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Etsy focuses on creativity of sellers with new standards, campaign

Etsy Keep Commerce Human
Etsy is promoting creativity and authenticity in its merchandise.

Etsy Inc. is refocusing on its original mission to serve as an online marketplace for unique, handmade, and/or vintage items.

The online retailer is introducing a new set of creativity standards intended to help sellers and buyers better understand what is allowed for purchase and sale on Etsy and why. 

According to Etsy, the standards are intended to clarify, not change, what is allowed on the site, with no addition of any previously prohibited items. 

Creativity standards – a primer

Under the new standards, all items offered for sale on Etsy must fall into one of four categories:

  • Made by a seller: Physical items made by a seller by hand or using personal or computerized tools.
  • Designed by a seller: Sellers’ original designs that are produced or printed by a third party or offered as a digital download.
  • Sourced by a seller: Items that feature buyer creativity, including craft and party supplies and items that are personalized with a buyer’s custom text or image.
  • Handpicked by a seller: Vintage goods, items from nature, and certain collections of items that a seller personally selected and curated for sale.

Starting Tuesday, July 9, 2024, there will be a new item detail on listing pages labeling each product as falling into one of these four categories. Etsy will add more options to the listing form for sellers to share details about processes, materials, and tools. The e-tailer says it reserves the right to remove listings that do not follow its policies, with sellers remaining obligated to pay any fees incurred in listing such items.

Advertising campaign

To promote its new creativity standards, Etsy is launching an omnichannel advertising campaign including a TV commercial, billboards, and social media content in the U.S. and U.K., highlighting individual sellers.

As part of the promotion, Etsy is featuring select sellers in billboards throughout New York City and London, highlighting the specific role that each played in making their items. The out-of-home placements are designed to feel intimate and accessible through street-level postings, featured along with larger-than-life placements that place sellers in a status traditionally reserved for celebrity spokespeople.

Social content is designed to tell the deeper stories of sellers, while a new TV ad highlights sellers as partners in Etsy’s mission to follow the campaign tagline of "keep commerce human."

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Future site improvements

Etsy is also planning to enhance key seller and buyer features on its e-commerce site. These include revamping aspects of online search, discovery and marketing. In addition, Etsy says it has identified specific factors associated with high-quality listings on its site and is preparing to release those factors to sellers later in summer 2024. 

These efforts follow the initiative Etsy launched at the beginning of 2024 to establish itself as a premier gift shopping destination with strategic steps such as rolling out a video gifting feature, as well as Etsy Gift Mode, an artificial intelligence-enabled shopping hub that combines AI and human curation to help shoppers find an appropriate present for every occasion. 

In addition, Etsy is facing new increased competition from specialty arts & crafts retailer The Michaels Companies, which is selling third-party handmade goods on its site and in stores.

[Related content: Michaels debuts third-party marketplace for handmade items]

"I want to stress that this is just the start of our work to elevate your role in our marketplace," Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said in a corporate blog post. "We’re also exploring how to highlight it in areas, such as search, discovery, and new marketing experiences. We believe this will better meet buyer expectations and help them find the exact type of item they’re looking for—from artisanal pieces crafted by your two hands to production-assisted items personalized to perfection."

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