Online marketplaces parallel real-world spaces, to a degree. Amazon, for example, approximates real-world malls. Sellers pay a fee to rent a virtual slot for customers to stroll past using a search engine. Likewise, Etsy bears comparison to open-air markets. Weekend strollers browse for unique works of artisans and craftspeople. The difference, of course, is this creative marketplace reaches beyond a town square or city park. Today, it gives creative brands potential reach unavailable to them in 2005.
How Etsy Evolved the Creative Marketplace
At the time Etsy launched, there wasn’t a marketplace designed to connect craftspeople to customers online. According to one of account of its genesis, some freelance web designers living in Brooklyn, NY, had finished a project for a group of “crafters”. Members of the forum, they subsequently learned, regularly discussed the need for a specialist online marketplace. They didn’t see eBay as the right fit. This eventually led to the concept that became Etsy.
Market Validates the Creative Marketplace
Craftspeople gravitated to Etsy immediately. By 2007, 450,000 registered sellers made $26 million in annual sales. Only two years old at the time, the founders managed to raise $3 million in venture capital. Investors saw validation in the creative marketplace concept. However, over the next few years, Etsy would adjust its basic premise to help its sellers meet the spike in demand for their crafts.
Meeting Demand for Handcrafted Products
Originally, Etsy imposed strict guidelines on what craftspeople could sell. The marketplace restricted products to only those hand-crafted by the seller. However, as demand increased, it grew difficult for successful sellers to fill orders without involving a manufacturer. Over time, Etsy adjusted its policy to accommodate demand while preserving the unique offering of a creative marketplace.
Is Etsy for You?
Today, Etsy boasts 29 million active members shopping for products they won’t find anywhere else. Sellers don’t have to make everything by hand. They can outsource manufacturing if they are the designers. However, Etsy requires sellers to be transparent about their production. In short, sellers can use a production process if it leads “to the creation of a unique item that would not exist without you, the designer.” (See Etsy’s seller policy for the details).
Plug Etsy Into Your Multichannel Business
If you design and sell unique clothing, accessories, homeware or other products, Etsy is the creative marketplace selected for your kind of customer. Adding Etsy to your omnichannel business can boost sales and brand awareness. Cin7 makes it easy for you to integrate Etsy with your overall inventory. With Cin7, you can manage Etsy orders, show customers your available stock and never lose sight of your overall inventory value and stock levels.
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