This has been an intense month for Etsy. The launch of Etsy Studio, the mandatory implementation of Etsy Payments, the shift to the new Shop Manager would have all been hectic as is, but then last week we also saw the board fire CEO Chad Dickerson as well as the CTO and 8% of the staff. Whew! That’s a lot to process as a seller.
I sat down today with Danielle Spurge of The Merriweather Council this morning to discuss it all point by point. Danielle and I are both longtime Etsy seller. She’s also a careful watcher of Etsy’s activities and she works with makers to help them optimize their Etsy shops and grow their creative businesses.
Last year Danielle and I chatted about Pattern, Etsy’s standalone shop builder, when it had just launched. You can watch that 20 minute conversation here.
And now we’re together again, this time on Facebook Live, hashing out what’s happening. I wanted to share the conversation with you here as well. We talk about:
- Etsy Studio
- Etsy Payments
- the new Shop Manager
- the management shakeup
In this conversation we work to address seller concerns and think through what’s most important for sellers to consider. Keep in mind that neither of us is affiliated with Etsy. We are just avid followers and longtime users of the platform. I hope you enjoy the talk!
I follow developments on etsy. I came to dislike what I saw intensely. The current steam of developments and the way etsy users (sellers and buyers) are treated make me feel literally repelled. Sellers seem to be currently being hectored into accepting etsy payments or else their shops will be suspended. The latest on that was that the suspension date had been pushed back to May 30th, but that it was impossible for sellers to negotiate their shops anyway, due to a banner reminder to join up to etsy payments popping up on every click and getting in the way and which people were unable to get rid of. Yet there are many legitimate reasons why people do not want or are unable to accept the terms of this. People are having to wait days for money to reach their accounts which previously would be there on the same day.
I believe etsy is quite happy to lose the small handmade sellers who first made the etsy name. They are often not so lucrative for etsy ,so as long as they are replaced by manufacturing sellers who make more money for etsy its considered acceptable losses for overall financial gain. Many people are upset that etsy are hanging on to their money instead of making it instantly available to them as PayPal do. They are also asking for highly secure personal information to set up, like social security numbers, bank account details and so on which alarms people. Etsy does not have a great record on keeping data secure. I am concerned about having my PayPal processed by etsy too. I know nothing online is fully secure but I trust PayPal more for sure.
There are also issues with the new Shop Manager which has upset a lot of people. Add to that the diabolical search, and the incessant tampering and live testing, it is easy to see how and why so many people are very upset. Etsy deals with much of this by ignoring people’s concerns, or removing posts to silence people. There is no proper customer service on etsy for sellers which causes very real upset and alarm. You can request a phone call for a few chosen issues and wait for etsy to get back to you, which doesn’t always happen otherwise you have to email and wait for a response; often there is none or it is a cut and paste kind of response. Often it is up to other sellers to come forward with help and possible solutions in the forums, which is most unfair for a company the size of etsy.
A very interesting forum thread and article from Bloomberg here
It’s plain to see that etsy is unable to best support its sellers and make the site profitable despite its impressive turnover. I always look for a seller’s stand alone site before I make a purchase. Genuine handmade do not need etsy as they can bring their own fan base to buy everything they are capable of making. Handmade automatically limits how much you can sell as there are only so many making hours in a day, so capacity will be reached by some. I am aware of many successful sellers who have waiting lists because they have created their own fan base on their own sites who purchase everything they are able and willing to make. Digital patterns are an exception to this, as obviously they can be sold to as many people as the market reaches. Other than that, to keep up with large numbers of buyers manufacturing becomes necessary or the making of items needs to involve employing others who may not apply the same standards as the originator – both of which move right away from the original ethos and purpose of etsy.
I find etsy studio superfluous to requirements, and why spend money on a site that replicates things already for sale on etsy? People would rather the money spent on fixing things like search. Also obfuscating the individual sellers is not an approach I buy into. As a buyer I want that personal touch – I want to see that I am buying from an individual, that is what made me shop on etsy.
Lots of issues with etsy therefore and its almost inevitable that it will sell up/out. Craftsy and Creative bug have, and so its just a matter of time. Chatter of it being sold to eBay, Amazon, and Facebook, who knows? Small is sadly ultimately not seen as beautiful and money always wins out over ethics and values. You don’t seem to get both unfortunately. There are still cheerleaders for etsy but I do have problems with recognising why, as the loyalty seems quite one sided.
Finally in the questions to the new CEO, he was asked if there would be a section for handmade on etsy, the same as there is for supplies and vintage, in order to separate it out from manufactured stuff. The response was no. Very telling on many levels, and really rather sad I thought.
I agree that there’s work to be done to improve search on Etsy. I trust Etsy with my financial information and in 11 years of selling on Etsy have never had a financial breech. I think having a bank account connected to my Etsy shop is a totally reasonable expectation as is waiting a few days for my bank to process a deposit. PayPal’s deposits are not completely FDIC insured and all small businesses should have bank accounts. Etsy is a tech company and in order to improve a complex ecommerce marketplace they have to run A/B tests. I’m thankful that they do because it leads to a smooth user experience for customers. Etsy is by no means perfect, but it’s an incredible service to the handmade community.
Juliane Gorman says
Abby, will Etsy be doing away with Paypal in 2018? ?
This is not good news for sellers who have moved countries and are ‘stuck’ with maintaining a bank account in the country where they originally opened their Etsy shop. Supposedly, this is due to international banking laws. In the past, I (and others in the Forums) have contacted Etsy about this, but have had no luck.
I don’t mind EtsyPayments/Direct Checkout. I just mind that these monies go to a bank account in a country where I no longer live (and have no family). Interestingly, this has not been a problem with Paypal because one is allowed to create country-specific Paypal accounts (to where one lives), and then update this info on Etsy. Hence, I have always preferred when customers paid with Paypal.
Sadly, the solution that Etsy has given is to open a NEW Etsy shop (with one’s current country’s bank account).
Thanks for letting me vent. I really appreciate your wonderful newsletter!
No, they won’t be doing away with PayPal. It looks to me like they’ll be doing away with standalone PayPal which means Etsy will process the PayPal payments. I’m not sure where the deposit will go, but it may be to your bank account.