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Vintage Sellers Weigh In On Etsy’s Make Offers Program

The results are in – and vintage sellers are not happy about Etsy’s new “Make Offers program.”  At least, ours aren’t.

IT SUCKS. I’m already eating shipping costs and fielding multiple offers a week on my already fairly priced listings. I truly don’t need the additional impetus to buyers to act like my time/effort etc. mean nothing.

ABSOLUTELY NOT. Hands down, no. I price my pieces fairly to cover my cost and time (my pieces are labor intensive).

Im honestly thinking about leaving @etsy because of their lack of support for artists and all the fees they take. I miss what Etsy used to be. Now they’re just corporate trash like everyone else: greedy for every penny they can squeeze out.

Etsy is useless now so absolutely not. If you can’t opt out of their advertising the fees can be as much as 30%. They don’t give a shit about their sellers. What’s all this instant refund about too? It’s impossible to run a business on there any more.

Make Offers is a new feature Etsy activated this week for a test group of vintage sellers.  The feature allows buyers to make offers below asking price for an item.  As always, Etsy announced it in that overly saccharine self-satisfied tone (you know the one) where they explain how they did this just for us!  Isn’t it awesome how deeply they care?

If Etsy ever rolls out a “feature” like this for handmade sellers, I just might turn into a she-hulk. When a buyer tries to bargain the price down on a handmade item, it feels like that buyer is saying “Hey, I love your work, but will you take a paycut for me, because I asked nicely?” A marketplace explicitly encouraging that behavior from buyers… uhm, no thank you.

The wording on the announcement makes me wonder if they’re going to do this to handmade sellers eventually.  One of our members who makes handmade items from vintage fabric is part of the test:

They want sellers who sew with vintage fabric to opt in to this as well. It’s a big NO for me. I can only predict the star seller status will quickly be taken away when you don’t respond to low ball offers. It’s all around bad for sellers. The people running Etsy need their heads checked. Can’t wait to leave. I have a website being built for me.

As a vintage shopper, I’m not sure I like the idea.  When I want something cheap and vintage, I look on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.  When I want to find something really special from a carefully curated vintage shop – like a gift for a vintage-loving friend, that’s when I go to Etsy.  It’s a different shopping experience, and it’s very clear to me, as a shopper, that a new “feature” like this would be detrimental to the shopping experience I personally want most – and that Etsy has excelled at in the past.

This feels like a race to the bottom, in a market where players like Ebay and Facebook Marketplace are already doing a good job occupying that role.  Our vintage sellers agree:

We aren’t eBay.

This isn’t FBMP

We already get messages with offers. We don’t need this feature.

I am not going to use this program because some will be throwing out lowball offers like it was Facebook marketplace.

In the full announcement, Etsy does say that this will stop buyers from making offers below what you specify – but the options require you to allow them to request a discount of at least 20%.  Etsy’s vintage sellers tend to have extremely labor-intensive businesses, where they spend extra time seeking out really unique items for their curated collections.  Extra time taking really nice photographs of each piece.  Extra time offering really good customer service for each of their shoppers.  When your items are that special, you want them to go to the buyer who loves them enough to pay your asking price, and you’re okay with waiting for that buyer to find you.

This feature exists on Depop – a marketplace already owned by Etsy (one of the competitors they bought with the record pandemic profits they earned from our hard work, right before they raised our fees).  One of our members who sells on both Depop and Etsy had this to say:

It’ll be just like their other app Depop. Offers there are nonbinding, and in my experience 90% of accepted offers never pay for the items. A complete waste of fucking time.

Will Etsy listen to their vintage sellers, or will they claim that feedback is mostly positive, and go full steam ahead, as they have with past near-universally-disliked “features”?

Only time will tell.

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