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Etsy taps push notifications with local pilot program

Handmade and vintage goods marketplace Etsy is running a pilot program that will alert shoppers on their mobile devices when an Etsy seller they like is selling at a local event.

Etsy is attempting to localize the reach of its sellers through push notifications. By growing the business of its merchants, Etsy can grow its own presence as a valuable resource.

“Etsy already promotes its business locally with large out-of-home campaigns in major urban centres,” said Mark Cluett, marketing manager at Polar, Toronto. “Though that method boasts large numbers, Etsy has really hit it out of the park by turning every mobile app user’s phone into another promotion for the site and its vendors.”

Zooming in
Through this pilot, Etsy is using local push notifications to enable sellers and buyers to connect locally and in-person. They help connect sellers participating in fairs and markets to shoppers in their area, and shoppers can meet and buy in-person from sellers, supporting both the Etsy community and their own local economies.


Etsy sellers can add the events and markets they will be participating in through

Approximately one day in advance of the market, shoppers that are within five miles, based on their shipping ZIP code, and have favorited their shop, favorited an item, or purchased from that Etsy seller, will receive a notification. During the pilot phase, notifications will be sent to a select group of shoppers through the newest version of the Etsy app on Android and iOS.

Etsy Local is believed to be another way that Etsy is helping sellers grow additional aspects of their businesses both in the online and offline worlds.

In August, Etsy’s new wholesale platform launched out of beta, which offered sellers a convenient way to sell directly to retailers and have their designs carried in brick-and-mortar stores, such as independent boutiques.

In October, Etsy launched the Sell on Etsy card reader as a way to help sellers manage their multi-channel businesses in a way that integrates seamlessly with their online shops.

Etsy claims that 35 percent of its U.S.-based sellers sell their products at craft fairs, and Etsy Local will be a valuable tool to connect sellers with buyers who are relevant to them, helping them grow their businesses and extend their brands offline.

As this is a limited pilot, Etsy plans to watch it closely, gather member feedback throughout and make improvements as it rolls out more broadly.

Leading the field
Etsy has been deemed a leader in the social commerce space.

Social commerce is growing, with a 60 percent year-over-year increase in revenue originating from social sites such as Pinterest, Wanelo, Polyvore and Houzz, according to a new report from Kenshoo and DataPop.

Responding to this growth, 42 percent of retailers are already pursuing social commerce efforts. However, only a few, such as eBay, and Etsy, follow best practices to insure the discoverability and engagement needed to drive social commerce.

For the second Social Commerce Index report, Kenshoo and DataPop evaluated tens of thousands Pins and social posts across 13 retail verticals to uncover what those retailers who are winning in social commerce are doing right.

In the women’s fashion category, the retailers with the highest discoverability scores were Etsy, and Neiman Marcus. Similarly, the women’s fashion retailers with the highest engagement scores were Etsy, Buckle and UOI Online (see story).

“Etsy is browsed often by its loyal customers on the desktop and mobile,” Mr. Cluett said. “By capitalizing on actions their users are already partaking in and pushing that content to mobile, the company has found an unobtrusive method to keep users on their app, conveniently during the shopping season.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York