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Niche ecommerce marketplaces: Etsy still rocks.

By Dan Wilson September 21, 2011 - 8:49 am

If eBay is like a dependable spouse who puts dinner on the table and the rubbish out, then Amazon is the ever efficient colleague who gets things done with hyper-efficiency and alacrity. To continue this increasingly unsupportable simile, that means that Etsy must be the bosomy young barmaid at the local boozer who pours every pint with an enticing smile. She wouldn’t do for every day, but blimey she’s great fun and a man can dream.

Over the past few weeks Tamebay writers have been considering and recommending niche marketplaces and Etsy is worthy of a revisit. I’ve been buying bits and bobs on there for several years. Homemade wonders, craft items, art and creations are Etsy’s trade. I’ve seen so many wonderful things on there. It’s great for original gifts, I think, primarily. Nothing on Etsy arrives from China in a container. And it is, maybe, more of a female marketplace than any other I know. I mean that with deep respect.

What does Etsy do well? Two things stand out for me. It’s fun to browse and rummage on Etsy. It’s something I remember from the old days of eBay. The exploration and the search is fun in itself rather than a chore or a challenge. I love the whimsical and often very visual way Etsy display the wares. It’s one site that does make eBay look and feel very 20th century.

Secondly, the quality of description and photography on Etsy is generally really high. Sellers take a more personal approach by the very nature of the goods sold there. They talk about their ideas and the creative process. Those crafty people do seem to be more fastidious and creative (on the whole) than eBay or Amazon sellers. They also don’t have huge inventories to manage. That will help making every description fun and friendly.

The time is now ripe for more and different niche marketplaces in the ecommerce ecosystem and Etsy is up there in the top 5 of most promising prospects. I have never sold on Etsy. I’d love to hear from people who have. Is Etsy easy?

It probably isn’t scalable as a serious business outlet. I bet they don’t have Etsy millionaires. And who cares? But it would still be lovely to see more UK sellers plugging into Etsy, more buyers supporting creative enterprises and along with that, it would be great to see more promotion from Etsy itself. There is a bit of a downer that so few of the goodies don’t come from the States. They have a great story to tell. They need to invest in marketing more. And if they have already, they need to do it better because I haven’t noticed it.

  • 8 years ago

    Etsy is a nice place and I agree it has that feminine touch. I think the difference is that sellers on etsy (most) are craft makers, producing and selling their own goods on the platform.

    Because they are small scale, they do have the time to be more accommodating to shoppers, take better photos, and tell stories about their wares.

    I commend them for operating in a sustainable scale but afraid what happens should they step out their niche because of their growing brand awareness. Would Etsy still be the same when it invests in full blast marketing and attract bigger sellers?

  • 8 years ago

    Etsy may have been conceived as a marketplace for craftspeople and artists but Etsy Vintage and Etsy Supplies are far bigger in terms of sales volume.

    Many ex-eBay sellers are now selling vintage on Etsy, all the things that made eBay so much fun to shop.

    For sheer volume look no further than the sellers of supplies, beads, patterns, jewelry findings, fabric etc.

    In the USA we pay 20c for a 4 month listing and 3.5% sale fees. We can use any payment method and repeat customers are the norm.

  • I often come across Etsy and find it off putting that it shows me UK prices but then gives the dollar price too, leaving me as a user how long it will take to arrive…I often use Folksy instead but I know there is a lot of fuss over how hand made ‘handmade’ is so who knows where that will go, may be one to look at in future.

  • Derry
    8 years ago

    I sell on Etsy, it is much more profitable than ebay, The attitude of the sellers and buyers is different too – eBay buyers often want things for nothing, and will agree to the postage when they bid and then moan about it later – Etsy buyers tend to be more aware and more international-minded. However, it can take forever to sell somethings and it takes a long time to build a client base. Love it though!

Featured in this article from the Tamebay Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Etsy

Etsy is well known and a major player in the handmade and vintage arena with a marketplace that offers curated collections and suggestions.

See More Companies >

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