At the end of 2020, I wrote a blog post about 3 things I predicted Etsy would do in 2021.
I went back to check in on them, and at first, it was a little murky deciding on if my Etsy predictions materialized or not. Conservatively, we saw half-correctness of 2 of my 3 predictions.
I had another prediction that I didn’t publish when I wrote the original article, mainly because it was boring. I did anticipate that Etsy would implement payment plans, and they did! You can now pay for Etsy purchases over several payments through a service called Klarna. So that’s a cool feature; it’s just not a particularly exciting one to talk about.
My first prediction was that Etsy would allow sellers to create curated collections in shop.
This fully did not happen. 100% no. If you are a long-time Etsy seller, I would love to know if you think this would be cool.
Here is what I originally wrote:
“There hasn’t been a functional change to the shop sections part of Etsy shops in … forever? Long enough, at least, that I don’t recall any other iteration of them. I predict (or, more like I would love to see) Etsy will give sellers more functionality to link products together with tags within listings or their images. Maybe this will look like them building out the way the shop section pages work – or adding a variation of it – so sellers can bring together complementary products for their browsers and buyers. I could see Etsy allowing sellers to share these collections or have them be searchable as collections, not just listings.”
I would love to see Etsy implement this! Imagine how fun it would be to have a page in your shop for a collection of items around a theme. For example, “holiday party looks,” and you could show several styled images and then tag multiple products around a theme OR even provide a short description of the collection and a few featured images with a product list. I think that would be SO SO useful! Now imagine that those collections were searchable so that when you run a search on Etsy, you don’t just see LISTINGS, but you see COLLECTIONS as well, and collections could be optimized for search, too. I think this would be fun for sellers and valuable to shoppers.
I am curious how long-time sellers feel because this vaguely resembles Treasuries! Back in the day, I LOVED treasuries, and I know many other sellers did as well. If you only started selling on Etsy in the post-treasury era, Treasuries curated items from many shops that the collections would be considered for features on the front page of Etsy. If you ever come across something that says ‘front page of Etsy and it sounds like a big deal, the writer is referencing Treasuries. And it was a HUGE deal. It would be similar to the front page of Reddit. The exposure was incredible. I’m proposing that Etsy allows sellers to curate collections of their OWN items, but the ideas are similar.
All in all, again, nothing like this happened in 2021, and I no longer PREDICT they will do it, but I still think it’s an excellent idea.
My second prediction was that Etsy would feature more guides (trend reports and style watch type articles particularly involving influencers.)
In my original post, I noted that Over the 2020 holiday season, Etsy collaborated with several influencers and celebrities to create curated, custom collections, and these got a lot of push on social and Etsy’s blog.
Etsy did NOT do that in 2021. In 2020 Etsy utilized influencers and celebrities more. I only found six influencer or celebrity-centric articles on the Etsy blog for all of 2021, whereas I found the same amount between September and December 2020. Two of the pieces from 2021 featured the same celebrity, Nicole Richie. We actually saw a decline in influencer content from Etsy in 2021.
You might think that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Any time Etsy works with big names, celebrities, or influencers, it positively impacts the community, so I would have liked to see this happen at last as much as it did in 2020, but it didn’t, at least not on the blog.
What about the trend reporting? The influencer and celebrity features happen on the Etsy blog, a branch of their offerings aimed at shoppers. Trend reporting occurs on the handbook, which is for sellers.
In my original post, I noted that “Etsy has also been releasing trend reports more often than I’ve seen in the past.”
I thought trend reports and influencer insights would PREVAIL in 2021, meaning we’d see more of them than we had in previous years. We did not see more influencer content, but we did see more trend forecasting, reporting, and guides!)
In 2021 Etsy released a guide to early 2022 trends (they did the same thing for 2021 at the end of 2020.) They also released a spring and summer 2021 trends forecast AND a Fall 2021 trends forecast. They didn’t do either of those things in 2020. I know 2020 was a rollercoaster, so perhaps they didn’t feel they could make any useful Etsy predictions but based on memory alone, I don’t necessarily recall having trend forecasts seasonally. However, in 2020 they did release a wedding trends report and an ’emerging buyer behaviors’ report. (It is standard for Etsy to release a holiday trends report ahead of the winter holidays, and they did that both years as well.)
Conclusion: Etsy does a very decent job reporting trends to sellers but not on the world’s most predictable schedule. I am giving myself a .5 for this because seasonally they were more consistent in trend forecasting. (Bonus: those reports benefit all sellers, not just those in a specific niche like weddings.)
My third and final prediction was that Etsy would take more cues from TikTok and Instagram, specifically allowing sellers to have a “stories” feature in their shop.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that almost every app has some version of this now. Of course, started by SnapChat, then adopted by Instagram and the ball just kept rolling. Twitter did have stories briefly, but they got rid of it. It was called fleets. It was short-lived but Google it!
I’m thrilled to tell you that Etsy did BEGIN work on something here, but it’s still in BETA as far as I can tell. Since they definitely took action on it in 2021, I’m counting it as .5
Etsy’s project is called Explore. And here’s the quick summary they provided about it:
“We’re testing out an experience called Explore that surfaces engaging video content in the Etsy app as a fun way to help buyers discover new items. Explore will be powered by videos uploaded from sellers like you….“
I think they could have given it a better, more unique name, but this could change since it’s still testing. Maybe? (it’s giving Instagram Explore…)
At the time of recording, I’m using the word ‘testing’ because explore is still “invite-only,” and you need to download the Etsy Preview app to access it. It is not a fully integrated and universal part of the buying or selling experience yet.
