Feature Friday: Etsy Shop Updates

Our portfolio company Etsy launched a super cool feature called Shop Updates a few weeks ago that I would like to talk about today.

Etsy sellers have always been great marketers. They bring buyers to their shops on Etsy in a myriad of ways. I remember back in the early days seeing Etsy sellers promoting their shops face to face at craft fairs. They still do that, of course, and much more.

Social networks are an obvious place for sellers to reach new buyers and Etsy sellers are all over them. But it hasn’t been that easy for a seller to be creative on social networks. Posting a link to their shop on facebook, or tweeting or pinning their latest item is fine. But doing that over and over quickly gets boring for everyone.

Enter Shop Updates. They allow a seller to take photos of their items in the real world and share them on social networks and into the Etsy mobile apps with links back to their shops and item pages.

An example will be illustrative.

Glittery Moon Vintage has this porcelain vase for sale on Etsy.

porcelain vase

She can post that image to facebook, pinterest, twitter, and instagram and get buyers to come and take a look.

But with Shop Updates, she can take a picture of that vase in the real world and post it to facebook or some other social net.

vase on fb

My favorite thing about this feature is the orange shopping tag that signifies that the shared image is “shopable” or “clickable”. You click on that orange tag and are taken to Etsy where you can look at the item and buy it.

These items also show up in the Etsy app to everyone that has liked your shop. Here’s a screenshot I took of my Etsy app this morning:


Here are some more details on Shop Updates in case you want to learn more.

So don’t be surprised if you start seeing orange tags showing up in your Twitter feed, your Facebook feed, your Pinterest app, and your Etsy app this holiday season. Shop Updates also show up in Instagram without the orange tag because Instagram doesn’t make their images clickable.

And when you see those tags, you should think about clicking and buying something unique and special for your loved ones this holiday season!


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Merging the photo capture, publishing and e-commerce in one fell swoop is brilliant. Why didn’t we have this many years ago?

    1. fredwilson

      Well first you need the networks and the feed and the open publishing hooks. We’ve had that for a whileThen you need all sellers to have mobile phones with good cameras. We’ve had that for a while nowThen you need a commerce platform that is “UGC” oriented. We’ve had that for a while too but there aren’t that many of themThen you need one of those commerce platforms to stitch it all together

      1. William Mougayar

        I’ve been looking to create a new word to describe when we do things together that used to be disjointed. It’s not just bundling, but close to it. Like taking a photo and sharing from the same device. Or your example here. Or in the blockchain, signing, verifying and settling all mashed up. What’s that word?Juxtaposing? Mashing? Cluster-bundle? Mashbundle? Bundlemash?

        1. Twain Twain

          BRAIDED. INTERWOVEN. MULTI-STRANDED. INTERTWINED. Take your pick.Technologies that are distinctive and work by themselves on a separate, standalone basis: photo capture, publishing, eCommerce.Yet can be braided together to make a stronger proposition.

          1. William Mougayar

            braided-tech. i like stitching too. bundle-stitch. braided glue. it will come.

          2. Twain Twain

            As you write your book on Crypto Technologies, will you be crowdsourcing some ideas and pages à la Walter Isaacson?* http://www.bloomberg.com/bw…If I recall correctly, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel did something similar for ‘The Age of Context’.

          3. William Mougayar

            That’s an interesting idea.

          4. William Mougayar

            The more I think of it, the more I think it’s about chaining one service with another.

          5. Twain Twain

            Daisy chain = positive connotations.Ball and chain = negative connotations.Concatenate is one of my favorite words…Coupling might also be interesting given the connection to economics…However, that word now also has associations with Gwyneth Paltrow and her “conscious uncoupling”, aka divorce.Is it obvious that amongst my quirks is Etymology? Haha.

    2. Kent Karlsen

      There is a tech company, actually very close to AVC office, that already deliver similar video technology. Putting product links as a layer over the video, so clicking on the linked video product, will send you directly to an eCommerce provider of that product or to the brand owners info page etc. I think Etsy is moving on to something big with this new function. Many had this idea in Scandinavia for years, but as Fred comment, you need a bundle of things before it can happen. Maybe now with Etsy 🙂

      1. William Mougayar

        Interesting. Thanks. What’s the company name?

  2. awaldstein

    Welcome to the future.Etsy was the pioneer of understanding that community was an atomic element cross the web.If they can capture the emotional element of the artisan’s offerings and connect them to the data targeting of a platform like Facebook, this is a giant step for discovery on the consumer side and commerce on the artisan’s side.

