Etsy rolled out significant changes to its category structure on Tuesday - tomorrow's EcommerceBytes Newsflash
will have more information.
The marketplace changed sellers' listings to reflect the new categories, but asked sellers to double-check them to "make sure they're in the best spot." Sellers discussed the changes on this Etsy discussion board thread
, where Etsy moderators answered questions.
Above: top-level categories of Etsy's new category structure.
Etsy recognized this could be time-consuming and said it added bulk edit for categories to make the process easier. "If you're using the new Listings Manager, you can search your listings using a keyword in the listings manager and then bulk edit for all applicable categories."
Some vintage sellers expressed their satisfaction with the change. One wrote, "As a vintage seller I am thrilled. I have always said that we should be able to list in any category on Etsy since vintage items include any and every item made worldwide anywhere and everywhere before 20 years ago."
However, some sellers said their vintage ads and vintage photographs ended up in the "crafting supplies/scrapbooking" category.
Another vintage seller wrote, "We sell a lot of ephemera & vintage ads, I was just fiddling with our listings..... if you look under party supplies & paper, there's a category for Ephemera. This puts your item under both the scrapbooking category and the Ephemera / paper category."
A seller of handmade goods expressed some dissatisfaction with the changes. "If you take a look at all the categories, you'll see that every single one of them is geared towards factory-produced items. There is nothing available that is peculiarly handmade."
In response, a moderator said Etsy was committed to handmade, vintage, craft supplies. "The new categories allow buyers to narrow to handmade items in literally every category. We're hoping these new categories highlight handmade goods and give them a bigger audience."
She went on to use an example of a handmade hat. "The change in categories is also in response to the way buyers shop. Etsy buyers look for handmade items, but they're not always as well versed as craftspeople in terms of what craft they are looking for. They look for things by what an item is, as opposed to which craft was used to make it. Just because a buyer doesn't know the difference between knitting and crocheting doesn't mean they won't love a handmade hat, and we don't want to force them to choose between crafts to find an awesome handmade hat."
Changes to category structure is a classic frustration for marketplace sellers that goes back a long way. In 2003, for example, Etsy rival eBay famously moved "books" into the "entertainment" category as part of its changes - and without any prior notification to sellers. eBay reversed the move
after users protested.
Etsy said it worked with buyers and sellers to build the new category structure, and said it said was fluid - "We'll be watching for feedback, looking at buyer trends and making adjustments quarterly."