Etsy to roll out craft supplies marketplace to sell to merchants

Dive Brief:

  • Etsy announced plans for a new craft supplies marketplace called Etsy Studio expected to roll out in April, as well as new capabilities for sellers and shoppers on its site.

  • Craft supplies already have been available on Etsy, but the e-commerce site started about a year ago to pursue the development of a distinct marketplace for them. Etsy already is working with some craft supplies sellers to migrate them to Etsy Studio, and is aiming to launch the new marketplace with at least 8 million products available, compared to around 33,000 at many big-box retailers, according to TechCrunch.

  • Etsy also announced a new centralized management hub for sellers called Shop Manager that includes access to a variety of business and sales management tools like Etsy's Pattern and the new Etsy Studio into one place. Etsy also is adding more inventory management capabilities, and has integrated structured data into its product listings to improve the shopping experience, enabling sellers to share more information about their craft production processes.

Dive Insight:

That battle continues between Etsy and Amazon for control of the souls of independent craft entrepreneurs and their buying public.

Well, maybe it's not as exciting as all that, but as Amazon pushes more into Etsy's territory through its adventures with Handmade at Amazon, Etsy continues to push back. Etsy Studio subtly resembles Amazon-type strategic thinking on a couple of different levels.

For one, Etsy Studio is essentially a business-to business marketplace, something that Amazon has been pursuing aggressively in recent years. Etsy Studio may be more focused in one particular business segment than Amazon's B2B efforts, and both the craft suppliers and potential buyers on Etsy are smaller than some of the businesses you might see buying and selling on Amazon, but it's a B2B venture nonetheless.

Etsy Studio is also the sort of ecosystem-building exercise Amazon has pursued to broaden its own reach, not just with efforts like Handmade at Amazon, but also LaunchPad and its Alexa skills marketplace, among others.

However, aside from all that, Etsy Studio also is further evidence of how existing marketplace operators are stretching themselves in new directions to create new sources of revenue. Etsy isn't just in a battle against Amazon, but against itself and the model responsible for its success. The other announcements Etsy made this week in addition to Etsy Studio suggest that it is working hard to refine and improve that model for both sellers and shoppers.

The Shop Manager hub is essentially a dashboard view of a little bit of all of a seller's business priorities — conversations from buyers that need to be responded to, orders that need to be fulfilled, financial information and shopping stats, among other details. Meanwhile, adding structured data to product listings will help sellers to provide category-specific attributes like color, size and material, and eventually will allow buyers to filter product. 

Finally, Etsy announced clarifications to its Handmade Policy that are aimed at helping buyers understand exactly what "handmade" means, as well as the ability for sellers with handmade items to share information about their production processes and partners within the listing process.

Etsy might not say so, but that last one probably was prompted by Handmade at Amazon's strict rules and related criticism of how Etsy may have been enabled mass producers to horn in on its community of independents. Etsy may be fighting Amazon for the souls of sellers and shoppers, but it's also trying to keep its own soul in the process.

Filed Under: Technology Marketing E-commerce