    1. fredwilson

      From your mouth to God’s ears Arnold ;)But I do think the idea of branded shopping tags inside social nets is a big idea with a lot of legsI have not seen anyone else do this although it’s very possible that someone has

      1. awaldstein

        Being first doesn’t matter. Being at the right time does.Long been saying that nobody buys things on Facebook. I was right before but not now.With proper emotional presentation and the data targeting that FB has developed–I must admit that in the last month I’ve bought a bunch of stuff.Timing is perfect if they can translate in a format these elements to their artisans.

      2. LIAD

        were doing that with shoply many years ago.just reinforces my heuristic that in reality product innovation is way secondary to nailing distribution/marketing/initial scale/VC investment

        1. LE

          Another way of saying “it’s about the execution”, right?Or perhaps “You can get much further with a Kind Word and a Gun than a Kind word alone”.I would shorten what you are saying to “nailing investment”. Investment is what allows you to do everything you need to do and to gamble and take chances. Without the big $$ nothing is going to happen. Page and Brin would still be popping zits in a dorm room (and going for more advanced degrees) if money wasn’t an early part of the mix.

      3. cgmohr

        TheTake is building a similar platform for digital videos. It allows you to pause the video and click on any products in the frame that have been identified/linked to a website where you can buy them.https://thetake.com/

      4. kirklove

        I’ve seen it on Houzz in their app. The Etsy approach is more elegant and has a broader reach. Especially to consumers, which as one, I like a lot.

  3. Twain Twain

    When I’m 80, I’ll be one of those sellers on Etsy. Selling my knitting.To make it more interesting for sellers, it would be great if they could follow the items they’ve sold on Etsy across social media.So…for example, a buyer takes a selfie with the new scarf they bought from Etsy and tags it #especiallyfromEtsy #scarf when they share that selfie on social media.Or they buy a GlitteryMoon vase and use it as a cookie jar instead so #Etsyevolution #cookievaseEtsy then pulls that data back in (via the social APIs) and surfaces it onto the seller’s page so that other buyers can see the enjoyment people are getting from the item and how creative they’re being with the item across social media.

    1. Twain Twain

      I’ve finished knitting this cardigan and gifted it to my mother. It fits her like a dream!

        1. Twain Twain

          HA, back at you, :*).Look at the Shetland slub yarn I was playing with last year.Your friend’s daughter’s work is great. I’d be tempted to randomly splash it with paint à la Pollock, though. Haha.

    2. pointsnfigures

      requires some commitment and work from the buyer. not impossible, but not simple like the orange tag which is a good idea.

      1. Twain Twain

        The orange tag idea is terrific. Instead of a link “click to buy this”, embed that link as a picto-tag and make it portable with the photo itself.

        1. Adam Sher

          Houzz has a version of this tag. It’s one of my favorite features of the product.

  4. pointsnfigures

    My prediction is Pinterest will be the best lead generator for the orange tag. Clickable commerce is here. Eventually, there will be short Vine type vid that will enable someone to do the same thing.

    1. awaldstein

      Across all my accounts Pinterest has dove in use and Instagram and now Facebook has exploded.Used to be Pinterest was the place–I don’t have any intel on this but I’m just not seeing it live up its promise within my world.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Pinterest is 89% women. I think it’s a platform that speaks to one side of the market.

        1. awaldstein

          Sure-but 100% of those women are on Facebook and some large % of those women who are into Wellness or Fitness are on Instagram.Not a believer in the verticalization of channels that are exlusive not inclusive by nature. That’s the past not the future to me,

          1. pointsnfigures

            fair point

          2. awaldstein

            Been building ecommerce solutions since there have been so very ground up on this.To @wmoug:disqus this is not a new trend, it is simply a platformed one at the right time when data targeting and clarity on how communities go horizontally across the web come together.Being new and being first matters not at all. Being timely does.

      2. LE

        From the journal of “Google can prove or disprove any point” it looks like you are correct….

  5. JimHirshfield

    It’s as easy as Etsy*(Say that 10 times fast)*slogan available for license.

    1. Jess Bachman

      “At $9 a share, place your betsy on Etsy.”

      1. jason wright

        it would never occur to me to buy shares in any of these platforms.

