Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hey Etsy, you forgetting something?

The Funny One and I have been discussing Etsy’s lack of promotions for normal events on the retail calendar. We’re all too familiar with seller complaints that Etsy lives by its own calendar, and ignores most of the usual retail marketing tricks.

Etsy promotes retail holidays LATE or not at all, as if it’s an afterthought, or they just made another mistake (even after making the same mistakes 4 years running), and they forget that there’s a shipping time added in for internet business. They’re too busy promoting their favorites and manually picking every promoted item on the site, too busy writing dozens of daily blog posts (mostly about the same stores and items featured elsewhere at the same time) and too busy with their Etsy Merchandising Calendar- A Calendar that has nothing to do with promoting the retail holidays.

Etsy completely missed Valentine’s Day at a time when sellers, more than ever, need them to be aware – and then there’s St Patrick’s Day, Easter, the UK Mothering Sunday, and their inability to recognize that being “trendy” is not in line with the individual spirit of handmade.

So, get over yourselves for a few minutes Etsy, and start promoting Mother’s Day today.

Yes, we know there’s a gift guide - incredibly lacking in 'Mom' items. Where are the cards, the 'Mom' labeled stuff, the kid art...

Instead of “branding” your site and promoting individual pieces or sellers, start acting like a venue and let the buyers know there’s something to shop for!

41 Comments:

lessa said...

Not just Mother's Day. Let's not forget College and High School Graduation is right around the corner.

CalendarGirl said...

There is an Easter GG as of noon 3/21. Looks like somebody did some quick searches and found lots of bunnies, eggs, baby chicks.
Let's see: Easter is 4/12. Three weeks to the day-- too late again for most people.
What do people buy for Easter that they cannot get at the local Rite-Aid? CLOTHING and ACCESSORIES. Oopsy.

CalendarGirl said...

and they put the Easter GG in and took out the ART GG.
Some fast shuffling, not planning ahead.
Grownups, anyone???

forum rubbernecker said...

Instead of “branding” your site and promoting individual pieces or sellers, start acting like a venue and let the buyers know there’s something to shop for!
__________
guys, you know, someone brought up that Etsy obvious is striving to be:

NOT traditional
NOT mainstream, and therefore,
NOT profitable

One seller even said her wrist warmers had been only sold to other Etsy sellers and no one she knew in the real world had heard of such a thing.

It's all very well and good that the wood nymphs and fairies and steampunk aficionados have a GG to shop from, but what about the 99.99999999% of the population that leads real lives and cannot afford to indulge in such fantasies as they go about their day to day business?

I have another question:

Why is Etsy still advertising big funky scarves that cover half your face that the model is breathing into? Gag and um, cold weather started 6 MONTHS ago in much of the Northern hemisphere. Presumably everyone who needed a scarf already has one.

If those big chunky, funky, scarves, and used suitcases, and wrist warmers and various and sundry other impractical things were not on Etsy's FP all the time, would anybody buy them?
Indeed, the BIG question.

I wish Etsy would understand that while it's COOL to be avante gard, it is not terribly profitable for them.

ebbandflo said...

oh sigh! i wonder why etsy is so reactionary and doesn't slip into being proactive after all these years (yes, all these years - they will be 4 years old soon).

as an ecommerce retail site why aren't they looking at the retail calendar for their sellers. whether or not they 'approve' of whichever retail moment is immaterial - as a venue which has recently shot itself in the foot regarding revenue generation from renewing fees surely it should be thinking forward to making money from its customers actually selling some stuff

The Righteous One said...

As for the warm things, it is heading into fall and winter in the Ssouthern hemisphere, but with all the promotion those items have gotten the past 6 months, I'm sure everyone has had their fill and hearted or bought their faves by now.

life-during-wartime said...

I think that Etsy actually thinks they have Valentine's, Easter, Mother's Day (in various countries) covered by promoting (again this year) wedding and baby.

