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Rediff.com  » Business » Brooklyn-based Etsy eyes next stage of India story

Brooklyn-based Etsy eyes next stage of India story

October 13, 2018 10:00 IST

While e-commerce sites rush to meet mass demand, Etsy is positioning itself more as a community of artisans where buyers can seek uncommon and unique products rather than mass-produced discounted products.

Brooklyn-based Etsy focusing on seller-friendly India base to stand out

Photograph: Rawpixel/Pixabay.com

International online crafts and handmade goods marketplace Etsy entered India only this July, although it had been showcasing Indian sellers for nearly a decade.

Now, the Brooklyn-based player is differentiating itself from other e-commerce platforms and social media-led marketplaces for small-scale businesses with a seller-friendly programme that includes free listing and minimum transaction charge.

While e-commerce sites rush to meet mass demand, Etsy is positioning itself more as a community of artisans where buyers can seek uncommon and unique products rather than mass-produced discounted products.

 

Etsy has witnessed searches for "Indian fabric" and "block print" go up 16 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, and searches for Indian jewellery increase 34 per cent (between April 2016 and April 2018).

Himanshu Wardhan, Managing Director, Etsy India
Image: Himanshu Wardhan, Managing Director, Etsy India.
Photograph: Himanshu Wardhan/LinkedIn

"We are about small sellers and creative people and not the inventory-led model. We provide these artists a technology platform to come online and enable them to reach consumers," said Himanshu Wardhan, managing director, Etsy India.

Etsy has around two million sellers globally, of which 87 per cent are women, 97 per cent operate from their homes and 77 per cent are single proprietorships. In India, Etsy's product listings have gone from 650,000 to 750,000 between July and October. At present, Etsy has seller on-boarding teams across five cities and plans to add another five by the end of this year.

Etsy's seller community consists of independent artists, home-based sellers as well as traditional artisans from across the country. The company is focussed on leveraging a large seller community through workshops and events in addition to outreach programmes. Part of the initiative is towards building content teams to optimise product sales.

The company has a listing fee of roughly Rs14 per product for a period of four months and under the current outreach programme the listings are free for new sellers in India. The transaction fees for products translate to around five per cent of the product bill.

Free listing for new sellers as the company builds seller community

Searches for Indian jewellery increase 34 per cent over two years

Product listings jumped by 100,000 between July and October

Etsy has two million sellers and 35 millions buyers globally

"We have people helping sellers create the best shops with guidance on picture quality, storytelling among others (for the global sales)," said Wardhan. While the company isn't sharing their India team numbers as they are on a rapid hiring phase, most of these optimisation and enablement teams include local artists or art advisors who are familiar with the city- or state-level art community.

In India, Etsy competes with existing aggregators like Craftsvilla, iTokri, Qtrove, GlowRoad and The India Craft House among other segmented players. There is also an entire community of sellers who partner with or sell through e-commerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart and Pepperfry.

There is also a parallel network of sellers who retail through social media platforms like Facebook, WhatApp and Instagram.

"We provide our sellers and buyers international-level credibility. In fact, a third of our business comes from international sales within which Indian sellers are not only in high demand for their finished goods but also raw materials and craft supplies like gems, pearls and fabrics," added Wardhan.

While Etsy's current focus is to reach the last mile seller across the country, the next growth step will be to mobilise buyers within the country.

Romita Majumdar in Mumbai
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