'We still need to make search and discovery much better:' Etsy is banking on tech and marketing to catch up with Amazon
- 18 months since becoming Etsy's CEO, Josh Silverman has turned Etsy's stock around by restructuring the company and cutting departments like Etsy Studio, a 150-person team that focused on craft supplies.
- Silverman outlined search technology, shipping cost and delivery times as priorities for 2019.
- But the brand still has work to do to catch up with Amazon, including creating a solid brand identity.
Etsy was in rough shape when Josh Silverman took over the reigns as CEO in 2017. At the time, the company was going through leadership changes and layoffs and reportedly exploring a sale while Amazon's clout loomed.
Eighteen months later, Silverman is getting the company back on track (the company has reported growth for five quarters) by restructuring teams and cutting resources like its wholesale market. For example, Silverman knocked out 50% of projects on Etsy's product and market roadmap and shut down Etsy Studio, a marketplace for craft supplies that was staffed by 150 people."We made a lot of very painful decisions," Silverman said while speaking with Jessi Hempel, LinkedIn's senior editor at large, at Business Insider's Ignition conference on Tuesday. "We decided that there were just four things we needed to do very well."
Those four things were:
- Better search and discovery tools
- Improve consumer trust with payments
- New marketing capabilities for sellers
- New tools for sellers.
Silverman said search and discovery will be a focus of 2019.
"We still need to make search and discovery much better, the visual merchandising of our search results," Silverman said. "I still think there's a lot of opportunity to do better."
Etsy also needs to clarify its shipping costs and delivery times to customers, he said.
Etsy plans to pump up its marketing
Silverman acknowledged that Etsy needs to do a better job of explaining its brand to consumers."You've got to do something unique and different, and that has to be important enough for people to actually prioritize it," Silverman said. "When people want something special, something that expresses their sense of identity, something that shows they care about someone else ... those are not things that Amazon can or ever will be able to do. That's Etsy."
He said that Etsy is focused on selling unique goods - a feature he believes that Amazon cannot fulfill, even though Amazon has slowly but steadily inched into handmade goods with its Handmade site since 2015.
To help with that, the brand is currently running a holiday TV campaign to raise brand awareness.
"When you roll the clock forward 10 years from now, I don't think we're going to have two million places you can buy online," Silverman said. "I think there's going to be a couple of the big ones, and then there's a few places that have really earned the right to stand as a company. I think Etsy is going to be one of those."