Etsy Announces New Tools for Sellers, and a Higher Transaction Fee

But will it make business owners happy?

Etsy's new tools include subscription packages to help sellers grow their business. Etsy
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Etsy’s relationship with craft-makers on its platform isn’t as positive as it could be, but the company’s new suite of tools for sellers may finally make some business owners happier.

The 13-year-old ecommerce company is announcing a subscription model for sellers to potentially increase their sales and visibility on the site. Etsy is also increasing its transaction fee on July 16 from 3.5 percent to 5 percent. It will also increase its direct-marketing spend by 40 percent in 2018.

“Both the pricing package and our investment plans were really developed with the input of our sellers,” said Kruti Patel Goyal, general manager of seller services at Etsy. “Etsy is only successful when our sellers are successful.”

Subscription plans include the free Etsy Standard, which gives sellers access to tools the company offers now; Etsy Plus, which will let sellers have access to the free tools as well as other features like “advanced shop customization” for business owners to enhance their shop banners or create featured shop sections; and Etsy Premium (coming in 2019), for which there aren’t a lot of details yet (like a price) other than that sellers get everything in Etsy Standard and Plus as well as management tools and additional customer support.

The Etsy Plus plan will be offered from July through the end of the year for $10 a month on a month-to-month subscription basis, letting sellers opt out if they don’t like it. The service will cost $20 a month in 2019.

Goyal said Etsy “learned” from its quantitative and qualitative research that sellers are open to the new transaction fees.

“Like any customer, they are open to changes in pricing if they feel like they are getting value from those changes,” Goyal said.

Etsy sellers Maria Elena Oliveira and Ryan Lerma, who co-own and run the shop Passport Vintage, argued that any price increases negatively affects business owners on the site, particularly since they say the company isn’t upholding its end of the bargain as a traffic provider.

“Etsy brings us 30 percent of total traffic, and we bring in the rest of the 70 percent traffic ourselves,” Oliveira said. “They are just providing a shopping cart for us.”

Oliveira and Lerma argued that these changes would also affect smaller sellers with fewer resources more, but they welcome the idea of something like the subscription models for sellers. More than anything, the two owners want Etsy to make the community “a more exciting place,” they said, and to innovate more.

“[The platform] is starting to feel dated,” Oliveira said.

The latest offerings from Etsy come after the company announced several other new features for sellers, such as targeted email coupons and a partnership with Square.

“This is part of a long-term effort to be able to reinvest more in the long-term growth of the marketplace,” Goyal said. “Sellers want us to invest more in the marketplace, in the platform that we provide to them.”

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.