Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Mar 4 2016 21:41:16

eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

By: Ina Steiner

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As Amazon squeezes retail chains thanks to its ability to offer cheap goods fast and efficiently, it may seem surprising that both eBay and Etsy are looking to commodities for growth.

"eBay Banks on Bar Codes for a Comeback."

"Etsy's Handmade Label Now Includes "Artisanal" Factories."

Bloomberg nailed it on Thursday in separate articles about two of the most intriguing marketplaces online - eBay, known for hard-to-find items, and Etsy, known for one-of-a-kind items.

What the management teams of both companies have in common: their desire to cultivate not what differentiates them in shoppers' minds, but to concentrate instead on commodity items that can be easily duplicated.

Bloomberg's Spencer Soper does a good job explaining why eBay is forcing sellers to add Product Identifiers to their listings, part of its "structured data initiative," as eBay refers to it when talking to Wall Street. He sums up the strategy by writing:

"The bottom line: eBay is using bar codes to standardize product listings in a data catalog in an effort to regain business lost to Amazon."

In a separate article published the same day, Bloomberg notes a similar disruption at Etsy. Susan Berfield says early Etsy investor and current director Fred Wilson believes thinking about Etsy only as a marketplace for handmade goods is too limiting. ""Etsy serves a larger community than that," he says. "I don't see handmade as something that's at the core of Etsy's values. More important is that it's person-to-person commerce." She sums up Etsy's new approach by writing:

"The bottom line: Etsy grew fast before going public in 2015. To achieve scale, it's letting sellers make goods in factories if they follow Etsy's rules."

But some sellers who cater to eBay and Etsy's traditional offerings (such as collectible pottery, memorabilia, and handmade jewelry) worry whether they will be able to thrive in an environment where the focus is on mass-produced goods and gadgets. 

Ironically, Amazon is getting into the same areas once thought to be the domain of eBay and Etsy - art, memorabilia and handmade goods.

Are eBay and Etsy courting disaster with their new strategies, or will they be able to grow in new areas while not harming their appeal to their core base of shoppers?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

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

Fri Mar 4 23:42:55 2016

My invention can NEVER be made in a factory. It would destroy its future value as an Extremely Collectible heirloom.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 5 02:14:12 2016

In the near future Ebay and Etsy will be joined at more than the hip and will be absorbed by some foreign outfit in the end.

In five years neither will exist like today.

Let the crying begin cause no one not even toolboy will be happy.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: queenfloraday This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 5 10:40:55 2016

Wall Street is the culprit pulling the strings behind these decisions. The questions is ''Is there a tipping point for a company where it distorts it's brand to the point it's customers can no longer relate?''  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: LucasBuck This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 5 13:30:04 2016

"In five years neither will exist like today."

Well of course it won't. Change is inevitable and eBay and Esty will change with the times as most companies do. People have been predicting the demise of eBay for ten years now. People can bash eBay because they no longer know how to use it for their advantage but it's still a very viable option for many of us to make a good living while working from home.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: JulieandBlu This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 5 14:03:28 2016

This is the most obvious statement about the future of Etsy:

''''Etsy serves a larger community than that,'' he says. ''I don't see handmade as something that's at the core of Etsy's values.

Doesn't see handmade as something of a core value on an handmade site. Brilliant.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sat Mar 5 14:58:21 2016

''Etsy serves a larger community than that,'' he says. ''I don't see handmade as something that's at the core of Etsy's values.''

Fred Wilson said that the Lead Director on the Etsy Board. Glad to see they are finally admitting it in a pubic article. LOL

Now Chad would have used some flowery talk and explain how the Shift in focus is the best for the WOMEN Artisans and for the future of all mankind and the betterment of the wildlife and the evolution of the  whole of Humanity and their pets.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 6 09:25:45 2016

Mass produced new items, ( Commodities) is the only way these two companies can expect year after year growth, to satisfy shareholders, only one problem with that, they buy nothing, have no inventory and  must totally rely on their customers, aka sellers, to supply and list these items, and that is an un-reliable source, that changes constantly,  

They want the profits of being a retailer, but have absolutely no inventory of their own, and this is why they will continue to manipulate search, lie to the sellers, do what ever it takes, to maintain a steady supply of what they make maximum profit from, all without stocking a single item,

Yes, ebay and etsy work, as long as you offer them what they THINK they need, otherwise your just wasting your time, and feeding them fees.

 

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sun Mar 6 10:42:28 2016

Growth is a funny thing for etsy.. They grow monthly according to their stats. The growth is in revenue from their sellers and their Direct Checkout and their new cuts off of sellers Paypal transactions. Buyers and sellers increase according to ''their stated Stats'' The fly in the Etsy ointment? Less than ZERO Income.

They lost 4c per share over the past holiday season - or put as -4c per share as far as income. This was not expected and was on top of 3 previous quarters of also incurring negative losses in income.