Because of Etsy's overwhelming younger female deomographic, who would be buying from GGs for a Valentine or Mother's Day gift? A young woman for her mother? Really? Her mom wants a strapless dress size 2-6? A scarfette? Something (everything?) decorated with a birdie, a moustache, or a bird with a 'stash? I know, I know...there's always bath & body.

Wedding and baby are categories where young women will buy for themselves, and each other. That is why they are vigorously promoted on Etsy.

forum rubbernecker said...

As for the warm things, it is heading into fall and winter in the Ssouthern hemisphere, but with all the promotion those items have gotten the past 6 months, I'm sure everyone has had their fill and hearted or bought their faves by now.
_________
So true! Sorry, Oz! But 80% of Etsy is in the US, so maybe they could cut the scarf promo time down to 20%. :-P

boredwithetsybrand said...

All Etsy cares about is promoting their favorites. Yes - let's promote the same seller - she's was a featured seller, she's in three GG's and she's on the FP all the time. That's only one of many examples of chosen few sellers who are critical to Etsy's merchandising strategy.

It's such a fabulous merchandising strategy. Here it is:

--They don't promote normal holidays or retail cycles because it's not hip and cool to do that.

--There are only a few sellers who's work is worth buying -only buy from those sellers. And they are the only ones with great photos. Everyone else sucks.

--Ignore real trends. wood nymphs, deer, birds, cowls, steampunk - those are the only real trends right now. Don't research trends. Trends within the real world, outside of Etsyland are nonexistent.

That's it. That's the strategy. Promote the heck out of the chosen few. Give them every advantage - all of the free promotion - to the detriment of the other sellers and the site as a whole.

Isn't that an awesome strategy? I think it totally rocks. I'm gonna eat cupcakes in my cheerleading uniform and stay at etsy 4ever.

If there was an Easter GG or other GG's, they'd just promote their favorites anyway. I just don't care anymore.

This post is not intended to insult the favorites. I know they are very sensitive about this. Honestly, there work is lovely. But they aren't the only artists on Etsy.

My rant is really about the Etsy admin who would not know a merchandising strategy if it hit them in the face.

oveso said...

i generally disagree with you bitches but this issue is really dragging etsy down.they cannot seem to promote events and activities that people are looking to shop for. with the way the world economy is going, they need to take every opportunity to sell.

and the front pages have changed a bit but now they are just writing stories in the dorque about all of their favorites, over and over- regardless of how stale and repetitive their designs are. over and over the same items and sellers and themes.

in order to really move ahead for all of our sakes they need to take a few more risks and set a limit on how much media attention that needs to be given to their pets.

trusk4u said...

"Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits."

Mark Twain

The Funny One said...

Thank you all for on the mark comments, because the direction Etsy has taken in the last 6-8 months is so alarming, I can only say that ignoring the retail holidays (oh yes, they are too cool and hip) you have actually made it harder for most of your sellers to sell when they need all the help they can get.

Etsy's outright refusal to promote holiday shopping just makes no sense. Add that to their push to actively tell sellers to make the products that "fit" their new theme strategy also turn the whole point of handmade on its head.

It's no longer about handmade, it's about mass production. It's no longer about the individual artisan, it's about what Etsy knows sells well. For a New York minute.

I think Etsy has changed the definition of handmade to cheap, trendy, priced (often) below cost, and an unhealthy attachment to their own arrogance.

Sellers need to speak up and speak up often. While you know who is closing threads left and right, it's important to keep topics like this one at the top of the list. Keep it up and keep complaining.

oneofmanyHeathers said...

My wish is for them to start acting like grownups. Think (and act) ahead. Sit down and come up with a calendar of gift-buying occasions, count backwards on a calendar to the time when they should be promoting those occasions, and then publish those dates to the sellers. Allow sellers to submit ideas for GG items and promotions by certain deadlines. How difficult would that be?

An annual calendar of gift-buying occasions and promotional deadlines. Ta da.

Eveline said...

