As of December 31, 2014, Etsy had 54 million users registered as members, and the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods connected 1.4 million active sellers with 19.8 million active buyers. At the end of 2014, Etsy had 685 employees, and had 29 million items listed on its website.
As of 2017, more than 1.93 million sellers sold goods through the Etsy ecosystem, up from 1.75 million in the previous year. But the big question is….
Has Etsy gotten too big for itself?
As Etsy starts to upset it’s sellers more and more, we’re seeing a shift of stores closing and dreams being shattered. In all honesty, there’s a lot of really talented artists on Etsy and just as many bad ones. That’s not the issue that’s got seller’s up in arms.
In the past month, Etsy has not so subtly been giving hints to their sellers to offer free shipping. Those that don’t offer free shipping are seeing a trend. Their store views have gone down and their sales have dropped dramatically. Stores that were averaging 100 sales or more per month now have come to a screeching halt. Those that had stores that were doing well, are now in danger of having to go back to the 9-5 jobs that they escaped.
So what’s the deal?
As Etsy continues to fail its sellers and buyers, a simple search will give you a small glimpse into a poorly executed business model. For instance, it’s Consumer Affairs Rating is just barely two stars, with over 1.5 million reviews collectively over the years.
It’s also NOT an accredited business, which means it’s not recognized as meeting prescribed standards or requirements. That’s scary for both buyers and sellers. Etsy does not guarantee that you’ll get the product that you bought. Most cases end up being closed, without resolve for the buyer, per Consumer Affairs.
A look at Etsy’s Twitter isn’t exactly promising. All the feed shows is basically the same theme and every single day you’ll see this post.
Besides forced Free Shipping and “search delays” some shops are losing money because their shop won’t show up for potential buyers. Every day, a buyer, who has paid their monthly fees will lose their store visibility for some unknown reason. What’s unfortunate is that the error page doesn’t say “Hey, Etsy is messing up” it simple says “This store no longer exists” which is seriously misleading.
Unless someone is a regular buyer, and sometimes even then, Etsy will have cost someone a sell. There’s no way to track who saw the wrongly disabled store and no way to communicate that it’s not the sellers fault.
Then there is their SEO/Search Term Fails. The new algorithm that’s been implemented is just a total fail. Many store owners have to learn SEO and that’s no easy feat. Some even hire out the task if they just aren’t tech savvy. These SEO terms are to help buyers find what they’re looking for. So, when you have a random search term show up that has nothing to do with your shop, it’s usually just an occasional glitch. Except now, it’s happening every day.
Shops are getting weird search terms. They’ll also get an alert that someone bought a product when that’s actually not true.
With Etsy closing the Etsy Wholesale Marketplace on July 31, 2018, it leads sellers to wonder what other major changes might be coming their way. Can they trust that their honest efforts will pay off or will Etsy become like eBay and take advantage of its seller base.
Some Etsy shops have branched out to create their own online shops while others have reached out to current eCommerce sites that fits their product styles. For example, The Wedding Shop; A Sunday Wedding has been helping out former Etsy shop owners by giving their products a free listing home on their website. Allowing the art of handmade and quality items live on.
The future of Etsy and it’s sellers is unclear ad certainly not on solid ground. Will we see a surge of more eCommerce sites as sellers branch away from Etsy or will we see them collaborate with already established stores. Regardless, you’ll find the artists and designers of Etsy fighting the good fight to keep the spirit of creativity alive.