Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Feb 17 2015 19:33:34

What Do Sellers Think of Etsy's New Category Changes?

By: Ina Steiner

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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."

You can find the new category structure on this page - let us know what you think.




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by: Robin This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 17 21:24:57 2015

I understand the logic, but some of the categories don't make sense.  Some are totally fleshed out, drilling down, down, down.  

Some not at all.  Art is one of these.  All we have is types of media and they do not include all.  And strangely, they include ATC, which are TRADED, not sold.

Art and Collectibles should be separate.

More collectibles should be added.  Postcards, stamps, collector tins, advertising, just to mention a few.  

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by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 17 22:23:00 2015

The categories are not well thought out at all. The Etsy forum is blowing up with negative comments, 108 pages last time I looked. I wish they had copied eBay's categories. That is probably the one thing that eBay does well.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Tue Feb 17 23:53:35 2015

Collectables is a complete sham. I do not think that Etsy understands anything at all. A really sad situation since eBay is lost and so is Etsy.

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

Wed Feb 18 00:50:20 2015

Etsy put my hearts made from antique quilt scraps into the Paper & Party Supplies category! And they put my collectible primitive dolls, which are anything but toys, into the Toys & Games category!

I think I've got things straightened out for now, but it appears this will need to be revisited quarterly as Etsy continues to make changes to the categories. Sigh.

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by: kie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 18 01:24:01 2015

I and many fellow sellers that I interact with in a number of forums and pages have experienced a SIGNIFICANT drop in item views and more importantly sales during the first week of February, specifically. Knowing what I know now, I feel it's related more to the site's category updates than the supposed app resubmit to the Appstore ... noted by Etsy on their support blogs. The weekend of Feb. 6th a ''bug'' was present in the app, which would promptly shut down when you tried to sort any listings.
I agree with the others about category GAPS that need to be addressed asap.  I don't see the word ANTIQUE anywhere on the announcement page, also missing or entirely too limited: glassware, stamps, ceramics, tiles, collector tins, porcelain, china, etc. Art is a joke -- lumped into 5 or 6 high level subcats!  If you have old photos -- you're limited to classifications of black/white, sepia, and color ... that's it.  Another huge miss is something we vintage and antique sellers thrive on - maker names/marks/stamps... they are nowhere in new categories. There's a big difference between an everyday tin tray and an antique coca-cola tray. I wonder how this will translate to buyers when antiques pop-up in random categories like party supplies and garden decor for example. I'm not condemning the changes, but there is a lot of work to be done and I am optimistacally under the impression that Etsy will continue to develop the subcategories further in another phase. Time for me to continue revising ALL of my listings ... The Etsy attempt to reclassify my items had a number assigned to NO category or the wrong one altogether. Thanks.  

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

Wed Feb 18 04:00:13 2015

PERFECT !
Thanks  :o)

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 18 06:10:54 2015

As one who searches Etsy daily, all I can say is there's little improvement. Art, antiques, and collectibles are different categories. How difficult is that? Art may also be a subcategory of antique or collectible. They haven't the foggiest idea of how to create a taxonomy nor the resourcefulness to look at the one thing eBay does pretty darned well. Plus, they need to figure out how to make selections persist. You shouldn't have to start from zero & drill back down again every time you change a search term in a category subcategory.

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Wed Feb 18 12:22:47 2015

Most of my items on Etsy, which aren't many, went into the correct categories. There may not be enough or or they may not be adequate but I'm glad for what they have and it's not too complicated. I'm sure they will gradually roll out more of them. Ebays category list wasn't built in a day if you'll remember. Listing on Etsy is fairly simple. I hope it stays that way.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 18 16:54:27 2015

@Robin  its evident they don't know what they're doing as far as art is concerned.  ATC is Artist's Trading Cards....not meant to be sold, but to be traded.  ACEO is what they should have had "Art Cards Editions & Originals".  They may be the same size but they are two different things.  Etsy pushing Art into Collections means one thing to me....they aren't making enough sales to make each a category.  It would be so nice if one of these "mental giants" on Etsy AND on Ebay asked the sellers first!

