Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Jan 5 2017 21:42:22

Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Etsy and eBay share some common traits, both relying entirely on third-party sellers for inventory to offer buyers. They also have some obvious differences - Etsy focuses on handmade and vintage, doesn't offer auction format listings, and is far smaller in scale.

But there are two areas where Etsy differs vastly from eBay that may not be obvious to non-Etsy sellers or industry observers - areas that may be key to Etsy's ongoing success:

Etsy isn't afraid of sellers using other venues and it doesn't limit buyer-seller communication. On the contrary, Etsy encourages such behavior among its users.

Etsy recognizes that selling the types of items allowed on its site - handmade goods in particular - is very different from selling other types of goods. Many artisans sell at craft fairs and through other channels, and it knows by helping sellers succeed wherever they sell, it's likely to benefit more than if it tried to stifle sellers.

eBay was always ambivalent about offering services to help sellers list elsewhere, even on platforms it owned - ProStore is a shining example of a direction eBay could have taken, but continually held back over fears of cannibalization.

Etsy also encourages buyer-seller communication. Over the holidays, this helped me tremendously as a shopper, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

eBay, on the other hand, has always been afraid of buyer-seller communication. In fact, we have been getting reports from sellers in recent months of eBay going a little crazy when it comes to discouraging such interaction.

Could eBay learn some lessons from Etsy, or is it too late?




Comments (26) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 00:02:40 2017

Ebay is afraid sellers will do exactly what they try to do which is take the transaction off Ebay so the seller does not pay 10 percent on the item AND shipping.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record I will once again point out people selling on Facebook and Instagram.  If one uses paypal they are covered if there is a problem.
However Etsy is not perfect. They need to give sellers the option of uploading more photos.  I would pay to add more photos. It is really important to me for the buyer to see a vintage item from every angle so neither of us waste our time on an unpleasant transaction.
In any case I promote very rare items on Twitter, IG and Facebook.  This helps make up for any glitches in the search engine at Ebay or Etsy.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Fri Jan 6 00:15:56 2017

Thanks for the article. I never thought about the differences that way. I just know that Etsy is so much nicer all around for the seller.

Yes, there are only five spots for pictures. If a buyer wants to see more, they just send a convo.

I sell so little on eBay now. A few leftovers that don't fit Etsy's format or clientele.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 00:20:20 2017

Agree with the article and about the photo situation on Etsy. A paltry 5 photos that buyers see as being disingenuous on the part of the seller. I'm continually asked why aren't there more photos of the items I sell. Seriously, Etsy needs to get with the times. They're so busy pampering their staff and telling everyone what a great company they are they forget who pays the bills.  They've done nothing too empower the seller and technically improve the buying experience.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: Floria This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 00:25:06 2017

Etsy is one of the nicest site, I have no complaints. On the other hand, ebay sucks all the way. They are now paying for their arrogance, soon they'll be going under.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: lalin This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 00:32:27 2017

Ebay has long gone over the top in their need to run our business. All I need ebay for is their platform. They need to stay out of my business and let me build relationships with my Sellers. That will benefit ebay as well because my sales would increase. Before ebay got so paranoid, I'd made so many friends of my Buyers. it's a shame ebay ruined a good thing. Etsy is much smarter. They've paid attention and aren't scared or losing business. This was a major reason I left ebay. Today I even dislike buying on it because there is no way to establish any kind of working relationship with a seller. There are many cases where we could be shuffling buyers in each other's direction to all of our mutual benefits. Feebay has lost its way.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 05:24:37 2017

Ebay only restricts communicstion if you allow them to.


There are many many ways to communicate with a buyer or seller if you really wanted to.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 05:30:16 2017

I don't know where all the hatred for EB comes from.  I'm totally satisfied with the site - and I sell elsewhere, but the majority of my sales come from EB.  I'm learning everyday through the forums and videos how to be a better seller.
I have good communication with Mr. Griff.  Of course, there could be improvement and things move slowly.  I'm hopeful that EB will invest more in the site on behalf of the little guy.  I'm also praying for the free sites like Ecrater, which I've been on fuhever and haven't sold a dime's worth of anything.  NOW THAT IS the site that needs to wake up and get better.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 05:58:11 2017

''Could eBay learn some lessons from Etsy, or is it too late?''

