EP349: ETSY! Boycott the Platform or Use it as a Tool for Growth?
Etsy recently announced that they’ll be increasing their seller fee from 5% to 6.5%. In response to this change and other issues with the platform, sellers and buyers alike banded together to organize a strike of the platform.
I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on the issue, and here’s my (possibly surprising) take…
What else do you expect from a third-party platform?
In a sea of endless choices, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. This is especially true in the world of jewelry, where there are countless brands and designers all vying for attention. If you want people to see the value in your pieces, it's essential to be able to communicate your story and the meaning behind your designs. Otherwise, you're likely to get haggled on price.
In order to get a share of the competitive market, some jewelry sellers opt to open a virtual store on a third-party platform like Etsy or Amazon Handmade. Etsy, in particular, is known for being very competitive, with high fees, rampant resellers, and poor seller support that has drawn constant backlash from users.
I don’t necessarily support Etsy’s actions, but I do think it demonstrates just how important it is to establish an independent online presence for your brand – one that isn’t subject to the whims of a giant company like Etsy.
I believe we're going to see a shift in brand positioning for jewelry designers as a result of the recent Etsy strike. Take a listen to this week’s podcast, where I share some points that may help you see the opportunity in these changes to further grow your business.
How will you spend your energy: Do you want to be in a victim mode or be in a place of co-creation?
When you’re in “victim mode,” you waste most your energy throwing a pity party for yourself. I understand the frustration of not being able to do something about the price hike but if we look closer, there may be a different way to approach it.
Thinking like a co-creator is being strategic and showing up for your business despite unfavorable changes. How can you use this opportunity to shift or change your strategy in a way that is actually going to serve you? Whatever you do, remember that you always have the power to choose how you respond to challenges. By staying focused and taking action, you can weather any storm.
Think about your brand positioning, perceived value, and pricing structure.
While putting your jewelry on Etsy may get you in front of potential customers, the truth is, you do not have the upperhand to command the price that matches the time, material, and labor you spent on making those jewelry.
Etsy encourages tight pricing competition because customers can just pop in and compare your products to a million others. Not many creators can thrive in an environment like that.
The price hike can be an opportunity for you to dedicate time to communicating your brand positioning and value proposition through your own website. This way, you'll be able to charge a fair price that meets your bottom line.
Boycott Etsy or use it as a tool for growth?
Any third-party platform you use, whether it's Etsy, Instagram, or something else, should be seen as a tool to help you grow your business. That means moving customers off of the platform and onto your own website or email list, where you have more control.
It can be tempting to think of platforms like Etsy as a free way to reach customers, but in the long run, they're not going to be as effective as your own website or social media profile.
So while it's important to use platforms like Etsy to reach new customers, don't depend on them too much. Instead, focus on building your own branded website that you can control.
Pricing and Positioning Workshop
More Resources for Jewelry Designers