Etsy was originally launched in 2005 by a small company known as iospace. The name of the platform was carefully picked because the executives wanted a "nonsense word that could be built into a brand from scratch." Etsy garnered attention within its first year due to the added tools and functionality that allowed business owners to see improved traffic and exposure. After seeing tremendous growth and rapid revenue and sales increases, Etsy finally went public in April of 2015. Today, Etsy is valued at $1.8 billion. Etsy is designed to help both sellers and buyers, allowing business owners to connect with their niche markets.
- Business Management Tools
- Hassle-Free Shipping
- Seamless Payments
- Search Features
Etsy provides a number of tools and services to those who use its platform to sell goods. There are no monthly packages as Etsy charges a flat rate per listing. That means anyone who decides to open a store on Etsy will receive the same tools and resources without having to pay for a premier package (which is common practice in the e-commerce world).
Business Management Tools
While simple, Etsy has created a number of tools and provides resources to maximize exposure and traffic based on targeted searches by prospective buyers. These tools increase flexibility and potential to maximize profits. Resources include the following:
- Business management from anywhere: Etsy has the "Sell on Etsy" app which allows business owners to manage orders, update items, and respond to customers from mobile devices.
- Promotional tools: Whether it is through social media or other forms of exposure, Etsy provides sellers with the ability to promote their listing to drive and even increase traffic.
Sellers do not need to worry about the logistics of shipping because shipping labels can be printed directly from Etsy. Sellers who use Etsy also receive discounted pricing on USPS postage.
Etsy takes care of all payment processing so the seller does not have to worry about it.
Etsy isn't just for those looking to host an online shopping cart. It has created a platform that is easy for consumers to navigate and purchase products. Consumers can search the entire e-commerce platform and browse through various categories and products to find exactly what they are looking for at a price they are willing to pay. Not only does Etsy come with descriptive categories, consumers can also use advanced search options to narrow results and cut down on browsing time. Each category also comes with sub-categories to provide a more targeted shopping experience.
- Third Parties
Just like any other e-commerce platform, there are some areas that could be improved.
There are additional fees that come with selling on Etsy. After a "store" is created by business owners, it will cost them $0.20 per listing. There are no limits to these listings, but the seller will need to cover listing costs. This listing will remain on the market for four months or until the item is sold. After the four months is up, the seller will need to pay for the listing again. Etsy costs include the following:
- Transaction fees - 3.5 percent transaction fee on the sale price
- Shipping costs - to be covered by buyer or seller
- Quarterly listing costs - 20 cents
Users have expressed concerns regarding their privacy. In late 2013, Etsy created a feature that allowed users' buying and selling histories to be searched which traced transactions. This meant that Etsy users were now connected to others who had similar buying or selling histories. However, this feature was automatic and no permission was/is obtained by the user.
Customers who purchase products on Etsy should also be aware that sellers are now able to use third parties and factories. That also means that products can be drop shipped directly from manufacturers and no longer go through the seller. This can be deceiving since Etsy is known for being a platform for selling handmade products.
The Bottom Line
Etsy was originally designed to help people sell their homemade products, functioning as a side business. However, it has grown to the point where some business owners strictly conduct all of their business online through the Etsy platform. Benefits of using Etsy as an e-commerce platform include the following:
- No monthly payments
- Secure and seamless transactions
- Automatic deposits
- Seller protection