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Monday, December 1, 2008

English 1301 Classical Argument: Etsy Needs to be More Seller Friendly

When we had to choose our Classical Argument topics a few weeks ago I had Etsy on the brain, thus I chose "Etsy Needs to be More Seller Friendly". When I spoke of it on Twitter there were a few people interested in reading it so I decided to post it on my blog (maybe just temporarily I don't know yet). Of course it is due tomorrow so I'm working on it tonight :) Enjoy and feel free to leave advice! So here it is, but first: A note from the Author:
I know there are hundreds of current issues on Etsy right now that we would all like to see fixed and I wish I could have included all of them. My paper is already waaaay over the min. words required and I was worried if I included much more it would sound more like I was rambling and the reader (well my Professor) would lose interest. We had to stick to a fairly strict form. I. Introduction II. Presentation of Main Point with Reasons III. Opposing Views IV. Response to Opposing Views V. Conclusion I have merged my Opposing Views and Response to Opposing views because when I had them seperated it made the paper confusing to readers (especially because they don't know what Etsy is and our "Slang"). Also the administrator "arguments" are NOT actual arguments I have seen. We were not allowed to do any research for our paper so I had to make assumptions and basically argue with myself. Enjoy!
English 1301 Classical Argument: Make Etsy More Seller Friendly
Sellers on Etsy have been crying out for changes to be made on the site for months and their cries are not being answered. More and more major problems keep emerging but the Etsy administrators are only focusing on small problems and little games to add to the site. I recently made a post in the Etsy Forums asking, “What is the #1 thing you would change about Etsy to make it more seller friendly?” I have received more than one hundred replies about very major issues with the site. I was disgusted that same day, while browsing the forums, to come across a post from the administrators asking if the sellers would like to be able to organize their favorites. The majority of the sellers could care less about organizing their favorites. Many sellers are also buyers and chances are if we are not making sales we most likely do not have extra money to shop through our favorites. Etsy needs to be more “seller friendly” because the sellers are the backbone of Etsy. Etsy is an online marketplace for everything handmade. It is similar to Ebay and Amazon, except smaller and without auctions. The administrators do not understand how many sellers are leaving from lack of sales and traffic. Etsy sellers cannot serve their buyers well if the administrators will not give them a hand. Buyers are more likely to visit Etsy more frequently if the promoted items are more diverse, more people would join, and stay on, Etsy as sellers if we could add items and organize our shops in more efficient ways, and if Etsy administrators would spend more time promoting Etsy it would increase traffic. The sellers pay very good money to keep their shops up and running and Etsy is not helping direct and keep sales on the site. Buyers are more likely to visit Etsy more frequently if the promoted items are more diverse. If you view the front page treasury (a treasury is collection of collections that is supposed to be picked by Etsy members to promote different sellers) and the Gift Guides it is the same items over and over again. They are all nice but if buyers keep coming and seeing the same items and those are not items they are interested in they will quit coming. Etsy has so many unique items that are not getting the exposure they deserve. More people would join, and stay, on Etsy as sellers if we could add items and organize our shops in more efficient ways. This is the one of the largest current problems on Etsy. We cannot organize the items in our shop. They are just in order by which item was most recently listed. Most sellers like for their new products to stay on their shop front page and If we make a sale, it is hard to decide whether to re-list the item or not. We can either list the sold item at the risk of one of the new products being bumped to the next page, or not re-list the item and lose potential sales. On top of that, it takes a grueling amount of time to list items. Not only are there five pages you have to go through, there is not an option to post the image URL. You have to sit there and wait for each product picture to upload, and most of us have an average of four photos per item. If Etsy administrators would spend more time promoting Etsy it would increase traffic. I have yet to speak to someone in person who actually knows what Etsy is. It is starting to appear to sellers that the administrators are just wasting time. I was very, very put off at a recent observation I made. I was in the treasury and there was a new treasury that had been created when there was not a treasury opening. I clicked on the users name and discovered it was someone from the administration team. Not only did they randomly create a treasury (pretty much crushing the hope of all of our treasuries making front page) but creating treasuries is basically playing around and something you should do in your spare time. That time should have been spent helping bring traffic to the site, not promoting your friends! The Etsy administrators will argue that they do promote Etsy. They advertise in magazines, television shows, and other internet sites. If you go to the “press” section of Etsy you will see all of the many places they have advertised. True Etsy administrators have been promoting the site, but they are not promoting wisely. They are sticking to small, and a lot of the time local, magazines and shows. They advertise on other websites where the viewers are most likely not going to be clicking on links to buy handmade items. Instead they should be trying to book an appearance on shows like “The Martha Stewart Show” and “Rachael Ray”. These shows are all about creativity and it is very likely that they, like the majority of the population, have never even heard of Etsy. Administrators also argue that they have made their front page more diverse. They have changed around the layout of the entire front page so that the Gift Guide (a guide showing featured items from sellers that the administrators think would make good gifts) is located at the very top of the page. The new front page set up has it where all of the sections directed to buyers are at the top, and the other sections (that probably only sellers are using) are located further down the page. I, along with many other users, agree that the administrators have done a fantastic job of redesigning the front page, and we appreciate it. Even though they have changed the layout it is still the same items being promoted. It is almost like you have to know the Etsy Administrators personally to get a slot on the front page or in one of the gift guides. Outside of that group the only other items picked are a small group of items that have to be in earth tone colors. It appears that Etsy administrators are trying to make the front page look like a magazine rather than trying to support all of the amazing items that are on the site. Lastly, the administrators will argue that they keep the sellers’ shop set up how it is because it is cleaner, and it keeps the newest products on the front pages. There are also preset shipping options you can use and sections you can place your items in so the buyers can browse the sections. Like the Etsy administrators, we want Etsy to load quickly and look “clean”. At the same time there are little fixes they could do that would make the shop set up process a lot easier on the sellers. As I have said before, even just a small change like making the listing process one page instead of five would save the sellers a remarkable amount of time. The administrators do post in the forums, respond to e-mails, and have made a lot of changes. It is just very obvious that they are wasting a lot of time on miniscule problems, when they could be focusing more of their time on bettering the site. Etsy needs to be more “seller friendly” because the sellers are the backbone of Etsy. Not only are we buyers, but if the we the sellers are not there will be nothing to buy. The administrators need to listen to its people and prioritize the members’ requests. After all, seller friendly equals buyer friendly. Many buyers get frustrated with Etsy and just leave altogether, and do not buy anything. Buyers are leaving and sellers are too. If you go to the forums you will find many posts titled, “I give up. I’m closing up shop.” The sellers are not just paying to have their items listed, but they are paying to have the marketplace promoted. Bottom line if Etsy does not get its act together and listen to the sellers, the sellers will leave and the site will crash!

