Etsy Advertising: Sham or Helpful

Do you have an Etsy store? If so, you probably received the attached letter in the past couple of weeks. The title states that it is “Risk Free Advertising.” In the letter, Etsy lets you know that they will be choosing certain products to advertise across different platforms (i.e. Google). If they choose your product to advertise AND if someone chooses to buy that item in the next 30 days, Etsy will charge you a 15% automatic fee for that click through purchase, not including all of the other fees associated with having an Etsy store. Congratulations, I guess, you got “chosen”!

* Read the Etsy letter here.

Let’s celebrate for a moment the choosing. For some, this may be helpful. It is difficult enough to try and follow the latest SEO trends and get your products noticed, much less having to follow the different platforms and promoting your store and products. This could lead to more sales in a person’s entire store as everyone tries to maintain relevancy.¬† After all, more sales lead to more revenue which should lead to more profit, right? Well, not exactly. And to do this, we really need to understand why Etsy says it is Risk Free.

For most though, this is a sham. Etsy has not stipulated which people and which products they will choose for this marketing agenda. If you have a loss leader in your store or if you put items on sale, you could now be biting off way more than you can chew. For small items, 15% could be a margin buster. For large items, that could be a hefty chunk of change (and still a margin buster.) This could leave multiple sellers on the hook for paying Etsy not only all of the margin, but labor and supply expense as well. This means, you could essentially be paying someone to “take” your product. This does not sound like Risk Free now does it?

How do I really feel?

My first thought is how dare they. I find the entire ordeal quite insulting that this company would force you into this type of arrangement without any knowledge of your pricing scheme and margin acceptance level. While loss leaders can be beneficial, this could turn items into more of a loss without the recognition of the seller’s tolerance for such. Etsy has seemingly turned a blind eye to people that study their business and understand it. But why should they care? They are a huge platform and their business is getting more business on THEIR platform. Policies such as this should and hopefully will open the door for Etsy competition.

With some forethought, this could have been so much better and not some force feeding propaganda mission. Etsy could have (initially stated and) opened the service offering to allow for opt in and opt out services for particular products. Etsy could have better explained how advertising such as this would be beneficial to the consumer and not insulting us with “Risk Free”. They start with a sentence or two but do not detail application of advertising on different platforms. Instead, they chose to send out a letter that seemingly insulted¬† every seller on their platform. And, I would like to add that the insult is on them because it really sounds like they have no clue about my business. That’s right though, they don’t. This IS about their business, their bottom line, not about our business as consumers of their product. We are the ones paying their fees.

Finally, there is the issue of trust. I guess we are supposed to inherently trust that Etsy is launching this ad and they are tracking this deal because we trust that they would be take into account our bottom line. (After all, we “trust” that Facebook and Instagram actually market to people with paid ads.) The point is absolutely not. They have blatantly disregarded our bottom line and have lost trust with this seller.