Etsy CEO Josh Silverman yesterday addressed concerns of the marketplace’s merchants on selling vintage goods by saying that they remain a ‘real treasure of Etsy.’
Etsy CEO and Kruti Patel Goyal, general manager of seller services, have answered concerns of Etsy’s sellers on November 13 during a podcast on the peak season marketing, on whether the handmade products, on which the marketplace puts great focus, will be of more importance that vintage items this peak.
Commenting on a seller question “will you be actively promoting vintage in any of your advertising?” Silverman suggested that Etsy is willing to invest in the product category to help merchants grow their businesses. But, pointing to the fact that shoppers aren’t naturally inclined to shop for vintage goods on Etsy, he argued that these types of products serve as a “differentiator” for the marketplace. He also remarked on how much the marketplace is spending each year on their marketing campaigns to promote products.
“As they learn to navigate for it, they learn to navigate for it within a mission to find home furnishings, clothing, jewellery or some other category, rather than as their starting point.Yeah and I bet a lot of sellers are aware that we’ve talked about how we’re spending 40% more money on marketing this year than we did last year. In fact, we’re spending more than $100 million on marketing this year. It’s really exciting. And we do that in a few ways.”
-Josh Silverman, Etsy CEO
Patel Goyal had also confirmed that the marketplace will be advertising vintage in their marketing during the peak trading season.
“We’ll also be highlighting vintage items in our performance marketing, so those are all ways we’re going to continue to show our commitment to vintage”
-Patel Goyal, Etsy general manager of seller services
This announcement comes as Etsy launched a new personalisation feature to increase their merchants’ product tailoring to individual shoppers. The new tool offers shoppers to put forth their personalised requests for a product before a transaction takes place. But, is this Etsy’s another attempt to ‘make up’ after the marketplace failed to enhance their website’s user experience, which led to a drop in traffic and net sales income in Q3?
The guideline for listing vintage items on Etsy (that they must be at least 20 years old) is not enforced. Etsy will not remove listings for items pretending to be vintage that are so new you can buy them factory fresh on Amazon, eBay, WAL-MART websites, as well as wholesale venues like AliExpress in China.
Because Etsy’s targeted buyer for vintage items isn’t specifically looking for vintage, they are also likely to be less knowledgeable about recognizing, dating, and knowing the market value of authentic vintage. This allows dishonest sellers on Etsy (and there are many thousands of them) to pass off brand new inexpensive products as “rare” pieces nearly a century old — and price them accordingly. For example: a dishonest Etsy shop resells the same brand new item a dozen times (if it was sold wholesale from Asia by the case lot), each time claiming it dates from the 1930s and it’s ultra rare!. The wholesale price for such an item might be under $10, but it’s listed on Amazon for about $20, eBay for about $25, but around $85 on Etsy. Etsy buyers (shoppers who actually make a purchase) typically don’t comparison shop.
The more often any item is relisted with another identical unit for sale, the more Etsy’s relevancy algorithm pushes it to the first pages of search results. Since circa 2011, the general authenticity, variety, and quality of vintage items for sale on Etsy has continually declined as shops close up and move their items back to eBay, and are replaced by deceptive shops selling fakes and newish slightly used items. It’s not worth the effort to compete on Etsy for buyers who don’t care about authentic vintage, and who actually would rather have a brand new “vintage style” product they saw in the media or owed by a friend.
Etsy has listings and shops selling authentic vintage items, but any item featured in a special site promotion as vintage has an even chance of being brand new, and easily bought elsewhere for less.
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