2014

I absolutely hate it.  It is completely "vanilla" and really doesn't distinguish my shop from any others.  I paid big bucks getting a graphic artist to design banners for my shop.  I have banners for each season and my regular banner which matches my business cards, hang tags and my cloth labels for my items.  Their "trial" has made my $100's of dollar investment in my shop banners and branding my shop completely worthless.  I am completely disgusted with Etsy....and as a Seller there for 7 years (and a very good buyer) I'm never purchasing anything from there again EVER.  My shop is now empty, I'm done with them.  On to Zibbet!

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 00:35:04 2014

The last time there was a seller exodus from etsy, it sure helped my business. Guess I can look forward to an updated store and less competition in the future on etsy.  No complaints here.  

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 02:14:37 2014

The new Etsy layout is generic and bland looking, as well as being far less user friendly.

On my older Pre-Intel Mac, Safari renders the old layout, and Firefox renders the new.
On my late model IMac, Safari renders the new layout, and Firefox renders the old.

I wish these people would stop "fixing" things that aren't broken.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: Anjya This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 02:17:54 2014

I too paid good money to have my banner professionally designed and now - it's gone.  Before all the stores were different, we each had our own style, now it's all generic.  I just hate it, I want the old style back.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 02:56:30 2014

With all the technical problems Etsy has this is what they are messing about with.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: RAOTFLMAO This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 03:10:00 2014

Yes, banners are gone and I do hate that part of it however as a shopper I like the larger photos that are in the shops now.  The shop sections are still available by a drop down and keeps that info out of sight giving more room for the product photos.  I do hate loosing the banner  however I am there to buy and sell, not decorate  .  Has little to do with Etsy but ebay did away with all the fru fru in it's listings, with the stupid borders and hard to read print...made shopping a much better experience.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: ssweet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 03:17:33 2014

I don't like it and think it is a bad idea. It is bland. It will put a lot of banner makers on Etsy out of work. It is not helping my sales. I wish they would listen to their sellers and cut this zazzle wannabe crap out.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: felyne This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 07:22:24 2014

I put my shop on vacation in protest. Instead of complaining, I felt I had to take action, although small, it is something and makes me feel much better. People have the power to make change, without us, they are nothing.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

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

Mon Mar 3 08:02:31 2014

It seems like etsy is doing everything they can to drive the "actual handmade" artisan off of their site. Then they can embrace the mass produced sites.  Now you can't tell the difference between the two.  I've taken everything off my e stores and moved to Zibbet.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: csmih731 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 08:35:29 2014

I hate the new design. It's generic and boring. I want my banner back and the option to rearrange my shop. How about working on a shipping calculator?

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

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

Mon Mar 3 08:46:10 2014

Thanks so much for posting this article and giving us a chance to comment.  I am one of the lab rats in the Etsy testing and I am sick and tired of it.  We are never told beforehand when we're going to wake up and find our shops completely rearranged.  Etsy has no consideration or respect for the sellers, without whom there would be no Etsy.
There are two main points that need to be addressed:  first and foremost, in case nobody noticed, THE SEARCH ENGINE IS BROKEN. I am begging E-Comm to please start writing about this. Etsy refuses to acknowledge that there's even a problem, let alone try to fix it.  Instead, they do these constant tests, claiming they're trying to help the sellers, all the while destroying our fragile businesses. They would not have to do so many tests if they would FIX the search engine.  The other issue is that their "tests" are meaningless. It's like the Etsy techs sit around with too much time on their hands and try to figure out things to do.  There is no scientific method that I can see behind the tests.  They refuse to survey the  sellers after the test to see how it affected us and whether or not it helped our sales, which never happens.
Meanwhile they tell us it's OUR fault, that we need to do better photos, better search words, better SEO when all the while, they refuse to fix the search engine.  I buy and sell things on Ebay and let me tell you, this problem doesn't exist.  YOu can find anything easily without all this stress.
I think it's really important to start putting pressure on Etsy however we can to FIX THE SEARCH ENGINE.  Thank you.















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Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

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

Mon Mar 3 08:49:30 2014

I've only seen the screenshots, and as I understand it the new look people are seeing is only a test. So there is still a chance that they might make some changes to it before they roll it out for everyone. If not, the only thing that will really bother me, from what I've seen of it so far, is having my sections hidden under a drop down - I would really prefer buyers be able to see them at a glance.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 09:25:21 2014

Sounds like ebay. Fixin things that ain't broke.
What Etsy should do is clean up the search engine.
Etsy has lost a good thing. Just like ebay-they HAD to screw it up.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: Twisted Sticks This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Mar 3 10:53:23 2014

I have not seen the new look yet, however, the fact that they might take away our banner is very upsetting.  I worked very hard to get the look I wanted to describe my shop and a catchy tag line to better define what I do and what the customer will find in my shop.  They talk about branding and then they make us look generic.  How is that going to draw a customer in, if we all look the same?  My banner is the same thing that is on my business cards and throughout the web!  I am not for this change at all!

