Etsy's New Creativity Standards - My Cautiously Optimistic Take On This Recent Change

Last Updated:

July 10, 2024

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On July 09, 2024, Etsy announced the new “Creativity Standards” which is designed to “keep commerce human” on Etsy.

In this article, I’ll break down what this announcement means to you as an Etsy seller, why I’m cautiously optimistic and what future changes I look forward to on Etsy to make the marketplace better for sellers.

Let’s get started.

What Is Etsy Creativity Standards

Etsy has introduced new Creativity Standards that categorise items into four groups:

  1. Made by a seller: Physical items made by a seller by hand or using personal or computerised tools. So handmade, hand-altered and hand-assembled products would be in this category.
  2. Designed by a seller: Sellers' original designs that are produced or printed by a third party or offered as a digital download. So digital products and print-on-demand (POD) products would fall into this category.
  3. Handpicked by a seller: Vintage items, items from nature, and certain collections of items (like curated gift boxes) would fall into this category.
  4. Sourced by a seller: Craft and party supplies would be categorised into this, or products that are personalised by the customer and produced by a production partner.

At the time of writing, this categorisation is visible on listing page under “Item details”:

My Take: A Step In The Right Direction

Overall, I think this “Creativity Standards” change in a step in the right direction, and if Etsy keeps their promise of continuously moving in this direction, I’m optimistic of the future of Etsy. But keep in mind that this article largely depends on the actions of Etsy and whether they will follow through with their promise.

Doing this helps Etsy differentiate from marketplaces that focus on mass-produced products like Amazon and Temu. By emphasising the human touch, Etsy is heading back to its root of being known as a handmade product marketplace. It also helps customers who are looking for unique, handmade items.

The new ‘Item details’ on the listing page is a good first step towards better transparency. This helps customers get a better understanding of what they are buying and the seller’s role in bringing that item to market. This can help build trust between customers and sellers, and also potential improve the perceived value of handmade products on Etsy.

That being said, this is early stage of Etsy implementing these changes. There are a few future changes I hope to see which would be beneficial for all parties especially Etsy sellers:

Room For Improvement & Future Possibilities

Highlight The Differentiation In More Places

At the time of writing, the new categorisation is just one line of text under "Item details”on the listing page. I hope to see this information become more prominent, perhaps with highlighted text or even visible on search result pages.

Search Filters

It would be great to see these categories incorporated into search filters, allowing shoppers to easily find items that match their preferences. This would also lessen the effect of handmade products competing directly with mass-produced items.

Etsy Shopper Education

While the new Creativity Standards categories are a step forward, their names might not be immediately clear to all customers. To address this, Etsy could add a small question mark icon could be placed next to each category name. When clicked, this icon would reveal a popup with a concise explanation of the term, similar to how Etsy currently provides information on suggested listings that are ads:

This feature would not only educate shoppers about the different types of products available but also highlight the unique value each category brings to the Etsy marketplace.

Seller Process Showcase

Etsy could introduce a place on the listing page that allows sellers to share additional short videos and photos of the process of how the product is made, or a direct link to their ‘About’ section to provide additional information.

Collaboration Badges

For items in the "Designed by a seller" category that involve production partners, Etsy could introduce badges or icons that highlight ethical production practices or local collaborations.

The Promise Of More Actionable Insights

For me, another interesting aspect of this announcement is the promise of more transparency around ranking factors of Etsy search algorithm. Etsy CEO Josh Silverman stated in the Youtube video announcement, “We'll soon give you more transparency and actionable insights than ever before into factors that can impact how you show up in search.” He further elaborated, “We'll show you specific information like listing quality and completeness because it's important to surface high-quality items from shops that shoppers can trust.

The "listing quality score" is an important ranking factor in Etsy search algorithm. It assesses how well a particular product sells and converts. Etsy considers the percentage of people clicking, favouriting, and buying a product to determine the score. The higher the conversion rate, the higher your Etsy ranking will be.

If you are looking to improve the listing quality score of your products, here are some of my recommendations:

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