7 Community Features for Success: Ecommerce Lessons from Etsy

Allison Metcalfe

Nov 13, 20154 min read
7 Community Features for Success

I have been making jewelry ever since I was little. It was always a hobby of mine and I finally decided to try and create a small business out of it. For my full-time job, I work as a paid search manager at an advertising agency so I don’t have a lot of time to develop my own full functioning e-commerce site.

Since I was just starting out and had multiple time constraints, I wanted to use a platform that was already set up and had everything I needed. This is why I chose Etsy. Not only is it user-friendly, but also has many of the technical aspects and logistics of running a small business figured out for you. Any e-commerce site could benefit immensely by adapting some of the features Etsy provides. Let's take a closer look.

Etsy for Small Biz

Feature 1: Community Connection and Customer Response

One of the most important assets that Etsy has is that it connects you to a community of like-minded artisans and buyers, both in-app and Web-domain. If I used my own website as my e-commerce platform, yes the pool of consumers would be larger, but I would have to use some sort of advertising to cut through the clutter. With Etsy that’s not necessary since the majority of your consumers are there. It’s an online craft fair.

The buyers can also private message sellers through the platform with any questions they may have making it easy to respond to consumers instantly.

Feature 2: Internal Analytics That Empower Sellers

Etsy has their own analytics that they share with each seller. It keeps track of all of your orders, revenue, people who favorite your items and people who have viewed your shop and listings. If you had your own website this could be achieved with an analytics platform that is tied to your site through tags. However, this takes a lot of setup and depending on your site platform the analytics tool that you want to use may not integrate well or the tool that may come with the site platform may not be as granular as you would like.

Having the analytics through Etsy takes away the sometimes-cumbersome setup and has everything contained in one place. Not only can you see the above metrics that I mentioned but you can also see the sources that people come to your site through as well as keywords that they used to find your listings.

Regardless of the platform, the feeling of empowerment that Etsy provides makes sellers want to come back, analyze their stats and sell more.

Feature 3: Useful Search Engine and SEO Options

One of my personal favorite things about Etsy is that it is SEO optimizable. If you optimize the titles of your listings with the product description consumers can easily find your products when they search in the platform. You can also optimize towards what keywords people are using to find your items. Etsy also offers promoted listings which is a nice option in case you are interested in boosting a certain listing.

Feature 4: Sellers Get Feedback to Improve

Finally, you can see which items have had the most page views. This is a great indicator to which products consumers are gravitating towards the most so you can create similar items. Since I constantly use data every day to make optimizations, it was very important to me to have a strong analytics platform through which I could make decisions to better my business. The fact that Etsy already has this setup within its site made it a perfect fit.

Feature 5: Easy Logistics That Help Customers and Sellers

Not only does Etsy have an impressive analytics section but they also make the logistics portion of your business extremely easy. Based on your items weight and dimensions, Etsy will customize a shipping cost for each buyer. Consumers can choose a shipping method and speed that they prefer and after an item is purchased, you can print a shipping label and product invoice right from the platform. Once a label is printed it will send tracking information to your buyer, creating a great customer experience.

A pain point for using your own website as an e-commerce platform is figuring out how people can safely pay for your items. Of course you could use Paypal, but if a customer doesn’t have an account then you are automatically eliminating them. (Using credit cards can lead to fees and extra expenses.) Through Etsy, a consumer can use any type of credit card as well as Paypal and know that their information is safe and secure.

Feature 6: App Integration

Finally, Etsy has an app specifically designed for sellers. The app is very user friendly and you can check all of your shop analytics, listings, check on orders, answer consumer’s questions and edit your shop settings right in the app. I’ve found it super helpful to get notifications on when people are liking my items or when people place orders.

Feature 7: Supportive, Educational Content

If you’re ever stuck or want advice on how to grow your Etsy shop, there is a handbook that Etsy has created to help you. It has topics from photography and how to best represent your brand to growth strategies and pricing help. I believe that this resource is also a huge benefit to using Etsy because many of these teachings can be carried over if you ever wanted to run your own site as well.

By using Etsy, I’m able to create a small business out of one of my passions and not only is it easy to use but it helps me create great customer experiences in real-time which I highly value as a seller.

Any e-commerce site hoping to compete in a a marketplace capacity or just concerned with general user experience could learn a great deal from Etsy. Have you succeeded on Etsy or by using similar features? Let me know in the comments.

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Author Photo
Allison Metcalfe is a Paid Search Manager at an advertising agency in Chicago. She has been working in the advertising industry for over three years now and recently decided to take one of her passions and start her own business called Simply Linked Designs, a jewelry shop that sells quality handmade jewelry. She has always enjoyed making jewelry as a way to relax but finally decided to sell some of her pieces online as a side source of income. Follow her on Twitter: @simplinkdesigns.