I was very surprised to see Fred Wilson make public statements in the above article. One has to look at that and wonder why? Are they going to finally fire that useless CEO? One can dream!  :-)

Are we going to see Fred Wilson take a more active role in running Etsy? Get a real CEO? That would be nice, I think.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 6 11:39:58 2016



We now live in a world which big corporations run our lives, no amount of complaints, will alter their greedy direction, your opinions, your complaints are meaningless, in fact some are so large, even a million customers complaining means nothing to them.

We are so fed up, This is the year we are starting to take maters in our own hands, using our website for the majority of sales, to even planning on growing some of our own vegetables, even if we get only one carrot, it's a penny we don't give to these greedy bastard corporations,  a penny less for them, will be one penny more for us,

Money is the only thing these corporations listen to, and lack of it, is the only way for change, and it's seriously time for change.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 7 03:00:09 2016

This is the problem with going public, stockholders want ever increasing profits.  A solid repeating profitability is considered a failure. thus niche marketplaces are forced to look outside of their niche, alienating the users that liked them.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Mar 7 07:25:26 2016

''Etsy serves a larger community than that,'' he says. ''I don't see handmade as something that's at the core of Etsy's values.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this statement. Chad is definitely dancing for Wall Street and not fir the good and the integrity of his company. When you've lost your company's soul you've lost it all.  

I think they call that "sell out".

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 7 08:06:06 2016

"Amazon is getting into the same areas once thought to be the domain of eBay and Etsy - art, memorabilia and handmade goods"

Amazon doesn't "get it" on collectibles -  I'm approved for ephemera... so why do they ask me for a BRAND name on stock certificates? and a UPC??  

And I explained it to their team person several times.  I ended up deleting and forgetting about them for now.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

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

Mon Mar 7 08:38:33 2016

Too little honesty and way too late. Here's the problem for Chad & Co. They are so stupid to think that they can compete with Amazon, Walmart, Target and the other Big Boys. They can bring in all the Ali Baba crap they want to, but they are in a different universe than the Walmarts of this world.

Forget about how they've screwed the sellers of genuine vintage and artisan goods. We all get that. But what boggles the mind is the sheer stupidity of guys like Chad who proclaim they have all the answers while it's painfully obvious they are as dumb as dirt.

The Emperor has no clothes.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

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

Mon Mar 7 08:48:29 2016

The manufacturing program within Etsy is being developed to try to improve the economy and to help put people back to work.

Etsy has always allowed a certain level of outside help, since I've been on the site. Printing by outsiders was always OK, and a few other things that I don't know off the top of my head.

The manufacturing concept was first explored during the Occupy Wall Street days.

The biggest stumbling block towards its acceptance is the lousy way that the powers that be within Etsy communicate.

It's a global marketplace and probably NEEDS to be careful in how ideas wind up being presented.

Now, as everyone snipes Fred Wilson, try to remember that it was HIM who attempted to have a dialogue with the sellers, way, way back when. He signed up to the site and attempted to join in a forum thread.

The sellers decided that insulting his wife was the way to go.

Funny, when I visit Mr. Wilson's blog, everyone there shows better manners.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Mon Mar 7 11:32:54 2016

Also keep in mind it was Fred Wilson that anointed Chad as CEO and has let him stay there all this time. It also is Fred Wilson that has lost almost a Billion $$$ of his personal money on Etsy stock value that he owned or owns. I do not give the TOP Guy on Etsy a pass.. nope.. not even a little pass. He is 100% responsible for the disaster Etsy has become. He can fix it or not. As for him and his family being abused on the forums.. Too bad and yes, to be expected dealing with some that are on the forums.. they even come here and act that way.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Mon Mar 7 11:50:31 2016

The manufacturing campaign was put on Etsy to help certain Investors that have very deep pockets and own businesses that are set up to connect Chinese factories and Western merchants - try googling Global Tiger one of the top hedge fund investors on Etsy. It would appear they are more concerned about helping China's economy?

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Mon Mar 7 11:54:25 2016

try this link :

http://www.tiger-global.co.uk/china-suppliers.html

the hedge fund with the same name owns about 7% of Etsy and growing ..

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Mon Mar 7 11:59:13 2016

so can you get an idea where Etsy is heading by looking at this? A chinese import site pretending to be American.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Mar 7 17:00:24 2016

"Better manners" being code for "not challenging his opinions or else you get disappeared."  We all know how it works with authoritarians who think everybody else is stupid and beneath them.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth   eBay and Etsy Both Look to Commodities for Growth

by: LeeLoo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 8 03:17:21 2016

It's a free for all in Etsy, they have policies that they state, but have no capacity or even desire to audit (there's a couple of contradictory statements in the bloomberg article that state just that).

Handmade is an extinct era on Etsy. They are slowly but surely killing off handmade / vintage.
Run for your lives folks.

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