The question makes the assumption that eBay would first be in any way interested to 'learn'.  Arrogant dictatators who routinely demonstrate disdain for their own foundation rarely heed counsel, however, so there's that.

Consider the recent ECB newsflash about eBay's partnership with 'theSkimm'.  It quotes an eBay press release which states: ''Bay lets you sell the way you want with simple and stress-free options:''

Any 'venue' that would publish such an outright, blatant lie about themselves with such audacious abandon in an effort to attract a new seller for 're-gifting' is clearly a long, long way away from taking a position of 'student' in this context.

But even if they did, that still leaves the matter of trust.  No, not the 'trust' that one would need to grant to eBay so to establish and maintain a viable and profitable presence thereon.  That's badly enough eroded itself of course, and in too many cases unretrievable as it is.

But I refer to the trust eBay would need to have for it's seller base not to 'abuse' any 'autonomy' granted to conduct business the way the seller sees fit, to include a more free communication stream and multi-platform advertised base.

You know, the way it used to be, pre-disruption, when sellers COULD trust eBay, and eBay DID trust it's sellers, and in so doing, actually EARNED and held their loyalty.  Because, despite apparent potential for abuse, in that environment, it made more economic sense NOT to abuse it, but rather leverage one's venue presense and success FROM such a 'partnership'.

Alas, those days are long past now.  Too 'late'?  

Great Scott!!  No going 'back to the future' on this one, I think.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jan 6 08:04:43 2017

Chicago48 says "I don't know where all the hatred for EB comes from."

Wow!  Just wow!  I think you have been posting here for a few years, and I gather that as you post you also read what others write and what they are unhappy about as it relates to eBay.  There have been comment after comment regarding eBay's draconian policies and their over reaching as it relates to letting a seller run his business.

Moreover, eBay giving top placement to large enterprise sellers and the Chinese, and plastering sellers' pages with advertising that send potential buyers offsite. Hidden seller limits, hiding listings, failure to address fraud and counterfeiting....the list goes on and on.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 09:05:07 2017

I am not sure if anything is too late. As long as Ebay is a going concern, they can still make a change. It is an uphill battle for sure though. I have always thought Ebay is focused on the wrong issue. Provide a quality service at a good value and people are less likely to work around the fees and more importantly, seek out alternatives. This is where Ebay has fallen short over the last several years.

Ebay has expended so much energy into blocking communication between buyers and sellers for as long as I can remember. Yet it has done more damage to Ebay than not. Legitimate communication is thwarted, leaving buyers frustrated. Those who wish to take sales offsite do so anyhow as they always find a way. Finally Ebay's sales and market share continue to stagnate or decline. Seems their approach to the issue isn't working after all.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

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

Fri Jan 6 09:27:12 2017

Funny, I thought Etsy was trying to copy all the really bad things about Ebay that have screwed up that platform.

I am shocked that anyone still mistakenly thinks that Etsy is for handmade and vintage.  They have at least as much CC (chinese crap) as Ebay, Amazon, etc.
 The reason Etsy doesn't care about their sellers is simple- they make most of their money from what they call "seller services."
  That is a scam whereby they charge ridiculous amounts to advertise and promote listings that they never show to prospective buyers.
  Etsy even admits that they barely make money from sales anymore.  Like Ebay, they throw the sellers under the bus at every opportunity.
  The best thing that could happen in 2017 would be for either Etsy or Ebay to do a spinoff site for real, authentic vintage and handmade.  Or maybe a new site with some backing.  There is a huge market for these products that is not being met.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: ib30667 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 09:42:06 2017

I've read both sides of the story here and I can commiserate with everyone on each.