    2. LE

      Great artists steal.So I will offer to license just “Easy as Etsy”.You know as in “drop the The .. Just Facebook”….https://www.youtube.com/wat

      1. JLM

        .In the beef, I go with LE. Sorry.Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. jason wright

      NLP – conditioned to consume.”buy bitcoin, buy bitcoin, buy bitcoin…”

  6. Tom Labus

    They need some help with their market price. It’s been drifting south now for some time and people think that Amazon is going to take them out.

    1. Jess Bachman

      What’s wrong with Amazon taking them out? Etsy Prime here we come!

      1. Tom Labus

        it depends on how it’s done. A buyout is great, shares will be at a premium but Amazon creating their own version, not so good

        1. awaldstein

          Where in Amazon’s dna do you see this.Amazon is a sales not a marketing company.I’m not getting this.

          1. Tom Labus

            Amazon announced Amazon Handmade in May. http://www.businessinsider…. and going after Etsy sellers too. It corresponds to the move from 15 to 9+

    2. fredwilson

      We will see about that. I’m long Etsy

      1. Hu Man

        What’s your average share price? I don’t think Amazon will take them out. Amazon has very little character. There’s more to ecommerce than fast shipping. That is an ugly vase tho 😉

    3. Kent Karlsen

      Some would say that Amazon is like Pirate Bay for sellers profit (but impressive delivery speed for buyers). If you look to Europe, Middle East and Asia, it looks like we (world market) will soon be forced to discuss fair trade conditions with increased prices for good working conditions and anti piracy etc. Low priced items also produce lots of trash we don’t need. Handcrafted items and affordable luxory should not be cheap. It makes no sense.

    4. jason wright

      Etsy is petite bourgeoisie. Amazon isn’t.Etsy needs to become ever more eccentric and go where Amazon is unable to follow.

  7. JLM

    .You, Freddie, are a fabulous pitch man without equal.I have next to no interest in buying anything and here I am with my shoes scuffed from my journey over to Etsy.I know you are long Etsy but you are Etsy.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      You, Freddie, are a fabulous pitch man without equal.Not sure I agree that Fred is a fabulous pitch man. A fabulous pitchman is someone who stretches the truth and delivers a great deal of BS that the masses gobble up. A great pitchman invites any and all media for coverage.Can shovel it like the largest of front end loaders or ditch witches. That is not Fred. Fred is humble to a fault. On a scale of 0 to 100 if Trump is 100 (gold standard of overstating and embellishing everything) Fred is perhaps at 35. (A humble bragger might rate a 60 on that scale).http://www.ditchwitch.com/t……

      1. JLM

        .Freddie is not Billy Mays — the iconic but unfortunately dead pitch man who defined the species (OxiClean, y’all?) — for sure but consider the sophisticated audience here at AVC.com.Freddie is a damn good pitchman. A fabulous pitch man.JLMwww.themusingofthebigredcar…

    2. fredwilson


  8. iggyfanlo

    Kudos to Etsy product team…

  9. LE

    Actually pretty cool and a great idea.

  10. jason wright

    what’s the origin of the word Etsy?

  11. Min

    awesome feature, making the selling experience that much more frictionless!on a related note: thoughts on Amazon Handmade? is this another amazon horizontal play that will be shut down (a la local) or does the amzn platform pose too many benefits for both sides of the marketplace to not succeed?

  12. Roman Kadinsky

    Reading these posts and learning about the new feature is great. This conjures up an idea (that maybe has already been thought about.. or perhaps falls on deaf ears)…..What if Etsy allowed ANYONE with an account to CREATE a unique share-link from any seller’s pictures to post onto websites/social, and Etsy offered sellers the opportunity to award these ‘link sharers’ with % split for PURCHASES that are created through those third-party click throughs.The % could come from Etsy’s take home (doesn’t even have to be large on its own to necessarily create incentive) and thus not negatively impact sellers. Sellers would generally see value as a result as it simplify allows a magnification of their own social potential through incentivization.(the negative risk is obviously spammers may overshare / dilute someone’s brand value.. but that will be Etsy’s PMs’ jobs to figure out how to optimize it in a way that creates seller value without abuse).my 2 cents. generally don’t post often as i’m busy with my own startup, but this had me forcing myself to share the thought.

  13. spencer

    We solve the Instagram side of Shop Updates for Etsy merchants with our automated invoicing service.Customers can request checkout links via Instagram (or Facebook) comments, and we then automatically direct customers to Etsy product pages for checkout.Spreesy is currently the #1 most popular 3rd party Etsy app: https://www.etsy.com/apps/