I don't think Etsy has ever done anything about Valentine's Day. I remember that last year there was the same complaint of Etsy having missed it yet again.

And it will be Mother's day in just a few hours here in the UK... I know, I know, Etsy is in the US, but sellers and buyers have missed out by Etsy not promoting it.

As far as Etsy being incestuous when it comes to promoting and selling... well.. that has been the problem from day one I'm afraid....

Brass Monkey Designs said...

Yeah...they're really screwing the pooch by not promoting for prom and spring WEDDINGS...good lord, Weddings are big time buying occasions and brides start planning and buying waaaay in advance.

teawithfrodo said...

I'd be happy to start with the search.
I looked for "changing pads" and got 157 pages of "burpy blankets"

I'm running out of swear words for them.

The Funny One said...

Mother's Day is just as big for my store (and live craft events) as xmas, and I am only one seller out of thousands who is directly impacted by Etsy's refusal to promote retail holidays in time for:
(1) me to list my products in time for customers to shop
(2) give my customers reminders that the holiday is coming WITH shipping cut off date-reminders
(3) give me time to ship!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's what MY CUSTOMERS DESERVE. And how can I give my customers stellar customer service when my host site is fucking with my ability to do so?

Why does Etsy make it so hard for MOST sellers while providing tens of thousands of dollars of FREE ADVERTISING AND PROMOTIONS to their favorite sellers week after week?

Can we all just have ONE DECENT RETAIL HOLIDAY PROMOTION?????

Or is that just too much damn work, Etsy?

disappointed said...

I agree that the gift guides are not real marketing initiatives, but I am at least happy that they offered some sort of token spring and easter related guides. Probably just to shut people up already. I am alarmed to see that they ditched the art gg's though. Couldn't they have combined a few like mother's day and for her instead? Or gotten rid of feathers and woodlands or equestrian prep or something? Those guides are useless. Well, they are all useless, but you know what I mean....

Vige said...

Etsy considers itself a "Movement" more than a venue. The fact is that it has hijacked a time honored tradition and morphed it into a mono vision that is reflected by a small groups personal style and taste.

jodie nicholson said...

forum rubbernecker said...
As for the warm things, it is heading into fall and winter in the Ssouthern hemisphere, but with all the promotion those items have gotten the past 6 months, I'm sure everyone has had their fill and hearted or bought their faves by now.
_________
So true! Sorry, Oz! But 80% of Etsy is in the US, so maybe they could cut the scarf promo time down to 20%. :-P
----------------------------
That's ok, we don't so much dig cowls here in Australia.

I don't expect Etsy to promote the hell out of Winter stuff just because it's getting cold down here. I just want to see them have a more universal promotional schedule. I mean, they can have Spring Showcases but the can't recognise major world holidays/events?

We KNOW what season it is. People don't say, "Oh, is it Spring already? Best I hurry up and buy something floral!". But people do say, "Oh yeah, it's Mother's Day soon. I better hurry up and buy mum a card/cowl/owl/bowl".

60 is enough said...

Etsy admin wouldn't know a trend if it sprouted deer antlers and stabbed them in the ass.

Their latest pastel trend is so far off from the current trends in the Pantone colors and every current fashion magazine.

Etsy thinks the current art trends are for cute animal line illustration, and that hasn't changed in over a year.

The people blogging have no fashion or art expertise whatsoever.

So they miss all the important retail sales dates, and they promote non-existent trends.

Boo.

Etymology said...

All I have to say is this:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=21858841

sillygirl said...

I'm actually getting really tired of seeing "handmade" turn into some gimic to promote holidays. I mean, come on, who really goes out and buys something handmade for St. Patric's day?
And Easter? Isn't that usually mean buying a potted plant for mom and some chocolates for the kids? (now , what, it's moss jars, handmade soap, and sweets being shipped across the country?)
Spare me....

The Righteous One said...

sillygirl, yes, some people buy gifts for others around those days. As retail businesses, regardless of what you're selling, the retail calendar is important. For artists it may be a different, but art can be gifts too.

