As recorded in yesterday’s weekly industry round up, Etsy officially launched its wholesale business. Coming out of beta, the program enables small boutiques to purchase Etsy products to sell in their brick-and-mortar businesses.
According to Etsy’s official announcement post, if accepted into the program the makers (called “sellers”) pay a $100 fee at start followed by a 3.5% transaction fee paid to Etsy for all future purchase orders. For makers having trouble getting in front of the right independent shops, this is an amazing opportunity. Etsy will essentially do all of the heavy lifting of marketing, PR, and tech systems that facilitate the order. Similarly, small boutiques and shops can now easily find curated marketplace selections without having to attend trade shows or tirelessly search for that one gem that will delight customers.
My take: First, the one thing the program doesn’t address (yet) is the big brand partnerships such as West Elm and Nordstrom. I’ve even seen Etsy products show up at Anthropologie stores. I assume some iteration of this will become part of the program’s roadmap, if not its own program entirely.
Second, Etsy is joining the ranks of other successful online pureplays that are providing an offline experience (Birchbox, NastyGal, Warby Parker) as a complement to their core business. It speaks loudly to the current customer demand for tangible, IRL (in real life) experiences that engage more than just the sense of vision. Online can (currently) only go so far and while pureplays have cried “old school” in the face of traditional retail, they are now returning to the basics of what it means to provide customers with more than just a transaction. This doesn’t mean throwing innovation in the garbage, it is just the same thing retailers had to do when customers went online: adapt or die.
Etsy is right to adapt.
Some coverage from around the web:
Etsy Launches ‘Etsy Wholesale,’ a Platform for Retailers (VentureBeat)
Etsy Wholesale Launches Out of Beta (Etsy Blog)