ETSY STRIKE LEADING VENDORS TO CONSIDER MOVING TO DIFFERENT E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS TO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS
BY: NINA BUEBOS
Winnipeggers may have to deal with another price hike, and this time it’s with one of their favourite small businesses.
At the end of February, the e-commerce website, Etsy, announced it would raise its transaction fee for vendors from 5 per cent to 6.5 per cent, effective April 11.
This led to a global strike against Etsy and thousands of Etsy sellers putting their shops on vacation mode from April 11 to April 18. The strike is meant to get Etsy’s attention and address other underlying problems.
According to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, the change will help Etsy invest more money into marketing, grow the support team, and ensure the platform is free from vendors that don’t meet policies.
Experiencing issues with Etsy is nothing new to Heidi Friesen, 35, who graduated from Apparel Design at Red River College Polytechnic in 2015.
Friesen has been using Etsy for her size-inclusive small business, Heidi and Seek Boutique, since 2009. She sells eye-catching and meaningful clothing, accessories, and art.
Friesen is considering moving to Shopify instead for its low transaction fees and a flat rate website fee.
“It would make sense to increase my prices because we’re losing money,” Friesen said. “If we don’t, in order to recoup what [Etsy is] taking, [sellers] will need to increase their prices by 6.5 per cent too.”
Ashley Villalobos, a Business Information Technology student at RRC Polytech who sells minimal planner stickers through her Etsy business, A.V Collection, is also reconsidering going back to Shopify with the new transaction fees.
After a summer of selling custom business cards and stickers through Shopify, Villalobos created her new brand in October 2021 and has been selling her products on Etsy ever since.
The pandemic has increased Villalobos’ product prices, leading to higher fees.
“Even if I want to offer affordable prices, I can’t because I won’t make any profits,” Villalobos said.
Both Friesen and Villalobos said this pushes potential buyers to search for shops selling the same items at cheap prices shipped from international factories.
Friesen said Etsy favours popular businesses over small businesses through the algorithm and the Star Seller Program. The Star Seller Program highlights businesses with 95 per cent five-star ratings, quick response rates, and on-time shipping and tracking.
“What I’m providing is really good, but I can’t meet their standards of what a star seller is as a very small business,” Friesen said.
Neither Villalobos nor Friesen have increased the prices of their products, but Friesen said she is considering doing so with the transaction fee increase.
As of April 25, the Etsy Strike petition on coworker.org has garnered 85,060 signatures.