For people starting out as small-scale retailers, the rise of selling platforms like Etsy (as well as global giants eBay and Amazon) has enabled them to reach wider audiences than ever before. Constructing online profiles, building bases of followers and professionalising selling operations have become a cinch! Now, these global platforms are seeking to redefine their relationships with wholesalers. Etsy has launched Etsy Wholesale, a brand new platform that improves the links between individuals and boutique retailers. Meanwhile, Amazon has also rolled out a bespoke app for sellers that will set people up with cutting-edge ecommerce technologies. So is this the start of a new kind of relationship between ‘parent’ companies and the individual seller?
Etsy seems to understand how important accessibility is to its thousands and thousands of individual sellers. This makes sense – increasing convenience and tech capabilities will naturally lead to wholesalers constructing better profiles, as well as having more time to devote to their products. Leading on from this, Etsy also seems to have prioritised multi-platform exposure; it has partnered with New York-based magazine Dossier to bring its wholesalers’ wares to brand new demographics. Having bought up tech-centric Grand St last year, Etsy has realised that marketplaces need to offer full ecommerce functionality in order to attract the best sellers. As director of multichannel Jonathan Zatland says, “for many sellers who have built sustaining, full-time businesses on Etsy, Etsy Wholesale is a way to support their continued growth.”
Meanwhile, Amazon has also been working on improving its individual wholesaler relations. Its seller app originally launched on iOS in the spring, and has branched out to Android this month too. The launch takes away some of the previous reliance on third parties, which brings the company and its users closer together. Another business operating a similar model is ASOS, which rolled out its own ASOS Marketplace for budding individual, independent designers in 2010. Projects like this foster loyalty among users and customers alike; for ASOS, it’s a great scouting tool to spot trends and creative new brands too! It has recently teamed up with the Clothes Show Live, launching a competition to find incredible new graduate designers.
Partnerships like Etsy and Dossier, as well as ASOS and the Clothes Show, indicate a change in direction from the big marketplace operators. Multimedia tie-ups like these show that online portals are becoming aware of the potential in offline activities too. Will we see literal marketplaces, branded with ASOS or Etsy, spring up in the future? Only time will tell! It’s an exciting thought, though, and with the huge growth potential of these companies it feels like anything is possible. These businesses – and their individual seller clients – are in a great place to take advantage of the booming trend for handmade British goods, too.
It’s incredibly exciting to see business like Etsy and ASOS demonstrating how important individual sellers are to their operations. Small-scale entrepreneurialism is flourishing as a result, and the demand for British products is an important reason for their stratospheric recent growth. Are there any other similar operators that I have missed out here? Let me know at email@example.com, and have a brilliant weekend.