Yesterday Etsy emailed it’s 1.6 million sellers to announce that April 5 shops will have a new look. “We’ve redesigned the way shops look on Etsy to put you in control of your creative business and brand,” Etsy Administrator Shadi Jurdi said in the Etsy Seller Handbook post explaining the redesign. “The new design brings all of your shop’s content together, so shoppers can browse your items, learn about your story and see your policies all in one place.”
Sellers have three weeks to update their shops before the changes go live.
One of the most long-standing complaints among Etsy sellers has been the inability to differentiate your shop and make it look like your own brand. The new layout seems to be a response to this, giving sellers the option to create a 1200 x 300 pixel cover photo to be displayed across the top of their shops. This image allows for a much greater brand impact than the previous 760 x 100 pixel banner. The shop icon is now also larger and more prominently displayed.
Etsy has partnered with the graphic design app, Canva, to create customizable templates sized for the new layout which sellers can use to quickly and easily make images that meet the new size requirements.
Sellers who aren’t interested in displaying a large cover photo have the option to stick with the current smaller banner size or have no banner at all.
An increased ability to make a brand impact isn’t the only significant change in this update; there are changes in how sold listings are managed as well. Now when you renew a sold listing it will remain in its original position rather than being bumped to the first position in your shop. And sellers have a new privacy option that allows them to hide sold listings from buyers.
Shop policies are changing as well. Etsy has devised a template for sellers to use to make setting shop policies simpler. “During research, many buyers have told us that they have a difficult time understanding Shop Policies on Etsy,” Jurdi wrote in an explanation of the new policies. Policies are now a series of check boxes. Sellers will be able to opt out of using the new template, but those who do use it will be favored in search.
Etsy shops will now display three items across rather than four. With fewer items displayed customers will have to do more scrolling to see all of the products. Product images are larger than they once were and there’s more white space on the page causing some sellers to describe their shop as “looking zoomed in.”
I reached out to Director of Product Management at Etsy, Arpan Podduturi, to ask whether mobile friendliness was one of the goals for the redesign. “This is the first time that shop homepages will look consistent when viewed on a desktop computer, mobile web browser and in the Etsy app – an important point because we know that buyers will frequently start their Etsy experience on one device, and then go to another device to complete their purchase,” he explained in an email.
A new navigation bar located just above the listings allows customers to jump to your About page (a page that was previously frustratingly difficult to find) along with Reviews and Policies.
Rather than clicking through pages of listing, all listings are on the same page with a “More Items” button at the bottom. For shops with many hundreds of items this means customers will have to do an intense amount of scrolling.
Gone is the list view option that the old layout allowed.
A change many sellers are celebrating is the addition of five new categories bringing the total category number up to 15.
Sellers can now link out not just to Facebook and Twitter, but also to Instagram, Pinterest, and their own blog, although there’s still no email list sign up function.
Between now and April 5 sellers can begin implementing changes to optimize their shops for the new layout. Although the new layout will not go live until that date, any changes you make now will be visible to buyers in the current layout.
I’ve opened my Etsy shop on July 3, 2005, when Etsy was still in beta and listings were free. In the 10+ years since then I’ve weathered each and every change.
Etsy is a tech company and they put a tremendous amount of time and effort into creating an optimal user experience for both buyers and sellers. Hundreds of interviews and trials go into making changes as significant as these. Director of Product Management Podduturi told me, “We consulted with a large and diverse group of sellers to take into account their wants and needs, and we also did extensive buyer research to see what kinds of features are important to them and, importantly, lead to shopper engagement.” Although the reasoning might be difficult to understand, and the changes may in the end not be perfect, it’s important to recognize that they were not made on impulse.
I earn about $12,000 on Etsy each year with almost no effort on my part – it’s set it and forget it – and for that I’m so grateful. I don’t know yet how these changes will feel once they’re live, but selling successfully online requires a constant willingness to embrace change so here we go around the next corner.