Handmade is an option for buying from the customers' perspective. Sometimes it's about business and sometimes it's about the handmade culture (so to speak) and all that entails.

Etsy has grown huge on the handmade gimick, the backs of its sellers, who they now shun by not recognizing they are running businesses.

foxaz said...

Yes, Etsy's focus is handmade- but there is also vintage & supplies, remember? Perhaps you want to make Mom a gift? For that you needs Supplies. Or give Mom something that reminds her of her beauty & youth? That would be Vintage.

U'm actually surprised no one (like etsy hacks, orsome of the other peripheral etsy enablers has started a site for the Unofficial Retail Guides. It would be a calendar with holiday promotion dates for every retail holiday around the world. How hard could that be?
Etsy has some brilliant sellers from all over the world that could work together to make that happen. As a resource for everyone.

sillygirl said...

I run a business and I do understand that SOME holidays are important to craft and other businesses alike, but give me a break.

I have plenty to bitch about when it comes to Etsy, but I do have to stop and wonder what the fuck is going on around here when every little holiday needs a month of storque articles and cries to be seen.

Not to sound old fashioned, but Easter IS a RELIGIOUS holiday and I haven't seen JESUS making the front page this month.

What's next? Secretary's day? Flag Day? Groundhog Day? (I think they did cover that one)

I

The Righteous One said...

sillygirl, I think you get our point - they promote silly things and miss the big things.

forum rubbernecker said...

I'm wondering more and more why Etsy wants to promote themes that simply aren't going to be profitable. It doesn't make any sense to keep yourself in the red. Regardless of how cool you are, at some point you have to accept responsibility and change the way you do things. This goes for all things in life.
And I'm still not sure how all this got past the investors. I sell normal things that normal people buy and my bank does not consider being an artist a business. They must be familiar with the Etsy model and assume that we sell weird impractical things that a small segment of the Brooklyn population might buy.

KPP said...

sillygirl--I half agree with you. I wouldn't want it turned into a gimic. Etsy doesn't need to advertise Christmas as soon as they're done with the Back-To-School promo (if they did one on-time and it was relavent) is over (like you see in the big box stores). On the other hand, I'd sorta like tasty handmade treats for Easter rather than corner store cheapie treats. Actually, I don't necessarily need an Easter basket in general, but I'd appreciate the handmade snacks.

Anyway, I think a shipping site should have a giant calendar and they should make a giant list of holiday and decide major and minor promos (I don't think they should bombard us with every holiday or we'll glaze over, sorry Groundhog's day) and count backwards to account for comfortable shipping dates, gathering initial interest "hey, start thinking!", and serious "Buy now!" time. Then advertise mostly relevant things with some whimisical out-of-box things so your gifts guides aren't too whacky but aren't too boring.

now, where was I said...

I dont think it matters anymore.
ITS GONE STALE. As a last ditch attempt, I did 4 spring showcases thinking it was their way of lumping any holiday that comes some time near spring into one. I got 4 more views. whoo freakin hoo. I cant blame it all on the Ecomomy anymore. I sell like crazy at local shows. So thats not it. I promote Etsy more than they do! I give up. Really. I have started moving it all to Artfire and letting Esty fade away. At some point you just have to say STOP. its not worth the hair pulling anymore.

They know what they need to do and yet they dont do it! Hey, but The new bells and whistles on their side of the server should do it!!

API? really? you can have all the new jazzy tools in you want but they are worthless if you know what the heck your doing.

"What does this launch mean if you are not a developer, but an Etsy seller or buyer? The applications built by developers using the Etsy API can be valuable tools for enhancing your Etsy experience. Of course, you will still be able to use Etsy without these applications, and Etsy's Product and Engineering Teams will continue to work hard to deliver improvements and new features to the site for our members. The applications created by software developers around the world using the Etsy API will be wonderful bonuses to the Etsy experience "

OH COME ON!!!

just another seller said...

forum rubbernecker said -

I'm wondering more and more why Etsy wants to promote themes that simply aren't going to be profitable. It doesn't make any sense to keep yourself in the red.
___________________________________
I think you just hit the nail on the head. It's obvious that Maria was brought in to get Etsy ready to sell. That's gotta scare the crap out of the Etsy employees. So what do you? You do whatever it takes to make sure it's not profitable. At least, whatever is in your power.