Thanks for taking the time to read!!
Here is the tally from the thread I posted (you can get to the thread HERE) :
Buyer Friendly(Fix the Search, Easier/Clearer Checkout) 46
Faster/Efficient Listing (Batch Upload, Organize Items, Templates) 25
Stats 14
Front Page/Gift Guides Diversity 9
More 'Your Etsy' Options(Expired, Inactive, Alchemy, Search Y.E.) 9
In-house Currency Conversion 7
Etsy promote Etsy more effectively/Bring more Traffic 5
More Shipping Options (More than 1 choice, Insurance,Calc., Etc)5
Site Goals More Professional & Clearly Stated 2
Seller Forums 1
Lower Renewal Fees 1
More Etsy Mini Options 1
Phone Alerts 1
Clearing House 1
No Change 1
Make Showcases Easier to Buy 1


Sue said...

Good stuff! I haven't added any new items to my store, and I am no longer "renewing" items either. If they sell, fine. If not, oh well. I'm over at ArtFire now, getting in while it's new, and hoping I'll have some sales from their promotions and mine, and eventually, when things expire at my Etsy shop, they'll be moved to ArtFire. ArtFire has work to do, but they are doing work! They respond to sellers questions and concerns. I'm not going to pay to list an item that will likely never be on the "front page", and will get lost in the tons of new things ahead of it. I do enjoy the support of the members in groups I belong to, but some of them will likely be on ArtFire soon too, if they aren't already. Also, what about the sellers who don't wish to join a group? They are on their own, truly.

Thanks for letting me spew! Again, good stuff here!
Sue/ Felt4Ewe

¤~∙3zArt∙~¤ said...

Thanks Sue! I just joined Artfire today as well. I haven't had any time to start listing yet, but hope to have some tomorrow evening. I'm going to be hopeful and stick around Etsy for awhile longer. I'll look you up on Artfire once I get some time to browse around a little more.

Renee said...

I just read it. Good points.

jean said...

I could not agree more! I've been on etsy since July and the most views I've had on a single item is 17. How depressing! I see some of the same items, and the same sellers, on the front page over and over again and wonder if you have to know someone on the inside to get you and your shop noticed. I've been checking out ArtFire as well as Oh, and you are absolutely right about how time-consuming the listing process is. It takes roughly 10-15 minutes (for me, anyway) just to list 1 item, and that's not using all 5 picture slots either! Thanks for writing this. I am in awe of all the incredibly talented artists on etsy, but I'm afraid most of them are going unnoticed.

jean said...

oops, correction. most views i've had on a single item is 32. that's still depressing!

Drew said...

All of your points are valid! At first, I was in love with Etsy but now, the issues have dulled my love. It's impossible to get FP exposure. I hate that we can't control our shop layouts. Most of all, I feel like I spend more time explaing ETSY to people than promoting my shop! It's very frustrating.

¤~∙3zArt∙~¤ said...

Thanks for reading everyone! I know its long...I'm still trying to get myself to read it one more time to proofread it for the last time. I will let everyone know how Artfire goes. I also had someone convo me on Etsy in response to this blog post that recommended so I will be checking that out as well.


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