Since its founding 11 years ago, knitters, stationary designers and other purveyors of handmade or vintage-sourced goods have flocked to set up shops on Etsy. More than a few of those shops have grown into sizable businesses that today sell through multiple channels, including their own websites, but syncing inventory — not to mention payment and shipment processing, among other things — across those channels has been difficult for sellers.
To meet this challenge, Etsy announced on Tuesday that it is launching Pattern by Etsy, which allows sellers to set up shops on their own custom-branded domains. Using a 10- to 15-minute set-up process (really, it's that fast), sellers can build websites that show the same content and product listings already on display at their Etsy.com shops; they can individualize the look of these websites by choosing between five design templates, and further customize them via a selection of fonts, background and accent colors. As with Etsy.com shops, the company handles all of the backend logistics — including checkout and shipment — and syncs inventory between stores. Absent is the pervasive branding found on Etsy.com shops: In fact, as the screenshot above shows, it's not easy to tell that these shops originated on the site at all.
"We want to give sellers opportunities to express their brands," Arpan Podduturi, director of product management at Etsy, told Fashionista at the e-tailer's Brooklyn headquarters on Tuesday, where the company hosted its very first press event. The only place the Etsy logo appears is at checkout, designed to "reassure buyers that their purchase is secure," says Mike Grishaver, senior vice president of product at Etsy.
Following a 30-day free trial, the service costs $15 per month, plus the cost of purchasing a domain name. It is Etsy's fourth "seller service" — that is, paid services targeted to shop owners, including payment processing, print-at-home shipping labels and an advertising option called Promoted Listings — to date. Launched five years ago, seller services are an increasingly important source of revenue for the publicly traded company, accounting for 54 percent of revenue last quarter, says CEO Chad Dickerson.
Etsy isn't the only online retail company looking to power e-commerce on other domains: The Yoox Net-a-Porter Group has been operating designers' websites, including Armani.com and Marni.com, for years. Farfetch recently set up its own division to manage brands' e-commerce sites, launching with Manolo Blahnik last week.
According to Etsy, a third of its 1.6 million active sellers have expressed interest in setting up their own domains and, in fact, about half of sellers already sell through multiple channels. Podduturi says the product isn't designed so much to bring in sellers who have built their shops on other platforms, like Shopify or Tumblr, but for Etsy's existing seller base.
In addition to its Pattern service, the company also announced changes to the look of Etsy.com shops: To give sellers more control over the look of their storefronts, they can now add cover photos and arrange the order of their listings. The shops have also been tweaked to function more smoothly on mobile devices.
The changes "align with our log-term goal of supporting our sellers wherever they choose to pursue commerce," says Grishaver.