Etsy isn't as sweet as everyone makes it out to be. You can't leave feedback AT ALL as a seller, and you're paying .20 a listing-and it only lasts 3 months. It's hard as hell to get an answer for anything because you have to go to the forums and half the time I don't know what or who to ask. Probably just me. Customers ARE for the most part very nice, considerate, and respectable. It's a very competitive site though due to all the handmade items. Vintage sells pretty good there.
Honestly, I've never had any real problems with Ebay. I'm also not a "top seller". So I'm not dealing with the bureaucratic crap that goes on. I've had only one issue with a buyer (more of a troll) and I've always had good communication with customers. The only thing I don't like is not being able to leave a negative feedback. Luckily, I can leave a "comment". I currently have some things on Bonanza and that place has SO much potential but lacks the traffic Ebay has. So I always go back to Ebay. I'll pay that extra fee for that.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 10:04:09 2017

I only started selling on etsy because all my chinese competitors were getting great prices for the stuff there that they were selling for pennies on ebay.
I like etsy for the most part, except the picture amounts, the search, the spam emails, time wasting buyers and the Chinese.  
I like getting more money, but I do not have a lot of sales there.  
I cannot find my own items with all the Chinese on there, even the ones I have promoted. I think it has the worst search of anywhere. Any sale is a miracle on that site.
I am so tired of answering emails from wholesale shows and craft fairs that want me to participate.
And buyers who want quotes and special customization who never actually purchase anything.
I do not get much spam on ebay and most of the buyers I interact with buy.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

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

Fri Jan 6 10:12:29 2017

Ebay is a waste of time and money now. Etsy is a good place to sell handmade, one of a kind vintage and similar. Etsy has its problems also but nowhere near ebay's gestapo tactics.
Some categories on ebay need seller buyer communication yet ebay refuses to realize that, scared to death that they are not going to get that FVF on the item and shipping.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Fri Jan 6 10:21:22 2017

On Jan 15th, we'll open up the Sellers Choice Awards for readers to rate the venues on which they sell, so keep these thoughts in mind.

The comments are the best part of SC in my mind, and the results are published on the website here for all to read - including the marketplaces themselves.

It's also interesting to see what changes from year to year!

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 11:32:17 2017

Ebay policy is 100% fear based. I could go on with details, but i'm sure we know the worst policy mistakes ebay has made. Seems that companies just don't understand how to make the Bottom line when doing a mass sales venue. Works just like a shopping mall. More variety = more customers = more $$$ = more sellers = more variety... Profit for the win.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

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

Fri Jan 6 11:41:35 2017

As a long time merchant, both BM stores and now online, customer connection has always been a #1 priority.  Why on earth Ebay ever started to curtail that was way beyond me and one of the main reasons I rarely use the site anymore.
The Etsy communication system lets me work with customers on all aspects of the sale process.  And sometimes it's just used for good old relationship building too!  
That's why I love my work.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Jan 6 11:56:55 2017

I just want to mention that eCrater allows a seller ten photos for every listing. And listings are free no matter how long they are up.

@Chicago48 - I don't know what you're selling on eCrater, but obviously you are in the minority when it comes to slow sales there. As I've stated multiple items, I sell more on eCrater, even a slow week, than I sold on eBay during my last year there.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 12:23:36 2017

I started selling five years ago on Etsy, my 12th year on eBay when eBay killed my business due to one disputed with an idiot buyer.

I always felt a bit of an ''orphan'' selling my vintage collectables on Etsy but no problems with Etsy buyers (nice folks!), and Etsy left me alone to run my collectables business.

This past year saw my Etsy sales climb and especially Christmas sales increased 300%.  Ebay stayed about the same until the Christmas season and then pretty much collapsed.

This week, a buyer inquired about buying an item first on Etsy and then purchased the item on eBay.  Etsy would have charge me 3 bucks or so and eBay close to 16 bucks (including fees on shipping).

The future for this seller appears to be on Etsy.  Hopefully, Etsy can help this old fart seller sell on Facebook.

Ebay?  There is no future on eBay.  Only day to day until the fees drive me away or they kill my business again.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim   Etsy Sidesteps Some Traps to which eBay Fell Victim

by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 6 19:11:27 2017

As buyers it would be nice if Ebay and Etsy would allow us to filter out the Chinese listings when we do a search.

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.