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: AmericanRose This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 13:52:57 2014

In the scientific community in which I work professionally it is considered unethical to experiment on human beings without their approval by way of signed waiver. It is also illegal and unethical to experiment on  human subjects in any way which could be to their detriment. Etsy has run royally roughshod over its own customers in its current experimentation, for as a shop owner in the "new look" group I buy my Etsy space, pay my fees, and have also been historically a faithful Etsy shopper. Currently I am being forced to participate in an experiment of which I did not approve and which I could not have envisioned when I became a merchant. I do not currently have the same rights as other shop owners who are allowed to have banners. I cannot even rearrange the products in my shop! How is consistent with the transparency and democracy with parity for all that is ETSY'S mantra? How is it even a good business practice to thumb one's nose at one's customers? I have slowly come to realize that Etsy cuts shops it considers as draws or cash cows many breaks, privileges, perks, and much higher visibility than other shops. Until there is somewhere better, I am here. Perhaps Etsy is trying to purge small sellers as I read here that EBAY does. Speaking completely metaphorically and not personally here, perhaps the additional Chad chins are evidence that the business has indeed become so prosperous that it no longer needs the grassroot- marketplace-small shopwner -alternative -boho-ethical hipster feel or vibe. Maybe the man is just THE MAN... .

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: silver This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 3 14:27:09 2014

''The new Etsy layout is generic and bland looking, as well as being far less user friendly.''
I agree I discovered I am one of the test subject and I am not happy. When I logged in those super large pictures actually scared me for a second and I took probably 5 or more minutes to find my catagories in the dropdown. Lost the banner and yes I thought etsy was going to be for hand creations and findings when I started and then vintage was added and now it seems anything goes. The post that states ebay has no problems with search, so wrong. I try to search my own items and rarely get them to show and even sometimes when I use the exact title. I too want the old way back PLEASE!!!

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Mar 3 18:09:20 2014

I know. Why doesn't every internet sales venue copy everyone else's layout so we'll all look the same?White backgrounds. "Upscale" fonts. Anti seller site policies.

Too many people with too much time on their hands.

Vanilla. Flavor of the decade.

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

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

Mon Mar 3 21:06:21 2014

I've had a shop on Etsy since 2008, and it's done so well I've made it my only selling venue.  But recently we long-time Etsy users have been subjected to an ever-increasing level of ''improvements'' in our shops.  Some of these have been wonderful: the About page in the shop is one of the best ideas they've ever had.  

But removing banners?  I cannot fathom the reasoning behind this.  It homogenizes shops and kills the sense of individuality and creativity.  Etsy has replaced the banner with a large, blank expanse of white and sales related shop statistics stats just below it.  It manages to be blank, boring and crass at the same time.

The people running the show at Etsy have made it very clear they do not respect their sellers.  Changes are routinely foisted upon us without preamble or request for input.  We literally wake up one morning, turn on our computers, and are given what is usually an unpleasant surprise.  The approach is heavy-handed and disrespectful. Worse, Etsy's response to the unhappy buyers and sellers is either patronizing or insultingly cheerful.  They take the attitude that they know what is best for us and they are going to ''reach out'' to us to let us know that they are right...end of story.  Frankly, I'm sick and tired of it, and I'm not a habitual complainer.  I'd rather just spend my time and energy in the studio and with customers.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign   Etsy Merchants React to Possible Shop Redesign

by: tawhite This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 4 01:15:51 2014

What infuriates me about this so-called ''experiment'' is that there is no rationale for it.

Etsy claims it is intended to test buying trends. Yet, the site change is only seen by affected sellers, who were randomly selected by Etsy. If only sellers notice the change to Etsy shop pages, then there is no logic to the premise that the experiment is meant to test buying trends. The only way for this to occur is for all these sellers to be habitual buyers.

If the rationale given by Etsy is empty, then I have to conclude that there is some secret reasoning for its ''experiment'' and if they are being deceptive about this, then I cannot trust that the experiment is done in the best interests of shop owners.

Add this deception to the mix, and the immediate negative result of Etsy's experiment is doubled.

There is also the claim that the redesign is meant to attract mobile shoppers. However, only SHOP OWNERS in the experiment are able to view the new look. So again, this rationale is senseless.

All in all, the ''experiment'' is meaningless. It seems more of a punitive measure by Etsy than anything.

If Etsy wanted to piss off a whole bunch of shop owners, then their experiment has been successful.

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