The details of how Etsy Explore works right now are less important than the main point here: short-form video is so popular on social media right now and it is making its way to Etsy! Exactly as predicted. Explore doesn’t appear to be ‘stories’ focused, but it is inspired by TikTok and Instagram trends around short-form video! If you want more info on the Etsy Explore project, click here.
So, that is the rundown on how my Etsy predictions turned out.
Currently, I only have two true predictions about Etsy for 2022.
My first prediction is that Etsy will complete their build-out of Explore (and hopefully rename it, but that seems unlikely), and video will become a more significant part of the sales experience on Etsy. That’s not so brave or noteworthy of a prediction because short-form video is already such a big part of social selling; it just makes sense. I would, however, like to see Etsy genuinely commit to this. In the past 10+ years that I have been using Etsy, I’ve found that they tend to stop short on projects sometimes. And I don’t mean to start and give up; I actually feel that that is normal and makes sense.
Businesses have to try things and be willing to move on if they don’t work out. But I think it’s better to close something down than to leave it hanging on without proper support and build-out. Particularly if it is something that people CAN find really well done elsewhere. There needs to be a reason for people to post their short-form videos to Etsy; even if it is a simple act of repurposing, there needs to be a good reason to do it. And a lot of that will come from Etsy properly establishing this feature, giving it prominence to buyers, and showcasing these videos regularly in prominent places. Etsy needs to get behind this 100% if they want sellers to use it, and this is a smart move to make, so I really hope that they do! I’ll tap back to this in a moment, but the fact of the matter is that it would be GREAT to see Etsy go all-in on this, but it will not be necessary for SELLERS to do so if they have a strong strategy in place for their Etsy presence.
If you heard of another place to post videos and do social media stuff and thought, ‘WOW no, thank you’ – I totally get it. However, I do want to fully endorse the act of repurposing any and all content you create for your business. It JUST MAKES SENSE, and also really suits so many people who ‘hate’ content creation. If Etsy knows their sellers well, they will know that most of us don’t LOVE content creation the way we love item creation and they need to make this very much worth our while to use Explore once it does fully roll out. It also needs to be functional and straightforward. Even if we are experts at repurposing our content to their platform, they need to reduce or eliminate all barriers and hurdles to doing so for sellers to use it. They need to make it WORTH overcoming whatever barriers still exist. If you’re interested in content repurposing – specifically around short-form video – check out our content amplifier lesson.
My second prediction is that Etsy will grow its outbound mass marketing campaigns to more outlets in order to promote the Etsy platform, not just the items on the platform. In the past two years, Etsy has run commercials on TV (Hulu, YouTube etc.), but I never saw one of these on Instagram stories or Reels, and I think they will expand their presence here specifically.
Their commercials have been well done and engaging, and I think we will see them create more varieties and do longer, more robust outbound campaigns. This is a good thing for sellers! Etsy does a great job of using storytelling in their ads which is so appropriate and relevant to their buyers as well as their sellers. Etsy has reported on their ad campaigns before, providing links to each ad and commentary about where they placed them, so I believe they are aware of how powerful these ads are. I can’t say for sure if they put more money into it in 2021 than they did in previous years but I certainly feel I encountered the ads just about as often as I had in 2020, so I feel comfortable saying they maintained them. Now I’d like to see them grow this and expand it out even more and I predict that they will.
For me, it’s enjoyable to think about the future of Etsy because of how powerful it currently is, and the fact remains that its power cannot be overstated. Etsy really paved the way for selling craftwork online and has continued to be a pivotal player in that arena. Etsy legitimized the buying and selling process for indie makers’ work online, which is significant. I do predict it will continue to be a very powerful tool for makers in business into 2022!
It’s also vital that we are aware of what Etsy is doing and how it does DOES NOT impact sellers because this is a primary element that we teach. We always keep our training course for Etsy sellers updated with anything we think is relevant to sellers as far as optimizing their presence on Etsy goes. We know for sure that all those things are ‘for fun’ – sellers can choose to participate in something like Explore, but they do not have to to see success on Etsy.
I can say that with complete confidence even though explore doesn’t fully exist yet. I know that our approach to Etsy is not contingent on any one feature, function, or algorithm of Etsy, and that is based on 6+ years of Etsy evolving and our core approach continuing to work for our students year after year. So while it would be great for Etsy to go all-in on Explore, it will NOT be necessary for sellers to do so if they have a proper approach to Etsy and Etsy strategy in place. If you want to learn that approach and strategy for yourself, we would love to teach it to you through our training course for Etsy sellers.
I would love to hear your predictions for 2022 or if there was anything you truly hoped Etsy would do that they did in 2021!! Get in touch with us @merriweatherc on IG, TikTok or Twitter!
Read my original post about Etsy predictions for 2021: 3 Etsy Predictions for 2021
This post is written and published by The Merriweather Council. The Merriweather Council is not affiliated with Etsy Inc. Etsy is a trademark of Etsy Inc. We write about Etsy, from our own experiences, not for Etsy.