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 18 18:49:12 2015

Looks good

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by: harkinfan This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 01:13:29 2015

I sell authentic Swarovski jewelry, made by Swarovski and signed by Swarovski.  It is grouped together with anything that has a stone in it.  95% has nothing in common with Swarovski.

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by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 01:30:43 2015

I sell vintage on etsy. I have 1500+ items. I am hoping that is category change will be an improvement.

Right now, revising this many listings is a pain in the you-know-what. Bulk revisions only work to a point. With the changes, tags have to be changed as well. It has turned into an over-haul.

I sold on eBay for 16 years. I moved my inventory over to etsy slowly. Etsy store is 2 years old. Etsy has never been able to sell the volume that ebay did. Of course, etsy does not have the customer base that ebay's has and it's a much younger website.

With that said, I see more ebay customers moving over to etsy. Etsy has to makes changes to keep up with the paradigm shift in e-commerce.

I will say that as soon as the change was implemented my sales came to a screaming halt. I am wondering if that is because Google and etsy's own search engine has to re-index all of the listings.

I am supporting this change and hoping that I will see an increase in sales soon as a result of higher exposure for my items.

I can't help wondering if the heart of these changes have more to so with Google search than anything else.

Time will tell...

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 02:15:40 2015

Honestly, Etsy's search was so bad previously that anything is an improvement. As both a seller and buyer there I'm looking forward to continued refinements, because they really are needed. But IMHO it's a step in the right direction.  

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by: MostlyArt This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 03:01:24 2015

They've done away with the ''Dolls and Miniatures'' category, so a lot of us may as well forget trying to sell our work there...not that it's been that good for the past year or so anyway.  Now it will be pretty near impossible to find your buyer if you sell scale miniatures.  Can't face going back to eBay...

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by: madelaine This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 03:31:56 2015

Etsy have not made much of a try at getting the categories right - my knitting patterns haven't made it into a knitting pattern section...

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

Thu Feb 19 03:48:15 2015

Why Etsy just couldn't copy how Ebay does its breakdowns is beyond me. Bottom line Ebay was the first and people learned ''search terms'' by shopping there.

I am NOT going to make myself crazy attempting to edit things into yet another, WTF are they doing shift.  

They still haven't removed any of the long past sold items from making into Google.

I also don't know how these bizarre choices will prioritize, getting into Google.

I would suggest tweaking things, little by little so that any items wind up either geared toward Google, or geared towards Etsy.

''Ignore Mode'' works best, if you decide to sell on Etsy.

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

Thu Feb 19 07:45:24 2015

Etsy just keeps getting worse and worse. I have been a buyer and a seller on the site for 4 years and have seen no improvement in search which seems to have been designed by people who never shopped on line in their lives.
Search is without a doubt the Number One problem on Etsy and it gets harder and harder to be found. The admins who police the forums are quick to mute anyone who has serious complaints about anything and I'm amazed that they've allowed so many negative comments.
Chad & the people who are now running the company are only interested in the bottom line, which is fine, it's their business. But I can't help but think that all this pain they're inflicting on the sellers is going to hurt them too.
Payback's a b***h.

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by: Daisy909 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 07:49:47 2015

Where is vintage as a category? In the last week I've had 2 customers who I refunded because they didn't know vintage was USED stuff with flaws, not brand new handmade. Etsy buried my TOS so they didn't read the part that explains what vintage is and my no returns policy.

So I uploaded that one-of-a-kind unique old stuff paragraph to each listing only to get this: a customer who needed 170 vintage glasses which I advertised as a set of 4. Where does she think I would get these additional unique glasses? Vintage was the first word in the title and was mentioned several times in the listing!

Where is vintage? It's buried in handmade! At least in the buyers mind. My sales have disappeared also…so sad...

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 09:55:24 2015

So this is the reason my sales have dropped off to nothing.  I sell in vintage.
The promotion payments every day will come to an end this morning.

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by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 19 10:39:07 2015

I think they should have fixed search instead. It was badly damaged in October 2014 and thousands of sellers have yet to recover or see a fix. Long time sellers are still suffering from 50% or more drops in sales.  

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