For the first time since it was founded 12 years ago Etsy has launched a second marketplace: Etsy Studio. Focusing entirely on craft supplies, the new site mixes DIY tutorials with product listings for an integrated experience that helps customers get inspired and purchase supplies all in one place.
Etsy announced Etsy Studio in February indicating that the site would launch with nearly 8 million products making it an important competitor to Michaels, the largest art and craft supply chain store in the United States which currently carries approximately 33,000 unique products. “When we began exploring this area, we discovered that something very important was missing: joy,” Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, told Forbes. “For a category that’s meant to bring people so much happiness and connection, we think we can do a lot better.”
The site’s navigation bar divides listings into six top level categories: home and hobby; jewelry and beauty; paper, party and kids; sculpting and forming; sewing and fiber; and visual arts. Hovering over each category reveals an extensive drop down menu with more specific categories of products on the left side and DIY tutorials on the right.
The DIY tutorials are authored by Etsy staff and each project is labeled by level and the time it takes to complete. Each supply is linked to a recommended Etsy Studio listing and with a dozen or more similar listings next to it for easy comparison. The tutorial ends with an “add all to basket” button which adds all of Etsy’s recommended listings to the shopper’s basket. For the multi-colored pompom garland project (below) that added up to $71.03 worth of materials from five different sellers.
Etsy Studio is optimized for mobile and checkout includes 10 different payment methods including Apple Pay and Android Pay.
A multi-colored pompom garland tutorial on Etsy Studio.
Craft supplies have been for sale on Etsy from the very beginning and they will continue to be for sale there. Supplies sellers’ listings are automatically imported into Etsy Studio, although Etsy has recommended that sellers take the time to add additional attributes to each listing to ensure that their products can be found in search. “Take advantage of attributes – our additional item description fields,” the announcement to sellers explained. “Adding this specific information about your items will make them more likely to show up in filtered search results so buyers can find your items more easily. Attributes will become a factor in Etsy search on March 27 and will also be factored into Etsy Studio search.”
There are no additional fees involved with being on the new marketplace, but there’s also no way for craft supply sellers to opt out. Sellers will continue to manage their listings and orders on the current dashboard with no changes.
Etsy has promised sellers that they’ll aggressively publicize the new site. “We’re investing in your success with paid advertising and robust marketing campaigns to attract new craft supply buyers to your items,” read the seller announcement. Already they’ve collaborated with Real Simple to do a Facebook Live demonstrating three projects using materials from Etsy Studio.
The site launched with 70 DIY tutorials and there are plans to add a new tutorial each week. Some of the tutorials available at launch include a hand-painted plate, an essential oil wall hanging, a tooth fairy pouch, and a paper flower spring wreath. Customers who are just browsing can look through all existing projects to get ideas.
With Etsy Studio Etsy is taking a bet that the online craft supplies market has up until now been underserved. “The approximately $44 billion dollar US craft supply industry has largely existed offline until now,” Tim Holley, director of product management, wrote in a post on the Etsy blog.
In its 4th quarter of 2016 earnings call Michaels CEO Chuck Rubin explained that online sales make up only a single digit percentage of the company’s overall sales. Although they’re working to expand their online assortment in 2017, Rubin indicated that Michaels doesn’t believe online shopping can ever be a large source of sales for the company. “The tactile nature of the product, the general lack of national brands and a low average item price make it unlikely that e-commerce will grow to be the double-digit penetration of sales as it is for most other retail formats,’ he said.
It appears that Etsy disagrees. Over the last 12 months they company has interviewed craft supply shoppers to learn more about what they need in order to buy supplies online. This research has led to features such as pinch and zoom which allows for a closer look at photos and the ability to search by color, size, and material, along with integrated DIY tutorials. In addition, Etsy Studio adds a personal element to shopping for craft supplies because customers can contact individual sellers worldwide to ask questions.
With Etsy Studio we now have a second public company in the online craft supply space and one built by a company with 12 years of experience serving crafters online.