It reminds me of what a renter may do when the owner of the house want to sell. Make sure the house looks like crap everytime a prospective buyer comes to take a look.

forum rubbernecker said...

just another seller said...
forum rubbernecker said -

I'm wondering more and more why Etsy wants to promote themes that simply aren't going to be profitable. It doesn't make any sense to keep yourself in the red.
___________________________________
I think you just hit the nail on the head. It's obvious that Maria was brought in to get Etsy ready to sell. That's gotta scare the crap out of the Etsy employees. So what do you? You do whatever it takes to make sure it's not profitable. At least, whatever is in your power.

It reminds me of what a renter may do when the owner of the house want to sell. Make sure the house looks like crap everytime a prospective buyer comes to take a look.
________
I really think ETSY really thinks they have a winner with their way of doing things. Someone need to tell the emperor he's nekkid, not wearing odd indie hip clothes.

Rana said...

Oh, my. I just read the bios for the Marketing Team and depressed myself. They seem like nice enough people, but I can't see how they have any more qualifications to handle the marketing of a multi-million dollar company and its diversity of products than I do.

*sigh*

http://www.etsy.com/about.php

forum rubbernecker said...

Oh, my. I just read the bios for the Marketing Team and depressed myself. They seem like nice enough people, but I can't see how they have any more qualifications to handle the marketing of a multi-million dollar company and its diversity of products than I do.
_________
That explains a lot. Apparently no one even has a college degree.

Oh dear said...

Rana, good idea! I never thought about checking out the staff bios. Some of them try too hard to be whimsical and childish. Christine openly admits she buys anything with a mustache on it!

Erika said...

Following Rana's link, I am compelled to say: Why on Earth is everybody wearing a lab coat in their picture?

Do these trendy people not know that that kind of clothing has been out of the racks for a long time?

And don't they dare give me the crap that they need them for the "labs". My significant other works in a lab, and no one, NO ONE mind you, uses them.

If this is the face they show to the world, how is anybody going to take them seriously?

Brass Monkey Designs said...

You don't need a college degree to be a competent and experienced marketer or to have good business sense.

Not that I'm saying they have any of that, but I really hate to see so much weight put on a college degree. I know for a fact that all the educating in the world doesn't amount to much without good common sense, a strong business ethic, maturity, and experience.

joey the squid said...

EQUESTRIAN PREP

wtf??

The Funny One said...

The lab coats and police line-up photos have always bothered me. What's behind it is the same attitude that STILL refuses to promote the retail holidays with any creativity, marketing sense, or any real retail biz experience.
Etsy continues to think it's just "too cool" to advertise the right holidays at the right time.

At the top and bottom of Etsy's outlook is complete disregard for most of their sellers (except their faves) and a complete disconnect with their sellers. They dis most sellers most hours of every day.

What's the next trend on Etsy? Biodegradable hair ornaments that have been cloned, mixed with organic dirt and unleaded buttons, add in a beige anything---tested, smelled and gelled in the Etsy Lab?

Anonymous said...

And this is yet another one of the many, many reasons why so many sellers are moving to 1000Markets.com...

jimmy the squid said...

moustaches
anatomical hearts
bicycles
owls/deer/squid
circular flowers like citrus on a stick
drawings of children with bubbles coming from their mouths

also, don't forget:
items made from recycled materials with poor worksmanship

it seems like they like people with either really low or really high skill levels (mainly low - high concept, simply made seems to appeal to Etsy. probably because the people doing the picking aren't really experienced artisans or craftspeople)